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The Brother FB100: I Want DAK!

Test Stitchout: Living and Learning Lots, originally uploaded by Diva Mary Beth.

The background: 2 years ago I bought a few old knitting machines at ebay auction and then necessary accoutrements to make them work, thinking that I could tolerate the technology dating from the 1980’s.

After this very first trial run at inputting a custom pattern, I’ve concluded I want DAK! DAK is Design-A-Knit, a computer program that hooks up to electronic machines via cable. It allows you to design the pattern on the computer, check your work and download the needle selection right to the console whilst saving the information on your computer, among other marvels of modern technology such as designing the knitted garment right in the program itself.

I also think that I misunderstood the Brother KM instructions for wrapping against holes in the fair isle fabric. There shouldn’t be these holes where the colors change. I can fix that but why bother with a very first test stitchout?

And I think that an intarsia technique might be the best way to create argyle in a single bed fabric. The floats are huge on the back. I could fix them using a number of different techniques but perhaps there are better methods to use to begin with rather than the time comsuming latching or tying. Intarsia is using two different colors separately to create the same pattern rather than running the second color along the back of the fabric.

Oh, I think lots of other thoughts, like how finicky can this $300 FB100 be? and should I go buy more yarns? and shouldn’t the pattern be fundamentally changed so that there are 3 colors and …should I sit down to that Passap machine and turn out a finely knit jacquard?

But this is Christmas Eve and I’ll just plug along at intarsia…there’s lots to learn there…and I’ll also try hard to avoid buying more yarns.

On this, my very first inputted custom design (well, I *did* change some things…)

I used junk yarns, not in colors I would intentionally purchase. These are old, fine, Jaeger acrylic yarns left over from a children’s knitwear production knitter who sold her machine on ebay. I do have to look to the stash for test stitchouts.

It would be best to have 3 colors in the pattern: I’d like the crossed lines to be a different color but I got lazy. Georgene has posted her tiny rickrack Argyle for further demo of argyle possibilities.   After the hours that inputting took and the trials with the old FB100 I just want to knit.

I have many knitting machine patterns and references on the book shelf but none of them actually have any information on knitting argyle patterns. I have to deduce how to do it. Why is this? Can I be the only person lusting after argyle on the face of machine knitting these days?

I need to continue to practice practice practice. I know that blog readers want to see fabulous finished results and that my posting my learn-a-longs is rather dangerous to my status as a worthwhile blog-to-read, but in these days when there are very few machine knitting stores left open, I continue to post my misadventures with the hopes that someone, somewhere, will benefit from my

Living and Learning on the Knitting Machines

Fortunately for me I am not under production pressures nor is my closet totally empty…I still have time to make mistakes.

This swatch has been washed, steamed and dried overnight. It was a very long and time consuming journey to input the pattern on the machine’s console, check it, add memos,and transfer the pattern to a disk on the Brother FB100 for storage on a 2DD diskette. When I stitched out I couldn’t tell if I was stitching from the downloaded program or from what had been originally srored in the machine’s computer. Either I didn’t input the memos about color changes correctly or it didn’t save to the diskette.

I learned: I want to spend $600+ for the DAK program. The FB100 was very touchy, returning error messages many more times than working properly. I think that my old box wants to have batteries as well as the adaptor cord plugged in all at the same time.

The FB100 can store inputed programs but it is difficult to navigate. I want to see what programs are stored on a disk and choose which one to download. I also want to see the effects of changes before I knit them out.

About Mary Beth

I am fascinated by changing patterns and colored threads. I sew garments and am teaching myself to machine knit. Since selling the building that housed my workrooms, The Stitchery, I'm searching for a place to set up the knitting machines again. There must be room here somewhere!

6 responses »

  1. Hi, Gail here – don’t get discouraged! The sole and only reason I have DAK is to download designs to my km, but check out Working with Design-a-Knit on Yahoo to make sure your current computer output ports will work with the cables ($100+?) necessary to download from DAK to your km. Nobody talks about this issue, but it’s a *big* one. When it works, it’s the bomb …really expensive when it doesn’t. And I always want to wrap the wrong side on fair isle…

  2. Merry Christmas to you and yours! Oh, I do love the argyle, so good luck with it. Love, Julia

  3. Helen Stinson

    Does anyone know where I can get a Brother FB100 disk drive? My current one keeps telling me that I am using the wrong disks which I have used in the past with no problem. Can anyone help?


  4. Hi Helen, Sorry, not part of your group but have been cleaning up and found my old Brother FB100. Did a google search and found your request. Do you stilll need one. Am in Australia. email me at if interested

  5. ik zoek ook een FB100


    • Marceline:
      Your message in English says: “I seek a FB100”

      I don’t encourage people to use my blog as a message board for buying or selling. I have, in fact, been deleting these types of comments.

      I’ll leave yours up with my reply and maybe you all will find a machine knitting board where you can buy and sell.

      Maybe someday soon I’ll get back to the knitting machines, I hope.


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