Knitting Machine 101: What to Buy & What to Make

 Knitting machines are great for making a lot of items in a shorter period. While some people enjoy relaxing with knitting needles and yarn and creating something beautiful, others simply don’t have the time or patience.

A knitting machine might be just the thing for you if you find yourself wanting to knit something beautiful but don’t have the time or patience to do it by hand. Also, many knitters who sell their items online or locally use knitting machines to produce more products at a faster rate.

Hand knitting is very different from machine knitting. Many hand-knitters who switch to the machine have to learn an entirely new complicated process to make the items come out how they want. Thankfully YouTube has been invented and it’s easier than ever to learn how to operate the knitting machine.

What You Need to Know Before Buying A Knitting Machine

Not every knitting machine does the same stitches and functions. You should know what types of things you want to make (and what stitches you will use to make them) before buying a machine so that you can ensure that you are picking the right one.

There are a few important things you should consider before purchasing a knitting machine. These machines can be expensive, so it’s not a light decision and should be researched and thoroughly thought out before purchasing.

If you're considering a knitting machine, here are a few things to consider first:

  • What types of things do you want to knit?
  • Are you looking for something that is easy to operate with little learning curve? Do you have time to learn how to operate a more complicated knitting machine?
  • Have you read online reviews for the machines you’re looking at? Be sure to read both the 5-star reivews and the 1-star.
  • What types of yarn do you like to knit with?
  • How much space do you have to allocate for your machine or will you have to set it up and take it down each time you use it?
  • Do you know basic knitting stitches and already know how to hand knit? This will make a difference in how quickly you can learn how to use a knitting machine.

Based on the answers to those questions, you can get a better idea as to what type of machine you should get. Various styles can make various types of projects.

Types of Knitting Machines

As I was researching knitting machines online, I noticed that there are basically two different types of machines. Knitting machines that knit in round OR flat panels and machines that knit only flat panels. Each one has its own advantages and disadvantages.

For example, in the post, I’ll compare the Addi Express King Size Knitting Machine and the Caron Ultimate Sweater Machine. Each has its own pros and cons that will depend on what you intend to make.

You’ll want to take these things into consideration before deciding which knitting machine to buy so that you end up with a tool that will make your life easier, not more complicated! 🙂

Addi Express Knitting Machine

The addi knitting machine can knit items in a round or the King Size machine can knit flat items up to about 15″ wide. It’s best for making things like socks, hats, and scarves but it’s not ideal for blankets or wider projects.

The Addie Express is available in two different sizes, with 22 needles or 46 needles.

These machines work best with smooth-weight yarns, like Caron Simply Soft, rather than the Red Heart Super Saver. This is probably okay since you’ll be making hats and socks that you’ll want soft yarns anyway.

Additionally, these machines are intended more for hobby knitting than they are for mass production.

Caron Ultimate Sweater Machine  

The Ultimate Sweater Knitting Machine knits from 600 to 12000 stitches in a minute! That’s 6 to 12 rows a minute if you have 100 stitches per row!

Also, this knitting machine can knit eyelet/lace, Fair Isle, tuck stitch cable, intarsia, and many more kinds of stitches.

You can also purchase an extension kit (the Deluxe model that includes it) for larger sweaters and afghans.

Another benefit to the Ultimate Sweater Machine is it can handle almost all types of yarn: sport, worsted, double-knit, Aran, cotton, mohair, and chunky.

How Easy Are Knitting Machines to Use

Thankfully, in the days of forums, Facebook Groups, and YouTube videos, learning how to use a knitting machine is a lot easier than it used to be. If you understand basic knitting stitches and have general idea for how kitting is done, learning and using a knitting machine will be quite simple to figure out.

If you’re a beginner and feel a little apprehensive, you could always start with a machine like the addi Express to get the hang of and feel for knitting on a machine. Otherwise, for larger and more diverse capabilities, you should go with a flat bed knitting machine like the Ultimate Sweater Machine mentioned above.

The biggest thing you need to learn, how the machine itself works, is the gauge and best yarn to use for the project and stitch you’re working on.

You’ll definitely want to give yourself some time just to practice different stitches and patterns before starting a project. The more time you spend on the machine the more acquainted you’ll get with how it works and what works best for your type of projects.

Ideas of What You Can Make with a Knitting Machine

The potential of making all sorts of different things with a knitting machine is endless. Even with a small “hobby” knitting machine like the Addi Express, you can make some really cool things. You just have to be willing to think a little outside of the box.

The prospects really are endless and you can make pretty much anything with a full-fledged knitting machine. From clothes to toys to blankets, the possibilities are endless!

Share your knitting machine creations in the comments! I’d love to hear about your projects!