First knitting machine - recommendations?

Greetings, fellow knitters!

Currently I’m toying with the idea of buying a knitting machine - I am a slow knitter, unfortunately, so I’d like to make sweaters w/o having to wait a year (or even two! shame on me) to see the finished product. I did my research and found out that such machines are quite popular, though I’ve never heard of them before. So I don’t know where to start. I was curious if anyone had any pointers? Which specs should I look for in a knitting machine?

  • jane

Hello and welcome to FiberKind! I don’t own a knitting machine myself, just wanted to take a moment to welcome you. :slight_smile:

I’ve looked at them different times as well, but I’ve never actually bought one. It will be interesting to see what others have tried!

Thanks for your warm welcome, Char! I really appreciate this :slight_smile:

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

  1. 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 ( 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

@Justin Black - can you please site the source of this article? Thank you.

I want to second Justin’s recommendations to buy a new machine from a dealer that can give you lessons. You are highly unlikely to ever make the maximum use of your machine without lessons. There is a learning curve to master a knitting machine, just as there is a learning curve to master a new sewing machine.

I think the first thing to consider is, what type of yarns do you want to knit with - thin or bulky - whether to choose a standard gauge, mid-gauge or a bulky machine

What kind of machine do you use?

I have a bulky Brother KH-270 and a mid-gauge Silver Reed LK150 - I like them both - with the bulky I can use almost any hand-knitting yarn and the LK150 is really simple to use

the KH-270 has a metal bed and an additional KR-260 ribber - the LK150 is plastic and does not have the ability to automatically knit ribbing

What is your favorite thing to make?

mostly I knit sweaters and the occasional skirt - I created a group MACHINE KNITTING where I hope others will share their MK projects :slight_smile:

I’m fortunate to have MK classes in my area and like to learn more about the different features of my KM and its possibilities - there’s always something new to learn :slight_smile: