Saturday, November 1, 2008

Buying a CSM

Finding the right machine for you really depends upon what your expectations are. The learning curve is somewhat high with regards to making socks on your machine. I have heard of some people being able to knit a sock right out of the box, but that is rare.

So, do you want to be able to get knitting quickly and don't want to deal with tinkering with your machine to make it work? Is tinkering something you enjoy? You should ask yourself those questions prior to buying a machine.

There are a couple of ways to buy a CSM.
  1. Buy a brand new one
    1.  NZAK from Jacquie Grant in New Zealand.
    2. Erlbacher Gearhearts
  2. Buy one from a restorer.
  3. Buy one from someone who is getting rid of theirs
  4. Buy one from eBay.
Buying from Jacquie Grant will get you up and running as quickly as possible. Her machines are newly manufactured and are made with aluminum - which make the machines relatively lighter than their antique counterparts. The cost of the machines really depends on the strength of the US dollar to the NZ dollar. Generally, I've seen them sold anywhere between $1,300 to $2,100 loaded (stand, two cylinders, two dials, etc. . .)

Peewee's Erlbacher Gearhearts will also get you up and running quickly. He has duplicated Gearhearts which is a 1.5:1 turn ratio. He recently manufactures a 1:1 turn ratio. His base prices run from $1,265 for a basic package and $1,765 for a delux (more cylinders and ribbers with helpful doo dads)

You can also buy one from a reputable restorer. This is also a quick way to get up and running and you have the peace of mind that there's nothing wrong with your machine, it's just you! :) I'll post a separate post for known restorers so I can keep the list recent. The only problem with buying from a restorer is that they're product is limited to the machines they can find. Sometimes they'll be flush with machines, other times they'll be in the process of restoring one. The cost for a restored machine runs approximately from $1,200 to $1,800.

Current CSM owners may also be selling their machines for various reasons. They have too many, they aren't using it anymore, etc. Whatever the reason, this can be a really good deal. You know they work. The only problem is trying to find someone who is selling one. The yahoo group sockmachineswapshop is probably going to be your best resource for this type of machine. Ravelry also has a csm sales and swaps forum.

Finally, eBay. Country Rain has the best rundown of what to look for when buying a machine from an eBay auction. For non-tinkerers, make sure you see knitting on the machine and various examples of what has been knitted on the machine. For the tinkerers out there, you can probably find one and fix it as you go. I did this and it took me a long time before I actually knitted anything on my machine. I also got very frustrated with it, too. You just don't know the shape of the machine you are going to get when you buy from eBay, but there are some good restorers who sell there, too.

Hopefully this sums up this question. If you see any errors or have more info to impart, please feel free to contact me!


  1. bonjour
    i'm leaving in france and i would like buying a sock machine
    can you answers please for more informations
    thank your
    mme pariat

  2. There is also the new Erlbacher Gearhart machines, manufactured by Erlbacher Gear and Machine Works in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Their store is