Sock Machine Dreams

I spent Saturday with my mother-in-law Bonney (who’s now on Twitter, you guys) at the New Hampshire Sheep & Wool Festival. It was so nice to go to a fiber event just for fun!

We saw cotton-candy roving wool…


And the world’s saddest photo contest…


(Actually the photos were really good—it was just the display that broke my heart.)

And we saw a sock knitting machine at work! Of course the most interesting thing was the thing that I forgot to take a picture of, but it looked like this:


It’s made by the Erlbacher Gearhart Knitting Machine Company, which is based in Missouri. Jim from Good Karma Farm showed us how it works, and we were mesmerized. I actually saw more than one of these at the festival, so it must be a popular choice among serious sock makers.

There was a brief moment when I fantasized about using such a machine to crank out hundreds of mochis for my next installation. But that dream died when I reminded myself about all the shaping that I do, and the tiny scale that I prefer, not to mention the price of the machine. But if I ever need to make a boatload of giant snakes, I know just what to get!

If you haven’t seen one before, here’s a demo video of a vintage machine at work.

Are you sock knitters tempted?

9 thoughts on “Sock Machine Dreams

  1. I have one, and it’s fantastic. :) Mine is vintage, but were I getting into it now, I’d buy one of the new Erlbacher Gearheart machines–I tried a friend’s not long ago, and they’re smooth, and much less tempermental than my older Auto Knitter…..

  2. I would absolutely LOVE to get a sock machine. I’ve looked at the vintage ones and they’re out of my price range, but I didn’t know someone was making them again. I’m guessing they’re out of my range, too, but I’ll be investigating! Maybe a combination Christmas/birthday gift. Sometimes it pays to have a birthday in December!

  3. I want one of those sooo much. In the past month I have seen 3 different ones in use locally, 2 antique models and 1 modern replica.

  4. I once saw several sock knitting machines running at once at the Henry Ford museum in Detroit. They look like a great way to crank through socks but I like my hand knit ones at such a tight gauge I don’t think they would compare. However if they made them in child size…

  5. Long ago I used to work on vintage machines at Ruddington Framework Knitters Museum near Nottingham, then had an Auto Knitter which was STOLEN – could certainly do with it now!

  6. I like the regular dpn/circular needle method of making socks, but I’ll admit that is in part because I do a lot of sock knitting on my commute and I cannot imagine trying to use a sock knitting machine on the subway during the morning rush.

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