Replacing the Sponge Strip on a Brother KX 350
1. Study the underside of the needle bed. Notice that the needles are on top of the sponge strip from this vantage point. Peek under the braces and you will see the needles are situated exactly the same way. There is no need to unscrew the braces, though.
2. Remove the yarn mast and row counter. Push all the needles forward, and with a flat edge, close all the latches. Remove each needle by pulling up on the butt and sliding it backwards and out. If it gets stuck, it’s probably because the latch opened up. Push the needle out and close the latch again and it should come out more easily. Lay the needles out in the order they were in the machine so that when you put them back, you can rotate the outer needles to the inner part of the bed. Clean the needles with some alcohol or a soapy solution if you think they need it. Dry them well. I did a few of my needles and nothing came off them, so I skipped it.
3. Grab one end of the old sponge strip and gently pull it out.
4. Vacuum out the channels if there is any fluff evident.
5. Put some Scotch tape around the end of the new sponge strip to help guide it through the channel. Starting on the right side, coax the new sponge strip under the first bar and push it through little by little. Use a 1 or 2 prong tool and push it little by little while pulling with your left hand. After a while, I found it necessary to pull up on the right side now and then before pushing the end further.
It’s kind of a painstaking process. You need to go under each “bridge” that holds the strip in place. Going behind the metal braces is a little tricky, but do-able. When you have the sponge strip inserted the entire length, make sure the sponge strip extends a little beyond the last needle slot on the bed. The strip should be about 4 inches longer than the bed to allow for this.
6. Now return all the needles to the bed.
You’ll probably develop your own technique, but here’s how I did it. I put the needle bed on my lap vertically with the back side facing me. I leaned the bed against the table. Grasp a needle the way it will sit on the bed. Push the needle hook through the slot on the right side at a 45 degree angle. Then once it’s through and is on top of the sponge, pull back a little and insert the needle through the second hole on the back. Sometimes it helps to push down on the sponge with your left hand. The needle will softly click as it slides into place. You really can’t put it in upside down. It doesn’t fit. You have to look back and forth from front to back to get the needle into the next available slot. It’s a little tricky to get the needles inserted behind the metal braces. Maybe save those for last when you have your technique down pat.
The needles will be snug in their channels. Your knitting will go a lot more smoothly now.