Monday, August 3, 2009

Finding a Knitting Machine

If I wanted to learn to machine knit, and didn’t have a machine, a first consideration would be whether there were a local dealer. If you have a local dealer who can give you lessons, answer questions, and sell you the machine, then you’re a leg up over everybody else who is buying whatever they can find with crossed fingers.

In the knitting machine market, as I understand it, the only new machines currently being imported are the Artisan brand. I have not used one of those machines, and can’t really advise you about them.

You can also often find new machines that have been sitting around at a dealer (‘new old stock’) and almost new machines from private parties. Studio (aka Singer) was imported until recently, and I bet you can get new machines from some dealers.

If you don’t have a dealer, once you’ve studied the machines decided what you want and how much you’d like to spend, you could run an ad on Craig’s list saying what you wanted, and I bet somebody local would call you and offer to sell you one.

You could buy a machine on eBay. I’ve done that before, but I know exactly what I’m buying and inspect the advertisement closely to see if all necessary parts are included. I’d avoid sellers who say they know nothing about the machine or haven’t tested it. One of the biggest headaches about eBay is that knitting machines are terribly hard to ship and often arrive damaged. I’ve shipped one that arrived damaged – the things are long, awkward, and heavy on one end, and they fall off the conveyor belt at the shipper’s warehouse, or they get dropped, and they break. Shipping is very expensive, too.

If you’re adventurous and can afford a mistake or two, you can hit yard sales and thrift stores. That’s a better strategy for the person who knows machines and knows what to look for and what the essential parts are.

I bought my Brother 270 (the lovely machine in the lesson videos) from Dorothy Rosman of Custom Knits and Manufacturing, which is in my knitting links on this page. Dorothy has an excellent reputation, and she gave me a good price on a machine that was virtually new. When those 270s came out, I thought I would never afford one, but they’re used now and good deals can occasionally be found! Dorothy often has different machines available for sale. Dorothy shipped the machine, but she’s an expert who knows how to get the items to her customers undamaged. There are other wonderful dealers, too, whom you could contact and see about getting a nice machine.

The good news is that once you find a good machine, they seem to last a great many years. These are, for the most part, sturdy, reliable machines.

Next article: different models, pros and cons.


  1. Hi Diana: Thank you for writing about finding knitting machines. There are two other brands of machines currently being manufactured in addition to the Artisan. They are Silver Reed, formally branded as Studio and the Bond, which is a plastic hobby machine actually manufactued in the US. Information on these machines and manufacturers can be found on our website at -- Lea-Ann

  2. I am so glad to hear that! I hadn't seen any of my usual haunts selling Studio/Silver machines in so long that I thought they had stopped importing. I had also been told by knitting ladies that they were done.

    I like that brand of machine very much, in fact, own one, and do believe beginners are always better off if they can afford a new machine, especially one with Silver's quality.

    I have owned a Bond - don't anymore, just bought it so we could help club members who have one, and am very aware of their continuing availability. I guess it IS a knitting machine, just at very much an entry level.