This article covers in very broad terms some background info on knitting machines and the various models available.
A knitting machine is used to produce knitted fabrics and clothes on a fixed bed of hooked needles. A knitting machine is made of a needle bed, a carriage and yarn guides but it may have other attachments as well. Latchet hooks hold the stitches.
Domestic & Industrial -
They can be hand powered or motor assisted. There are also domestic and industrial models of knitting machines. The domestic knitting machines produce a fabric that looks handmade because they use the weft knitting method. It is obviously easier to knit using a knitting machine and a lot faster because knitting machines make an entire row of loops in a single movement. Another reason for using knitting machines is that the fabric made with a machine looks better in many instances than the hand-knitted fabric, the latter having large areas of plain stocking stitch. Finally ,you do not have to be a professional knitter to make wonderful clothes because many machines are fairly simple to operate and it can be a great way to begin to knit .
However, you must not confuse knitting machines with sewing machines. A knitting machine is more complicated- it has springs, buttons, wires and hooks
and most Importantly you need to realize you have to use machine-knitting books to get the pattern you want because hand knitting books can’t be used with a machine as they are not compatible.
Different Machines -
A Bulky size machine is used for making heavy sweaters because the distance between the needles is 9 mm and the hook is large enough and there is no risk of splitting the yarn.For machine knitting with lace the machine needs to be used as manual or semi-manual.
The smallest yarns you can use when knitting with this machine are Sport and DK weight yarns . Some of the techniques you can undertake on this machine are: tuck, slip, intarsia, weaving, and many others.
On the standard bed machine you can make knitted suits and lace curtains. The distance between the needles is 4.5 mm and the hook/latches are much smaller. The lace is automatic. You can do fair isle, tuck, slip, manual cables and others. Baby weight is the most popular weight used for this machine. DK weight is the largest yarn that can be knit with this knitting machine. The Standard 200 can knit very fine yarns , up to a sport weight.
The Silver Reed Gauge SK830(3.6 mm) is a machine used for fine yarns. It is perfect when knitted in an open and loose fabric and light and airy fabric. Knit at tension 5 or 7 and use 2 or 3 strands together.
For the Hand Knitted Look -
If you want to have garments that look and feel more like the hand-knitted garments you should buy a mid-gauge knitting machine.
Knitting with a machine is straightforward but you need to consider when using a machine the patterns, many are not easily inter-changeable between machines, some are but It is hard but not impossible, but is probably best left until you’ve had a little experience of using a knitting machine as you have to spend a lot of time calculating, multiplying and dividing to modify the pattern.
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