This post gives a list of resources that, I hope, machine knitters will find useful. This list if mainly UK based and online. It covers areas such as buying and repairing machines, tools and equipment, yarn, and patterns. Please comment if you want to add a resource that you have found useful. Click on the links below to go to the appropriate section or read the whole post.
- Knitting Machines
- Tools, Accessories, Spares
- Sponge bars
- Free user manuals and patterns
- Knitting Machine Patterns
- Other Useful Sites
There is only one supplier of professional home knitting machines and that is Silver Reed. Otherwise you need to do a search on eBay and Gumtree and local adverts to find a secondhand machine. Set up an alert and wait for something local to turn up. There is also a Facebook group called Knitting Machine Sales UK (look out for Irene Court who sells refurbished Brother machines) and Facebook’s own marketplace. There is also a Facebook group called Domestic Knitting Machine Sales.
Silver Reed Machineswww.silverviscount.co.uk (01933 311888)
Main Silver Reed website. Here you can find spares for Silver Reed and Knitmaster knitting machines. They can offer a list of local suppliers of new Silver Reed knitting machines. I have found them friendly and knowledgeable.
Andee Knitswww.machine-knitting.co.uk (01278 802066)
This is the website of Andrea at Andee Knits, based in Somerset. A lovely, friendly, knowledgeable enthusiast who can sell you a range of new or refurbished knitting machines. Good range of spare, tools and equipment. Excellent supplier of DesignaKnit Software and upgrades.
Sewing Machine Saleswww.sewingmachinesales.co.uk/knitting-machine/ (0845 4309824)
This company is based in Tyne & Wear and is able to offer new Silver Reed machines, equipment and DesignaKnit Software.
Machine 4 Uwww.machine4u.co.uk (only online contact form)
Website and eBay store. They have a range of new Silver Reed machines and equipment. They also offer refurbished and second-hand Brother and Passap knitting machines.
Tools, Accessories and Spares etc
The above knitting machine websites can offer a range of tools and spares, including cleaning brushes and machine oil.
Also do a search on eBay. There is now a number of knitting machine tools and spares being made in China. Items such as punch cards and wool winders are good to buy. But other items from China such as transfer tools might not be exact so be careful.
Hong Kong Knittingwww.ebay.co.uk/str/hongkongknitting
Company run by Sunny Choi that I and others have found reliable and useful. Has good range of spare parts and accessories for Silver Reed machines and some Brothers.
Hague Directwww.haguedirect.co.uk (0115 959 9028)
Hague Direct is based in Nottingham and besides selling Hague Linkers it also sells wool winders, twisting stacks, spare tools and accessories for knitting machines. Very friendly and worth a look.
Yarn Winders and Stacks
If you use industrial yarn then you will need a wool/yarn winder.
Do not bother with the small ones. Get a large one. Get L2 winder cones at Hague or eBay for about £50. But if you are on a budget you can get a large/jumbo wool winder on Amazon here or here or here for about £22. Spare L2 ‘hats’ can also be found at Hague or eBay for about £13. Buy one and check it fits first just in case or make spare ‘card hats’.
(I make extra card hats by wrapping card around the hat and securing with a bit of tape. This will be at a slant as the hat is wider at the bottom I cut slits all round the bottom to make a frill, so that I can push it down the hat to fix firmly on, and I can grab these to pull off the cardboard hat and change them over with a new one.)
You can buy twisting stacks online at various prices. I used to get them at BSK but they do not seem to have them any more. Hague have them here at about £20.
I bought all my sponge bar kits from Xena kits and there is a great video to show you what to do.
Smartcowww.facebook.com/pg/spongebarbob/shop 0161 624 0757
@SpongeBar Bob on Facebook is a trusted supplier of his own long-life sponge bars for Knitmaster/Silver Reed, Brother and Toyota knitting machines. Contact him for prices and payment details. He can also offer spare parts etc. I am now using one of his sponge bars. His company Smarco is based in Greater Manchester.
If you still have a local wool shop then please support them if they sell coned yarn. Otherwise there is a good range of yarn suppliers online. eBay and Gumtree can be a good source of job-lots of new and secondhand coned yarn. However, be careful of postage if you are buying single cones of yarn.
Yeoman Yarnswww.yeomanyarns.co.uk (0116 240 4464)
Excellent range of own brand quality yarn (cottons, acrylics, wool, mixtures etc usually up to 500g cones). Also sells yarn packs of 4kg or 6kg of yarn at a great price. I try and buy a pack every year if I can. Great quality and cheap enough for practice.
BSKwww.bsk.co.uk/woolyarns-66-c.asp (01234 217 096)
BSK is based in Bedfordshire and has a good range of coned yarn. It also sells a very popular range of industrial high bulk yarn (900g and over) and good prices. There is usually free delivery for orders over £50. BSK also sells some knitting machine parts and tools so it is worth investigating to make up your order. I get most of my industrial yarn from BSK and a few things like spare needles, oil and brushes. If you live nearby then a visit to their warehouse is certainly recommended. They have pot-luck industrial yarn packs that are perfect for practice.
eBay seller Bubz is based in Manchester and always has good range of quality acrylic and wool yarns. Prices are reasonable.
eBay seller with a good range of interesting yarns with free Uk postage. worth a look if you want something different.
Yarn on Conewww.yarnoncone.co.uk
website for good range of quality, luxury and fancy yarns at reasonable prices .
Uppingham Yarnswww.wools.co.uk (01572 823747)
Uppingham Yarns have been around for quite a while, I remember visiting their warehouses in the 1980s for wonderful cheap bargains of interesting yarns. They are based west of Peterborough. Cheap wool is a thing of the past but Uppingham still offer a wide range of interesting yarns at good prices. Worth a visit to update your Christmas list!
Fairfield Yarnswww.fairfieldyarns.co.uk (01706 623808)
Family run business based in Lancashire have a mill shop in Heywood. They offer a unique range of industrial surplus yarns at great prices. You need to visit to see what is available. Well worth arranging a visit to support them.
Airedale Yarnswww.airedaleyarns.co.uk (online contact form)
Business is based in Keighley and offers an interesting range of quality yarns and fibres on cone. They also offer complete dye kits for vegetable based yarns.
Free User Manuals and Patterns
You can join the Machine Knitting Beginners Circle on Facebook. This group has a number of free KALs (Knit-A-Longs) that include instructions and videos. The following resources also have free patterns.
Machine Knitting etcwww.machineknittingetc.com
Great website for free pdf downloads of most knitting machine user manuals. Also good range of old magazines with knitting info and patterns.
Rare Knitting Machine Magazine Collectionswww.forum.mobilism.org/viewtopic.php?f=123&t=1357309
Lots of old knitting magazines that can be downloaded individually or in a .rar file (you can find free software that can extract the files, I use 7-zip). Magazines include Modern Machine Knitting, Machine Knitting Monthly, Machine Knitting New, Machine Knit Today.
Needles of Steelwww.needlesofsteel.org.uk/freepatterns.html
lots of useful information and a range of basic patterns.
Knitting Machine Patterns
A number of experience knitters have produced patterns of their favourite designs.
Ravelry is a community site where people post and share their patterns and knitting results. This should be your first stop for ideas and inspiration as there are thousands and thousands of knitting and crochet patterns here. The machine knitting patterns are more limited, but you can try and convert the hand knitted designs. Sign up and set up your filters to find the pattern that you need.
A variety of machine knitting patterns can be bought on Etsy, a craft marketplace. Enter machine knitting patterns in the search bar and see what you can find.
Machine Knitting Monthlywww.machineknittingmonthly.net
Last surviving UK machine knitting magazine. Good source of a range of patterns for all gauges. Also useful for knowing what is going on in the knitting machine world. Sign up for a yearly subscription. You can order back copies if available.
Clair has a website with many of her own patterns for sale at reasonable prices. These get sent through the post.
Marianne Henio lives in the West Midlands and runs Henio Creative, her company set up to sell her unique patterns that are still very practical. You can download the pdf patterns. She now also sells some knitting machines and kits.
House of Lavenewww.home-machine-knitting.co.uk
Anne Lavene runs House of Lavene that offers a range of knitted patterns and one-off knitted garments on her website and her Etsy store called HouseofLavene. Anne has developed a unique way of creating her pattern instructions and offers tutorial videos on how to do this on her YouTube.
Nina Miklin runs Exclusive Yarns and offers a range of patterns for her own luxury yarns. Good range of styles of garment (you can use other yarns).
Scan the Catwww.scanthecat.com
A US based website that is run by knitting enthusiast who sells collection of old knitting machine magazines that can be download in pdf form or posted on DVDs.You can also find a number of DesignaKnit patterns and cat patterns.
A limited but useful list of patterns that can be found for free. Patterns available for a variety of knitting machines.
Excellent range of free pdf download manuals and this should be your first stop if you do not have a manual. There are also some old patterns that can be download for ideas and inspiration.
Excellent range of old machine knitting magazines that have been scanned by scanthecat and are available to download as individual pdfs or as a collection (.rar file). .rar files can be opened using free 7zip software or winzip. At the bottom of the page you can find links to all the available magazines. Excellent source of knowledge and pattern ideas. Take advantage of this whilst available. You do not need to sign up to anything.
Other Useful Sites
Knitting and Crochet Guild for information about knitting machines and groups
Machine Knitters Treasure Chest has variety of knitting patterns
Knit it Now has a range of knitting machine courses that your can buy
Diana Sullivan’s website has a huge variety of posts and videos about machine knitting. Lots of videos on her YouTube channel.
The Answer Lady’s website has a lot of information about cleaning and repairing knitting machines. Lots of videos on her YouTube channel.
That’s all for now. Please comment if you know of a really good resource that is not included here.