Brother KH-950i

More Knitting Machine Adventures

It’s fair to say I have amassed a collection of knitting machines, paraphernalia and yarns in the 2½ years since I wrote about my first adventures with knitting machines.

The machine collection

The original plan was to hack the Toyota KS858 along the lines of the Gelsomina project by adding electronic controls to the stitch selector panel, however upon understanding the needle selection mechanism a bit better I came to the conclusion that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to overcome the 12-stitch repeat limitation.

Unable to find a Brother KH-930, the model used in the Electroknit hack, for sale I plumped for the closest I could get my hands on – a KH-950i. I naively assumed that Brother had numbered their models in order and the 950i was newer than the 930, but recently discovered this is not the case – see the HKC eBay Guide ‘The Brother Range Explained’.

There is always a risk in buying through eBay and unfortunately the electronics on the 950i I bought didn’t work. Being a novice it was quite a while before I was convinced that the problem was with the machine and not the operator (too long to contest the sale with the vendor). It took taking the plunge and buying a second (working) 950i for it to be definitive! I could have taken the machine to be serviced I suppose, but I like to figure these things out for myself.

A bit of an expensive mistake, but on the upside I have a whole set of spares and a ready-to-hack-with-no-fear-of-breaking-it machine.

The final machine in the collection is a chunky Brother KH-260 with ribber. This was actually the machine that I completed my first project on – I bought it serviced with a one year guarantee so could be confident that any problems were down to me and not the machine!

Completed projects

I have managed to complete a few machine knitted projects but not nearly as many as I would have liked. I’m also not terribly disciplined at taking photographs of the finished articles before gifting them. Here are a couple:

Woven Plaid Throw

A gift for a friend, inspired by the Simple & Sensational Youtube tutorial on weaving a filet mesh. It had to be wrestled away from my cats before I could gift it!

Tuck Stitch Diamond Afghan

Free online pattern: Made on the chunky KH260 using a punchcard.

Panna Frost Flower Lace Shawl

Free online pattern It was quite a challenging project, in several respects. I’m still not sure I successfully translated the Passap cast-on instructions correctly for a Japanese machine, following the pattern chart was much easier. I also dropped stitches several times with all the hand transferring of stitches. After having to restart a couple of times I began adding life lines at regular intervals. Finally I was completely out on yardage and ran out, ending up with a shorter than intended shawl.

Next up

I have barely scratched the surface so there’s many avenues I could explore. I’d love to try and cover some if not all of the following this year:

  • Hacking an electronic machine
  • Drafting knitting patterns and using the knitleader
  • Double jacquard and the colour changer

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