How Do You Use An Old Knitting Machine?

Fact Checked By:Aithley Balder

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Knitting machines have been around for centuries, and they offer a unique and exciting way to create beautiful knitted items. If you have an old knitting machine, you may be wondering how to use it to create your own projects. In this article, we will provide a step-by-step guide on how to use an old knitting machine, as well as tips and tricks for success. From casting on and adjusting tension to fixing dropped stitches and repairing broken needles, we will cover all of the essential information you need to know to get started with your machine. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced knitter, using an old knitting machine can be a fun and rewarding hobby. So why wait? Let’s get started!

How Do You Use An Old Knitting Machine

Using an old knitting machine can be a fun and creative hobby, but it may require some patience and practice to get the hang of it. Here are some steps to help you get started:

  • Familiarize yourself with the machine: Before you begin, take some time to study the manual or find resources online that can help you understand the different parts of the machine and how they work.
  • Gather supplies: You will need yarn, a yarn needle, and a tension gauge, as well as any other tools or accessories that are specific to your machine.
  • Set up the machine: Make sure the machine is properly threaded and the tension is set correctly. You can use the tension gauge to check the tension and adjust it if necessary.
  • Cast on: This is the process of putting the yarn onto the machine and creating the first row of stitches. There are different methods for casting on, so make sure you understand the one that your machine uses.
  • Start knitting: Once you have cast on, you can start knitting. Move the carriage back and forth to create the stitches, and use the yarn needle to thread the yarn through the machine as needed.
  • Finish the piece: When you have reached the desired length, you can bind off the stitches to finish the piece.
  • Practice, practice, practice: Knitting on an old machine can be challenging at first, but with practice, you will get the hang of it. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and experiment with different techniques and patterns.

It may also be helpful to reach out to a local knitting or crafting group to find others who are experienced with old knitting machines. They may be able to offer you tips, advice, and support as you learn to use your machine.


Here are some tips to help you use an old knitting machine effectively:

  • Read the manual: Make sure you have a good understanding of how your machine works by thoroughly reading the manual and any other available resources.
  • Start with simple patterns: It’s a good idea to start with simple patterns to get the hang of the machine before attempting more complex projects.
  • Check the tension: Tension is one of the most important factors in successful machine knitting. Make sure the tension is set correctly before you begin and adjust it as needed.
  • Experiment with yarn: Different yarns will have different results on your machine, so try out different types and see what works best for your machine.
  • Keep the machine clean: Regular cleaning of your machine will help to ensure that it runs smoothly and prevents any problems from developing.
  • Take breaks: Knitting on a machine can be repetitive, so take regular breaks to avoid fatigue and to give your hands a rest.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help: If you’re having trouble with your machine, reach out to other machine knitters or a local crafting group for help and advice
  • Practice: The more you use your machine, the more comfortable and confident you will become. Don’t be discouraged if you make mistakes or have trouble at first – with practice, you will improve.

By following these tips, you should be well on your way to successfully using your old knitting machine and creating beautiful pieces.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Here are some common questions and answers about using an old knitting machine:

Q: What type of yarn should I use on my old knitting machine?

A: It’s best to use a medium-weight, worsted weight yarn that is suitable for hand knitting. Avoid using very thin or very thick yarns, as they may not work well on your machine.

Q: How do I thread my machine?

A: The process for threading your machine will vary depending on the make and model, so make sure to refer to your manual for specific instructions. In general, you will need to thread the yarn through the tension dial, the needles, and the take-up lever.

Q: How do I set the tension?

A: The tension on your machine can be adjusted using the tension dial. You can use a tension gauge to check the tension and make any necessary adjustments. The correct tension will depend on the type of yarn you’re using and the pattern you’re working on, so you may need to experiment a bit to find the right tension for your project.

Q: What are some common mistakes when using an old knitting machine?

A: Some common mistakes include incorrect tension, incorrect threading, and not following the pattern correctly. Other common issues include dropped stitches, broken needles, and problems with the machine itself.

Q: How do I fix a dropped stitch?

A: To fix a dropped stitch, you will need to use a latch tool to pick up the dropped stitch and place it back onto the needle. Be careful not to twist the stitch as you do this.

Q: How do I repair a broken needle?

A: If you have a broken needle, you will need to remove it from the machine and replace it with a new one. Make sure to refer to your manual for specific instructions on how to remove and replace the needle on your machine.

Q: Can I use modern yarns with an old knitting machine?

A: In many cases, you can use modern yarns with an old knitting machine. However, it’s important to consider the capabilities and limitations of your specific machine. Old knitting machines may have gauge limitations or require adjustments in tension or stitch size to accommodate different yarn weights. It’s recommended to conduct tests and swatches with your chosen yarn to ensure proper tension and stitch quality on your machine.

Q: How do I troubleshoot common issues with an old knitting machine?

A: Troubleshooting common issues with an old knitting machine may require some patience and problem-solving skills. Here are a few tips:
·       Refer to the manual: If you have a manual for your machine, consult the troubleshooting section for guidance on common issues and their solutions.
·       Check the needles and carriage: Ensure that the needles are clean, properly aligned, and moving freely. Verify that the carriage is moving smoothly and not catching on any parts of the machine.
·       Adjust tension: Experiment with tension adjustments to find the right setting for your yarn and desired fabric quality. Start with the recommended tension settings in the manual and make slight adjustments as needed.
·       Check for dropped or stuck stitches: Inspect your knitting for any dropped or stuck stitches and correct them immediately to maintain a consistent fabric.
·       Seek assistance: Reach out to online knitting machine communities or forums for advice from experienced users. They may be able to offer insights or troubleshooting tips based on their own experiences with similar machines.

Q: Can I knit different stitch patterns on an old knitting machine?

A: Yes, you can knit different stitch patterns on an old knitting machine. Some older machines may have limited stitch pattern capabilities, while others may offer a range of stitch pattern options. Consult the manual or resources specific to your machine for instructions on changing stitch patterns and adjusting settings accordingly.

Q: Can I use punch cards or pattern disks with an old knitting machine?

A: Some older knitting machines may be compatible with punch cards or pattern disks, which allow you to create intricate stitch patterns automatically. However, not all machines have this capability. Check the manual or research your specific machine model to determine if it supports punch cards or pattern disks and how to use them effectively.

By understanding the answers to these common questions, you should be able to use your old knitting machine with confidence and avoid many of the common issues that arise when using these machines.


In conclusion, using an old knitting machine can be a fun and creative hobby, but it requires some patience and practice to get the hang of it. By following the steps outlined in this article, as well as the tips and tricks for success, you should be well on your way to creating beautiful knitted items with your machine. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes or try new techniques – the more you use your machine, the better you will become. So grab your yarn, thread your machine, and get ready to start knitting!

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Aithley Balder

Hello there, my name is Aithley Balder from Texas. I am a cookware, sewing, toilet, technology enthusiast and I have been sharing my passion with my friends and likeminded folks for close to 4 years now. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with me via the contact page.

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