Machine Knitting

Machine knitting is the change brought into the world of knitting by technology. Introducing an automated system to do all the complicated bits is something that may seem like cheating, to the traditional hand-knitting aficionados, but the fact is, machine knitting is a lot more complicated than hand-knitting. The main difference between hand-knitting and machine knitting is that the former is focused more on creativity while the latter requires a lot more dedication and technique, rather than creativity.

The things you need to consider, when considering machine knitting, includes the kind of machine you are going to buy. Something like buying a car, the kind of machine you choose has a lot to do with your style and your ability in using that machine. Each machine has its own characteristics and you need to learn them, adapt to them and find the one that suits your style. A knitting machine isn't like any appliance that you have used before so it will take you a bit of time to get accustomed to its working and functionality. If you think that commercialization of knitting, by installing machines, is something that will make your task easier, then maybe these details will make you think again.

A guide to machine knitting and knitting machines is essential if you are trying to head down that path, so here's something to help you along the way.

The different Types of Knitting Machines

Machine knitting is generally carried out by specialized instruments, which means that if you want to knit in a particular style, knit a particular part of the fabric or knit on a particular type of fabric, you need to have the right machine for it. Something like a Flat Bed knitting machine allows you to create flat pieces, as the name suggests. That means, this kind of machine knitting will produce garments with side-seams and you cannot knit in a round pattern on this machine.

Normally, you should be able to buy a Flat Bed knitting machine in a manual, computer-ready or punch-card format. This has nothing to be with how you would operate the machine but has everything to do with what kind of designs would come out of it. The designs will have to be made manually, through an electronic controller or a computer, or through a punching machine.

In manual machine knitting, you have to position the needles with your hands, moving them around based on a chart that will position them as per the desired pattern. In a punch card technique, you get card with different designs and each one tells the carriage exactly what kind of needles need to be used and which needles need to do what. Finally, the computer-based machines are all about automating things to the point where the messages, of what needs to be done, is passed onto the needles through electronic impulses. If you are making patterns on, say a bed spread, then the punch machines and computer controlled systems are perfect.

Manual machine knitting is more tedious because after every single time you make a stitch, you need to stop everything, check if things have come out alright, check if the needles are in the correct position for the next stitch, and then go onto the next one. While none of that is very hard, it is extremely tedious, which makes it something that you wouldn't really want to do.


Ribbing is not like regular knitting and requires you to attach a special machine knitting accessory that comes purpose-built for ribbing. Known simply as a "ribber", it allows you to make 1x1 or 2x2 stitches, and more. It also allows you to stitch in a round fashion but doesn't have the capability of handling patterns. If attached to the main Flat Bed machine, you won't even be able to get two colours on it at a time, for each row.

However, machine knitting is so popular, especially on a commercial scale, that you find a lot of stitches for a ribber. Things like a tuck lace or a plated rib are extremely uncommon, even in the world of hand knitting, so finding them in machines is quite a revelation.

Machine knitting is a part of this wonderful craft that takes you into a whole different world than the one you are accustomed to. There are plenty of options for those who are looking to expand their knowledge and if you have the time and patience to learn these machines, you can even bring them into your own home and turn your hobby into something more serious. Another thing - machine knitting and the equipment isn't designed for mere industrial usage or commercial production of garments. A home, as much as any organization, is ideally suited for your machine knitting projects.

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