Circular Sock Machine Society of America
CSMSA 2007

Circular Sock Machine Society of America Convention

We attended the Circular Sock Machine Society of America convention in Frederick, MD during 29-31 July 2007. There were approximately 100 happy sock knitters at the annual gathering. The image above shows about quarter of the group. Elizabeth can be seen seated in the far corner.

When traveling to one of these events, one needs their machine in a carrying case, stand, yarn, tool box including oil can. Did I mention yarn? If you don't have enough yarn, there are lots of nice vendors who have any flavor you desire.

We took the car which has limited storage space so we elected to take sock machines instead of clothes on this relatively short trip. We took three machines: a LeGare and two Gearharts. One of the Gearharts was the one last used by Jim at the Michigan convention two years ago and the other Gearhart was one which we had purchased some time ago and had never used. Upon arriving at Frederick we discovered that Jim's machine had a cracked cylinder (not an uncommon problem with the pot metal). While Pete Oswald from up north in Minnesota was expertly repairing it with J-B Weld, Jim decided to get the second Gearhart working. After swapping out several needles it worked fine. The latter machine has three cylinders: 60, 72, and 100 needles. It also has a ribber which the first unit did not. We learned that the ribber works only with the 72-needle cylinder. At the conference ending, we had all of our machines in good working order.

Pete, in addition to bringing along spring wire and wiper blade metal to repair the temperamental machines, brought at least 10 rare machines from his collection. It was amazing how much a motorhome could carry in its basement.

T-Shirt for 2005 Convention

Jim and His 1908 Gearhart

In the image above, Jim is getting assistance in making a heel. This process requires pulling some of the needles out of service which allows the sock to "grow" on one side while not on the other. Jim was able to complete one sock during the three-day event. (Elizabeth sewed up the toe, so he actually didn't complete it himself.) The pink is waste yarn--no, I'm not making myself pink socks.

Our friend, Lucy, from North Carolina taught Jim how to make a hem top for his sock which he was able to replicate without help.

Jim can now make tubes and heels and hem tops. His next project is to try making mock-ribbing by removing needles. The first step will be to try the 3-in and 1-out on his 72-needle cylinder. (Since 4 divides evenly into 72.)

While the room was sectioned off into areas of interests such as heels and toes, ribbing, finishing (Kitchener stitch), tiny socks, machine restoration, etc., Jim spent most of his time just gazing at his machine.

Elizabeth is shown above knitting on her LeGare. This is the first machine we purchased.

The tables on which our machines are mounted are fabricated from a folding bar stool purchased at the local WalMart. We fabricated a custom fitted top on the stool. We used a nice piece of cherry wood for Elizabeth's table top. Jim's plain pine board will be replaced with a fine hardwood board from our stash once the final shape is defined.

There are as many different types of supports used as there are machines. Some machines come with a cast iron base while others were designed to be attached to the kitchen table. Many attendees used collapsible work benches.