Ultimate Sweater machine

Who's tried machine knitting? I'm a gadget guy (I don't even want to think about how much I've spent on cake and sugar tools over the years), so I used a 50% off coupon at AC Moore yesterday and splurged.

So far with just a couple practice runs, it seems to work fairly well, though dropping stitches is fairly easy. I assume proficiency comes with more practice. I haven't officially made anything yet, but I was astounded at just how quickly I got a 12x12 piece of knitted fabric out of it. Of course, anything other than Stockinette takes longer as you have to manipulate stitches by hand. But still.

It'll never replace hand knitting for me -- like the theraputic value of creating a piece stitch-by-stitch. But for knocking out things in a hurry (especially for felted work, I'd think), it sure seems to fill a niche.


grandcarriage's picture

It's a "Bond" Ultimate Sweater Machine? We used to sell them. They work...(ish). I use my frame for basic knitting. (I have a White and a Phildar frame, as well as a Brother (and a bunch more as well). They're good for producing fabric, very good if the most interesting thing about the pattern is the yarn: such as a nice worsted with space dying: Like Noro.

QueerJoe's picture

I own three flat-bed machines and an antique circular sock knitting machine.

I bought my niece an Ultimate Sweater Machine...and I can only recommend making sure there is always plenty of weight pulling down your work to avoid dropping stitches.


beknitted's picture

I've got a Passap E-6000 that i bought years ago... when the company was in business! (GRRRRRR!!!!) However, apart from a bunch of very cool swatches, I really haven't been inspired to use it because I so prefer hand knitting. I plan to get into it this winter because it does amazing patterning for texture and 2-color stuff and it is a fine-gauge machine, the reason I bought it in the first place. Living in California at the time, I thought I could make some lighter-weight sweaters, but the programming that's involved to make anything just turned me off. Probably will enjoy what it can do when I figure it out, but need classes and am not sure where I can go to take some. It's way past time to do this! Any suggestions, guys?

potterdc's picture

Hi Keith,

I received one for Christmas three years ago, and have enjoyed it. I have found it a bit paradoxical though: on the one hand, I'm simply amazed that once I get going, I can really finish the back or a front of a sweater easily in one day. On the other hand....if something comes up and I have to take the machine off the dining room table, OR if I don't have a solid several hours to sit down and work at it...that back and/or front of a sweater can sit around for a year before I get the rest of the sweater made.

It seems that really, I'm a portable knitting kind of guy. I realize now that I get sweaters done by being about to work on them 15 minutes here, a couple of hours there, etc. For me to finish up a project on the machine, I need to be able to dedicate a weekend to it.

I notice that you're in Falls Church - I'm in DC, so if you ever come across anything interesting (like a class or workshop) locally, let me know. I'd love to further my knowledge with this.

Jonathan in DC

Warning: objects in the mirror are less real than they appear.

Think less, enjoy it more.

bkeith's picture

Hey Jonathan,

Great photo -- what an adorable dog!

Interesting that you mention about setting it up/taking it down. I set it up in a spot I haven't needed for several days, but that's about to change as I get into baking and candy-making for the holidays this weekend. We'll see how long it'll take before I put it back together.

So far, I find I'm best at starting. Not so much with the rest of it. ;) I've tried a few times to do the basic stocking cap pattern that comes with the instruction manual (it calls for knitting a large rectangle, then sewing it up into a hat shape -- how that's going to turn into anything other than a cylinder is puzzling to me, but I'm keeping an open mind).

What I find is that I can get going pretty well and create a decent-looking fabric, but at some point I make a mistake or the machine jams somehow, and in fixing the problem, I find myself dropping 1 or more (usually many more) stitches. I can get the stitches back onto the needles, but when I try to get the carriage going again, it just drops more. I haven't yet figured out how to pick up where I was, so I find myself ripping it all out and starting again. Time to re-watch the troubleshooting part of the video, I guess.

potterdc's picture

Hi Keith,

Thanks! That dog was about a month and a half old at that picture. She's now not quite 60 lbs and not quite 6 months old. She is going to be huge.

I HIGHLY recommend the wax that comes with the machine - I use it on the needles as well, and find that it helps. The truth is, this is a very affordable machine (read: somewhat on the cheap side) - and you pretty much NEED to buy accessories that they offer to make it go more smoothly. So, for example, if you go to www.shopbondamerica.com and hit the tools and accessories button, you'll see some of the extras. I have purchased the non-slip mat, the claw weights, and the Easy Knit Spray, all of which made a huge difference in my experience of the machine.


Think less, enjoy it more.

bkeith's picture

Great tips, thanks!

csmfella's picture

If you're a gadget guy then you should definately check out sock knitting machines (also called circular sock machines...hence my name...csmfella). I have upwards of 20 machines and knit between 5 and 10 pair a week in my copious free time. They also make fantastic mittens and scarves. You can learn (a little) more from my website www.sockmachines.com or by a Google query. I think someone mentioned there are some youtube videosw of sock machines as well.

Sock machine differ somewhat from flatbed knitting machines in a couple of different ways. With sock machines you usually keep scrap yarn on the machine at all times...this eliminates the need to "cast on" and you can tie on and get knitting. The arrangement of needles is more helpful in my opinion as you can always seen what's happening with the yarn. And of course a sock isn't nearly as daunting as knitting a whole sweater.

Sock machines in this country were most popular between about 1875 and 1925...most of the machines I have are ones that have been restored to their former glory!

Please feel free to get in touch with me if you have any questions.


bkeith's picture

I'd been toying with the idea of a circular machine. That'll be next on my list. Thanks!

emraldeyz's picture

I used to own one of these machines. As previously mentioned wax and weight are key to keep from dropping stitches.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. - Edmund Burke

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. - Edmund Burke