Your Knitting Machine Journey

Your Knitting Machine Journey
Learning to master your knitting machine is a journey.

  • Where are you on the journey?
  • Are you having fun?
  • Why did you start machine knitting in the first place?
  • What are your goals?

I’ve been asking myself these questions a lot recently …   It’s so easy to get distracted by the next “bright, shiny” thing.

If you have multiple machines, can you say you’ve “mastered” at least one of them?  Jumping from gauge, to gauge, machine, to machine and yarn to yarn is fun.  But it can be frustrating too. If your goal is to knit a sweater that fits, you won’t have success by jumping around. Master one machine, and learn the characteristics of one yarn.

If you started knitting to make your self sweaters, when is the last time you knit something more than a swatch?  Why?

Find a pattern method that works for you and use it over and over.  EVERY successful  machine knitter I’ve ever met has chosen one method.  It may be DesignaKnit, the Knit Leader, hand drafted patterns, vintage patterns or even Knit it Now Dynamic patterns.  Knitters who jump from method to method struggle and can’t understand why they aren’t successful.

If you sew, you may have experienced the difference between Vogue Patterns and New Look patterns. They are sized differently and are drafted with different basic measurements.  As a seamstress you have to learn the adjustments to make to a commercial pattern to fit you.  Why do knitters forget this?

Just because knit “fabric” is more forgiving than woven fabric, do we think that we can “fudge” and a sweater will magically fit?

I’ve been driving myself crazy lately by sewing with both woven and knit fabrics. Duh…. Like yarns, the characteristics of different fabrics produce very different results.  A top sewn or a woven fabric can be completely different than a knit.

As machine knitters we create our own fabric.  We can choose any yarn and stitch pattern.  That is great … but it’s also a curse.  Use a bamboo yarn successfully and switch to a cotton with the same pattern and you’ll get a completely different result.

If your goal is to knit dishcloths and afghans, please ignore this rant.  If you are serious about knitting garments, please comment about your goals, reasons for knitting and experiences.



  1. What frustrates me is not understanding the characteristics of specific yarns. I know the look that I want; tailored, draped, soft, but I have a difficult time finding the correct yarn/pattern combination

    • You are not alone! Finding the perfect yarn can be difficult. Especially for machine knitters. Unfortunately we don’t have access to the same yarn sources as the ready-to-wear factories.

      For my personal knitting (and sewing) I’m finding I’m using the same yarn and fabrics over and over. That way, I really know the drape and wearability.

      I think many machine knitters make things hard for themselves by using a different yarn each time. The trick is finding something you love and using it again and again.

  2. Tried a knitting machine in 1963. Fell in love and knew I wanted to knit lightweight sweaters and dresses. Finally bought my first one in 1976; a Brother 588. Soon a punchcard model became available. By 1978 was knitting and selling and teaching from my home. 1980 after my husband died. 1982 I began to once a month do a demo Saturday for a local knit shop. In 1984 after I had remarried and my new husband suggested that I quit my secretarial job and go full time. The knit shop let me sublease an area in their shop. Selling knitting machine, doing lessons and workshops was wonderful. Seven years later they sold their shop and the new owner wanted nothing to do with knitting machines so back home again. Shortly after that Brother and Passap quit making knitting machines. I am fully retired now, but will always love my machines and all the garments I knitted and designed. What a great time in my life.

  3. I managed to get my dear Mum’s old knitting machine and have not stopped since. I only (and BIG) frustration is my tension I can never get it correct. So now I think I will try Knit it Now method and do a tension and put it on computer and “somebody else” will do it for me!!! Wonderful site.

  4. I am pretty new to machine knitting- I have a wonderful machine – the Brother 940- and most of the gadgets that go with it. I have successfully made several garments for myself and my family, now I feel stuck. I really dont need another sweater and truthfully am not seeing any patterns or styles that I want. I made a skirt last year that I love wearing and I guess I will try to make another to beef up the wardrobe. I came to be a machine knitter because I love the machine- just fascinated by how it works, the technology is just my speed. I probably have enough swatches to fill a room because I like seeing what the machine does with the different yarns. I am looking forward to using the patterning information on this site.

    • Hi Sharron!
      It is so good to hear that you’ve been successful with your machine! Most of us relate to your fascination with the machine. Let’s get you unstuck!

  5. What stops me is having to seam the pieces together. I have a standard gauge and it looks so tiny. I probably just need to make a bunch of pieces and practice to get over my fear.

    • Lara,
      You are not alone … after a bit of practice, you’ll be seaming those tiny stitches without thinking!


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