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 What can knitting machines do?

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robinstephanie Posted - 12/29/2012 : 12:52:57 PM
What kinds of knitting can knitting machines do? Can they do simple slip stitch patterns, or lace, or cables? Or more complicated stuff? They are a mystery to me.


Different is good. ~Matthew Hoover
20   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First) Posted - 02/15/2013 : 11:40:02 AM
I'm also certain that computerized knitting machines never get computer viruses.

I also do love Design a Knit which is computer program. You can design your own patterns and pictures and even import pictures and turn them into pictures you can use on a knitting machine or hand knit them. I have a cord that I can send info from my computer to my 940 knitting machines. Posted - 02/15/2013 : 11:31:44 AM
You do really need a new sponge bar will be glad to send you anything they sell. I am also going to
Ileene's Needle nook. She is having a workshop that I want to go to. Posted - 02/15/2013 : 09:28:07 AM
I used to knit a lot on my Brother KH-970, but have not used my machine for several years. I would like to get back to it, but found the spongebar has dried out. I life in Rockville MD and there seem to be no stores that sell machine knitting parts.Any help? Posted - 02/14/2013 : 5:39:34 PM
I have 7 knitting machines. Here are some pictures of my knitting machines
I really love to do tuck, skip, fair isle, and lots of other things
Musheroom Posted - 02/14/2013 : 1:42:58 PM
I have knit all kinds of things on my machine:
Pleated skirt and matching sailor top for my daughter
Flower printed jacket for my Mom
Lacey christening blanket
all kinds of sweaters: cardigans,v-necks,pullovers
You can pretty much do any thing that you want to.
Have fun
happy knitting

dialfred Posted - 02/14/2013 : 11:17:01 AM
Knitting machines are great with programmed patterns, but if you do a pettern where you hand move the stitches, it's slower than hand knitting.
I used my especially for intarsia work. If you like to work with more than 5 areas per line it's the best way to keep the yarn untangled.

materavis Posted - 02/14/2013 : 10:00:26 AM
I have used a Bond Knitting Frame (precursor to the Ultimate Sweater Machine)with extension kit for almost 30 years. It's a good place to start--simple/fast to set up and use, relatively inexpensive (look on eBay), uncomplicated. Works best with DK-aran-worsted weight yarns. Fast production with plain stockinette and pattern that has minimal shaping. Will do cables and lace; results are better with a springy yarn. Will make flat-knit socks, mittens, and hats. Lots of patterns out there, but works easily with handknitting patterns once you have the gauge.(Hint: adjust the weights. Always pull up the yarn at the end of the row.) Good way to get the basic concepts of machine knitting without a major investment. You can always move up once you have the knack.
ValerieG Posted - 02/14/2013 : 09:58:55 AM
I have a fine gauge (think lace weight) machine that attaches to the computer. FAB for knitting large designs. Also gets a lot of use for skirts.
A 'standard' double bed Passap punch card machine -- Fingering weight is best. These punch cards allow a 40 st repeat... 2 - 6 color; tuck, slip, Circular -- makes great socks -- I make them with a handknit type heel.
AND a bulky machine -- This one is rather basic tho it does have a ribber. I've mostly used it for stuff I'm going to felt. However am taking a class in April about hand tooling stuff, very exciting.
It will take me a week or so for most sweaters. You need to make a swatch, do the math (I use Design-A-knit software) knit it and put it together.

I've heard that the incredible sweater machine (bond) is hard to use for many people. Much better off with a good metal machine. The SK150 is a simple midgauge that many people love and not too expensive.
If you can find a used machine don't even try to use it until you get a new sponge bar. Lot's of info on the internet about how to start out. Dianna Sullivan has many u-tube vids that will help.
Good luck and come on over to the machine side.
sockjoan Posted - 02/14/2013 : 05:14:03 AM
Knitting machines are very different from hand-knitting. They take a bit of getting to know - and it is well worth working right through the manual (don't even look at a machine without a manual) just to get a feel for the thing.
Machines come in different gauges. "Standard Gauge" is happiest with yarn around fingering weight. "Mid-gauge" will knit sport through aran weight yarn. "Chunky" will knit DK to extra-chunky. There's also a "fine-gauge" for seriously skinny yarns, but there aren't many of these machines around.
Then there are Japanese machines and the European set (Passap, Pfaff & the like); Japanese machines (Brother, Silver Reed/Singer etc.) are the best-known & most common.
One of my favourite features of knitting machines is that they do a pretty good job with cotton, which is good for the warm climate where I live and also machine-washable. Cotton is not much fun to knit by hand.
I don't have a Circular Sock Machine; I like to use my Passap for socks, but usually I knit these toe-up till the end of the heel and then pick up round the ankle and knit ribbed legs by hand. I'm Sockjoan on Ravelry, if you want to look at some of these.
I'd suggest visiting a machine knitter or a group, lesson or demonstration to see if this is really something you want to do. It's a different world - not cheating, just different, and full of wonderful possibilities! Good luck!
robinstephanie Posted - 02/05/2013 : 10:46:57 PM
Donna, no, I didn't make that sweater--I'm just kind of starting to struggle to make them now. That is a nice one, isn't it? It's in my Ravelry favorites. Once I struggle my way through a few easier patterns, I'll eventually give Burnished Tunic a go, hopefully. There are so many great sweaters out there!

BobbiSocks--Thanks so much, your info's very helpful. I suppose I'm curious about the knitting machine's all-around flexibility. And they sound pretty durn flexble. I'm not even knitter enough to make that sweater yet with needles, let alone the learning curve of these machines. I'll be spending the next few years betterin' my knittin' skills, but after that, who knows!


Different is good. ~Matthew Hoover
BobbiSocks Posted - 02/04/2013 : 09:44:47 AM
Yes, you could make something like that, although you could not knit it in the round and would need to make adjustments in the pattern to knit the pieces flat. Also, you would definitely not want to do something like this until you were very familiar with your machine and how to use it. But once you were well past the learning curve, sure! But it would take a while as you'd be manipulating a lot of stitches. I am not a knitting machine pro by any means. That said, I would much rather handknit a pattern like this and leave my KM for patterns made in all stockinette st. So if you are looking for speed with a sweater like this, hmmmm...I'm not sure you would find that speed here as there would be a LOT of st manipulation involved and I dare say you could handknit the sweater faster and with better results due to the personal aspect. So those are my thoughts based on what I know about my KM...hope this helps.

Originally posted by robinstephanie

Thanks, everybody, for the super great details you've shared here. I have a much better understanding of these 'mystery machines' now.

To clarify then, is it the case where you would, say, see a sweater pattern you like on Ravelry, something like Burnished Tunic maybe (, and if you knew how to use your machine well enough, set it up and whip it out in a few days? You'd have to set the increases and decreases, and do certain things manually, but you could basically pick out almost any pattern you liked, and make it?


Different is good. ~Matthew Hoover

"I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul."
donnawatk Posted - 02/04/2013 : 08:33:01 AM
I have to ask robinstephanie, did you make that sweater? Its a nice pattern. Donna
robinstephanie Posted - 02/04/2013 : 07:50:32 AM
Thanks, everybody, for the super great details you've shared here. I have a much better understanding of these 'mystery machines' now.

To clarify then, is it the case where you would, say, see a sweater pattern you like on Ravelry, something like Burnished Tunic maybe (, and if you knew how to use your machine well enough, set it up and whip it out in a few days? You'd have to set the increases and decreases, and do certain things manually, but you could basically pick out almost any pattern you liked, and make it?


Different is good. ~Matthew Hoover
BobbiSocks Posted - 02/03/2013 : 9:47:40 PM
Oh, because I wasn't logged in. :
"I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul."
BobbiSocks Posted - 02/03/2013 : 9:46:21 PM
Please excuse/forgive any and all errors in my above post...I can't seem to find the "edit" button!


"I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul."
BobbiSocks Posted - 02/03/2013 : 9:42:58 PM
I have a Silver Reed SK860 which is a nice mid-gauge machine. I had the matching ribber, but I never used it because I love to handknit my ribbings. After I knit up the pieces of the sweater on the machine which you can do in a 2 or 3 hours, then I pick up the stitches on knitting needles and handknit decorative ribbings. I enjoy the handknitting part so much that I sold the ribber perfectly new and had never even taken it out of the box. (I still have the ribber stand, perfectly new in box, if anyone knows somebody who'd like to buy one.)

I prefer full-fashioned machine knitting (manipulating the stitches for your increases and decreases, etc.), but many have very good results with half-fashioned machine knitting: creating a machine-knitted fabric, then cutting (you always sew first - as you would if you were turning a pullover into a cardigan), then sewing the pieces together. There's a really good book about machine knitting in half-fashioned technique called The Prolific Knitting Machine by Catherine Cartwright-Jones.

But anyway, the mid-gauge is a nice versitle machine - I love mine! I am handknitting right now which I love doing, but there's something absolutely magical about being able to knit an entire row in 2 or 3 seconds...about deciding in the morning that you need another sweater (is there even such a thing as too many?!! LOL), and being able to have it finished and be able to wear it that same evening. :)


"I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul."
Angelika Posted - 01/30/2013 : 08:31:54 AM
Good question!!

Knitting machines can do a lot of things. And they are extremely helpful to knitters who LOOOOVE to create and design. I enjoy hand knitting in the evening, but I really enjoy designing something new, drafting it out, and then using the machine as a tool to produce my design.

The machines are very fast for stockinet, fairisle and textured stitches that the machine can do. Some models have automatic patterning, and others are manual.

I make many mistakes in handknitting by getting my pattern offcount. Evidently I do better with the machine because all the needles have numbers on them, and I don't have the same problem.

I love that my designs can be extremely precise, not only in stitch and row count, but also it fit.

Approach a machine to learn what it *can* do. What its best features are, and what it can bring to your designs. Let it speak to you. Put aside the exact techniques and designs you want to do, and learn what it can do to speed up your knitting process and how you can *use* the machine to attain your goals. Once you learn its best features, bring in your ideas to see if it can reproduce your ideas to your expectations.

Sometimes this means you may need to alter your original design. If this alteration is acceptable to you, then you gain the speed and exact-ness that the machine can do for you.

Machines are not for everyone. If you knit because you love relaxing in the evening and use knitting as a therapy to unwind, relax or a type of meditation, then a machine may not be for you. If your mind is stuffed full of designs that you wish to see the end result, if you cannot find garments that fit you well, if you simply just love gadgets (!!) then you may be of a mindset that is perfect for machine knitting.

there are 3 article links on this page:
they will either answer all your questions, or might just end up with more, indepth questions!

Hope this helps!!

Angelika (knitting machine retailer since 1987)

Thank You !!
hillstreetmama Posted - 01/22/2013 : 10:47:49 PM
I got a circular sock machine (CSM) because 1) They fascinated me from the first time I saw a video 2) I hand knit socks way too slowly 3) I love to buy sock yarn and had already hit SABLE (stash accumulated beyond life expectancy)

Yes, some people call it cheating, but if you've ever tried to self teach yourself on a machine, you will quickly realize that it is harder than you think. I bought my machine in August, and finally got a pair of socks this month. I've knit 10 more pair since that first pair on January 6th. It certainly has speed going for it, but in HAND knitting socks, I NEVER had stitches suddenly jump off the needles, never had skipped stitches. I still love hand knitting, but will probably not be hand knitting socks any more.

Kade1301 Posted - 01/06/2013 : 09:55:25 AM
And in addition to all your usual knitting problems (I reknitted a sweater sleeve three times yesterday because the decreases didn't work out) you get machine malfunctions. And I'm sure there's computerized machines where you also get computer bugs. I think I stick to needles - they rarely malfunction (though I had a KnitPicks cable come apart today)...

Happy knitting! Klara
robinstephanie Posted - 01/05/2013 : 12:29:37 PM
Thanks for the details,guys. I didn't know they could do so many things.

I just googled some videos, and wow. It is interesting that some people call it cheating. From what I saw, it seems to me that knowing how to knit, or at least understanding the structure of knitting--how cabling works, for instance, is a big part of knowing how to use these machines. It's not like some kid walks up and turns a crank and an Aran pops out. You gotta know what yer doin'.


Different is good. ~Matthew Hoover

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