Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Review: The Ultimate Sweater Machine

Have you seen these machines advertised? Have you seen the cost of them?


I've wanted to try a machine knitting for the longest time - but the sheer cost and complexity of one has put me off. After much research and talking to lots of people - I decided to give this machine a chance. My Bernia cost a pretty penny and I haven't regretted any moment of that investment (in fact I would recommend a Bernia to anyone) but I was very worried about throwing away $ on this purchase (a birthday present from my husband.)

It took me about 3hrs to set up and figure this little beast out. If you are considering this machine I would only recommend it if a) you know how to knit b) you are patient and relatively calm and c) machines do not intimate you.

The knit is surprisingly good. Here is the test patch I first made with the yarn they provided in the box.

I have to say - so far it has won me over. It is plastic and it is not finely engineered - but for the $'s it is pretty amazing. Here are my tips ...
  • don't bother with the wax they give you reach straight for the silicone spray
  • keeping the tension on the edges of the hanging knitting is key (invest in some knitting machine weights asap)
  • slower is better - don't rush - check each row for dropped stitches before starting the next- ignore their advertised speed - slower is better
  • don't force the carriage - or press down too hard - you should be able to move it side to side with one hand
  • watch every video on You Tube you can find  BEFORE buying or setting up to learn about its quirks and limitations
  • keeping practicing, breath lots and have chocolate/diet coke on hand
I would say that I am a pretty avid fan of handing knitting. I find the process incredibly peaceful and soothing and I love making big projects and designs that my friends and family look at me as though I am crazy to take on. So why get a machine? I'm so horribly time bound these days with the little kids - I'm desperate to knit again - but I want to spend my time doing the fiddlier bits of cables and corners and all that fun stuff - I want to be able to produce large plain stockinette stitched areas.

I just knitted 60 rows of 130 stitches each in about 40 mins - which is much slower than their advertized rate - but I was being ultra careful.

Stay posted for some projects I have planned with this little machine.


Sue said...

Interesting, I've been thinking of a knitting machine for a long time but wondered if I was too dumb to use it.

Unknown said...

I've been using the machine today. It is very basic - but it does knit nicely & easily. It doesn't need any brains (I know you have lots of those) just patience and the knowledge of how a knitted stitch is made ... if that makes sense. I like it so far - but I haven't been asking it to do too much ;-)