Mini Documentary on Sock Machine

I just watched this 2-part mini documentary on Sock Machine and sock knitting during the 1st World War.

Has anyone here ever used a machine like this? My mother-in-law recently found a booklet put out by the Red Cross, much like is shown in this documentary, highlighting the need for socks and more socks for the men in the trenches. These booklets have directions for hand-knit socks and other items needed. Interesting stuff!


IamKnitGuy's picture

That's a great video, thanks! I have one, a Legare 400 built in the early 1900's. They are very temperamental, have a steep learning curve and can make you want to put a bullet in your head (like nupps or a K16tog)!! Want one yet? But if you can get it going, the socks are amazing - beautiful, fine gauge and a whole pair only takes a couple of hours! If you're interested, there's a group on Ravelry and a few Yahoo lists.

Although not as fast I would use the machine (if I had one) to knit a tube (unshaped, no ribbing) starting and ending on waste yarn.
Then I would knit up the ribbing for the cuff, finish the toe the traditional way, and take a snip at the middle of the heel to knit an auto heel using raglan decreases.

purlyman's picture

Wow... that's really interesting and a good little documentary! Thanks for sharing. Almost makes me want to find one to try on my own!


QueerJoe's picture

Thanks for pointing this video out...I also have an antique circular sock knitting machine from around 1900, and like Joe (knitguyla) noted, they are not an extremely easy way of making socks.

The woman in the video made a faux ribbing, which is a lot easier to make on a machine, but doesn't have the same elasticity as real ribbing. Her machine doesn't have a ribbing attachment to allow her to both knit and purl...which of course adds another layer of complexity to using these machines.

At one point, I was able to make a pair of socks similar to the one she made in about 45 minutes...then I decided to try and get my machine working more efficiently (by replacing the spring and some needles)...suffice it to say, I haven't been able to get the machine working since!

They are a bit persnickety, but I still love mine.

TheKnittingMill's picture

Really interesting! Thanks for posting!

HuskerChub's picture

I also have a 1905ish AutoKnitter that I use on occasion. I want to use it more, it's just that it is such an early model that all the bells and whistles are not there, which make for more frustration. However, anyone with about $2500 sitting idle can buy a brand spanking new shiny CSM. There is a TransWoman in New Zeland that is making them, very nice and I WILL one-day have one!! HOLY CRAP, I just checked her site

and the price for a "starter" setup has dropped to US$995...hmmmmmm how important is the mortgage payment....really....

asbrigida's picture

Very interesting documentary.