The hanging knitting machine is a knitting machine that has been active from the Meiji era when knit products came out industrially until the Showa 30's. Since then, the speed of knitting has slowed down and the production efficiency has not improved, so it has been gradually replaced by new machines that follow.
And now there are only a handful of craftsmen who know how to use the machine. All the parts were discontinued in the Showa era, so I can't make a new machine. It seems that the old machine is in a state of being repaired and maintained by taking the necessary parts from an even older machine for parts removal and adjusting it.
Kanekichi Kogyo Co., Ltd. keeps 200 such pre-modern machines and uses them with great care.
Why are you still using such an old and slow machine with great care?
It's old, it's slow, so it's not good...
It's not just nostalgia...
Because there are knitted fabrics that can only be made with a hanging knitting machine!
Mr. Aoki, who continues to pursue the ultimate T-shirt that he likes, finally arrived at a loop-knit cotton sheeting T-shirt!
Please take a look at the unique points of the hanging knitting machine!
Loop knitting machines are attached to the wooden beams of the factory with iron poles. It's just fixed with this iron pole. That is, a loop knitting machine from being "suspended" on a wooden beam. You can't see it in the picture, but the bottom is floating above the ground. This machine is about 80 cm in diameter and compact. It can be replaced by removing the screw of the joint part with the upper beam. About 90 units can be installed in the factory, but about 110 loop knitting machines are waiting for the next turn in the backyard.
This is the yarn feeding part of the hanging knitting machine. There are two cone-shaped threads on the right side of the image. It's just a thread coming out of this. yes! Only two strings! A loop knitting machine can only supply 1 to 4 yarns at a time. That's why even if the round cylinder at the bottom goes around, you can only knit the thickness of 1 to 4 threads. It also depends on the knitted fabric, but it seems that it takes 2 to 3 days to knit one roll. Also, the circular disk-like part on the right side of the knitting machine is called the navel. Knitted fabric is made at this navel.
This is an image of a thread being fed into the navel. The navel plate attached to the navel and the thread on the horizontal needle (beard needle) attached to the rotating body overlap at the navel to create the jersey stitch. I can't tell from the picture... This knitting process puts almost no tension on the thread. Sinker circular knitting machines, which are popular nowadays, have needles that move up and down to pull the thread to create loops and form stitches. It is finished as a knitted fabric.
This is the current state of the art high speed sinker circular knitting machine. Threads descend freely from the top to the bottom knitting part. About 40 to 60 threads are suspended at once, and they are woven at once. A round cylinder like a drum below turns around and knits more and more. Therefore, when the drum completes one turn, the fabric is made as thick as 40 to 60 threads. You can precisely control the tension of this thread and the amount of feeding. Great knitting machine!
Thread is caught on each horizontal needle (mustache needle). This is the thread that is placed on the front circumference with the navel plate. From now on, it will enter the navel again and cross the next thread, and each thread on this needle will become a stitch again. The thread is then pulled no more. Modern knitting machines hook a thread onto the hooked part of the upturning needle, which moves up and down to create the fabric by hooking the next thread again. That is, the knitted fabric is produced in a state where the yarn is strongly pulled. Whether or not to apply force to the threads during the weaving process has a great deal to do with the texture of the fabric afterwards. This structural mechanism is completely different between the hanging knitting machine and the machines of today.
Overall image of the hanging knitting machine. The woven fabric piles up at the bottom. It just falls off under its own weight. There is no image, but modern knitting machines wind up neatly. This is because rolling it makes it easier to handle later. But you have to pull the fabric to wind it up. Yes, the hanging knitting machine does not apply any force to the knitted fabric. It is a bit difficult to fold and pack the hanging knitting machine fabric that has accumulated below. But instead of doing that hard work, the fabric is finished in a relaxed state. In other words, the hanging knitting machine is a machine that slowly and plumply knits without putting extra load on the thread or fabric until the end.
This is an image of the thread on the beard needle again. It's all set up nicely. The mustache needles are evenly spaced and perfectly horizontal, which is the essential condition for this analog and stubborn loop knitting machine to do a good job. So, it seems that the craftsman adjusts it by eye and attaches the needle to the machine! ! Since it is an old machine, there are no programs that can be exchanged. One knitting machine has more than 1000 needles. it's great···.
Loop knitting machines waiting for the event... They seem to have about 200 loop knitting machines in total, including those in operation and in this backyard. It seems that they have gathered so far from knitting shops all over the country, but they say, "It's not enough, I want more." Recently, it seems that some knitters here and there who don't know how to use it have heard rumors about Mr. Kanekichi and bring it all the way here. It is wonderful!