Have you ever taken a hard look at your stash of sock yarn and realized you may never work through it all unless you have a faster way of making socks? Ingie Koch, our April program presenter, came to that conclusion. Not long after, she purchased her first circular sock knitting machine, and as she says, fell down the CSM rabbit hole.
Ingie’s love of all things “string” began at the age of seven when she purchased a Learn to Knit and Crochet booklet and a skein of yarn for entertainment during the cold North Dakota winters. She also learned to sew on a vintage treadle machine, and over the years has enjoyed macrame, cross stitch, felting, quilting, dyeing yarn, and weaving, to name a few.
Interestingly, the circular sock machine played an important role in keeping our soldiers safe during World Wars I and II. Ingie shared the CSM’s history with us as summarized on this story board.
The obvious advantage of making socks with a machine is its speed. A pair of socks can generally be made in under an hour. Before you run out an buy one for yourself, Ingie pointed out several caveats.
- First of all, one should be familiar with the anatomy of a sock, which Ingie shared with this display.
- Just as it takes time to learn any new skill, using a sock knitting machine has a steep learning curve. Its many moving parts may require the operator to become an adept mechanic and troubleshooter. When using her CSMs, Indie engages all of her senses to listen for any unusual sounds, look for dropped stitches or tangles, and feel any differences while cranking She hopes she’ll never need her nose to smell smoke! 😉
- Learn to make a good basic sock before attempting to try ribbing or designs like Fair Isle or argyle.
- Maintenance is essential in keeping a CSM in good working condition. It should be cleaned regularly, and oil is its friend.
- Ingie also stressed the importance of purchasing a circular sock machine from a reputable seller who is familiar with how they work and will give you support. She also recommends seeing the machine in use before buying it.
- Finally, you need to decide whether to buy a vintage model or a new replica. Vintage machines may be more difficult to repair, but new ones can be more costly.
Sock knitting machines are not limit to making only socks. Ingie has also made a variety of other items as pictured above and listed below.
Groups of CSM enthusiasts meet for crank-ins all over the country. The Wisconsin COWS (Crankers of Wonderful Socks) and the Iowa PIGS (People in Glorious Socks) are two examples.
Thank you, Ingie Koch, for an introduction to the circular sock knitting machine and your interesting and informative presentation.
Are you still wondering just how the CSM works? See a demonstration of an historic machine in action by clicking here.
Follow this link for information about the Circular Sock Knitting Machine Society.