About Knitting Machines

About Knitting Machines

What Knitting Machine is best for me?

Learn about knitting machines, and which machine is the best for you.

The Best Decision is an Educated Decision. Read these articles to help you decide which knitting machine is the best knitting machine for you. If you are just now beginning your research into machine knitting, Selecting Your Knitting Machine is the best "how to" decide, or "where should I start" article for you.   When people ask me, which machine do I need to knit hats, or baby blankets .... all machines can do hats and baby blankets.   This "how to" article will give you a basic understanding of machines, and should narrow down, or rule out some of the models.

I get many people who are hoping to speed up their knitting with a machine.  It is true that a machine can speed it up, but while some stitches are super-fast with a machine, there are other stitches, that are labor intensive.   If you are willing to alter your designs slightly, you can take advantage of this speed.   Read What Every Hand Knitter Should Know Before Buying a Knitting Machine to see what stitches have advantages and limitations.

If you are a hand knitter, you probably have a cabinet full of different knitting needles.   When you reach in to select a needle, you are usually looking for a size, such as a US#7 (4.5mm).  Hand knitting needles range from the very very thin, nearly wirelike, all the way up to 50mm, which is very very large. In the machine knitting area there currently are 3 sizes of machines.  Different Yarns for Different Knitting Machines is a good read to clarify what machine you will need.   It addresses it from the angle of what size yarn are wishing to use and points you to the machine that is best for that size. 

Silver Reed Standard Gauge Knitting Machines

Silver Reed Mid-Gauge Knitting Machines

  • LK150
  • SK860 (no longer being manufactured)

Silver Reed Bulky Gauge Knitting Machines

  • SK155
  • SK890 (no longer being manufactured)

Machine Knitting Education

The Best Decision is an Educated Decision

What Every Hand Knitter Should Know Before Buying a Knitting Machine 
(or Is Machine Knitting Cheating? Hand and Machine Knitting: The differences and similarities.)

Don't know what machine you want?? Learn about the different machines, which yarns go to which machine, and how hand and machine knitting are different.

"What is the best machine?" is a question I hear daily. The best machine is the machine that knits the yarn weights you need to knit, with features you desire, with the minimum of fuss, in the most enjoyable manner, in the time frame you need. And since none of us do the same thing, think the same way or have the same budget, we won't all agree on the same machine. So, to find out what is the best machine, we need to learn as much as possible about what knitting machines can do for us, what we want them to do for us and what their limitations are. Much information to learn, but then, the machines are not cheap either! So read on!

One more note. Recently I have been getting inquiries about machine knitting. One question that keeps coming up I'd like to clear up now. Machine Knitting is a hobby. Being a hobby, the knitter is involved in the process every step of the way. You cannot set up the machine, yarn, software, then go away and have all the pieces knit when you return. It would not be a hobby if you could. 

Frequently Asked Questions

(:1f9f6:) Which is the best knitting machine for home use?

All Silver Reed Knitting machines are designed for home use.  The simplest machine is the Silver Reed LK150. It knits the mid-range size yarns: Sport, DK & Worsted weight yarns. The SK280 (standard gauge for Lace and Fingering Weight yarns) and the SK155 (for Worsted and Bulky Weight yarns) are the next simplest. They offer automatic pattern via a mechanical device built into the machine and punch cards. Lastly for an extreme amount of creativity, the Silver Reed SK840 (standard gauge for Lace and Fingering Weight yarns) uses the software DesignaKnit (additional purchase).

(:1f9f6:) Is machine knitting faster than hand knitting?

Yes!  Once you learn the machine, a basic sweater front, in stockinette, can be knit in 20-30 minutes on the Silver Reed SK280 & SK840 (both are standard gauge for Lace and Fingering Weight yarns).  And less time on the Silver Reed LK150 ( Sport, DK & Worsted weight yarns) and the Silver Reed SK155 (for Worsted and Bulky Weight yarns). Gives you more time to design!

(:1f9f6:) Are knitting machines easy to use?

The more features the machine has, the more time it takes to learn.  All machines will knit simple stockinette, so if you purchase a machine with many features, ignore them, and knit simple stockinette sweaters with a really beautiful yarn. The simplest machine is the Silver Reed LK150. It knits the mid-range size yarns: Sport, DK & Worsted weight yarns. It’s a real work horse, and even if you decide to buy a fancier machine, you will always go back to the LK150 for simple faster projects.

(:1f9f6:) Can you knit and purl on a knitting machine?

Yes, but not easily. The hooks all point in one direction. The carriage is bidirectional (it goes back and forth).  The hooks are always pulling away from you. You are looking at the purl side, and if you flip it over, you are looking at the knit side. This is stockinette.    With the addition of a SRP60N Ribber (only for models SK280 & SK840) you can do ribbing of various mixes. But to do seed stitch or garter stitch, it requires the removal of each individual stitch and latching it back up.  This can be tedious. If it is a small area on the LK150 or SK155, this can be manageable.  But for large areas, I recommend looking at stitches that are automatic on the knitting machine that will substitute nicely, and speed you through your project.