If you love to knit, you have probably at one stage or another considered purchasing a home knitting machine.
Owning a knitting machine is awesome as it allows you to churn out garments in no time at all and thus saves you loads of time. If you are knitting for profit, then owning a knitting machine makes a lot of sense as you can make items a lot quicker than you would do if you were knitting by hand.
If you knit for your family, then a knitting machine is the way to go, as there are just so many knitting machine patterns and designs that you can experiment with on a machine that you will never get bored.
On the other hand, there are knitters who prefer to knit by hand as they enjoy the calming and soothing effects that it has on them, and the feel of the wool sliding through their fingers. In fact of know quite a few knitters who far prefer knitting by hand than by machine. Knitting with a machine is very mechanical and knitting by hand is very soothing.
When I was growing up my Mom used to own an Empisal Home Knitting Machine. This is very similar to the Silver Reed Knitting machines of today. I inherited the machine from her but could never master it as she had.
Then I purchased an incredible sweater machine and churned out baby wear on a daily basis which sold like hot cakes. I highly recommend starting on a low-end machine before investing in the more expensive models. In this way, you can get a feel for machine knitting first before making a huge investment.
My full-time job then got too busy and I ended up selling the home knitting machine as I was hardly using it anymore. I am now in the process of ordering an Addi Express Knitting Machine, but I do enjoy hand knitting, as I can do it while waiting for my child to finish dance class and in front of the TV while watching the news.
What Type Of Knitting Machine Is Best For Me?
There are many different types of knitting machines on the market today, and here I would like to tell you about a few of them.
If you are trying to decide what one of these knitting machines will be better for you, you need to ask yourself the following questions:
- Why do I need a knitting machine – leisure or to knit for profit?
- What types of things do I want to knit?
- Do you want an easy to operate machine, or one that has a learning curve and takes more time to master?
- Does the machine of your choice have readily available spare parts?
- Have you tried out the machine of your choice?
- If you can’t get to try out the machine of your choice, make sure you get to read some reviews online before you purchase it.
- What types of wool do you like to knit with?
- If your machine requires the use of a computer, do you own one?
- How much space do you have to allocate for your machine? There is nothing worse than having to pack it out each time you want to use it. You will need a space of about 4 feet wide by 2 feet deep.
- It is also a good idea to purchase a knitting machine table for your knitter to stand on.
- Before you buy a knitting machine, it is important that you know the basic knitting stitches and how to knit them by hand first.
Here are some of the most popular home knitting machines on the market at the moment. The first three knitting machines listed are great for beginners.
Addi Knitting Machine
The Addi range of Knitting Machines has grown steadily in popularity since their introduction. Then came the Addi Express, which is a handy little version of its larger counterpart.
These machines are easy to use and work well with circular knitted items. They don’t take up much space and are thus easy to store. The Addi Knitting Machines work just like Knitting with a Loom, but on a faster scale.
Dropped stitches are a breeze to fix, and you can whip up a beautiful beanie or scarf in about half an hour.
You can read more about the Addi Knitting Machine Range here.
There are two models on the market at the moment – The Addi Express King Size Knitting Machine and the Addi Express Knitting Machine. Both are great buys and the large one is great for making larger items and blankets, while the small one is better for smaller items like hats.
There are many tutorials and online video’s available for this handy little knitting machine, as well as some really creative knitting machine patterns.
Bond Knitting Machine
Bond is responsible for creating the very popular Incredible Sweater Machine. This is the machine I used to own. It is super simple to operate, and you can churn out children’s clothes in a couple of hours.
A full sized sweater or afghan can be made in about 4 to 5 hours.
- This knitting machine knits from 600 to 1 200 stitches per minute – this is equal to 6 to 12 rows per minute with 100 stitches per row.
- This machine can knit many fancy stitches, including intarsia, fair isle, lace, ribbing, tuck stitch and many more.
- It has 100 needles which can do a 52″ circumference sweater. If you want more stitches, simply purchase an extension kit.
- It comes with 4 keyplate sizes so than you can match knitting needle sizes from 6 to 10.
- The Bond Knitting Machine works best with chunky yarn.
- Although it’s best to have some knitting knowledge, a beginner knitter would be able to operate this machine.
- The Bond Incredible Sweater Machine comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
Here are some interesting opinions that you can read on the Bond Knitting Machine.
You can find out more about the Incredible Sweater Machine Right Here.
Singer Knitting Machine
The Singer Knitting Machine is aimed more at children from the age of 8 years old and up. It is a fun way to get children interested in the art of knitting, and the process is made easy for them. It is like a mini version of the Addi Knitting Machine.
It has 22 needles and is perfect for knitting beginner projects like hats, leg warmers, and scarves.
You can read more about the Singer Knitting Machine by clicking here.
Brother Knitting Machine
The Brother Knitting Machine has a more upmarket range of knitting machines, and they make many different professional machines for the advanced knitter, as well as industrial machines.
A lot of the Brother Knitting Machine Models will require a computer for design work. If find them tricky to come by, and have only recently discovered that they have stopped making new machines.
You can find out more about Brother Knitting Machines here.
The Silver Reed Knitting Machine
The Silver Reed Knitting Machine is a great option if you can’t afford the Brother Knitting Machine. You will find all the great features that any other professional home knitting machine has to offer.
This machine has a 24 stitch punch card pattern center that you can create beautiful tuck, weaving, slip and fair isle stitch patterns.
It has 200 needles on a stainless steel bed and is a single bed knitting machine.
Singer and Empisal Machines are also made by this manufacturer.
You can read up more about the Silver Reed Knitting Machine here.
Where To Buy Knitting Machines
Nowadays there are fewer stores that sell knitting machines than online places that you can order one on.
If you Google knitting machine, you will get hundreds of results from places that you can buy them, but make sure to do your homework first.
How To Use Your Knitting Machine
Luckily nowadays there are a lot of home knitting machine tutorials and knitting machine videos that we can follow online. I have no idea how we managed without the internet in the past. Thank goodness for You Tube, as you can find out just about how to do anything there.
How To Use Your Knitting Machine Instructions are also just a finger click away. Even if you have an older model, you will find instructions to download on Google.
Here are some great Knitting Machine tips that I hope will help you on your knitting journey at some point.
Tip No. 1
Although it’s a boring job, always knit a tension square or swatch in the exact wool that you plan to knit your garment in. Knit at least 10cm x 10 cm in the exact pattern that you will be knitting your finished garment in.
It may seem like a waste of time, but at least you will be sure to knit the correct size.
Don’t rush to measure your swatch as soon as you’ve knitted it. Wait at least 2 hours to let the yarn ‘rest’ or, better still, wash your swatch in the same way you would wash your garment. Block it out carefully whilst damp, taking care not to stretch it, then measure it when dry.
Tip No. 2
Why not jazz up your plain knitting with some embroidery stitches. This can turn a plain sweater into a unique masterpiece. You can grab some embroidery ideas and how to do different embroidery stitches here.
Use a tapestry needle here with a contrasting colored yarn for more effect.
Tip No. 3
Make sure to oil your knitting machine regularly. This ensures that the carriage moves smoothly along the bed of the machine.
Tip No. 4
Take the time to de-fuzz your machine. Use a small brush to brush out all the fluffy wool bits from all the crevices. Taking a vacuum cleaner and sucking out the fuzz also works well.
Tip No. 5
Yarn on a cone is better for machine knitting, as it has been waxed and feeds easily off the cone. If you buy yarn in balls, make sure to pre-wind it for a smoother knitting experience. Coned yarn is also a lot more economical than balls of yarn. You also won’t need to change the yarn quite so often if it is on a cone.
Tip No. 6
If you are a beginner or still getting used to your knitting machine, avoid cotton yarn, fuzzy yarn, bumpy yarn, and chenille yarn. To avoid endless frustration, rather go for the plain stuff.
Tip No. 7
Never push your carriage too fast. This is a sure way to loose stitches or make your knitting uneven. Also if you have a jam, you could damage your carriage if pushing it too fast into the jam.
Tip No. 8
Did you know that most of your basic knitting patterns can be converted into machine knitting patterns?
The biggest visible difference on basic knitting machine patterns is that instead of seeing a needle size required to meet the gauge, you’ll see a needle range. For example, instead of seeing instructions to use size 8 knitting needles, you’ll see instructions to use a mid-range knitting machine with a setting for your stitch dial.
To use your hand knit patterns for your knitting machine, the process is pretty simple. Like with any new hobby, it is best to start with simple projects such as washcloths, scarves, or simple wraps.
Your knitting machine manual will have the conversion for the size knitting needle to the gauge you must use. Basic stocking stitch knitting patterns work best. For fancy patterns and cabling, it is better to use a machine knit pattern.
Tip No. 9
If you find your carriage is jamming, it means that your tension is too tight and you will need to adjust the feed of your knitting yarn to sort this problem. Start on the loosest tension, and then tighten it as necessary. The machine could also maybe do with a good oiling.
Tip No. 10
If your knitting is jumping off your needles it may be that your sponge is worn out. Otherwise, it is tension or using the wrong type of yarn to the stitch that you are using.
There is not a simple fix here, just trial and error.
Tip No. 11
Check your yarn before you buy it. For machine knitting, it is best to buy yarn that is not too loosely twisted. If the yarn is not twisted tightly enough, then the needles on the machine won’t be able to pick up the whole strand thus leaving gaps or loops in your knitting.
Also, pull on the yarn. If it snaps to easily, it will be very frustrating to knit with on a machine.
Tip No. 12
If you are purchasing a knitting machine second hand, get the seller to use the knitting machine in front of you so that you can see that it is in good working order. Or you could ask them for photo’s or video’s of the machine in action.
If you are purchasing an old machine, make sure that there are still parts and accessories available for it online.
So Why A Knitting Machine?
So as you may have gathered by now, machine knitting is a great way to produce knits quickly in the comfort of your own home.
You can make up a bunch of scarves as Christmas gifts, winter knits for your family or even start up your own knitting business.
A knitting machine is the way to go if you want to produce quality items quickly and easily.