she pushed the wool in its shuttle across the ratchets

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Senior Member
They spent most of the day in the house. Mary worked at the knitting machine that was set up in the corner of the living room. All morning they heard the swish and click as she pushed the wool in its shuttle across the ratchets.
Source: Blue Lightning by Ann Cleeves

Is this the knitting machine that is Mary using? the shuttle being the tabular bobbin and the metal ratchet on the side for forward motion?


Thank you.
  • JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    I doubt that the author intends to convey to the reader the exact model being used, only the sound it made. Aside from that, I have no idea :D Google wil probably be your best friend.


    Senior Member
    English - England
    Hi Jacdac.

    The picture you've posted is of a loom, which is for weaving.

    A knitting machine is more modern and enables knitters to create something very quickly. I think an experienced user can make a basic jumper/sweater in a day. They can make complicated patterns on them. This is a knitting machine:

    They have a very distinctive "swish" and "clicking" sound. The swish is made by the big shuttle being moved being moved from one side to the other and then back again. The clicking sound is made by all the teeth which hold the wool as the shuttle passes over them knitting a line as it does so. My friend's mum used to use one all the time - which was quite a challenge because they also had multiple Burmese cats in the house which were very adept at opening the doors by jumping up and pulling on the door handles so that they could get into her craft room and play havoc with the wool. In the end, they put that door handle on upside down (so that you hand to lift it to open the door), but it didn't work - the ninja cats were unstoppable. :D

    Mary's not making Shetland jumpers, is she? :)

    Traditional knitting is much slower and involves using two needles to knit a jumper etc, and I think they use three needles to make round sections such as sleeves or socks.

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