Bond Knitting Machine
Does anyone have the Ultimate Sweater Machine by Bond? I cant tell you how many times I have put it in my shopping cart at JoAnn.com, but then I dont press send. I just think it might be good for doing baby blankets, and then I can hand knit or crochet an edging to personalize. The reviews I have read are very mixed, so I dont know what to think.
So, what are your thoughts if you have one?
I have it. I love it. It's easy to use.
Here's a blog thread about knitting machine adventures.
Keep in mind that the ultimate sweater machine does only stockinette by itself. But with a little work on your part, you can do lace and ribbing, etc.
I have a row counter for this if anyone wants to buy it!!!!!!!
Bought the Deluxe Model a few months ago, but have yet to take it out of the box. Just haven't found the time to deal with learning how to use it and don't have an adequate surface to attach it to. Oh well, maybe I'll get to it one of these days.
I recommend reading this article from knitty before deciding to purchase. He gives a very good review of the pros and cons.
I don't own the Bond machine specifically, but I do have 3 regular knitting machines and the experience is very similar.
I have the Ultimate Sweater Machine. I've used it only a few times in the um.. 5 years or so I've had it, and only when it was brand new.
Don't get me wrong, I think it's a great machine. But I'm not all too excited about machine knitting. I LIKE hand knitting, so I just prefer to hand knit. I keep the machine because it was a gift from my Dad, and in the event I ever want to produce some stockingette very quickly.. I dunno.. I could knit a blanket in a day or two as a quick knitted gift.
But I much, much, much prefer hand knitting. If you think you might enjoy machine knitting, by all means, buy it. It IS fun, if nothing else. But it's very, very different than hand knitting... not even in the same category as far as I'm concerned.
I have one and LOVE it, I see it as an additional knitting tool, and don't make entire sweaters on it (for fear that they will look like the ones in the instruction book).
For instance, my more recent sweater, I knit the front and back panels on the USM, dropped the center 3 stitches in front and hooked them back all the way the the top row (the Big Stitch technique in handknit style that basically puts one column 1 st = 1 inch in the middle of your 20 st = 4 inch piece) kept the stitches live at the top and bottom, handknit the collar with short rows, picked up and knit stitches for the sleeves on a circ needle and etc.
I hate matress stitch, and work to find other ways around it, so instead of traditional seaming, I picked up a row of stitches through each side and bound it off in the next row (kind of like using slip stitch crochet) Each side took 20 minutes to seam that way.
It is an awesome creative tool, and allows me to be more creative than I usually would in my handknitting, by eliminating weeks of boring stockinette :)
And it makes summer tank tops in about an hour. :)
If you get a USM, buy some Claw weights for more professional knitting machines. They are cheap (8 dollars a pair or so online, from the bond site as well) and you should use them instead of the silly rubber band and metal tension things they include in the box to keep the sides of your work from curling off of the machine.
I got mine on ebay for 70 bucks including shipping (there are always machines from people who used it once at xmas and hated it on ebay) and use a cacha cacha counter instead of the 30 dollar row counter they sell for it. I wouldn't have paid full price for it.
Okay... those of you who :heart: this thing... tell me your secrets, because I bought it todaya nd have spent the last 4 hours cursing at it. It seems to drop stitches like crazy, even though I am following the instructions to the letter. The edges are horrible-it misses stitches on each end, and I get long runs in the middle with no stitches being made. It jams constantly. I am doing as the instructions said, having plenty of yarn so the tension doesn't get too tight as it goes across the middle, yet maintaining a tighter tension at the ends.
Is your machine level? Is the yarn free enough so you don't have to tug it away from the ball? Is the keyplate too small for the type of yarn you are using? What type of yarn is it? I found that hemp only works if I am very patient and curse at it, it is not flexible enough I think, and will drop stitches and skip stitches very easily, so if your yarn isn't very flexible, that might be a problem? I've had excellent results with many kinds of yarn,
Rowan Summer Tweed, Cotton glace, Filatura di Crosa porto en jeans, kid classic, the smooth noro yarns, rowan cork, etc, so you can definitely use "designer" yarns with beautiful results, and I use dk weight yarn mostly.
Are you using claw weights at the edges instead of the tension bands? Once I started using claw weights, my dropped edge stitches reduced almost COMPLETELY, the only time I might drop an edge stitch now is when i don't move the claw weight up far enough after knitting many rows.
That's all that I can think of, but yep, be patient with it, put it away after a while, try again, buy a shorter hem from bond.com for practice (it is 30 stitches and easier to try smaller pieces on) buy some claw weights!!! There is a big learning curve with this thing.
Meg gave you some great tips.
There is a yahoo group that is wonderful. Here is the link:
Here are some tips I had saved from the Bond site I think. :)
USM SETTING UP
Use a flat surface with a "true" bottom, like a piece of hardwood board, like a long pre-cut shelf available at hardware store/home center is a good choice. Bond also carries knitting tables.
Do not screw clamps on too tightly. This could raise the back of the bed and cause the needles to go out of alignment.
Check that there are no raised retainer bars across the bed. These are the green bars that hold in the needles. If any are raised slightly you can push them down with your finger or use a small hammer with fabric or rubber as protection to tap them down into place.
Do not bear down on the carriage or it could be difficult to knit. Just hold down the handle enough to keep the keyplate in place.
SOLUTIONS TO COMMON PROBLEMS
Problem: Carriage jams at the beginning of the row.
Solution #1: Remember to hold back the hem against the bed at the beginning of the row so the front of the carriage will clear the hem.
Solution #2: Be sure the green stripper plate on the underside of the nose of the carriage runs just below the needles. It is supposed to run just under the needles and slightly raise them as it knits.
Check to see if the yarn has wrapped around one of the green stripper plates on the underside of the carriage. Using your finger, release the yarn from around the plate, pull up the yarn that was caught on the plate and continue to knit the row. To prevent this from happening in the future, be sure to hold the yarn at the beginning of the row before you push the carriage, until you see the first needle begin knitting the yarn. For owners of the ISM model, the yarn has to be held more carefully for the USM since the carriage front is open.
Problem: Carriage jams after a few stitches.
Solution: Check to see if the yarn has wrapped around one of the green plates on the underside of the carriage. Release the yarn from around the plate, pull up the yarn and continue to knit the row. To prevent this from happening in the future, be sure to hold the yarn at the beginning of the row, until you see the first needle begin knitting the yarn. For owners of the ISM model, the yarn has to be held more carefully for the USM since the carriage front is open.
Problem: Carriage jams in the middle of the row.
Solution #1: Lift up the handle of the carriage and check to be sure all the needles are either in non-working, working, forward working or holding position. If there is a needle out of line, it can hit on the "bounce bar" on the underside of the keyplate. You will be able to see this through the tinted keyplates.
Solution #2: Be sure the retainer bars are flat across the bed (see above) and you are not bearing down on the carriage.
Solution #3: If you have a row counter attached to your machine, remove it while you're learning.
Problem: Carriage jams at the beginning of the row after you have knitted a row.
Solution: Be sure the last row was knitted completely. You should knit the row until the last needle stops moving or it will be difficult to knit the next row.
Problem: Difficult to knit completely across row.
Solution: Be sure there is enough free yarn coming from the pull-skein. If the yarn is pulling directly out of a new ball or if it gets caught on something on your table, it will be difficult to knit the row.
Problem: Knitting or hem falls off at the beginning of the row.
Solution: Be sure to hold the yarn at the beginning of the row and to be sure it feeds through the yarn guide in the front of the carriage. If it is pulled out or comes out by not holding it, there is no yarn to feed into the needles and all the stitches will drop. For owners of the ISM model, the yarn has to be held more carefully for the USM since the carriage front is open.
Problem: After knitting a few rows, carriage is stuck at the beginning of the row.
Solution: Because by nature, knitting curls at the sides, which could catch the edge of the carriage. Be sure the knitting is back against the bed and one of the green plates on the underside of the carriage isn't hitting the knitting.
Problem: Mistake made or too many rows knitted.
Solution: Just rip out the mistake row or extra rows. Be sure to unlatch the first stitch, which is usually a bit tighter than the others. See your instructional video on how to rip out a row.
Problem: Mistake made in the middle of the row and carriage is stuck.
Solution: Lift up the keyplate and slide the carriage back to the beginning of the row. Then rip out the stitches knitted on that row. Push the needles into either working or forward working position. Pull up the loose yarn and knit the row again.
Problem: I'm getting loops over the needles and nothing is knitting. What's wrong?
Solution: Most likely the keyplate is not inserted properly. Be sure the back edge of the keyplate is inserted between the two "shelves" at the back of the carriage. The keyplate will have to be pushed down slightly, but not forced down. Also, be sure not to try to insert the keyplate unless all the needles under the carriage are in non-working position.
COL carriage on left
COR carriage on right
FWP forward working position, stitches just behind open latches
HP holding position
LHS left hand side
M1 pick up loop lying between needles and K into back of it
NWP non working position
psso pass slipped st over
RS right side
RHS right hand side
st st stocking stitch
WP working position
WS wrong side
WY waste yarn
How long does it take to learn to use the machine?
To learn the basics, just one evening - or a weekend, if you want to go through the complete instruction book.
How long does it take to make a basic sweater or afghan?
You can make an adult sweater or large afghan in two evenings, a child's sweater, smaller afghan or throw in one evening.
Can I use hand knitting patterns?
Yes. Information on how to convert hand knitting patterns for use on the machine are included in the pattern book that comes with your machine. Directions on how to short row are here.
Can I add hand knitting or crocheted sections fo my machine-knitted projects?
Yes. You can knit the back and sleeves on the machine and hand knit the front. Or you can machine knit part of the front, then take the knitting off the machine and hand knit a yoke. You can do the same for crochet, especially with afghans (edgings, joinings, panels, etc.)
Can I get more patterns for my machine?
Yes. Your machine will come with a brochure of other accessories, videos and pattern books that are available for your machine. You can also get Free Bond USM Patterns.
What kinds of yarns can I use on my machine and do I have to buy special types of yarns?
You can use between a sport weight and chunky weight yarn. You can also use fancy yarns such as mohair (or brushed yarn) and bouclé as well as different yarns mace from acrylic, cotton, wool, mohair and lots more.
What happens if I get stuck? Is there a help line I can call?
Yes. The phone number for the help line is printed on the information that comes with your machine. There is no charge for this help except the cost of the long distance call.
What type of warranty comes with the machine?
The machine comes with a limited lifetime warranty against product defects. You may register your machine for warranty online.
What are the main differences between the Incredible Sweater Machine or Bond Classic and the Ultimate Sweater Machine?
The needle bed is the same. The carriage is quite different and incorporates all the “wishes” of Sweater Machine knitters over the years: the front of the carriage is open (no fabric guide) so doing intarsia “on the fly” (as you knit) and other changing of yarn, such as for stripes, is especially easy. The carriage also has a built-in tripper for the row counter. There are six different keyplate sizes to match every size hand knitting needle from a 6 through a 10. The color of the carriage is plum and the keyplates are a transparent green. There’s a new pattern book, instruction book and video and lots of Accessories, Pattern Boooks and Instructional DVD's.
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