The choice to purchase a domestic knitting machine normally comes at the purpose when a hand-knitter finds that knitting stocking stitch is way too slow and boring.

Stocking stitch (one row plain, one row purl) is the essential stitch structure for knitting machines they usually knit it thoroughly and really fast. So fast, the truth is, that the making up of a garment can take longer than the actual knitting!

With regards to buying the machine, the alternative is either latest or second-hand and which option you select will probably be determined by your budget.

Second-hand machines could be bought on EBay or through classified ads for very reasonable prices, but before you put money into a ‘sight unseen’ machine, here’s a couple of tricks to guide you:

1. Machine knitters can do it on a single bed or a double bed. Single bed machines (Brother, Silver Reed, Knitmaster etc) cannot knit rib stitches. You would need to purchase a separate ribber to connect to the one bed as a way to do that or be prepared to knit the ribs by hand. Double bed machines, however, come complete with a set built-in ribber (Passap/Pfaff etc).

2. On single bed machines, there are different ‘gauges’ available, which knit different thicknesses of yarn. For instance, an ordinary gauge machine has 200 needles on the bed and can easily knit 3 ply, 4 ply and soft double knitting yarn. A fantastic gauge machine has 250 needles on the bed and knits 1, 2 and three ply yarns. ‘Chunky’ machines knit chunky yarns and so forth. Determine which yarn thickness you favor to knit with and select your gauge of machine appropriately.

3. Full-size knitting machines are roughly 45 inches (115 cms) long. To make use of them, they should be clamped to a firm table. Clamping one to your dining table can have its drawbacks when mealtime comes round, so you might must purchase a table specially made for knitting machines. If one is just not offered on the market with the machine, these are fairly inexpensive to purchase.

4. Patterning or non-patterning? Some knitting machines don’t have any patterning device and subsequently you are limited to knitting stocking stitch with perhaps some hand-tooled stitches to create more interest in the material. Alternatively, automated patterning can produce beautiful multi-color fairisle (jacquard), tuck, slip, woven and lace fabrics, just by setting some buttons and pushing the carriage backwards and forwards! For automated patterning, you will need either a machine with a manual punchcard mechanism or one with a built-in electronic device. Electronic machines need an influence supply close by and will probably be costlier to purchase than punchcard machines. One thing to recollect – if the electronics in your machine go unsuitable, they’re more complicated to repair than the manual punchcard machines.

5. The instruction book is a must! When buying a second-hand knitting machine, all the time be sure that it comes with the unique instruction book. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, if there aren’t any tutors in your local area, you are going to should learn to make use of your machine from the book. Secondly, there’s normally a page within the instruction book which illustrates all of the accessories that ought to include the machine. This makes an incredible checklist when your machine is delivered, to be sure that that all the things is included. Careful knitting machine owners all the time keep the instruction book and in case your seller cannot give you the unique copy, be wary of what else could also be missing!

6. Availability of spares. Knitting machines sometimes need parts replacing. Whenever you’re knitting with 200 needles, certainly one of them is certain to bend eventually! The needles are held in position with a sponge retaining bar and this will even need replacing if the sponge loses its ‘bounce’. Before you finally select a selected brand of machine, be sure that you may buy your spares conveniently, either from an area supplier or by mail order.

7. Love your knitting machine! Knitting machines don’t respond well to force or neglect. In the event that they won’t knit properly, it’s always for a superb reason. Attempt to take a while to grasp a bit bit about how the mechanics of the machine work and be sure that you maintain it frequently – it’s really not complicated.

In the event you determine to purchase one, your knitting machine gives you hours of delight (sometimes a couple of tears!) and perhaps, just perhaps, all of your creative knitting dreams will come true.

Copyright Linda Black 2006

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