If you’re wondering whether to invest in a knitting machine or not, you’ve probably been ‘umming’ and ‘ahhing’ about the decision for a while. This is a common dilemma for many knitters. Buying a knitting machine is a decision you don’t make lightly. You would love the speed and convenience of a knitting machine but you don’t want to spend money on a piece of equipment you’re not going to use, or one which will see out its novelty and then be banished into the cupboard under the stairs!
The truth is that knitting machines are a great investment and can give you a beautiful finished piece of knitwear up to 50 times faster than hand knitting!
If you’re the kind of person who has lots of unfinished knitting projects lying around because you got bored before they were finished, then a knitting machine could be just what you need. Or maybe you’re thinking about setting up a business, selling your knitting on Etsy or one of the other craft sites? Or maybe you just love designing and making your own knitwear but haven’t got the time or patience to hand knit them.
This guide is designed to give you all the information you need to know about knitting machines – how they work, how to get the best results from them and which one is right for you.
So, without further ado, let’s get started!
Why You Need a Knitting Machine
A knitting machine is the fast track way to become more efficient and accurate, no matter what piece of work you are crafting, and whether it is for personal use or for selling for cash.
It’s really that simple.
Machine knitting is up to 50 times faster than hand knitting.
Big manufacturers regularly use knitting machines because they mean you can create garments fast, but these are obviously going to be too big and bulky for home use. The good news is that you can purchase knitting machines which are solely for personal use, and these are easy to use, whilst also giving the chance to play around with their various settings in your own time.
Kiss goodbye to slaving over items for hours, sometimes even days, and wave ‘hi’ to having them arrive in a matter of hours, or less.
The one thing you need to get out of your mind is the idea that using a knitting machine is somehow cheating on the process of creation. You will quickly find that using a knitting machine takes time to learn, and there some skill is needed to operate it properly.
What Can You Make With a Knitting Machine?
Anything! From sweaters to table clothes, hats, to scarves, the options are literally as endless as they would be if you were hand knitting, and the only major difference is the time it will take to complete the job. This means that you can avoid heading to your local department store for that cute sweater, and you can make it yourself in no time at all!
If you want to create garments and items for cash, a knitting machine is also the best way to go, because of the time and efficiency factor.
The Difference Between Hand Knitting and Machine Knitting
We’ve bigged up the knitting machine idea, but you need to know that you’re going to see major differences when you first make the switch.
The main differences are:
- Some stiches need to be created differently
- The gauge on a machine is different and you will need to create the right ones for you
- Preparation is more important when using a machine
What’s next? Well, you need to know how to find that ideal knitting machine, right?
Knitting Machine Brands
Doing some research around the internet you may have come across people talking about knitting machine brands such as Brother, Passap, Toyota and Singer which were all very popular 10+ years ago. But these machines are no longer being produced. You can sometimes find a used or refurbished one for sale but if you want the assurance and convenience of buying a new knitting machine – with that all-important guarantee, ease of repair etc – then Silver Reed is the answer.
The good news is Silver Reed Knitting machines are high quality and great value for money (particularly if you buy from the UK). They are easy to set up and use and there are a number of options to choose from depending on what you want to achieve with your machine knitting.
But whether you decide to buy a Silver Reed or opt for a used machine the brand of knitting machine is not your most important consideration.
Choosing Your Knitting Machine
The most important thing to consider before you buy your new knitting machine is what yarn you are going to use.
You see, with a machine, the needles are locked firmly into position, and you can’t change them for different sizes and types of yarn. This means that you need to think about what you’re going to use your knitting machine for.
- Do you want to use thick wool?
- Do you want to use thinner yarns?
- Do you want something in the middle, so you can be a little more multi-purpose?
The machine you choose must be able to easily handle the type of yarn you prefer to use.
With hand knitting we need to think about needle size. With machine knitting we need to think in terms of the ‘gauge’. The gauge refers to the number of stitches per inch.
- Fine gauge – Knitting machines have needles which are 3.5 – 3.6mm apart, which is a 7 gauge. This means you can use wool and yarn from 3ply and some 4ply.
- Standard gauge – The needles are 4.5mm apart and this equates to 5.6 gauge. This I 4ply and the occasional type of fine double knit.
- Mid gauge–The needles are 6 – 7mm apart, which is 3.9 gauge. This type of knitting machine is particularly good for DK yarns.
- Chunky gauge–This particular knitting machine has needles which are 9mm apart, and that is a 2.8 gauge. Thick yarns are best suited here, including DK, aran and light chunky yarns.