Beginner – What machine should I look at?


I’ve been a hand knitter for years and would like to try my hand at machine knitting. I think I’d like to look at fine gauge knitting for using fine yarns to make shawls, scarves and the like. There seems to be loads for sale on eBay, but with no detailed descriptions. I don’t have much space at home so something that’s portable, easy to store and simple to use would be great. Can anyone help me?

Thank you in advance


Dear Tracey

Brother Toyota and Silver Reed/Knitmaster standard gauge machines will all knit a variety of yarns from very fine to 4-ply or a soft Double Knitting thickness.

Brother made various models; the electronic machines have numbers starting with KH9. The later manual machines have numbers starting with KH8. In both cases and as a general guide the higher the number the later the model. Most of these models have a punchcard patterning mechanism. has a lot of information about Brother machines.

The later models of Toyota are the KS901 and KS950 – both punchcard machines. I have a KS901 and it knits fine yarns beautifully.

Silver Reed/Knitmaster produced a variety of machines too. The older models have numbers starting with 3. Older electronic machines have numbers starting with 5. The more recent punchcard models are the SK280 (standard gauge) and SK270 (fine gauge machine with more needles) and there are two electronics – the SK840 standard gauge and SK830 fine gauge.

All of the above machines are about 41″ wide and it’s best to set them up and leave them out ready for use. If you do need to pack a machine away all of its tools fit neatly within a lid which clamps on to the machine. It can then be stored under a bed or behind a settee. If you know what to look for you can get a good buy on eBay. However look for a machine which has been well looked after preferably serviced and with a new sponge bar (needle retention bar). This holds the needles in place and makes for smooth knitting. Avoid any adverts which show all the accessories bundled into a box! There are some guides on eBay on what to look out for when buying a secondhand machine.

I hope this gives you a few pointers and that you find a machine that you are happy with.

Kind regards Sue

Sue P
2010-08-09 19:04:13
I have a Toyota KS901 and have had it for 20 years. I knit a while and then put it away until the mood hits again. Right now I’m getting it out again after several years and finding out that all my sources of information have closed down. I love my machine and have never had any problems with it. I’m also looking for a ribber to go with it and a good internet support group to help me learn new things. I love the speed of the machine for large pieces and then add hand embellishments. It’s also easier on hands with arthritis.
Good luck in your search.
2012-01-05 20:29:59
Hi Dianne

Machine Knitting Monthly is the only knitting magazine magazine published in the UK. Anne provides a good mix of patterns and technical advice in each issue – it’s well worth getting every month.

There are several Internet groups on Yahoo and Ravelry.

Ebay UK have a large section of machine knitting related items.

The KS901 takes the KR501 or the KR560 ribbers.

Hope this helps you find what you are looking for.


Sue P
2012-01-05 23:54:21