I am wondering if any of you have used a knitting machine to knit up your hand spun yarns. Years ago I was told that hand spun yarn could not be knitted on a machine - for the life of me I can't remember the reason 'why not', but it must have sounded reasonable because I didn't try it on my knitting machine. That was some 25 years ago and with the technological advances made since that time I am now wondering if a knitting machine has been designed that will knit both hand spun and commercial yarns. If so, which Brand and Model No.
Hi, Di, I have no experience with knitting machines, but I think someone told me they are usually better suited to finer, uniform yarns. A lot of handspun (25 years ago) was viewed as too thick & uneven to use for machine knitting. If you spin a good, stable, reasonably uniform yarn of a thickness that your machine accepts, it should work, I think! Also some machines might now have the capacity to knit chunky or novelty yarn, but I don't know which ones. Just try to spin a yarn that is comparable to the commercial yarn your machine works well with & try it. Good luck! LT
I've used my handspun on knitting machines. It caught a few times, but that was because it was the "Incredible Sweater Machine." Not stellar machinery, just functional.
A friend of mine was told (and was offended) that she was never to use handspun in knitting machines. That evening she went home and spun up and machine knitted a garment. She brought it in to the instructor. Said instructor admired and crooned over the colors. Said friend informed her it was handspun. The machine was a Brother. I don't know the make.
Your yarn may need to be consistent, but don't let that stop my from experimenting with the limitations. I've seen fantastic things with just a bit of clever thinking. Don't believe everything
I own both a Brother 930 regular gauge and a Brother Bulky. I use my knitting machine for handspun with no problems. Yes, some folks are offended, but I remind them that a weaving loom is a machine and no one seems to have a moral issue with that. For me, some part of this process has to go quickly or work in my time frame; otherwise I would never make anything other than hats and scarves; I like sweaters.
I also do other things, like work, go to the gym, go out with friends and maintain an active relationship. That said, a knitting machine is simply a tool to make life easier. I spin a fine singles–about 28 w.p.i. for a 2 ply about 14 w.p.i. That knits up nicely on the machine. For the bulky, I spin, well, bulkier. And my fancy yarns, I hand-knit. I think that's enough.
You've jogged my memory - that was the reason given for not using hand spun on knitting machines. At the time I had a Singer MemoMatic which didn't seem to like any yarn over a 5ply (Australian ply - I am in Australia, by the way) and my hand spun tended to be 'all over the shop' as far as thickness and consistency went - truth be know, it probably still is - to me that is the beauty of hand spun, interesting textures within the same yarn.
Thanks for replying. That was interesting, I had a look at the "Incredible Sweater Machine" (Online) and wondered about it accepting hand spun yarns. I have been looking online for knitting machines because, apparently they are no longer being imported to Australia - the bigger brands found the market was too small here. There is one supplier, here in NSW, who offers two brands of machine, their own brand - made by Brother - and another one I have never heard of. Personally I like to look at a range of brands etc. before I make my purchase. Guess I'm going to have to travel down to Sydney to have a look at the two brands on offer there.
Ah Sahara, thank you,
A Brother 930 and a Brother Bulky - as I told Denise (above) there is only one outlet in Sydney that sells knitting machines and one of those brands is made by Brother (not called Brother) so I will check them out.
At the moment I'm finding my self in a 'catch 22' situation - do I spin or knit, have to spin first before I knit, but I don't have time to do both...........
I am a spinner and a machine knitter. I was a spinner first and then a machine knitter. I find I do not have time now to use the machines except for once every few years. But I do have time to spin and hand knit or crochet. That is because they fit into different nitches of my life. Spinning happens when I am watching tv in the evening with my husband or during the day when a progam I am working on is compiling or running (I do programming as an occupation). Hand knitting and crochet is when I am waiting for appointments and chatting with people and not at home. I always carry a project with me. Machine knitting is when I have a BIG project to do that is mostly stocking knit stitch or intarsia work.
Regarding knitting machine brands: most of the old "brands" were made by just a couple of Japanses companies; these were flatbed machines that might have another bed to create the rib. The European machines like the Passap were not flatbeds and much more complicated to use. I knew many who purchased them but quickly gave up using them. There was also the "Bond" machine that was very simple. This is what I would recommend to someone who want to learn without a lot of lessons. They also handle handspun yarns better. My Toyota machines handle handspun better than my Brothers. Oh yeah, I purchased the Toyotas and people gave me the Brothers. Lots of people buy machines, very few use them.
I machine knit with my handspun all the time. I don't treat handspun any differently from commercially spun yarn. The main consideration is the gauge of the machine. The Japanese machines (Silver Reed/Studio/Singer, Brother/KnitKing, and Toyota) come in four gauges determined by the distance in millimeters between the needles: 3.6mm (fine gauge), 4.5mm (standard gauge) 6.5 - 7.0mm (mid-gauge) and 9.0mm (Bulky). You could knit silk stockings with the fine gauge machine. The standard gauge machine will handle yarn up to 5000 ypp. The mid-gauge will knit the weight of yarns that hand knitters tend to use: fingering to worsted. The bulky machine will take the thicker yarns.
I have tried the Ultimate Sweater Machine/Bond without success. I think the Silver Reed LK-150 is the best plastic machine. It's very user friendly and there's even an excellent video available. After that, it depends on what patterning features you want. Punchcard machines will create patterns by punching patterns on cards. The holes in the cards move the needles in the way that a player piano moves the keys or a dobby loom moves harnessess. There are also electronic machines that will communicate with your computer.
The only surviving Japanese knitting machine manufacturer is Silver Reed (used to be called Studio or Singer). This can be important if you need replacement parts.
I could go on and on about knitting machines. They are such an undervalued tool with remarkable potential.