Choosing your first Knitting Machine

 At Knithub we understand that purchasing your first knitting machine can seem like a minefield with so many different options to choose from. In this post we break down some of the choices for you and take you through the decision process.

Domestic Machines

Here we are discussing the Japanese style flat bed domestic knitting machine. The two most common types of machines are punchcard and electronic. The punchcard variety reads the pattern from a plastic punched card whereas the electronic machine uses a computer connection to create the pattern. Popular brands are Brother, Singer and Passap. Between brands, the machines operate slightly differently and have different names for the same function or button/ lever. It is a personal preference as to which you choose, but stick to one as you cannot interchange accessories between them! At Knithub we use domestic Brother models KH 836 and KH 881, which include a ribber attachment for double bed knitting.

Gauge Types

Domestic knitting machines offer 3 gauge types: standard, fine and chunky. When choosing a machine, it is important to pick the right gauge size for your needs. This will be determined by the size of yarn you intend to use. If you are looking to knit incredibly fine products you might want a fine gauge machine or if heavyweight yarns are your thing, a chunky machine. We recommend the standard knitting machine where the needles are set 4.5mm apart. It is a popular choice as it allows you to knit a wide variety of yarns, from lace weight to sports weight, as well as adjust the tension dial for finer or thicker yarns.

Different Techniques & Outcomes

 What are you looking to produce? What techniques do you wish to use? Not every machine will perform every function or have all the features which is partly why choosing the right one can be difficult. Decide what the most important function for you is. Most machines will allow you to knit the following stitches: tuck, slip, fairisle, lace and knitweave. There are many choices of add-ons or patterning devices you can consider such as a ribber which is a flatbed attachment to make ribbing and circular knitting, or a garter carriage which is a Brother device to knit purl stitches electronically. For maximum flexibility and multiple stitch type options an electronic standard bed offers the ability to customize patterns as well as hundreds of templates.

 New or Secondhand?

For your first purchase, it pays to buy the best you can afford. It can be hard to buy brand new as many models are no longer in production including Brother. Most machines are reconditioned second hand and you will need to clean and maintain your machine properly. You can find secondhand online; ebay is a good start. A knowledgeable dealer is invaluable.

Still need help? Why not book onto a class with us and our experienced team can offer more advice. Find details here

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Image credits: Knithub 24