One of the most popular craft pastimes, knitting is a very useful and enjoyable hobby. Some users are hesitant to use a machine to knit, citing the machine's complexity and the feeling that using a machine is 'cheating'. Knitting machines, while they vary somewhat from brand to brand, are all the same instrument, with the same components, so learning from a guide or from a friend does not make it more complex. And knitting with a machine is a skill just as is knitting with needles ; this means that with practice, the user can master it, and does not have to be wary because a machine is involved. As for the feeling that using a machine is 'cheating', again, using a knitting machine is a skill just as regular knitting is. It is not 'cheating'. Using a machine is simply faster and more practical, particularly if one has many projects one wants to do.
To find a machine quickly and easily, the user is advised to turn to eBay, where there are many products up for sale, with new ones added every day. The shopper can easily sift through knitting machines of varying brands and prices without leaving home. But before buying, the shopper must know how to use a knitting machine, including knowing what type of machine he or she has, knowing how to cast on, and finally how to machine-knit.
Know Your Machine
A simple yet crucial step: the user must first know what kind of machine she or he has. Though knitting machines all have the same basic components, different patterns require different machines. Some are designed to make loose, lacy stitches, while others work better with thicker yarn.
Some basic types of knitting machines are bulky machines, standard beds, and mid-gauge models. Bulky machines use larger-ply wool and 9-mm needles. Standard bed machines use 4.5-mm needles, and are the ideal machine to use if the user plans to knit lots of sweaters. Finally, mid-gauge models use 5- and 6.5-mm needles. Bulky and mid-gauge models are no longer manufactured, but one can still find them online and at yard sales. So, determining what needles the machine needs and what kind of yarn should be used are important first steps. If the knitter is not sure what the requirements for the machine is, he or she can either consult the instruction guide or look up the make and model number online.
Learning to Cast-On with the Machine
The most common method of casting on stitches when using a machine is the E-wrap. The user must set the carriage of the machine to the right and select the number of needles needed. The number of needles is the same as the number of stitches one needs to cast on.
To cast on, one holds the yarn between the first two needles on the left and, with the right hand, wraps the yarn counterclockwise around the first needle on the left. Then, he or she must bring the yarn to the second needle while still holding the end of the yarn with the left hand and wrap it counterclockwise around the second needle. This process repeats until the last needle is wrapped, at which point the yarn can be returned inside the carriage gate and the gate lever can be closed.
Now to finally start knitting. The user must set the row counter on the knitting machine to zero, place the combs with the weights on the stitches, and adjust the stitch dial according to the thickness of the yarn. Then the user must push the carriage across the needle bed from left to right, keeping in mind the tension. If the tension is too tight, the first row is going to be snug and resistant. The first push is somewhat difficult, but after a row or two, the carriage moves easily across the rows. To avoid dropping stitches and catching the loops on the bed hooks, the knitter must keep the working yarn tight before moving the carriage, pushing the carriage back and forth until the correct number of rows have been knitted. Once the piece is finished, the knitter takes the weights out from the fabric and the swatch and cuts the yarn, and the knitting is done.
Increasing or Decreasing the Stitch
If the consumer wants to increase a stitch on the knitting machine, he or she must start with the yarn in one hand and pick a new needle to start. After threading the yarn around the new needle, the knitting can continue. The knitter can repeat this process at the end of every row, or wait until starting a new row. To decrease a stitch, the user must place the needle through the stitch and go over it on the next stitch, so the end result is two stitches are being knit at a time.
Joining in a New Ball of Yarn
If one is working on a large, expansive project, several balls of yarn are needed. Because of this, the knitter needs to keep an eye on how much yarn he or she is using, how much is left, and about when the yarn needs replacin with a new ball. When that time comes, the user must tie the end of the yarn from the new ball to the first stitch on the row, then clip off the excess ends, so there are no snags. Then the knitting can continue.
Using an Adjustable Latch Tool
While an adjustable latch tool is not an essential tool when using a knitting machine, it can be very useful for speeding up purl, ribbing, moss, and garter stitch designs. Beginners are advised to use two latch needles, but even just two can double one's 'ribbing speed'.
To start, one must weave a knitting needle in and out of the stitches, below the area that is going to be reformed. The next step is to insert the latch prongs into the respective stitches of the bottom row that are going to be changed. At this point one can drop the stitches off the needles and hold down on the knitting needle, keeping the latch tool parallel to the floor and pushing forward with the tool to catch the rung of the next stitch in the hook of the latch. Pulling straight backward towards the body, the user pulls the rung through the stitch on the needle, repeating this step for each of the stitches.
How to Buy a Knitting Machine on eBay
To start shopping on eBay, you must first go to the eBay home page. There you can type simple keywords, such as 'knitting machine', in the search bar to find the product you are looking for. Once the results appear on the screen, you can choose to narrow down the results by limiting the search with certain features such as brand, condition, colour, and price.
You can safely pay on eBay with PayPal, an electronic method of payment that delivers the money immediately to the seller. PayPal protects you, the buyer, by not allowing the seller, or anyone else, to view your personal information, and all transactions are monitored to insure that the right amount of money is sent to the correct people. As another reassurance to buyers, users who are nervous about the possibility of buying from untrustworthy sellers can look for the 'Top-Rated Seller' badge. This badge is given by eBay to sellers who have completed two goals: one, they have received consistently positive feedback from previous buyers; and two, they have sold a certain amount of merchandise in a month and made a certain amount of money in a year. This successful track record means you can trust the seller to deliver the item you buy in the advertised condition, and in a timely manner.
Knitting with a machine is a fun, creative hobby that anyone can do. As the user continues practicing simple patterns on a machine, he or she can soon move up to more complex designs, different wool sizes, and using different machines without fear. Using a knitting machine provide the user with a more even texture. This makes a knitting machine ideal for large pieces, as any inconsistencies in texture are more noticeable on bigger and more complex designs. As some stitch patterns, such as the tuck stitch, are much easier done on a machine than by hand, a knitting machine also saves the consumer time and energy. Finally, for the knitting enthusiast who wants to be familiar with all areas and niches of knitting, the knitting machine is another fun way to enjoy the hobby.
If the model of knitting machine one wants is one no longer being manufactured, the shopper can turn to eBay. On eBay many collectors sell their wares, and this includes knitting machines and supplies. In light of the fact that new products are put up for sale every day, the knitter has a good chance of finding the right machine right when he or she needs it.