When I got this machine, it was in excellent shape. Previously I restored and cleaned Singer 210 MemoMatic and Studio 360K so I was familiar with Singer’s knitting machines designs.
Singer 700 is very similar to Studio 360: the most obvious differences are positions of punch card reader, knit leader and a row counter. Another prominent difference is that the row counter dial in Singer 700 is in the middle of the bed (versus at the very end of the bed on Singer 360). Singer 700 is also a later-released model. But maybe the reason for a later release is simply a rebranding – the name changed from Studio to Singer (or vice versa). Since all of this not critical, let’s get to the actual machine.
Singer 700 is a 24-hole punch card reading machine capable of slip- and tuck- stitch patterning and fair isle knitting. In fact, I learned fair isle knitting on this machine for the first time. I will post in a several blog article my thoughts about fair isle, common mistakes and problems and how to trouble shoot mis-patterning issues.
The machine came to me with all accessories, including all transfer tools, knit leader sheets, weights, etc. The gauge guides did not come with this machine (see number 8 below). The punch cards that came with this machine are mostly the same with some exception. (For example, intarsia card is not as shown in the manual). Some other cards are different as well. I tested the tuck and slip stitch cards and they worked fine.
The machine has its own original box and hard cover, both of which are in excellent shape.
The set of manuals that came with this machine includes only Operation manual (http://machineknittingetc.com/knitmaster-600-700-operation-knitting-machine-instruction-manual.html).
The knitting manual (which explains how to use the knit radar) is available here: http://machineknittingetc.com/knitmaster-600-700-knitting-machine-instruction-manual.html
The pattern book for this model is available here: http://machineknittingetc.com/knitmaster-600-700-pattern-manual.html
The accessories fit nicely into a storage box on the side of the machine. I used it also as a stand to keep my handy tools (stitch transfer and needle selector) during the actual knitting – otherwise they are constantly getting lost!
In this machine, I replaced a sponge but the bar is original. (the metal sort of “railing” that holds the sponge). Unfortunately, the machine came to me with a slightly chipped sponge bar end – the plastic piece that we grab to remove the sponge bar. However, it absolutely does not affect the function of the sponge bar and, especially, of the machine. I could still easily move the bar in and out.
As needles often rust due to the old sponge bar not being replaced in time, I remove all of them to make sure they did not rust. All needles were in excellent shape. I examined every single needle.
I tested this machine extensively with the exception of the knit leader (I don’t use knit leader as I do all my calculations myself). I am simply not used to knit leaders – it’s just the way I was first taught how to knit). Since this machine is very similar to Studio 360K and I already knew how to do simply tuck- and slip-stitch patterning, with this machine I mostly focused on learning how to knit fair isle.
I knitted fair isle on a full bed and then on only middle 90 needles to make leg warmers. I made several pairs and one of them are shown below. (I used a card I had for my other machine).
The machine has similar pros and cons to the 360K with one exception: the carriage on Singer 700 Mod moves much easier than on Studio 360K even though it does not have a timing belt!!!
- The patterning drums make it very easy to move the machine. They engage with the punch card mechanism very nicely without much noise.
- The manual is very well-written and I was able to follow the instructions with ease and to learn all the techniques.
- All manuals and brochures are available online.
- All tools fit nicely into a built-in storage box, the cover of which actually shows how to arrange them.
- Easy-to find replacement needles since these models are relatively “newer” ones.
- The carriage has a release lever (earlier Studio/Singer models do not), which comes handy when the carriage gets stuck and needs to be removed from the bed in the idle of knitting.
The tools are pretty standard and are pretty interchangible with other models.
- The carriage moves very easily – I currently have a shoulder injury but still move it without any pain.
- Some might find having the built-in knit-leaders very handy: there is no need to have a separate long setup laying around – in this setup all fits into one carrier box
- I found that putting this machine to storage and opening and closing is much easier than multiple brother machines I had a chance to struggle with. There is a very clear schematic on the cover with the order of how placing the parts together. I found this extremely helpful as putting these machines away is often a big frustrating struggle.
- Built-in row counter: knitters should not worry that a detachable row counter would be lost (like for Brother machines).
All parts fit into a case. The schematics on the case lid shows how to put away the machine and it is very easy to follow (much easier than on Brother).
Easy-to-learn patterning. The knobs on the carriage are straightforward – just follow the steps in the manual.
The cons are:
- The most significant flow in my mind is that the patterning drums often get stuck if not oiled regularly, especially when not used for a very long time or put into storage (I restored already two OTHER machines where the drums were simply shut… They needed soak in an oil bath and some heavy-duty disassembling). To avoid this problem, put some light oil regularly on the patterning drums. Lucky for me, this machine had the drums in excellent shape.
I personally wish the setup included cast-on bars but it might also be my personal preference. However, cast on bars can be easily purchased.
Take a look again at this beautiful setup and check it out on my Etsy page.