If you are looking into buying a knitting machine, and totally clueless and confused by different choices. This article is going to clarify different choices and help you decide on the best knitting machine for beginners.
Why machine knitting?
Hand knitting with a pair of double point needle or circular needle is fun and relaxing, but it takes so much time, especially if you are a new mother or have a busy career. Or maybe you have too many design ideas in your head and not enough time to knit it out. Yes, a knitting machine will greatly speed up the projects.
Maybe your hand gets so tired or hurt from knitting for a long time, or your eyesight is bothering you with all the tiny stitches. Maybe you just want to de-stash quickly and create big projects like blankets in a shorter time. These are all common reasons people turn to machine knitting.
Machine knitting myth
- A knitting machine will do all the work for you. It is cheating compared to hand knitting.
First, there is a learning curve to operate the machine. Even with the most advanced computer-aided knitting machine, you still need to input the design and learn to knit different stitches, and takes time finishing pieces. It is not just push a button and everything will be done magically. You will not call the person using a sewing machine cheating, so why is it different from the knitting machine?
2. Knitting machine is hard to find and difficult to learn
Most knitting machines are second hands or pre-owned. It does take some research to find the right one and need to clean and maintain the machine once in a while. It is the same as all machines, just like maintaining a sewing machine. Usually, it is just applying oil and changing out the sponge retaining bar.
It seems difficult to learn because of the lack of resources. Now with the online forum, group, classes and YouTube videos, information is much easier to obtain. All the flatbed Japanese style machine are similar to operate. People are also finding creative ways to solve knitting problems. There is no limit to what you can do with your machine.
Basic types of the flat-bed domestic knitting machine
We are talking about the Japanese style, flat-bed domestic knitting machine, instead of a circular knitting machine or industrial knitting machine. We can basically categorize them by brands, gauge, and attachments.
The most popular 2 brands are Brother/Knit King and Singer/ Studio /Silver Reed. The name changes over time or in different locations. They operate slightly differently and have different names for the same function or buttons/lever. Some prefer Brother and some prefer Singer. It is just a personal preference. Brother accessories will not fit Singer and vice versa.
There is also a new brand that is the clone of the Brother brand called Artisan or Taitexma (allbrands.com). Because they are new, the price will be higher. I heard some fashion schools use them in a classroom. Some people question the quality because it is made in China. The advantage is that they are newly manufactured, so the customer service and repair should be easier.
Other popular brands include Passap and Toyota. They have their own system and operate slightly differently from Brother and Singer.
No matter which brand you choose, if you spend time learning well, it could be your best friend. If the machine just sits there collecting dust, no matter how expensive, it is still not the right machine for you.
Metal bed knitting machines can be categorized by the gauge: fine, standard, and bulky. Fine and mid-gauge metal bed machines are harder to find now. Most plastic bed machines are the mid-gauge to the bulky machine. A plastic bed machine is also called a hobby machine because it is lightweight and less complicated. Even though it is called the hobby machine, I find them very reliable and easy to learn for beginners