I get some of the best luck thrifting, but I was still surprised to find this Brother knitting machine for just $8. wow. I had to get it despite the fact that I’m rubbish at knitting and had no clue how one of these were supposed to work. It actually was pretty easy to get the hang of! I looked online and was able to find a manual and get the machine set up pretty easily. I had almost everything I needed, but I was missing a piece that held up the tension thingie so I improvised with some dowel rod. With a little more luck, the machine worked perfectly (except for some learning curve and user error) and I was making up little swatches and stuff in just a couple of hours.
I thought I’d share some basic photos to share what a knitting machine looks like.
The machine consists of around 200 of these “needles” that are just like latch hooks and lay in channels along the “bed” of the machine.
The carriage sits on top of the machine and glides across it with the help of channels along the bed. Now I’ve read a bunch of explanations of how exactly the carriage makes the stitches, but I don’t know how to explain it so we’ll just call it magic. Basically, when you slide the carriage across from one side to the other it lays the yarn across the needles. The new yarn is simultaneously pulled through the loop already on each needle, dropping the first loop below and keeping the new yarn loop on the needle ready for the next row. (yeah, we’ll just call it magic)
This is what it looks like when there are a bunch of stitches on the needles. You can just go back and forth to create stocking stitch, or you can create lacey eyelets or chunky cables by manually moving stitches from one needle to another with the help of these little tools.
using a tool to move a stitch
A stitch moved over one to the right. Running the carriage after this will leave an eyelet for this row and continue knitting as normal on the next row.
The machine is great for me because I have a really hard time keeping track of where I am in a pattern or how many stitches I’ve done. On the bed of the machine the needles are numbered every 5 needles, and on the back of the machine it’s got a row counter that automatically counts each time the carriage goes by.
I worked off of this pattern (with a few changes, leaving out the purl stitches and adding the lacey bit to the center)
and made a swatch that looked like this in about a half an hour
It’s a little strange, because the right side can’t be seen while you’re working, but that’s part of the fun, I think. It wasn’t until I’d bound off this piece that I could see the full pattern.
I really like this machine and I just know I’m going to have a good time getting to know more tips and tricks and how to make some nifty knitted goodies!