MachineKnitting,  Sewing,  Vintage/Retro

Needle Quest – Part 2

If you read Part 1 of this series, you will know that I was on a quest for suitable needles for a Bellinky linker. They are virtually impossible to get as it turns out, and although I have a stash, they won’t last forever, and other people are in need of them as well.

I won’t keep you reading for no reason: the new needles work perfectly! But not without a few adjustments, so read on if you’d like details.

I received the 88×1 needles (very quickly might I add) and look how closely they resemble the Orange PYE-2 needles:

88×1 needle is on the left, PYE-2 is on the right. They are the same length, I just couldn’t line them up exactly for the photo.

I apologize in advance, by the way, for these photos. It’s SO hard to get in really close with my camera phone and still keep detail. Anyway, these needles are almost identical, save for the EM tip. They have a smaller groove on one side (I’ll call it the “front” as it faces the comb, and toward the point of the needle on the curved PYE-2) and a deeper groove on the “back”. That’s important I assume, so make sure they stay oriented the correct way.

So I threw one into the Bellinky right out of the package, and no surprise, it was going to bash right into the looper. I figured this might happen, so I decided to give it a shot and bend the tip of the needle, right above the eye, approximately where the proper needle is bent. Well, it snapped right off. Luckily it didn’t go flying across the room though, so luck is on my side today. I thought it might be a good idea to try to heat it up first with a barbecue lighter. I did this with the section of the needle I needed to bend right in the flame, for the very scientific length of time of “until the other end of the needle got really hot and started to burn my fingers.” Happy to report that it bent perfectly once heated.

I didn’t bend it very much, just enough that it would likely clear the looper. This is what it looks like after:

As you can hopefully see, it isn’t exactly perfect, and it also is a bit shorter after the bend – the distance from the eye to the tip I guess you’d call it, is a bit shorter than the proper needle.

I popped the needle back in, and right away noticed it cleared the looper and didn’t bang into anything else – yay! So I tried with the comb and no fabric, and it also didn’t hit the comb or hinder it in any way. Next – to thread it. It appeared to catch the yarn and form a loop, so I tried to link some fabric. It moved, with some difficulty, but I could tell things were not right down below:

For the record, it’s not supposed to look like that ūüôā Attempt number one had some problems.

I noticed it kept catching like, half the yarn, and since I had checked out where the proper needle came down on the downstroke, I had a look under there and thought that the new needle was now too short maybe? So I carefully pulled it down a little in the needle bar – nothing scientific here either, I’m afraid, but you kinda want the very tip of the needle to be lined up with the horizontal “line” on the looper, like this, when the needle hits its lowest point:

Line up the needle tip with that horizontal bit of the looper when the needle is at its lowest point. I think I pulled it down in the needle bar by about 1mm if I had to guess? Teeny little increments. Yep, it’s filthy down there with oily fluff apparently, sorry.

That seemed to go better. At least the sewing action was smooth and it was moving like it’s supposed to:

Attempt number two: looking good on top and let me chain off at the end – much better!

But when I flipped it over, it still had some loops and problems on the bottom. I mucked around with the needle a little bit but actually, the problem was now my top tension. I had the tension too tight, and the loops were too small for the yarn to catch properly. (I have had a few problems like this with the regular needle too, it’s worth noting. It does take some trial and error each time you change yarns to figure out exactly where to set it.) Fixed that up, and look at the results:

The sewing action was smooth and un-hindered. In fact, I would say it goes pretty much just as easily as with the proper needle. I would guess there is a pretty large margin of error here, given that this is my first attempt and it went just fine. So if you are the owner of a Bellinky without needles, a pack of 88×1 needles in a size 22, some pliers, and a BBQ lighter might be all you need to MacGyver a solution and get it working.

Tools of the trade, apparently.

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