The Dubied V Bed machine is used in industry and is an amazing piece of engineering. Comprising a double needle bed set in an upside down V (hence the name), tucking cams and raising cams and the potential to have several different yarn feeders set at different tensions, it is a versatile and complicated tool. I was able to join the 2nd year undergrad workshops to learn how to it. I felt it would be particularly useful after using the domestic Brother machines as it allows circular knitting which produces tubes and pocket. This would feed into the research I'd been doing about webs and tubular structures found in the body.
The first session was getting to know the machine, how to change the tensions, use the yarn feeders and cast on using a comb - quite a bit different from using the Brother. The all-important press-off start was next. This gives a lovely clean edge to the bottom of the piece and can be done using waste yarn. In this first session we also learned how to change colour and do circular knits.
In the following weeks, we learned many techniques: single bed knitting (on only the back set of needles), mock rib and true rib, travelling rib, ripple and pencil pleats. More complex results were achieved using the selective miss and selective tuck techniques. With these last two techniques the needles in each bed are arranged in a pattern according to whether they have low butts or high butts. Depending on how the cams are arranged, a variety of effects can be achieved: pockets, two-colour pockets, reversible circles, check and stripy rib (selective miss) and chevron, lacey rib and dragon stitch (selective tuck).
With access to the yarn store we also had the opportunity to try out different yarns on the different gauge machines. I thought the 2.5 gauge machine would be the one for me because of the potential for producing open structure samples with fine yarn, but I actually preferred the 5 gauge and the 7 gauge because they ran very smoothly and the knits achieved with finer yarns were still quite open and 'web-like'.
The techniques I think will be most interesting to explore and develop for major project are ripple, pockets, circular knitting and reversible circles for the following reasons:
ripple - can insert wire/electrical cable/ fibre optic cable/electroluminescent wire which can be bent/shaped to give structure and form
pockets - can insert reflective materials and explore the resultant reflections