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The PASSAP E-8000 - a Review
NOTE: This is a lengthy article. But if you are sincerely interested in the E-8000, it is more than worth the read. It has been written by a professional, after an in-depth, hands-on evaluation of the machine and its capabilities. Goes well beyond the manual. Dive in!
Transcript of an article
published in Machine Knitting Monthly on the occasion of the launch
of the PASSAP E-8000 KNITTING MACHINE
(COPYRIGHT ) : by Machine Knitting Monthly, England
This month, as promised, we take the wraps off the new PASSAP E8000. It's a superb, new knitting machine for the more discerning and professional end of the home market.
"How about a week in Switzerland", asked Sue, my business partner, as she put the 'phone down. "What do I have to do to get that honour?" I replied. "Get your hands dirty, was the answer!"
Well, as I spend most of my time up to my elbows in oil and dirt, repairing knitting machines, I was interested. So we went to Switzerland, to MADAG - the home of the famous PASSAP knitting machines. Were we excited? Just a little, as we were going to be trained to assemble and knit on the new PASSAP E8000 knitting machine.
Why were we excited? This is a new knitting machine, not an old model with a few shiny extra bits - as we have seen with other makes. It's a new PASSAP machine using all the proven technology and lots of innovation. PASSAP has identified a niche in the market and has designed the machine to meet that market.
A SUPERB FABRIC-MAKING MACHINE
One of the facets of the knitting machine, so often ignored, is that it is a superb fabric-making machine. So many people just knit jumpers and skirts and then go and buy fabric. Not any more with this baby! Did I say baby. It's seven foot long - just over two meters for the more sophisticated!
BIG IS BEAUTIFUL
It's a brute but "brutiful" when you realise its full potential. Sorry about that, it was meant to be "punny". Ever had the problem of running out of knitting machine when knitting garments for large people? Not with this one - unless you know some one with a chest size over eight foot!
If you do, then think again - but how about knitting a back and front of a size 43 inch garment side-by-side, as you have 47 inches of needles (120 cm) to play with. Have you ever hankered after those fine-knitted garments in industrial yarn that you see sold in high class shops? Then read on, it gets better!
It is an 8 gauge machine, with 3,125 mm between needles and there are 383 on each bed. You'll be pleased to know that it's happy using three ply yarn.
For the PASSAP people it has strippers. For non-PASSAP readers, not only did my mind boggle when I heard ladies huddled in groups talking about black strippers, but also really flipped when they went on to blue strippers! With the E8000, you only get one pair - which are mauve - and you only need them for a couple of minutes.
CONCENTRATE - HERE COMES THE BORING BIT!
To help you out, here's a bit of technical information.
Most knitting machines use some method of keeping the stitches on the needles when the carriage - or locks for PASSAP users - is knitting the stitch. Japanese machines use the fabric press and the Singer uses weights and the front bed. The PASSAP uses strippers that fit either side of the locks.
Several different types of strippers are used, depending on the technique and they are colour coded. These hold the stitches in place and allow the PASSAP to knit without weights.
There's only one pair of strippers supplied with the E8000, because you will only use the strippers to knit enough waste fabric to reach the take-down rollers.
Ah yes, part of the new innovation are the take-down rollers. You put the waste fabric into the rollers and then, every time you knit a row, the rollers pull down the fabric. This is adjustable, according to the tension you are using, so you will get a perfect tension every time.
It was a bit misleading to say "when you knit a row", because the machine has its own built-in motor drive, with programmable stops and handy yarn breaks. There will be no more knitters giving up the craft through shoulder problems, or back problems - as you do not have to sit at the machine or do all the work. As you would expect from PASSAP, it's a truly professional machine.
LET'S GET STARTED
So, now you are ready to start! First of all, you knit some transition rows which are alreaqdy programmed in for you. These are rows of loose knitting which are easy to pull out, to separate each piece of knitting. You knit your rib, then your fabric. You knit some more transition rows and then off you go again with the rib for the next piece of knitting - and so on. How about that?! So, you can knit your complete garment in one long length with transitional rows between each piece.
When the fabric you want is below the take-down rollers, you just cut along the transition rows and then pull out the waste yarn of the transition rows from the bottom of the rib (just like a cast on cord) and, hey presto, you have professional ribs just like the industrial ones!
PATTERNING ON BOTH BEDS
I almost forgot to mention the best bit; I was saving it until the end. Just imagine knitting truly reversible fabric in Fair Isle. Not only can yo knit the same pattern on both sides with the colours reversed, but you can also use two separate patterns. Wouldn't that be just perfect for curtains?
The E8000 will do all the usual jacquards that the PASSAP is famous for, together with slip and tuck. Textured fabrics can be created by using small, geometric patterns on the back bed and a different pattern on the front bed to "crunch" the fabric up to give unusual finishes. Pin tuck and release stitch lace - and lots more stitches - can also be knitted.
For some reason, the industrial standard for tuck is four tucks on one needle and PASSAP has designed this professional machine to those standards. Also built into the E8000 is a 4-colour changer - so there's everything you would wish for in this superb machine.
THE PATTERNING DEVICE
Now we move on to the patterning device or console - it's the box of electronic bits with the buttons! You have over 400 built-in patterns and lots of knitting techniques. Other patterns can be purchased on discettes - or you can download patterns from the PASSAP website. More about that later!
The console has 10 sectors (areas) and it each sector, you can programme in a pattern number and technique. You can, if you wish, pre-programme in all 10 sectors (or as many as you want) before you start. You can then knit one garment, tell the machine to use another sector and carry on knitting. You can use the sectors in any order. The sectors programmed are retained in memory so that when you switch off, you will find them again when you switch the machine back on again.
For those who are computer minded, the E8000 comes with Creation 8 software and will be very familiar to Creation 6 users - with a few differences. The main ones are that you can import PCX files and the drawing screen is larger, to accomodate the 383 needles.
For non-computer users, the software will run on any IBM compatible computer from a 286 up. So, you do not need an expensive "whiz-bang, state-of-the-art" computer that your husband would give the world for - you can let him have his new computer for buying you one of these machines and commandeer his old one. Well I did try for you, fellows!
With the computer software, you can design you own patterns and then download them to the console. The console is removable so - if he is too mean to buy you a computer - you can take the console to the computer, copy the pattern across and then put it back on to the knitting machine. It's also a great feature if the computer is in another room, or even in another house!
So, what did we think of Switzerland? Don't get jealous, we spent most of the day training and in the evenings we were learning the software on a lap top computer.
What did we think of PASSAP? We were not disappointed; the factory is modern and the quality control is superb. However, what struck us most was the devotion and pride that everyone had in the knitting machines they manufacture.
So, there you have it - the E8000 is a knitting machine for the more discerning and professional end of the home market and a superb machine for a cottage industry, college or design house. By the way, it goes without saying that as this is a quality knitting machine, the PASSAP E8000 will be delivered personally to your premises and set up on site, with training included.
Terry Cotton of Woolleys, England