( 2095/0 )
Silver Reed had an interesting idea when they brought out the SK8xx series. Why buy the electronics more than once (otherwise known as the modular concept)? It’s an interesting idea really. It makes their machines cost less to get into, yet upgradable to provide full functionality of an electronic. Buy one set of electronic pattern control and share among all your Silver Reed machines.
Silver Reed didn’t give us too many options for electronics, but there are some 3rd party options. It’s very confusing so we’ll make a vain attempt to explain it.
Note that if something isn’t made anymore, that doesn’t mean you can’t find it on the “used” market or from dealer stock.
Pattern Entry Method
|Silver Reed EC-1
||A mylar reader for the SK8xx series. Provides very similar functionality to a punch card machine but uses mylar and a #2 pencil instead of punching holes. Mylars can be reused by erasing the pencil marks.
The reader has a fan that can be a bit loud. We watch tv while knitting and our TV drowns out the fan and it’s ok with us.
||no longer made
|Silver Reed PE-1
||PE-1 cannot be used alone! You must own EC-1 or else PE-1 is quite useless. At first, we thought it was useless. However, it is fun to have. If you have different designs on different mylars, rather than flipping through mylars to knit different patterns, you can load them into PE-1’s memory card and flip through them electronically. It’s much faster, really. You also have a much better view of the lace instructions on PE-1 than with the mylar and you can see the row as you knit (unlike the mylar where it’s “hidden” in the machine)
PE-1 allows you to combine patterns and make large fair isle designs – larger than EC-1 would allow (EC-1 only allows 60 st repeats)
We wish PE-1 had the EC-1 buttons on it, but hey…if it had those buttons, why would we need EC-1?
|EC-1 or SilverLink 3/DAK
||No longer made
|Silver Reed PC-10
Effectively a PE-1 device with EC-1 buttons. Instead of using a mylar to read the patterns in, you use buttons on the device to enter the dots.
It’s expensive and some people don’t like the pattern entry method.
With DAK 8 you can use DAK to do the pattern entry for all types of patterns, except lace and save them to a compact flash card to use on the PC-10. For lace, you'll need to either use the Fair Isle method of data entry and do the separations yourself or use the lace tool to enter, print the punch card pattern then reenter that pattern using the Fair Isle method as noted above. The lace tool printout will automate the separations. We're still disappointed that the new version was advertised as having "PC-10 compatibility" but it doesn't support lace! The program calculates the separations...this is the hard part!
Dot by Dot on the device
Or via DAK 8
DAK has more functionality than the Silver Reed pattern controller. DAK allows you to draw your sweater, then “integrate” the stitch pattern onto your sweater. It also has “interactive knitting” which will keep track of your rows and remind you to change colors, do increases/decreases etc. It’s really nifty, really.
DAK 8 - Update
By now, we gave up on SilverLink so we can't test whether it still causes the pattern to shift or not with the Silver Reed. But we can tell you that the software and data entry has improved SIGNIFICANTLY and we now love our DAK. :)
Note: The comments below apply to DAK 7.
The problem? Not only is it very expensive, but the Fair Isle patterns shift occasionally due to not keeping up with which needle the carriage is on. Yes, there have been many attempts to address this, but it still has issues.
The worst one…to knit lace, you have to create a shape with the entire garment and then manually adjust the patterning to allow edge stitches. You can’t just have a lace pattern because you have to have some “edge” stitches to avoid the transfers from transferring to a needle that isn’t in work. Ok…but DAK isn’t respecting the position of the magnets so it selects EVERY needle outside of the magnets. How wonderful… There are tricks to make it work, but they’re more time consuming than we’re willing to do.
Interactive Knitting? Great, if you want to take the time to draw out the patterns (or use the ones built in). Then, if you draw your own, don’t expect to tell it where and how many decreases to do. It will want to calculate it on its own. I want it to respect the decisions of the original designer…I don’t want it to recalculate. If you want DAK to do it for you, great, it’ll do that. But if you want to replicate what the paper pattern wanted…forget it. The voice commands…fab, except when you’re trying to back up and it takes so long and triggers off the voice commands as you go backwards. The traditional solution is to use the beeps. But oops…beep doesn’t work in Windows XP or Windows 7.
DAK is nice, but far from perfect. If it knit lace and fair isle “normally”, we’d live with DAK’s imperfections. But once it messed up stitch patterns, we gave up.
The one thing that DAK does that we do like…you draw the lace using its lace tool and it will “split” the pattern into the mylar template with row instructions. YEAH!
|Via DAK software
||Quite promising! In general, the SilverKnit box is similar to a SilverLink box, but the software basically allows for pattern control only. It doesn’t do the sweater shaping/interactive knitting that DAK allows. You connect your SilverKnit to the computer and watch/control it from your computer. It allows you to use one of many software to enter you pattern and it’ll translate it into “knitting machine language” for your carriage.
Our main complaint is that it’s not compatible with our SilverLink 5 (a SilverLink 4 can be upgraded!), and that it requires your computer operate it. Sometimes, you just want to turn on and knit and not have to boot up a computer, just to knit a few rows. You know?
You can combine DAK with a SilverKnit – which would be nice to avoid buying a SilverLink box if you wanted to do interactive knitting.
|Via one of many software – including notepad!
Frankly, while we loved the DAK Interactive Knitting, it took so long to work through the pattern shapes. It just wasn’t worth it to us! We finally just got a Knit Contour. Even then, we don’t think it’s worth drawing a shape for one sweater!!! It’s worthwhile for a shape that you’ll knit multiple times, but not for a one time sweater. For us, it’s easier just to calculate the row by row instructions and be done with it.
This means that we still need a stitch pattern controller. We really love our EC-1 and love PE-1 even better. If we were starting all over, we’d consider a PC-10, if we could get a software to enter the pattern rather than entering the patterns in dot by dot.
We think that everyone probably has their own idea of the “perfect” setup. But we can tell you that we’re quite happy with our Knit Contour for shaping, EC-1 for patterning and the PE-1 add on for easier pattern control and “memory”.