Sunday, February 24, 2013

Two Questions, Today, Were Almost the Same

I had two people write today, asking about buying a first machine.  I wrote each person back, and then thought it would make a blog post.

One guy was asking about the Studio LK150, which is a plastic bed, Japanese machine, and a lady was sking about a machine particularly for knitting fashions.  One person specifically asked about doing this inexpensively.
My two favorite brands for starting out are Silver Reed (aka Studio and Singer) and Brother (aka Knitking).  When I say “aka” I mean an identical machine was sold with a different name on it. 
Are you on a very limited budget?  These machines are widely available used for quite reasonable prices, but it’s best to avoid shipping them. 

Some of my favorite models:


If you want punch cards, 890 series.  The 820 and 830 are pretty old, back to early 70s.  The 891 etc. are much newer and have more features.

If you want electronics, any 900 series in good order:  910, 930, 940, 950, 965, 965i, 970.  My favorites in this group are 930, 940, 965 & 965i.  970 is a nice machine, but harder to learn and very expensive, and the 910 is getting a little old.  I am continually astonished by how well-built Japanese knitting machines were and how long they last, but I like to see people get something from the 90s or newer.

Silver Reed
If you can afford a new machine, these are being imported and available from dealers!

LK150, if you want mid-gauge non-patterning (and, it’s relatively portable)

Any of their electronic machines – I have two of those, myself.  Both are older models and very nice.

If you want punch cards, the 700 is a nice machine. 
I'd urge you, with either brand, to stay away from the really old models with a lot less features, since prices are so reasonable. 

You'll need to decide what gauge to buy.  The bulky machines are especially good for jackets and blankets.  I like the standard gauge machines myself for fashion, but usually teach beginners on the bulky machines because they’re so easy to see.  Most knitters end up with both gauges, and some of us have mid-gauge machines as well.

Machines don’t ship well.  I’ve seen some terrible damage from dropping.  You can probably find a machine within driving distance.  My husband John runs an RSS feed search for any knitting machine on Criaigslist, and he gets an email whenever there’s one for sale in our area. 
Also, if you are near a knit club, there’s nearly always someone in the group with a machine to sell.  They’re either downsizing or upgrading or have collected too many.


  1. What about the Superba (aka White,Singer Memomatic, Phildar). I now have a Superba S48 and I love it. It is so light and easy to use; much superior to the very heavy Passap machines. It will take a greater variety of yarns, too, up to a worsted weight yarn; it has 12 tension settings. I know you have a 9000.

  2. Both questions today were from people who have never machine knitted and never owned a machine. While the Superba is a wonderful machine, who is going to teach this person to use it? I am shooting for something in widespread use so they can find knitting help.