Singer MemoMatic 210 knitting machine

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The Singer MemoMatic 210 knitting machine is a metal flatbed machine with 200 needles, set 4.5 mm. It is a standard-gauge knitting machine manufactured by the Japanese company Singer. It appeared on the market in 1987. My research indicates that Singer MemoMatic 210 knitting machine might have been released to the market AFTER its very similar counterpart, the Singer MemoMatic360K.

To decipher the name MEMO-matic, lets look at the word “AUTO-matic”. I believe the prefix MEMO comes from MEMORY. The drums store memory of the needle position to knit various patterns.

It features a punch-card reader, which allows the machine automatic pattern knitting. The pattern is transferred to the needles through the patterning drums on the carriage, which get the positions from the patterning pegs on the punch-card reader.

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The handle is permanently mounted on the carriage (unlike earlier models, in which the handle screws on) and folds for easy storage. The machine is in a pretty cream color with bright orange accents.

The tuck, slip, stockinet, punch-lace, and knit-in (aka fair isle) settings are incorporated into the carriage dial (unlike the Brother knitting machines where these settings are managed by buttons on the carriage).

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The machine I worked on had a pretty cream/bright orange color combo and minimum yellowing from UV damage. Typically, plastics from the later 20th century often did not have UV-protection additives in them and thus became discolored when exposed to sunlight due to UV damage.

Most Singer knitting machines with patterning capabilities experience specific (to them) problems with carriage. Some of them (together with their solutions) are outlined in my other article.

The machine DOES NOT come with a lid but instead with a Styrofoam layer to store all major and minor assesories. The row counter is detachable. A replacement can be purchased in my store.

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This model seems to be a less expensive alternative to Singer knitting machines (maybe this is why the solid lid is not included – just a card box and a Styrofoam layer for protection and storage) with punch card-based patterning capability. Thus, several assesories are not included in the standard setup, including all assesories for single-motif knitting (like yarn separators, point, and magic cams).  The bed is also simplified and thus the tool holder and the knit leader are excluded as well. I think the reason the knit-leader was omitted for this model is to make the knitting machine not as overwhelming. Some knitters don’t even use knit leaders because they either do their calculations themselves or because they knit only straight items (blankets, scarves, hats, etc).

Table clamps are simple but, unlike Brother knitting machines, they have a distinct protruding top bracket. Brother knitting machines have both bottom and top brackets on the same level.

I personally did not test this machine with any other assesories. Another Internet source states that this machine is compatible with the following add-on assesories:

– SRP60N and SRJ70 (rare) ribbers

– KR6, KR7, KR10 and KR11 knit radars

– LC2 lace carriage

–  AG20 intarsia carriage

– YC2, YC3, YC6 color changer

– AW1 weaving arm (sinker plate)

– RT1 transfer carriage

– SC3 linking carriage

The retaining bar is metal and contains a long spongy strip. The whole assembly is often called a sponge bar. This sponge needs to be replaced every 6-12 months depending on usage frequency and how often and heavily you oil the machine. Without the retaining bar or with an old (and very flat) sponge the needles will be too wobbly and will lose stitches as well as damage your needles and even a carriage.

Like the majority of the Signer and Studio knitting machines with patterning drums, the Singer 210 MemoMatic is equipped with rubber side racks. They prevent the machine from mispatterning if the carriage is moved a bit past the main bed. The side racks help to maintain the drums in their patterning state. The original side racks are made from rubber, which with time crumbles, and the parts detach from the main bed and decompose.  Honestly, these side racks are only needed for full-bed knitting, where the carriage indeed can go off-track.

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But even when knitting on a full bed, the carriage can be slowed down a the end of the bed and a knitted panel to ensure that the patterning drums do not go past the main bed and the pattern will be preserved even without these side racks. So, in a way, these side racks expand the main bed. However, the side racks can be replaced. They are available in my store as well.

I refurbished two Singer 210 MemoMatic knitting machines (check my channel and blog) and I feel that I know this model really well.

I personally really like Singer punch-card knitting machines with patterning drums because the patterning mechanism seems more straightforward compared to Brother punch-card knitting machines. I worked on several of these machines (read in my blog and watch on my YouTube channel) and have first-hand knowledge and experience. So, below are the pros and cons of Singer MemoMatic 210.

Pros:

  • The patterning drums make it very easy to move the machine. They engage with the punch card mechanism very nicely without much noise.
  • The manual is very well-written and I was able to follow the instructions with ease and to learn all the techniques.
  • Easy-to-find replacement needles (on a new and on a used market) since these models are relatively “newer” ones.
  • The tools are pretty standard and are pretty interchangeable with other models.
  • Light-weight overall because a heavy metal lid is not included with the setup
  • Can be accessorized with numerous attachments
  • The row counter is positioned in the middle of the bed (right by the punch-card reading mechanism). Why is this a pro? Because on some other models, the row counter is at the end of the bed and sometimes knitters making a narrow swatch can forget to glide the carriage all the way to the end of the bed to ensure the accurate row count.
  • Simpler dashboard since no knit-leader (with its additional knobs and slots) is not included

Cons:

– Plastic components of the machine, including plastic parts on the carriage, end caps, and others are prone to discoloration due to exposure to sunlight even through the window. Thus, please cover your machine with a thick curtain or a towel to prevent further sun damage.

– The absence of a timing belt (like on Brother punch-card machines) makes it a bit harder to push the machine especially if knitting and patterning on the full bed. Although patterning drums somewhat relieve this hardness.

– The patterning drums get stuck in not in use for prolonged periods of time. To avoid this problem, clean the drums regularly and oil them lightly.

– Yarn and fiber might roll around the patterning drums and their axes. To avoid this, inspect the drums frequently.

– Lace carriage is NOT included with a standard setup.

– No hard-cover lid: if the original packing material is lost (cardboard box and a Styrofoam insert), efficiently repacking the machine for storage might be problematic.

– No Single-motif cams and assesories are included with the setup for Singer MemoMatic 210

– The repeat pattern is limited to 24 stitches. If you want more flexibility, you will need an electronic kitting machine, like Studio/Singer models 500, 511, 550, 560, 580 and Silver Reed knitting machine model SK840.

– The sponge bar needs to be replaced regularly.

– Needs to be stored properly otherwise the machine will rust.

– The standard set of punch cards is somewhat limited. Knitters who want other designs will need to punch their own (a quite tedious process if done by hand and a step-learning way if done by Cricut or similar automatic cutters).

– End-racks are rubbery and deteriorate and crumble with time. Need to be replaced once in a while.

Despite all these cons, Singer 210 MemoMatic knitting machines are great machines for both advanced and beginner knitters. They are easy to use and I had a lot of fun testing them. Singer MemoMatic 210 knitting machines are often available for purchase in Etsy store.

Singer produced similar models of knitting machines with punch-card-reading capabilities without (Singer MemoMatic 321) and with built-in knit-leader: 260K, 3XX series (e.g., 326, 327, 328, MamoMatic 360K, MemoMatic 700 mod.), to name a few. Among these, to the best of my knowledge, the Singer MemoMatic 210 is the only machine that comes without a hard lid.

Punch-card knitting machines from Brother with built-in knit leaders are KH871, KH881 and KH891. Brother knitting machines without knit leader are KH800, KH810, KH820, KH830KH836, KH838, KH840, KH860, KH864, KH868, KH880, KH 890, KH892 and KH894.

 

Don’t forget to check out the fun and beginner-friendly projects that can be done easily on any machine.