Friday, September 11, 2015

The Brother KH 900 and KR 900 Ribber

Here's the Brother electronic, model KH 900, with it's ribber, the KR 900.  I had mentioned to y'all that I had never seen one of these before.  John was really getting into this by the time we started on this machine, and he removed and soaked all the needles, took the carriage all apart and unstuck the middle button, and made a repair to the upper tension unit, as well.

John is fascinated with how the machines work.  I can understand that, but I'm not one of those folks who loves to clean and adjust my machine.  I want to knit!  And knit some more!  So, to testing the machines after John has them humming is just my cup of tea.

The 900 was easy for me to use.  The carriage buttons and levers are familiar.  It also has a very simple electronic control panel.  It just has 50 different stitch patterns built in, and you push the Pattern Number button, then the up and down arrows to find the pattern you want.  Then you poke the Pattern Number button again, and you're ready to go.  You can also use the input keys to put in patterns.  I actually use very few large patterns, and 24 stitches is usually plenty of design space, especially in this situation, because if you want a smaller number, you don't have to use 24 - it could be 11 stitches, or 5 stitches, or whatever, but repeated on across the bed.  Another cool thing about 24 stitches is that I have several books of 24-stitch punch card designs that will work with this.  You can get books with hundreds and hundreds of patterns!  There are a few simple variation keys, and I tried those.  There's a double jacquard key.  There's a way to position or isolate patterns, but I didn't play with that, at least not so far. 

There's a door here with some electronic contacts, for a PPD.

I believe this model was not originally sold with a lace carriage; if you wanted one, you had to purchase it separately.  I tried the one from a Brother electronic.  Some lace patterns knitted fine, but one miss-patterned in a certain spot.  The main carriage didn't miss-pattern that lace chart.  Hmm.  So maybe these machines are pickier about which lace carriage that I expected.  My girlfriend has a spare lace carriage from an earlier electronic that I'm going to try with this machine. 

We put the ribber on, and it wasn't working well at all.  After puzzling over it, I realized that the ribber brackets - those little gizmos that you install on each end of the main bed, and from which you hang the ribber - had been installed incorrectly, back under the front edge instead of butted up against the front edge.  We hadn't looked at those, just left them where they were when we got it.  That made the ribber ride too low and too far back, just enough to cause trouble. John and I moved those, and had instant success with the ribber.  I'm curious how this ribber differs from the KR 850.  I notice it does have "lili" buttons.

One of the things John and I talked about as we fiddled with this machine was its possible age.  He thinks perhaps the 900 model was not necessarily before the 910, but was a less-expensive option or something while several other, fancier electronic models were also being sold.  I really have no idea.  I was a dealer when the 910 came out, and I thought it was a great innovation.  At the time, the new technology was very exciting.  This was the time when the garter carriage came out.  I was certainly paying attention to each new product!  When the 930 came out, I truly was in love with that model.  I had that machine when I sold my shop, kept it, and it was my one-and-only for years.  I moved up to a 965i and a 970, but truthfully, my 930 was just a sweet machine, and I kind of miss it.


  1. Hi Diana,

    This was a reasonably priced electronic, 24 stitch patterns with single motif and 50 built in patterns, it does take a cartridge from a PPD. It normally came without a lace carriage, this was sold as an optional separate accessory. It came out around the time of the 930. It's a good machine indeed.

    My favorite is the 930, I can see why you kind of miss it, a nice workhorse and very faithful. Replacement parts are readily available too. I've two 910's in storage, one in mint condition, the other waiting for a refurbishment. I like their nostalgia and they do knit well.

  2. I understand the 900 came out after some of the higher number ones, as a "budget" electronic version... not sure about dates though... according to someone on Rav, it was one of the last machines Brother made, and the manual dates from 1990.

    1. That doesn't really surprise me, since it does have the lili buttons on the ribber. I'm actually quite taken with this machine. I have just brought home a different lace carriage, and am going to see how that does.

  3. Hi, I recently acquired a brother KH900 machine but it didn't come with the power cable. I've been trying to find one online but not knowing what it looks like, voltage, etc, it's proving difficult. I wondered if you would mind posting a photograph of your KH900 ac adapter to help me with my search? Many Thanks.

  4. I no longer have that KH900. Readers, can any of you help Jo? Please send me a photo by email (there's a link on the left-hand side) and I will post it.

  5. I purchased my KH900 new in 1991 or '92 in Denver. They had already come out with the KH970, but that was too expensive. The KH900 was a wonderful machine. I still have it, but haven't used it for a decade or more. I will pull it out soon and send you a photo of the power supply if no one has already. Sonja