To machine knit or not to machine knit?

Hi friends,
I have not posted for a long time. I have been hand knitting for about 10 years now and continue to knit daily. I have become curious of late about machine knitting. Are there any of you who have any words of wisdom for me about where to start? I would appreciate information about your personal experience with working on a machine.
Wade in Florida


mrhugzzz's picture

Wade, I used to machine knit all the time and still do periodically. If you're just starting, I recommend that you look for an inexpensive (used) manual machine on Craigslist (there's usually quite a few out there). By manual I mean one where you actually have to lay the yarn over the needles yourself. If you can find a Passap Vario, grab it! It knits the widest range of yarns (from sock to bulky) and will teach you more about how a machine actually makes stitches.
In my experience,machines are great for large works of stocking stitch (including intarsia but not fair aisle) but not so great for textures. Cables turn out very flat. If you end up getting a machine with a double bed, ribs are great, but if not you have to manually manipulate stitches. It's still faster than by hand though.
You do have the benefit of being a hand knitter, so you'll pick up machine knitting quickly and you'll probably end up sewing pieces together by hand rather than by the machine. I think you'll find this to be a preference.
If you are able, get a lesson or two from someone near you as the manuals can be confusing.
I hope this helps, and feel free to email me ( if you have any questions.
Good luck! :-D

hrypotter's picture

Thanks so much for taking the time to give me your 2 means a lot. I have become addicted to fiber and fiber arts but just can't knit fast enough! I like machines and have no doubt that I will still find the process therapeutic. You can bet, I'll be on the look-out for the Passap.
Thanks again, Wade


victor's picture

I have machine knitted for over 10 years on a Passap Duo which I still have, somewhere. Did jumpers, and lots of socks. Getting patterns for machines down here in Australia is quite hard as there is not a huge machine knitting market. I managed to adapt a lot of the English ones found in machine knitting magazines, doing tension swatches and recalculating the pattern. Whilst I found it very quick, the different patterns achieved rather nice, hand knitting is much more appealing to me these days as I like to knit to relax watching TV which can't be done with machine knitting. (My partner says I swear far too much when machine knitting!!!) Also it can be very frustrating at times, dropped stitches not seen until too late, wool not waxed enough, incorrect tension, needles sticking, cats playing with the yarn, knots in yarn not seen until too late etc. Good lighting is also necessary, I had mine set up in front of a window and good lighting installed above for night time work.
I suggest you have a search around your area to see if there is a machine knitters group where you might be able to get some first had experience before outlaying any money as machines can be reasonably expensive.