This wonderful machine was made in 1970th and, I think, it was the first model to include a built-in knit leader. As most standard gauge knitting machine, Singer 326 has 200 needles spaced 4.5 mm apart. It has a built-in row counter, punch-card reading mechanism for automatic patterning using a punch-card reading mechanism. I gave this machine a thorough clean. The carriage was also deep-cleaned and serviced and all knobs and levers and functions were thoroughly tested. Drums on the carriage move freely.
It comes with all accessories including (numbers are going in the order as they are listed in the manual):
1) magic cams,
2) point cams,
4) box to store and transport all tools,
5) replacement knitting needles,
6) brush to clean the machine,
8) weaving arm,
9) container with oil
10) crochet hook
11) tapestry needle,
12) ravel cord for cast on and to use as one-row intermediate level during waste-yarn knitting,
13) round brushes for tuck knitting (I already installed them on the sinking plate for you),
14) card snaps to clip the patterning cards together,
15) stitch scale (simply a set of rulers to help with knit-leader and stitch counting),
16) gauge scale to count stitches and your gauge on a swatch,
17) and 18) tension mast assembly,
19) weights to hang on the ends of your knitted piece,
20) set of stitch transfer tools,
21) tappet tool,
22) clamps to secure the machine to the table. On this particular machine with these particular clamps it is somewhat hard to attach them to the bed– the bed needs to be at a certain angle . But with enough wiggle, they will fit in.
23) carriage lock to secure the carriage during transport and storage
24) card guide,
25) needle pusher and needle selector,
26) set of punchcards: the original set was supposed to include 20 cards but this machine came with only 19. Card #19 is missing,
27) a set of pattern paper with some patterns for knit-leader (also known as knit contour).
All accessories fit nicely in the box.
Couple minor accessories are missing:
- Only two point cams are included. These are used for single-motif fair isle knitting. By the time you are ready to knit single motif, you will be an expert in knitting and will know where to find the second pair (if you need to knit two single-motifs).
- Name paper: it was included with originally new machine so the owners can write their names to mark the machine as belonging to them.
- Ravel cord: any silky or acrylic yarn will work
I tested the machine on single -and double-color slip-stitch, tuck-stitch and fair isle techniques. On
this machine , the ‘fair isle’ is marked as a ”knit-in’ on the carriage. Old terminology? Hm..
I knitted on a full bed to make sure all needles were not bent and without any other defects. I knitted a double-sided reversible cowl on this machine.
A disclaimer: I typically completely disassemble machines only if they show a significant amount of rust or damage. The old screws often don’t make it threw frequent screwing and unscrewing. And these screws are hard to find in regular hard ware store.
Couple of things to keep in mind about Singer/Studio machines in general. It seems that table-clamps for Singer/Studio are slightly different than those form Brother machines. Singer clamps have slightly longer top part. However, not all Singer/Studio machines have clamps with flat tops (some have large screw-top fasteners).
Some Singer/Studio machines have metallic end rails but this one had separate rubber ones. They typically tend to decompose due to time and fall off. So, initially, these rubber end-rails were still present but while I was using the machine they fell off since they already showed a lot of cracking and deterioration. These end rails are also not very critical pieces and the machine will work fine without them. They are important when knitting on all 200 needles. But even in this case, if you slow down the carriage on the last 10-20 needles and don’t let the carriage slide to far, you will be ok. These end rails are needed to prevent drums from mis patterning if the carriage is moved too far from the bed.
Some of the pictures above were taken prior to a complete clean up – so the machine looks dusty on some. But it is much cleaner and happier now because it is a working horse and I hope you will adopt it for your knitting projects.
I did not extensively test the knit leaders because I do all my calculations myself. But all buttons turn freely.
The tuck brushes, according to the manual, need to be installed when knitting tuck-stitch patterns. In the video I created for this machine, I demonstrated that these brushes can stay on the sinker when knitting slip-stitch, stockinet and fair-isle. Also, tuck-stitch can be knitted without these brushes (also shown in my video).
The sinker plate comes with already installed tuck-brushes and honestly, I do not recommend removing them as it is rather pain full to put them back.
Overall, I was very pleased with this machine: it absolutely does not show its age and knits wonderfully! I hope you will be able to enjoy it soon too and knit a lot of wonderful garments! Talking about age: it might have some super minor scratches on the bed but everything else looks great.
And last, but not least, pros and cons:
- 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.
- Easy-to find replacement needles since these models are relatively “newer” ones. I get mine on Aliexpress.
- The tools are pretty standard and are pretty interchangible with other models. Aliexpress also sells them.
- 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 to place the parts together. I found this extremely helpful as putting these machines away is often a big frustrating struggle.
The cons are:
- no timing belt, which might make the carriage movements somewhat hard depending on your tension and knitting pattern and technique. It was not a problem for me at all.
- 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 to be soaked 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
- This model does not come with a lace carriage
- The carriage does not have a release lever – if the carriage gets stuck during knitting, you will have to do remove the sinker plate and then move the carriage.
So, I did everything for this machine so you can simply take it out of the box and start knitting (cleaned, tested, replaced sponge bar and checked all needles). I hope this machine will soon find you 🙂