While Berroco is a hand knitting company, we love staying curious on exploring all aspects of making with yarn.
As a hand knitter who is also a proud machine knitter, I can’t help but talk about the value of the knitting machine for hand knitters.
Hand knitting provides so many positives, it reduces stress, keeps us mindful, and of course provides us great pride for what we can make with our hands. But as we lead busy lives, we know we can only make so many things with the time we are given.
Imagine knitting the colorwork or lace yoke portion of your garment by hand and letting the machine do the stockinette portion in a fraction of the time.
I was once told that true makers are always thinking about what is next, even when they are yarn deep in their current projects. As I am sure you can relate to – there are more things I want to make than I have time to make them. If only we had a fast-forward button. Enter, the knitting machine.
I learned how to use a knitting machine on a whim! I will always be a hand knitter, but I enjoy the rhythm and speed of the knitting machine for what it does best…stockinette stitch. There are so many projects where we can knit the fun parts we enjoy by hand and let the machine knit the time-consuming stockinette sections aka hybrid knitting.
Parnell is a good example of a design where hybrid knitting can be used. I knitted the garter stitch sections by hand, which would be extremely tedious on the machine, transferred the stitches to my LK 150 (which took only a few minutes), and knitted the striped stockinette stitch section on the machine. I also did the shoulder and neck shaping on the machine, but you could remove the pieces and knit the shoulder and neck shaping by hand.
My Parnell was knitted with Renew, a sustainable DK weight yarn which went smoothly through my LK 150. A mid-gauge knitting machine like the Silver Reed LK 150 is a good introductory machine into machine knitting. To be clear, I am not a sponsor for Silver Reed. I just like the simplicity of this machine. Knitting machines can range from $300-6000, with great care they can last forever. You can always find used machines for sale online.
Mid-gauge machines are often the choice for hand knitting because it comes closest to producing the knitted fabric as a hand knitter does. The yarn it can knit comfortably varies from fingering to worsted weights.
So how does one get started? Learning how to knit on a machine takes some practice but the internet is full of blog posts, tutorials and classes. While there are not many similarities between knitting by hand and machine knitting, I believe being a hand knitter and understanding stitch construction helped greatly while learning to machine knit. It is no surprise I gravitated towards machine knitting, stockinette is my favorite stitch.
This was my first hybrid garment since I joined the Berroco team and there are so many more patterns I want to try. When looking for a pattern good for hybrid knitting, look for patterns with sections of colorwork or lacework and stockinette. Patterns that are seamless can be modified to pieces and the easiest are garments in stockinette pieces.
Here are a few on my recommendation list:
I hope this helped spark your interest in machine knitting! I look forward to sharing more of my hybrid knit sweaters with you.