More on machine gauge - now with a 54 needle cylinder!!!!! (Sport weight socks!!!)
Woohoo!!!! We just got in our brand new 54 needle cylinder for our Earlbacher Gearhart Speedster Circular Sock Knitting machine!
What this means for people who want sock tubes made is that we will be able to make tubes in a wider gauge of yarn weights for most people's feet! In particular, it will allow us to better support heavier sport weight yarns.
We have found that the most commonly, tubes between 7.5 and 8.5 inches in circumference work well for everyone, and this is the most requested size. With our previous selection of 64 and 72 needle cylinders, Sport weight yarn, which usually can only be cranked to 7 or 8 stitches per inch (SPI) at a max could really only be cranked on the 64 needle cylinder, because on 72, the yarn tubes would be 10 inches circumference, more of a lovely sack, than a sock.
All our CSM cylinders are the same size around, they just have fewer needles around their circumference. Fewer needles = thicker yarns will fit into the same size with fewer stitches.
Here's a pic of our three cylinders, with a swatch of the same skein cranked to the smalles possible size on each cylinder. From left to right, 54, 64, and 72 needles. The yarn is a Blue Moon Fiber Arts "Socks That Rock" colorway, which is one of the more popular sport weight yarns that we've had sent to us.
Here's a detail shot of the fabrics (Note how different the pooling is on 54!):
The tubes above are the absolute smallest that I can make with this skein of yarn on each cylinder. At 72, not only is the tube way too wide at 7.5 SPI, but it is also very short, owning to less yardage in a typical skein of sport weight yarn. The tube in the middle on 64 is better for most socks, but still to big for many people. with the 54 cylinder, we're now down to a range that can accomodate most feet. WIth this yarn, I would absolutely recommend using the 54 cylinder between 6.5 and 7.5 SPI for wonderful, warm socks that really... rock!
Here's an example of our KnitSpinFarm Targhee Sport in the "You're so Radish" colorway:
The Targhee Sport base can be cranked up a little more tightly than the Blue Moon base. The smallest possible on the 64 needle cylinder was about 8.2 inches, and it can now be made about an inch smaller on 54.
The 54 cylinder would also work very well to make smaller tubes with yarns like Regia 6-ply.
And for a final note, while we use fewer needles for thicker yarns, the opposite is also true. Not all fingerings are the same on the machine! Here's a comparison of some KnitSpinFarm Targhee Fingering in the "Apple Cider Day" colorway on the left, vs. the Freckled Whimsy "Yesteryear" Merino/Nylon fingering on the right.
These tubes are the same size, but ther thicker targhee was cranked on 64 at a lower gauge, and the thinner merino on 72.
The best way to make sure you get tubes the way you want them is to know what circumference tube you want, then we can match the cylinder and gauge to your specific yarn.
As always, if you are unsure how you want your yarn cranked up, send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) I'm happy to help!
May your feet be ever warm and cozy!