I have been researching knitting machines for some time now. There are more types than you might think.
There are circular ones which are like heavy weight cotton reel / French knitters. They will knit tubes for you. These tubes seem to be limited to size and depending on the size of the circular knitting machine you have. The largest one will produce tubes large enough to be made into hats. Technically these machine will knit a flat panel. Despite many attempts with mine I’ve not managed to make mine do this without dropping many stitches. I’m not sure if this is the fault of the machine or the knitter however I have decided that they’re of limited use for what I would like to do – colourwork looks complicated and slow. The advantage of these machines is that they are still being manufactured on a large scale, so you can buy a new one easily.
The next are the hobby machines. These are flat bed and a bit more the kind of shape which might occur to you when I say the words knitting machine to you. The bulk of these machines are made of plastic and where made in the eighties. The plastic does not always ag well so if you were thinking of buying a second hand one of these, make sure you get a good look at it first.
Next is the range I’m looking at for myself. Metal bed flat machines, these are most common and are also still being manufactured. Personally I’m going to get a second hand machine as I would like one which is good with changing colour and the price of one of these new makes me wince slightly, especially when I consider that I am a faddist and I’m not sure how long I would use the machine for. I am going to buy a punch card machine. I haven’t seen one working yet bit I think you insert the card, select where you would like the pattern and insert the second colour. This is all a bit theoretical at the moment and I am going to be asking lots of advice on my shopping trip.
The final range is the sock knitting machines, these have such an interesting history and they look so fun to have a go on that if I had the money and the space to store it I would certainly love to get one, in the mean time I shall make do with watching videos on you tube.
Here is picture of my progress on the mittens. This is still the first one, New Year, new house, relatively new daughter (five months) have all slowed my pace slightly, I’m loving the pattern though, it’s Martin Storey Ice Cable Mitts.
Next week end I’m off to http://www.heathercraft.co.uk/ knitting machine show room near Horsham, Surrey. I will let you know how I get on.