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The Difference Between Reduced Ratio and 1:1 Crank Handles

The Difference Between Reduced Ratio and 1:1 Crank Handles 1

Do you like the Reduced Ratio or the 1:1 Crank Handle? This is more complicated than it sounds. So let’s talk about it for a bit.

Sue holding Reduced Ratio and Jamie holding 1:1
Sue holds a Reduced Ratio and Jamie holds 1:1

A 1:1 Crank Handle is where you crank one row, and you have one row of knitting. The position of the crank handle is a passionate subject for some people. Some want the crank handle to be at 6:00 when the yarn carrier is at 6:00. Some want the crank handle to be at 12:00 when the yarn carrier is at needle number one, so that every time your arm goes down you are starting a row. There are other positions that some crankers feel like is the proper position for the handle vs. the yarn carrier. This can cause a heated debate. The bottom line is this: IT DOESN’T MATTER as long as it makes sense to you.

A reduced ratio crank handle is where you have to crank about one and a half times around the cylinder to get one row of knitting. Bottom line, you crank your arm around more times but the work is easier. To describe this, think of a bicycle with gears. If you are on flat ground, the big sprockets should be employed and you’re cruising along just fine. Then you start up a hill and it gets harder to pedal. So you switch gears, the little sprocket and the big sprocket, and suddenly, the pedaling becomes easier. Now, how does that compare to a sock machine? The best way I know how to describe it is this: Last Christmas, my mouth said to each of the men who work at the shop that makes the Tru-Knit, “What do you want for Christmas, socks or a hat?” Mind you, this was the week before Christmas and my mouth was talking BIG….they all chose a hat (OK, the big boss of everybody already had a hat so he asked for fingerless gloves for cow feeding). So I came home, sat down at a machine, and set it up for half-pitch. This machine was a demo machine, so it has a 1:1 ratio crank handle, 72 cylinder. I did my samples and tested the size and settled on the tension. About 2 hats in, I said “Jeff, you’re going to have to crank this machine, my arm won’t take any more” as I was now cranking 144 needles. The work was so hard. So he cranked a couple of hats and said, “Why don’t we put a reduced ratio handle on and see how it cranks.” (sometimes the man is a genius…) We did and I was back to cranking. The work became much easier. Jeff couldn’t believe the difference. He was a 1:1 guy until this point.

There’s nothing like the facebook post “should I order the 1:1 crank handle or the reduced ratio” to get the debated started. [the only one better is “which is the best machine?”. I just feel sorry for the posters. They think they are asking an innocent question and the debates ensue. The answers contradict each other so bad that I know the poster is terribly confused.

First off, it’s a personal preference and don’t let anyone tell you different. I started out with a reduced ratio crank handle way back in 2010. I trained my eyeballs to count when the yarn carrier passed the mast. Way back then, I didn’t know SQUAT about yarn, socks, knitting tension, etc… So I did what I had to do to get a sock. About 300 machines into the testing process, I got to start testing machines with a 1:1 ratio handle. it was fine when it was just cylinder needles. and fine when it was an equal number of cylinder needles as ribber needles (1×1 rib, 3×1 rib, 5×1 rib, etc.). The hard work starts when you decide to knit yarn that is too thick for the cylinder being used (about 30 minutes after you receive the machine) or when you do half pitch.

If you see yourself with shoulder problems, get a reduced ratio. If you see yourself counting manually, get a 1:1 (I dare you to make one single sock that you do not somehow get interrupted). Or if you like the idea of one row of cranking + one row of knitting, then get a 1:1. Ain’t nobody gonna judge.

Bottom line is are you buying the machine to knit socks and other knitted garments or are you buying a sock machine to make hats? Let me remind you that sock yarn hats are not very warm. In order to qualify as a real hat, it has to be doubled…again, my blog, my opinion. A hat or two is fine, but if you want to make charity hats for the homeless, buy the Addi or Sentro (they cost less to feed). Flatbed hats that have to be seamed are great once you get the hang of seaming.

As I close, I remind you that this is my opinion. I feel like I am entitled to have one because I have knitted extensively on both crank handles. I’ve noticed that a lot of people have strong opinions yet they have never TRIED the other handle.

You are welcome to state your case in the comments. Civilly and without criticizing. Rude remarks ignored.