If you have read the previous post, you should have a good idea of what type of machine you want to purchase. You need to look for the best one that you can buy within your budget. For example, if you want to buy a standard gauge punch-card machine, then you can buy a new SK280 for approx £700, a reconditioned and tested machine for about £400 and an second-hand bargain for £100-300. The cheaper machines tend to be older and may not have been used for a while. Cheaper bargains can be found if you are willing to clean and service them yourself (you can find info and videos on the Internet).
If you want to buy a brand-new machine, then the best choice is a new Silver Reed machine. You have the choice of a simple chunky machine (lk150), a standard gauge punchcard (SK280) and a standard gauge electronic (SK840). You can buy them at your nearest stockist, list found here.
Reconditioned with warranty:
As the range of machines that you can buy new is limited, you may prefer to buy a reconditioned second-hand machine. This is a good option for those who do not want to clean and service an old machine. It is important that you find a suitable supplier that you can trust and that can continue to service your machine if this is desired. If the supplier is not local then you will need transport, or you will need to have the machine delivered. Posting a machine can be a problem if the machine is not properly packaged, so you will need to make sure that your supplier knows how to do this and has insurance. You should also make sure you have a warranty period.
These are my 2 favourite suppliers (very knowledgeable and friendly)
- Irene Court. She is based in Wales but you can find her in the FaceBook group called Knitting Machine Sales UK. Irene is well respected and can post abroad. She seems to specialise in Brother machines. She also has various accessories and spares. Well worth joining this group and checking what is available. She is happy to help if you message her.
- Andrea James. She has a shop called Andee Knits in Somerset and a FaceBook page called Andee Knits Ltd and a website where you can usually find a good range of second-hand machines, spares and accessories. Andrea has a range of Knitmaster and Brother machines that have been fully serviced and tested with a 12 month warranty. Andee Knits is a good place to get your DesignaKnit software.
Second-hand — condition unknown:
If you are on a budget or are looking for something in particular, you may wish to ask around. Find out if there is a knitting group in your area. If there is, this is an ideal place to ask for help in finding a machine. Ask local charity shops to contact you if they come across one. Put wanted ads in your local shops, newspaper and online communities. Check the two FaceBook sales groups; Knitting Machine Sales Uk and Domestic Knitting Machine Sales. There is a regular supply of machines for sale, some of which can be delivered. It is a good place to ask for help in finding the machine that you want.
The easiest way to find a range of second-hand machines to buy is on the Internet. In particular, Ebay and GumTree. It is easy to set-up a search/alert for machines with a specified distance. Then it is a case of wait and see what comes up. Ebay does involve a bidding process. I find that if the machine is collection only, the price tends to be lower as there are few bidders. If you do want to bid on a machine, you need to check out the photographs carefully. How clean/dirty is the machine? Ask the seller questions about the machine’s storage and when it was last used. The best deals are for machine packages. As long as you have transport, you can usually find a good bargain bundle including ribber, colour changer, magazines, etc.
You will not normally be able to use the machine, as it is likely that the sponge bar will be old and trying to move the carriage could damage the machine. Most machines will want a clean and a new sponge. The needles will need to be cleaned and damaged ones replaced. Buying a punch-card machine unseen is usually less of a risk than an electronic machine. You need to make sure that the seller has switched on the machine and the lights have come on. Else you will be spending more money getting the electronics repaired. Only buy an electronic machine second-hand if it is being sold at a good price so that you can afford to get it mended if necessary.
GumTree will have less machines for sale, but prices tend to be lower. If you find a machine in your area you have the opportunity to see the machine before you buy. I would set-up search alerts on Ebay and GumTree and ask the Universe to send you the ideal machine.
While you wait, I would be preparing for your machine. Where is it going to be used? Do you have enough storage and good lighting? What do you want to knit? The Internet is a valuable resource to look for patterns and yarn. Watch knitting machine videos to inspire you.
I bought my two standard gauge machines from Ebay. Both machines were collection only and I paid less than £100. I did not know what condition they were in, but were assured that they worked before they were packed away. I was fortunate that both machines did not show signs of damage and just needed a good clean and new sponges. The electronic machine’s electronics worked, thank goodness, but it had really bad needles that I had to sand down before cleaning. Many had to be replaced. I now have two working machines that will give me hours of enjoyment over the next few years. I tend to use Andee Knits and Ebay for my spares. I use Xena Knits for new sponges (these last longer and she had a good instructional video). Recently I have purchased a long-life sponge bar from smartco on facebook.
So, I hope that you will also find the right knitting machine for your needs.