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I bought two: one Ultimate and one Incredible machine. I got them used off Goodwill auction site (first mistake) turns out it was the bed of one of the machines is warped- someone left it out in the sun or ??? and it's warped just enough that you can't really tell by just looking at it straight on. It took days of me watching the how-to videos, almost in tears wondering why I wasn't able to knit with it and why it kept sticking and jamming. So, I switched beds and now have one decent working machine. I hesitate to call it a machine as it is more like a toy, but now I am sold on the idea of getting a real machine. I will, but I would want my husband to see something come out of this machine first, so he'll believe me when I tell him it's not another one of my "needs" that collects dust in the crafts room that is crowded with things I "just had to have".

I know there are a lot of different knitting machines out there. I fear going out and buying one myself as I don't even know what to look for, or if it would be missing any important parts. The type of machine I would want is basically one I would knit up afghans or cardigans, basically for DK or thicker gauge yarn. The Bond machines have keyplates for different size yarns, do other machines have that capability? Reason I ask here in KP, Ive been to many great machine knitting websites, but I kind of want to read what others have to say personally. Like, what can you make with yours? is it limited to certain yarn sizes? what can yours do that a toy Bond machine can not do? I'll be watching this topic.
 

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I was like you when I bought my LK150. Because I didn't know anything about knitting machines and had no one to teach me, I opted for a new one purchased off eBay. If you are serious about machine knitting, I would recommend ultimately getting a machine that can do ribbing. The LK150 is a nice machine that handles a wide variety of yarns, but there is no ribber available for it. To do a cardigan, for example, typically you will want ribbing on the hem and cuffs, and perhaps around the neck. With my machine, I need to do those by hand. Although it is possible to do mock ribbing on a machine like mine, it does not have the really nice stretch characteristics of real ribbing. You also want a machine that can do automatic patterning for you. Although I can do patterning by hand, it would be much faster and less work if there were a punch card reader for my machine.

If I were ever to upgrade, I think I would first decide on the specific machine(s) I would be interested in. I have seen really wonderful recommendations here from experienced machine knitters, and I'm sure they will respond to you as well. Then, I would allow myself a year to check Craigslist and local Facebook marketplace listings daily, looking for a machine in good working order. Granted some may be from estate sales, but there will be some from experienced knitters looking to downsize. Buying used locally keeps the price down (good machines are expensive!) and you can ask for a demonstration that the machine works.

I know people have made wonderful sweaters, etc. on Bond machines. It would be a good idea to become skillful at all aspects of the Bond before moving up. It's not only the machine that limits, but our skill in using it. There is as much to learn about machine knitting as there is to learn with hand knitting -- a lot!!! However, it's possible to turn out beautiful garments with even the simplest of stitches with mastery of skills.
 

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For thicker yarns, you need to look for a "bulky" machine. I have a Silver Reed 360 and that is for finer yarns. I think that the ribber I also got helps tremendously. They exist for bulky machines as well. Mine uses punch cards for patterning and that's nice, but it takes a while to make your own and there is a limit to the number of stitches in the pattern. Electronic machines ought to be better at more advanced patterns (but I haven't looked into them that much). There is also something called a knit radar that takes a pattern (like a sewing pattern) and helps you to know where to do increases and decreases when you knit sweaters and stuff.

When it comes to brand... I stumbled upon the Silver Reed, but there are others, and some work differently than others, but all work in the same basic manner (unless it's an old machine), so look for price, availability and tools. Let that help you decide on brand.
 

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Silver Reed for new machines such as LK150 or SK280. You could have a look at this UK site https://www.silverviscount.co.uk/index.php?route=product/allproduct&cat_id=22. There is bound to be a site where you live too.
The other machines are all second hand and there are many many many.
I would suggest http://www.scanthecat.com/html/bnro_machines.html for information about Brother machines.
But there are other machines such as Singer/Superba/White/Phildar or Passap that are more likely to be more available in Europe and particularly in France. Wonderful machines too.
So it is a question of what you are willing to try and how much you are willing to pay.
It might be useful to go to very trustworthy sellers too. You will find specialist FaceBook sites for the sale of knitting machines and all this should help you decide.
 

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I would recommend you look out for a Brother KH260 bulky machine. They're few and far between these days, and can be expensive unless you chance upon one in an estate sale or similar. i was lucky enough to get one with a ribber for $200, but that was a miracle. It's a 24 stitch punchcard machine, quite easy to learn if you start off with basic stocking stitch knitting, then go on to the other things it can do once you've got the basics down.
 

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ALL machines are 'limited' to certain yarn sizes for best results.
ALL (modern-ish) machines offer some sort of tension (better described as 'stitch size') adjustment. The Bond uses 'keyplates' of different 'sizes'; other machines use a variety of methods which generally offer more adjustment than does the Bond keyplate method.
ALL machines (other than the plastic-bed 'hobby' machines such as the Bond and the LK 150) are limited in stitches to the number of needles fixed on the bed by the manufacturer. Plastic-bed hobby machines are modular in construction and the Bond is very easy to extend to a vast number of needles, which is just one of the reasons people still hang on to them - there's nothing like a Bond for making big blankets, 200 - 300 stitches or more, wide.
ALL machines require that you, the operator, manipulate stitches for shaping and sizing purposes. This is no different whatever sort or gauge of machine you might have.
Referring only to domestic machines here, of course …

I have Bonds, an LK 150 and a Brother 260 punchcard machine with ribber and all the bells and whistles.
Which machine do I have out almost all the time? One of my Bonds.
Which machine do I 'love best'?
Each of them, for very different reasons.

The Brother, for its wonderful colourwork and textured stitches (tuck and slip) when using the punchcard facility. Its ribber, when I can be bothered to get the ribber set up (that's a physical battle as much as anything - that thing is heavy[/I -] and awkward!). Its knitradar, which enables me to follow shaping schematics for almost any pattern, without a calculator and writing out row-by-row details.
The LK-150 for its wonderful versality of yarn use - from 4-ply (what the US knows as fingering or sock weight, I believe) right up to - with care! - an Aran weight/10-ply(what the US knows as worsted weight I believe). And Susan Guagliumi's demos and books!
The Bond for its light weight, ease and speed of set-up, take down and storage, and its general versatility with the yarns that are easily and very cheaply available to me.

The fact that I actively enjoy hand manipulation tends me towards favouring the Bond and the LK-150; the fact that I enjoy hand-knitting while waiting, travelling or sitting in a group of people tends me towards the Bond and the LK-150 too - hand-knit ribs are a nice finishing touch on any garment and take little brain-power while other things are going on around me. I also enjoy knitting complex circular yokes which I do by hand, either knitting up from machine-knitted stocking stitch body and sleeve pieces, or knitting the yoke downwards then hanging it in sections across the needles to knit the body and sleeves flat on the machine. Depending on my gauge and the pattern's gauge, I select which of my machines matches this best. However, my love of colourwork nd texture does tend me towards the Brother and its punchcard facility when I want to do more than very simple stripes or more than one repeat of even a simple across-the-width-of-the-needlebed stranded pattern.

Most of my knitting is simple stuff as I knit a lot for charity. Warm hats and mitts, thick socks, scarves and neckwarmers. Blankets. For all of these, I find my 'production' increases when I use a Bond as it is so easy to keep it - or even just a section of it (yes I do that, if I'm using something else on the the desk; mitts, fingerless mitts and scarves don't need more than 50 needles) - ready for use on the desk in my bedroom.

I honestly believe, too, that familiarity with the Bond and its workings (which you can actually observe, if you lift up or remove the 'lid' of the carriage but have the keyplate firmly taped into place) enabled me to 'transition' to the Brother with minimal difficulty - the greatest difficulty I had was in stopping myself doing things for the machine, which it was able to do for itself, such as checking the latches were all open! The most difficult thing I find about the Brother is its sheer size and weight, which means that getting it out and set up for use is a major undertaking and prevents my doing other things in the same space, whereas the Bond, and to a lesser extent the LK-150, can be literally just pushed aside, quite safely, to do other things.

So, you pay your money and you take your choice. Just be aware that ALL knitting machines have a learning curve and that ALL knitting machines are precision instruments which require proper manufacture, care and maintenance to 'work' successfully.
I would add, too, that MOST problems which arise when a well-maintained machine fails to 'work' properly, are due to operator error of some sort. And we all make errors, no matter how many years of experience we have!
 

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I lucked out with my machine and found it here - it's my first and so far ONLY one - A KnitKing CompuKnit III or Brother KH-940 (it's technically a KH-930 but has had a memory upgrade) it's a Standard Gauge machine and came as a full rig setup - garter bar, ribber, stand, manuals, disk reader, disks, you name it this has it. I'm coming up on a year of ownership and I love using it, even through all the learning path. My poor husband has seen more swatches than he cares to I'm sure! I have never been a fan of bulky yarns, always liked to work with finer spins, for me DK weight is the heaviest I prefer to work with.

If I were going to get another machine, it would be the LK150 to handle worsted weight yarns. I belong to a local Machine Knitting Guild and even though there haven't been any in person meetings since March I did get to go to a few last year and got to see some different machines up close. The LK150 impressed me for it's capability.

Find a guild local to you and reach out to them, most members have multiple machines and they're all well cared for and who knows - people get in a purge mode at times and decide to thin the collections they have - you may find a machine that way! Or at the very least they may know more resources to explore to find one.

I will advise that if you get one of the older models regardless of manufacture you remember that they are more metal than plastic and HEAVY to lug around. Also, they have this little; and in my opinion very un-adequate carry handle made of plastic (40+ year old plastic) which breakdown over time so make it a point of getting a carry strap setup to move it with. I got one here: https://www.strapworks.com/Universal_Carry_Strap_p/ucs2h.htm. If I have to take the machine off the stand to move to another room I use it, makes life soooooo much easier!
 

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Good morning,

I don't usually reply a lot on here but this one kinda struck home. I have a Bond, LK150, Singer 155 and also an Passap E6000. I love ALL my machines for different reasons. I think the Bond is a great beginner machine (it makes you work a little harder to appreciate it). I do a lot of lap throws on my Bond and LK150 and hand manipulate simple designs. I use my SK155 for the heavy stuff and the punch cards for a intricate patterns. I use my E6000 the most because the pattern possibilities are endless.

So with all that said I would like to add that if you have a knitting shop near enough to you that have machine knitting classes and have a variety of machines to take a class to learn about the different machines, to see the difference between each one. This way you can decide what you enjoy making and hopefully lead you to the machine of your dreams.
 

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Facebook has a variety of machine knitting group and one especially for purchases - Machine Knitting, Deal or No Deal. If you are looking a something that will handle DK, worsted, or Aran yarns, then you must get a bulky machine. Above comments are great and knowledgeable.
 

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You can also check if there are any machine knitting clubs in your area. If you get a chance, update your location. This will give us an idea if there will be anyone in your area who can give you a real time demonstration and can answer any questions you may have.

All machines are not equal, some are easier to use than others. Some can pattern, (punchcard or electronic). There are a couple of punchcards the can make almost 100 different patterns each with just one punchcard. Both cards are located in the original pack of 15/20 that came with the punch card machines. There are machines that can also make lace with a punchcard, or can be done manually. Punch card machines are limited to a 24 stitch - standard, 30 stitch fine gauge.

If you find a good teacher, you will learn how your machine works as well as how learn simple patterns.
 

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I have several, and I agree that one that takes a ribber almost doubles the capacity of your machine. You can knit tubular fabric ans well as double width plain fabric. I would like an electronic one, but you have to take into account that the electronics are old and not easily replaceable. When they blow, you will only be able to do plain knitting. The punch card ones are 12, 24 and 40 stitch wide...the latter is a Passap!

While I love my Brother 260 and wouldn't part with it, I've had a lot more use out of the punchcard standard gauge 4.5 mm). It has 200 needles and takes up to 4 ply, sport, baby, sock. I prefer fine knits. However, if you do fair isle patterns, it produces a warm fabric because the floats make it double. You can also knit at least DK on every other needle. The bulky will do most yarn up to but not including bulky in most cases. You can also do a variety of stitches on these machine...tuck stitch, lace and weaving styles. Garter stitch require a lot of hand manipulation (but you can purchase a garter carriage.); cables and other intricate textured stitches also need to be manipulated by hand.
 

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Just make sure you put enough weight on your knitting right from the very first row. I found out on the Bond and the LK 150 that if you don't, it will jam. So it took more weight than I thought it needed. Once I did that, things went smoothly.
 

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A lot of good information has been given. One important thought alluded to is if you buy a used machine, buy with in traveling distance. Damage to a used machine will likely occur in shipping unless the original buyer happened to keep all of the protective packing, which is highly unlikely. I agree with many that the LK150 would be a good choice considering the yarns you want to use. As many of us have done, you may down the road want to add to your collection. Even though I have ribbers for my machines. I often knit ribbing by hand just to have a project to work on while watching TV. Knit It Now instruction advice for newbies: concentrate at first on learning the knitting machine. Forget about a ribber until you are competent with a KM. Each brand of machine has different perks & slightly different aspects in its operation. I don’t think you’d regret owning a LK150. There is a lot of help online in using this specific machine. Craftsy has 3 classes by Susan Guagliumi which would get you up & running, Diana Sullivan I think has on line classes using the LK. Also Kint It Now (online subscription) has specific classes on starting up on the LK150. All of these resources are first class, well done & would get you started on the right path of machine knitting, & knowing how to operate this machine. From there, it’s a life long learning process. Another good reference resource (yarn-store.com) select knitting machines, then yarns to use with different machines. This section discusses different gauges of machines & weights of yarns they use.
 

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To see what knitting machines do, join Ravelry if you don’t already belong. Search out machine knitter groups. There’s mid gauge groups, hand knit to machine knit, etc. You will see all of the posted fotos of machine knits. There are several groups of machine knitters.
 

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You can also check out youtube, there are all kinds of videos there and if you are on facebook you will find all kinds of groups there.
 
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