Knitting machines galore since one is never enough, photo tutorials, and knits gone wild

How To Buy A Used Knitting Machine – Gauge and Parts

Our mission is specific. We want a knitting machine good enough to get the job done, yet cheap enough that we can bail if we don’t like it. We are looking for a machine with acceptable downside risk.

My focus today will be on Japanese metal bed knitting machines. I only recently got a Passap and will need more time with it before I can comment. The plastic bed Bond works for many but not for me.

So… lets begin.

Info: Gauge

brother knitting machine lid monogram nameplateKnitting machines have lots of parts. Some are essential and brand specific. Others are interchangeable between the same gauge machine. Still other parts can be used on all machines, regardless of brand or gauge.

knitking knitting machine lid monogram nameplateCommon Japanese knitting machines are:

Brother/Knitking
Studio/Singer/Silver Reed
Toyota

studio knitting machine lid monogram nameplate The name was dependent on which part of the world it was marketed. For example, Brother and Knitking are the same and their parts are completely interchangeable between like machines.

singer knitting machine lid monogram nameplate My favorite resource for making sense of all the models made in the last 40+ years is the Chart History of Knitting Machines. I keep it handy so when I come across an ad I’ll know exactly when the machine was made and what gauge it is.

Frequently I find sellers have no clue about their knitting machine and make “best guesses” to my questions.

standard gauge needle spacing distance 4.5 mm Knitting Machines are grouped by gauge, the distance between the needles on the bed. Standard gauge machines are4.5 mm, mid gauge machines are6.5 to 8 mm, and bulky machines are 9 mm. Finer gauge machines have smaller hooks for lace weight yarn, bulky machines have larger hooks to handle worsted weight and bulky yarns.

mid gauge needle spacing distance 6.5 mm Pictured at right are three different gauge machines.

Starting at the top is a standard gauge, mid gauge, and then bulky.

If you count the number of needles in 9 cm, you have about 21, 15, and 11.

Bulky chunky gauge needle spacing distance 9.0 mm Plenty of sites discuss the merits of each gauge and the yarns they can accommodate. I’ve linked some of these articles on my Links page.

When you are paying over $1500 for a new machine, making a gauge decision is critical. When you are paying significantly less for a used machine, you take what you can get and say thank you very much.

Info: Parts

Brand specific – hard/costly to find replacements

knitting machine brand specific parts hard expensive to replace

  • needle bed and carrying case lid – this is the actual machine
  • carriage
  • sinker plate assembly (Brother/Knitking) or arm (Studio/Singer/Silver Reed)
  • row counter (if not built in, frequently a snap on part in accessory box)

Brand specific – easy to find replacements

knitting machine brand specific parts easy to replace

  • needles
  • sponge bar (it is as long as the needle bed and installed under the needles)

Brand/not gauge specific – ease to find replacements unknown

knitting machine brand unique not gauge specific parts easy to replace

  • yarn tension unit (Brother/Knitking)
  • auto tension and yarn rod (Studio/Singer/Silver Reed)
  • table clamps to secure machine to the working surface
  • electrical cord (if an electronic machine)

Gauge specific but not brand loyal – easy to find replacements

knitting machine parts not brand or gauge specific easy to replace

  • transfer tools
  • needle pusher tools
  • latch tool
  • cast on combs

Use on any brand/gauge machine – easy to find replacements

knitting machine tools and accessories easy to replace

  • oil
  • ravel cord
  • weight hangers
  • assorted weights

If I come across a machine cheap at a garage sale and I want it to have enough parts to work, I need the machine and lid, at least 75% of its needles, carriage, sinker plate assembly, row counter, and a yarn tension unit. If it has a cast on comb, miscellaneous transfer tools or other stuff, I consider it gravy, pay the person, and smile all the way to my car.

Bent or missing needles are ok because they are relatively cheap and easy to replace. Same holds true for missing transfer tools, cast on combs, or weights. A cracked lid is a cosmetic problem, not a functional issue. No manual is a bummer, but many Brother manuals can be downloaded for free. Studio is more difficult. You may have to resort to eBay for a book.

Remember, this machine is cheap. If you decide you enjoy machine knitting you can always sell it online or through a local craigslist ad and trade up to a nicer model.

Now that you have a better idea of which parts are essential and which parts are easily replaced, go find a machine! Despite their quirks, they are a lot of fun.

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November 16, 2006

27 comments

1 TJ { 01.12.09 at 9:14 pm }

Just wanted to say thanks for this great post! I posted it on Utah Fiber Farmers Yahoo group today, too. It was really helpful to have all the manuals linked in one place and I loved seeing your article on How to Buy a Used Machine. I’ve had so many questions from people on the yahoo group–I’ll send them here next time.

2 JUDY { 09.09.09 at 10:26 am }

I am looking to buy a Brother Model #KH 587 How old is that model and what should I expect to pay for it?The owner bought it in Japan

3 Linda { 10.03.09 at 4:13 pm }

Hello,
I have a Brothers Bulky KH-260 and the Ribber. Where could
I get a list of everything that was made for this machine? I have a very small piece that I need to get replaced. It is the small pink circular inset that goes in the center of my tension dial. Plus I am short a wire – loop weight hanger.
I am trying to get everything that I can for this machine before it is to late to find. Thank you for your time.

4 Emily { 10.10.09 at 9:05 pm }

Looking for information on a singer mid gauge with 120 needles. Does it have a sponge bar in a metal bar that slides in or does it take just a strip of foam that lays in? Also can you buy them anywhere? Are they a different length than other sponge bars?

Thank you in advance – Emily

5 Steve & Stella { 12.23.09 at 10:05 pm }

We have several Silver Reed knitting machines from about 30 years ago stored in our basement. They seem to be mostly dusty and we think we have all the parts. A review of the three major items have the following names: Silver-Reed SR-120 bulky rib-Knitter; Studio SRP-50; and Silver Reed SK 120 Kantn Buckly; plus all sorts of other stuff associated with these machines.

We would like to sell “as is” for doing knitting or just parts. Do you have any suggestions on how or where we could do this in the Denver, Colorado metro area. Any thoughts if we should just trash or is there some value here?

Thanks for your help,
Steve and Stella

6 ZD { 05.27.10 at 7:27 am }

Hi – I’ve been reading through your blog and am very impressed with the high quality & usefullness of both the info and viewpoint.

I did want to point out what I think may be an error in the caption for the spongebar picture. Your caption indicates “under” but I have yet to run in to a machine that had one installed that way.

In my experience, spongebars are installed in the channel with the sponge side facing down and sliding in over the needles – so that when viewed from above you can see the metal part of the spongebar through the slots and the sponge is against the needles. A new machine knitter trying to install the sponge bar under will surely experience jams, and potentially damage to both needles and carriage.

Again, thanks for such a great blog. I do enjoy it very much. I’m really looking forward to trying your MKHK sock pattern!
Z

7 Marie Pepaj { 06.06.10 at 5:32 am }

Hi
Marie fron NY

i am looking to buy a knitting machine .I did buy one (bond knitt machine)

but i do not like it.the piece i knitted it didn,t come correct aneven spaces

between the rows. Now i would like to have a better machine to make the

sweater to look like you just bought it at the store.

I really appreciate your help.

Sincerely marie

8 Allida Kyoro { 07.19.10 at 2:38 am }

I am Tanzanian lady, and I would like to buy a knitting machine. would you advice me what to do.

9 gerrie { 09.18.10 at 7:43 am }

looking for sponge bars?I have a brothers kx 350just got it a garage sale. black sponge stuff is falling apart

10 Bertha { 01.20.11 at 4:18 am }

I just bought a brother kx 350 from ebay and its missing the tension rod stand and I need sponge bar. How and where can I get both? Thank you

11 Barbara { 08.08.11 at 6:33 am }

Hi, I am looking for the sinker plate (attached to carriage) fpr a Singer 120 model knitting machine. If anyone out there has one please email me.

Also, just in case I can’t get one does anyone have a Singer Model 120 8.0 gauge bulky 8 knitting machine?
Thank you,
Barbara

12 Lynda Morse { 11.02.11 at 3:25 am }

Hi I am Lynda from Bridgnorth in England. I have a brother 260 chunky with ribber. A knitmaster 360 with ribber. A Brother 950i with ribber. A Toyota 901. No ribber. Knitmaster Emprial 700/600 with ribber. My greatest knitting machine is the one my mother used to use and it is over 40 years old. I still have to try this one out as yet. All stainless steel. Can’t wait to get going on it. I, like a lot of other ladies, put these machines away while we were busy with our lives and now we are retired they are coming out again. I am having a wail of a time making these machines work again and using all the yarn I have accumalated over the years. Scarves, jumpers, tea pot covers,wooly hats to mention a few. These are all stored in my new garden summerhouse especially for my machines and wool. Happy days to all you machine knitters out there. Don’t forget about the sponge bars and the machine oil!

Best of luck
Lynda

13 Joan { 12.08.11 at 8:11 am }

Can you tell me please is the Bond machine a mid gauge? or which is the best mid gauge to buy?
many Thanks
Joan

14 John Hickey(new comment) { 03.06.12 at 8:26 am }

I’m having trouble finding blank mylar sheets for the Kh 910. Does anybody know a source for these and can you clean exsisting patterns to reuse the ones I have?

Thanks

John

15 Zibby Evans(new comment) { 05.07.12 at 9:20 pm }

To John, Number 14, you can get mylar sheets and anything else you need at rockinghorse farm, St Cloud Minn. They have everything!

16 Sue(new comment) { 07.18.12 at 11:07 am }

Hi,

I am looking for Singer /Toyota KS 901 needles could you help please.
Regards,
Sue

17 Debbie(new comment) { 09.21.12 at 6:17 pm }

HI,

I just bought a used knitting machine at a thrift store. I am a sewer and I know very little about regular knitting, let alone machine knitting. It is a Juki Hi Memory machine. (KE-1200) After sorting through all the parts, I looks like I have the knitting machine with a lace machine and another unit called “knit copy.” There is also a rib knitter unit, It has the punch memory cards with it and the Knit copy machine has and erasable transparent graphed sheet to draw a pattern on to make a sweater sleeve, etc.

If anyone knows anything about this machine please help me. I just got it and I am anxious to make it work!

It appears that all the parts are there, it looks like it has not been used in a very long time.

Oh! It also has a place for 4 D batteries. I have instruction books that I haven’t gotten to yet but if anyone knows of a website with info, I would appreciate it.

Thanks
Debbie (by the way, I paid 1 dollar for it. The wanted it out of their hair!)

18 ailsa mcquade(new comment) { 10.09.12 at 4:42 pm }

Well I am going to take the plunge, I am presuming that the mid-gauge is the most versatile of the 3 pictured on your notes I am buying new (as its my first ) and want to get it right (I guess I can always buy others 2nd hand – but I dont think the husband wants to hear that!)ps thanks for this most useful site

19 Diane Pederson(new comment) { 10.23.12 at 11:02 am }

Hi! I recently purchased a Singer 560 electronic knitting machine. Some parts were missing. Most important to me is the set of mylar patterning cards that did not come with the machine. I have 12-15, with 1-11 being missing.

I have checked shops in England and so far no luck. Does anyone have any ideas where I could pick up the set of mylar patterning cards for this machine? Thanks in advance for your help.

Diane

20 KimH(new comment) { 12.19.12 at 10:46 am }

My uncle gave me a knitting machine that appears to be from the 50s or 60s. It is a Baron Brand 632. I cannot find anything about this machine. Is it an early something else? How might I find infomation? I need a few parts.

Kim Harris

21 Annette Campbell(new comment) { 01.12.13 at 7:09 pm }

Hi I purchased a toyota 727 knitting machine the carraige needs some work and I have no idea how to fix it, the brushes on the carraige are coming apart, and not all of the buttons stay pushed in any help would be greatly Appreciated.
Thank you Annette

22 Sebbunza Josehp(new comment) { 01.18.13 at 5:24 am }

Iam looking for Knitting machine gauge 10, used from japan , how much will it cost ?
Thank you.

Joseph

23 Agnes Jehnzen(new comment) { 02.13.13 at 6:17 pm }

I have a Kh891 but do not have all of the parts. the K carriage is missing. Do anyone know how I can get one?

24 sylvia mulundu(new comment) { 04.13.13 at 1:13 am }

where can l buy these second hand at cheap price , please help me. Thank

25 elizabeth mei;rowitz(new comment) { 04.21.13 at 11:56 am }

My neice has a knitking that I gave her. It seems that the Cam did not work so she gave it out for repair. Unfortunately when she went to pick it up, the Co could not find it. My niece sent me two numbert on the machine, that are AM3 and M2B.. Can you help us to replace the Cam? Any help you can give me is greatly appreciated

26 Manjula Guha Biswas(new comment) { 05.11.13 at 5:57 am }

I have a knitting machine but now it needed to be oiling and one of the little parts of the carriage has broken .If anybody can help me about it Iwill be thankful to him or her because I can’t knit a long time.(Its my hobby to knit). Thankyou Manjula

27 Tess(new comment) { 05.18.13 at 6:10 pm }

I have been given a Toyota 727 and it seems to be complete. On close inspection I found the lower yarn guide ( a tiny wire piece held in with a screw) is broken. How can I replace this little (critical? ) part? Tess.

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