Brother KH260 knitting machine was released to the market in 1984. It features a metal bed with 114 needles positioned 9 mm apart.
Typicaly Brother KH260 knitting machine comes in a nice pastel brown-pinkish/beige color combination. An anniversary model Brother KH260e has greenish shades. It is identical to its KH260 counterpart. (A picture of KH260e is coming soon in here 😊) But I’ve seen on the Internet a picture of KH260 in a pretty white/pink combo.
Also known under other names, such as KnitKing KH260.
It is also known as KnitKing PC Bulky.
Other names I’ve seen on the Internet include Brother KH260 Punch 9 .
It is considered a bulky knitting machine capable of working with thicker yarns.
The needles are large, with substantial hooks. The distance betwene neeldles on the bed is 9 mm.
It has punch-card reading capabilities with a 24-stitch repeat pattern. The machine is capable of usual knits using slip-, tuck- and fair isle stitch patterning. Also capable of knitting thread lace.
The bed is wider than its standard-gauge counterparts, which makes the machine significantly heavier.
Comes with a nice set of assesories – no additional purchases are needed. All small/minor assesories fit nicely into a built-in box.
However, if desired, additional assesories can be added to expand the Brother KH260 setup:
- KR260 ribber
- KRC 1100M and KRC-900 color changers.
- KA2600 intarsia carriage
Despite a handful of major assesories that can be added to the Brother KH260 setup, it is a very robust machine, very well-liked and sought after by machine knitters.
The handle on the carriage folds for easy storage when not in use.
The retaining bar needs a sponge strip, which needs to be changed every 6-12 months depending on use and degree of oiling. The row counter is detachable and stored inside the lid. So do the sinker plate, cast-on combs, and tension mast. Comes with standard table clamps.
The carriage has knobs and levers for tuck-, slip, fair-isle patterning, and knitting, for which the carriage is latched to the timing belt by turning the knob on the top-right-hand side part of the carriage. Check out a video of me testing one of my machines.
Pros and Cons of Brother KH260 knitting machines:
(+) Carriage (despite being heavier and bulkier than on standard machines) is still relatively easy to move, especially in KC mode (in this mode the carriage latches onto a timing belt)
(+) The machine can handle a large variety of thick yarns, including challenging and textured threads (boucle, bulky chenille, double-threaded, etc.)
(+) The machine comes with a built-in compartment to store minor assesories. This is actually a big plus because older models come with removable/detachable boxes, which get lost, misplaced, or broken very easily.
(+) All major assesories fit in the case lid when not in use and during transport.
(+) Accessories and parts, including needles, are still easy to purchase on new and used markets. Needles for the KH260 and other bulky Brother knitting machines can be purchased in my shop.
(+) A very straightforward manual
(+) Highly desirable machine – thus, good resell value
(+) Creates bulky stitches that just visually make everybody feel warm and cozy 😊
(-) Larger than other machines, including some other bulky models. It is also heavier.
(-) Expensive as they are highly desirable, which makes them hard to find especially in good shape
(-) Carriage levers and buttons are prone to sticking, especially when not in use for a long time. This might result in improper needle selection. But can be done with regular maintenance/care.
(-) When not in use for prolonged periods, the patterning mechanism might start misbehaving
(-) Requires more weights than other machines very likely because of heavier yarns.
(-) Tuck brushes need to be installed. Some machines (mostly standard) already have built-in tuck-brushes on sinker plate. This is not really a con but just one more thing to keep track of and not to misplace.
(-) The repeat pattern is limited to 24 stitches. If you want more flexibility, you will need an electronic bulky machine, Brother KH270.
(-) The sponge bar needs to be replaced regularly.
(-) Needs to be stored properly otherwise the machine will rust.
(-) The standard set of punch cards is somewhat limited. Knitters who want other designs will need to punch their own (a quite tedious process if done by hand and a step-learning way if done by Cricut or similar automatic cutters).
Similar (9 mm gauge) machines are Brother KH210 (only manual needle/stitch manipulations), KH230 (also only manual stitch manipulation), and Brother KH270 (electronic knitting machines). Singer/Silver Reed/Studio also has several bulky models: (SK)150 and (SK)151 (manual only), (SK)155 with punch-card-based patterning capabilities with 12-stitch repeat patterns, and (SK)890 with electronic patterning capabilities. Toyota also had a couple of bulky knitting machines: models 600 and 650.
The plastic counterpart is Studio LK100 (manual).
Brother KH260 sometimes appears in my Etsy store for purchase.