Imperia circular sock machine

Restoring the Stanmer Preservation Societys Imperia circular sock machine

At Stanmer Heritage Event 18th September 2021

Also see 2023 update lower down the page and a free to download CSM sock pattern at the bottom of the page.

I’ve posted about this, but thought a page might be nice so that I can record any more events involving this or other circular sock machines, (CSM). The one that the Preservation Society had is an Imperia 72 needle dial machine. It also has a rib attachment that I have not worked on yet.

A bit of help was appreciated

The machine was in a pretty dire state. Left out in a damp shed for a year or so, it was rusty and filthy. So it had to be stripped down and cleaned before anything could be tested. The needles are not brilliant so I will look to see if I can get any new ones.

Even after reassembly there is a slight sticky point on the dial when the handle is cranked. Changing needles helped somewhat, but on after another close inspection there is a little wear on the corner of the cam which I think is the problem. Thorough oiling and use have certainly helped for a smoother action.

Although I got a heel off it the yarn is not good. Also I had problems putting needles back into work: dropped stitches being the main thing. I think I’ll try the 3 wedge next time.

I can’t get up to the Society centre again for a while. I may bring it home to work on over the colder months so it’s purring by the Spring.

It was lovely seeing the interest in the machine amongst all the visitors. The sun shone so we could work outside which attracted people over to us. Along with the machine there were two spinning wheels, a carding machine and a flax heckle, so lots to see.

Update 2023

The sock machine has sat without being used since my last post and needed some TLC. Luckily I managed to get it home which meant we could work on it more comfortably with all the right equipment to hand.

That jamming point on the dial seemed to be caused by a slight misalignment of the cams inside the cylinder. We took these out and cleaned and polished them before replacing them. It was a bit worrying when one of the moving cams wouldn’t slide easily, but after screwing them back in place the solid cam bedded down into the curve and the moving cam worked perfectly.

The cams out of the cylinder
Some of the needles had become rusty again, so needed a clean with emery
cloth and wire wool and oiling.

Although there is a cast on umbrella, it is bent and rusty so over the weekend I plan to test the machine and then knit a cast on bonnet and maybe a sock! Must check if I have the right weight yarn for that.

After taking it all apart and rebuilding it there was still a catch on the dial as it rotated. So it cam apart again and we studied the cogs on the handle and under the dial. Although they are a bit worn they seem OK, but we decided to wash the main one to remove all old grease and regressed throughly. The two cogs seemed to be quite loosely meshing, probably due to wear, so their connection was tightened slightly. After even more grease the movement is a little stiffer due to the tightening of the cogs, but so much smoother. Still noisy by any standard, but then so are modern machines that have the benefit of ball-bearings and precisely engineered metal and nylon parts. Personally I find the noise soothing.

This pattern for 3 ply wool socks is written for the Imperia CSM. To download a copy click on the download button below the text.