Have you ever read a machine instruction that said: “put needles in hold”? Now, if you’re a hand knitter or you’re brand new to machine knitting, this might be in mysterious instruction.
Let’s take a look at why you would put needles into hold position. What hold position is and how you accomplish this on your machine.
Using hold position just prevents needles from knitting. Why would you want to prevent needles from knitting? Well, maybe you want to move your carriage to the opposite side of the bed without dropping stitches. This is called a free pass to manually knit tuck stitch. You’d hold certain needles to create the stitch pattern.
To manually knit multicolor work. You might hold needles on one pass of the carriage and then hold other needles on the next pass.
The same thing for manual intarsia.
One of the most common uses of hold is to work short row shaping. I’m sure there are other uses for this machine setting, but just remember that anytime you want to pass the carriage without knitting specific needles, you can use the hold setting.
Putting needles in hold takes two steps.
Positioning the needles and setting the carriage so those needles don’t knit.
If you’re interested in learning more about hold position, partial knitting, short row shaping, please visit knititnow.com/shortrow
Now, whether you have stitches in the needles or not, when needles are pulled out completely, they’re in hold position. This position can be indicated as D E or F on your machine. The letter doesn’t matter. It’s the fact that the selected needles are all the way out.
The second part of this is the carriage setting. In order to prevent those needles from knitting or forming stitches, you’ll need to set buttons or levers on your carriage, your cam to prevent those needles from knitting.
Let’s look at different machines. Here’s my Silver Reed, LK-150 machine. It’s a very basic manual machine. Can you do hold? Absolutely. I’ll pull a handful of needles all the way out. When I run the carriage across, the needles are put back into working position. In other words, if there were stitches, I would have knit a row. Hmm. That’s not what I wanted. I’ll put the needles and hold again. This time I’m setting the Russel lever on the left of the carriage to hold. Voila. The needles didn’t knit. Just what I wanted, but when I pushed the carriage back to the right, the needles knit. Hmm.
This machine has 2 hold levers 2 Russel levers controlling hold in each direction. In order to hold in both ways, we need to engage the Russell levers on both sides.
Here’s another machine. This is the Singer 360 punch card machine. It also has Russell levers, but they’re on the front of the carriage. Now, when I first got this machine, I marked that carriage with an H for hold. And I don’t forget which levers are which. Just like the first machine, there are two levers controlling hold in each direction.
Now this Brother machine has a single lever that controls hold in both directions.
No matter what machine you’re using after casting on mastering hold is one of the essential skills every machine knitter must have.