Purchasing a knitting machine isn’t easy. There are various considerations, not the least of which is what type of machine you’re actually getting. It may seem simple enough, but there are actually numerous little things to keep in mind. In that sense, it’s not that different from buying anything else. If you’re looking for good quality, you need to do some research and have a clear idea of what makes a knitting machine “good.”
To help clarify matters, here the things you need to keep in mind when you are browsing for a new knitting machine. These will apply whether you need an industrial machine or are a hobbyist and needs one for their home projects.
As with buying anything else, your first step is going to do research. Figure out what brands are out there. Companies like xdknitmachinery make high-quality knitting machines for industrial purposes, with various models available. There are different brands and manufacturers that make home-use knitting machines. If you know what you want, you can filter away one or the other and focus your research on those who make what you’re in the market for.
While all knitting machines perform the same function and work the same way, the design details can vary. For instance, the switches and controls might be in different places between models and manufacturers, particularly for home machines. Some industrial machines might be designed to be fully automated, while others require a small degree of human input to work properly. Consider these elements as you shop around.
Another thing to know is that some knitting equipment is specialized. For instance, there are machine models dedicated to making a jersey knit, whether single or double knit. They are not designed to accommodate other forms. If you buy one of these and you’re not looking to make anything that uses a jersey knit fabric, then you’ve wasted some cash.
Used or New?
Used machines can be a good value for home knitting machines, but not so much for industrial ones. In both cases, however, brand new is still the best option if the budget allows for it. The manufacturer’s warranty, the knowledge that none of the parts have been damaged, and that the machine has no wear and tear can all be invaluable if you intend to put them through heavy use.
However, if a second-hand machine is the only option, it pays to do a lot of research and to never buy without seeing it first.
Another thing to keep in mind is the gauge. In many ways, this will be more important than the brand itself. Gauge is the term used to indicate the size of the needle used, as well as the space between them on the bed. Gauge also determines the amount of yarn that a machine can knit at once, as well as what types. In general, no machine is built to handle all types of yarn, so the gauge is how you determine what your new piece of equipment can handle.
The standard gauge is the easiest to find, as they’re the most common. The design will run 200 needles with a pitch of 4.5mm. This allows it to knit a wider range of yarn and fabric types compared to the others, allowing you to make various products. Lace to sportswear and various things in between can be handled with this. Though this means that some of the heavier fabrics and products such as heavy winter cardigans aren’t possible.
The bulky gauge will have a pitch of 9mm, with 114 needles. The bulkier, heavier fabrics and threads are what this was meant to handle. If you intend to make anything out of worsted weight yarns such, this is the machine you want. Things this could be used to make will include winterwear like ski sweaters and the like. The heavier threads will tend to cause errors in the knitting process on lighter gauges.
There are also fine gauge knitting machines, which are the opposite end of the bulky ones. They are built for the finest fabrics and yarns, ones that are extra fine and little more than lace weight in most cases. If you need to work with anything that is made of very fine fabrics, this is the machine gauge you’re looking for. Typically, this is something you will see only in mass-produced everyday attire, rather than other fields.
Finally, there is the ease of patterning to consider. This is more important in industrial machines, but not unheard of in home-knitting ones. It is important that it be a simple, hassle-free process to implement any patterns you need to be made into the machine. The more complicated that is to do, the more troublesome it is for you to make new products using old equipment.
Knitting machines are useful, but they are complex pieces of engineering. Buying the right one is important for any projects, whether done at home or for mass production of clothes. Knowing the right brand to buy from and what gauge will fit with your intended products is important.
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