Brother KH710 knitting machine

Brother KH710 machine is the first 8-push button machine with all plastic case including the front panels, end-caps, carriage cover and handle.

I have seen the same machine branded as Genie KH710.

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Brother/Genie KH710 knitting machine is a 4.5 mm (standard) gauge machine with 200 needles. It features a metal flat bed and plastic case with plastic end-caps (unlike all previous 8-push button knitting machine models).

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Brother KH710 is one of the latest models for the 8-push button knitting machines and has a lot of modifications not present in earlier models (like KH552KH588). The case has more plastic (for example, end caps are plastic and not metal like in KH588 and earlier 8-push button models). The carriage covers as well as the handle are also not metal but plastic.

Brother (Genie) KH710 knitting machine was probably manufactured in the early-to-mid 1970s. Some sources state that Genie 710 is the same as Brother (Profile) KH588 but they have several differences, which are described in my other blog article. The color scheme is also completely different than all previous 8-push button models: it is cream/brown versus green/bight-blue colors for the KH5XX series.

The carriage handle no longer screws on (like earlier 8-push-button models) but is permanently attached to the carriage (good – fewer things to lose – I see so many machines arriving without these screw-on handles). But the handle folds for easier fitting into the case.

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Genie KH710 is capable of patterning using semi-automatic needle selection performed by the pushbuttons and a pattern center. The pattern center features 8-push buttons, set-lever (it engages by a special ratchet tool and moves the needles after the corresponding buttons are pushed), reverse lever (to determine whether the operator wants to bring forward the needles that are selected or those NOT selected), slide dial (the knob helping the knitter to shift the needle selection by 1-8 positions without pushing/unpushing or selecting/unselecting the needles) and MC change lever.

The role of the set lever (activated by a ratchet tool) is to bring the needles forward: you push the corresponding buttons and then rotate the set lever with a ratchet and the needles move forward to the C position. By rotating the ratchet to the ‘off’ position, the buttons return to the unpushed position. Another option is to push the reset button (the very first button – red in this case, right before button #1) to deselect the working push buttons.

The role of the reverse lever is that: for example, you want to select needles 2 through 8. So, you simply push button #1, turn the reverse lever to B, and rotate the set lever: all but needles in position 1 will be brought forward.

The role of the slide dial (controlled with the L/R knob) is to shift the needle selection. For example, a pattern requires the selection of needles 1 and 5, then 2 and 6, then 3 and 8. Instead of pushing and unpushing the corresponding buttons (like what you would do on earlier 4-push button models), you simply push buttons 1 and 5 and then simply move the slide dial to the corresponding number of places. If you move the dial only once, needles 2 and 6 will be selected even though buttons 1 and 5 are still pushed in. If you move the slide dial two places, then (even though the buttons 1 and 5 are pushed in) needles in positions 3 and 7 will be moved forward.

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MC change lever has N and MC positions also accompanied by the open and black triangles, which helps if you get a machine with Japanese writing for all main functions on the main bed and carriage. MC change lever is used for fair isle patterning (when moved to the MC position).

The additional patterning is accomplished by moving and holding the carriage cam lever in positions I, II, or III and by pressing pattern selector buttons. Unlike some other Brother machines, including some 8-push button ones, holding cam levers (marked on the bottom side of the carriage as I, II, and III) are moving horizontally along the low side of the carriage. On many machines, these cam levers are on the side. The carriage also has a change knob (on the top right-hand side of the carriage). This knob chooses normal, weaving, or fair-isle knitting.

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The machine comes with typical minor assesories, like needle selection tools, clamps, etc. as well as with major assesories, like lace carriage and cast-on combs.

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The assesories fit nicely into a special toolbox with a matching lid.

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This box then sits on the main bed when the machine is not in use. It fits very nicely under the case lid. Several machines I refurbished came with damaged plastic boxes because back in the day plastic was not made as durable and was manufactured without additives that prevent/slow down damage from UV and other elements. Exposure to these factors makes the plastic very frail and prone to damage.

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The major assesories are stored inside the case lid.

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The row counter is of modern type and is interchangeable with other (later) models of brother knitting machines.

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The shape of the table clamps is typical for older models – with two wide screws, one of which is attached to the main bed. The heads of the “S” for these table clamps are smaller than for similar ribber clamps.

The retaining bar is 41 x 0.5 inch and those are still sold new. Some knitters replace only the sponge and any dense sponge with the smooth fabric top should work. The sponge needs to be replaced every 6-12 months depending on how often the machine is used and oiled.

Genie (Brother) KH710 can be accessorized with ribbing attachments KR710 and KR810,  knit leader KL116, and KA7100 transfer carriage. There are some indications in the manual that knit leaders KL111 and KL113 might be compatible with this and other 8-push button machines. A special trigger lever needs to be installed on the carriage to activate the knit leader mechanism.

Replacement needles for these machines are still available on the used market. They are shaped differently than newer models of Brother knitting machines. They have an unusual concaveness next to the needle butt which makes them stand out. Sponge/retaining bars, however, can be found more easily.

I had the pleasure of working on two different Genie KH710 machines. I fully tested both of them and recorded the videos while testing both on full bed by knitting tuck-, slip- and hold-stitch patterns.

Pros and Cons of Brother (Genie) KH710.

PROS:

(+) The bed is narrow which makes the overall setup compact, very light, and easy to handle.

(+) The carriage is very easy to slide across the bed

(+) Excellent for beginners and those who transition from hand-knitting to machine-knitting.

(+) Relatively easy to deep clean – all parts are mechanical and straightforward, so it is easy to assemble and disassemble if deep cleaning is needed

(+) More advanced than just a manual/basic model since the needles can be moved forward in a predetermined pattern.

(+) The presence of the pattern center offers many combinations of needle selection to make the knitter’s life easier

(+) Compatible with several ribber models and with KL111 and KL113 knit leaders, which are also available in my store.

(+) The pattern center is a bit more advanced than earlier 8-pushbutton counterparts allowing for more automatic fair isle knitting

(+) The carriage also features a bit more advanced settings (N, T, MC) than earlier analogous knitting machines

(+) The standard setup comes with a lace carriage. I heard from some knitters that knitting lace on 8-pushbutton machines creates one of the best-looking lace patterns…. Just heard – have not knitted enough lace to compare…

(+) The row counter is a more recent model, which can be purchased on the new market if the row counter is misplaced or lost or your machine does not come with one.

(+) It is very lightweight (because end caps are plastic).

CONS:

(-) Needles are only available on the used market.

(-) Two- and more color fair isle knitting as well as other patterning requires a lot of manual manipulation and color switching. It is, however, typical for manual and push-button knitting machines.

(-) Some might find the machine too simple – yes, it has only limited patterning capabilities. However, with manual needle selection and yarn manipulation, the possibilities are endless, which is kind of a big plus to artists and hand-knitters who just transitioned to machine knitting and not ready yet to give up the feeling of satisfaction of hand-manipulating the stitches.

(-) Majority of the components of the machine are plastic, including plastic parts on the carriage, end caps, and others. These parts are prone to discoloration due to exposure to sunlight even through the window. Thus, please cover your machine with a thick curtain or a towel to prevent further sun damage.

Overall, Genie (Brother) KH710 is a wonderful machine for many reasons.

Since KH710 needle selection is fully mechanical, there are only a number of things that can go wrong and they are easily fixable (unlike electronic and punch-card machines). This feature makes these machines very reliable horses. It is excellent for designers who prefer to have control and like hand manipulation. This machine is also excellent for beginners who just started machine knitting. I also feel that Brother/Genie KH710 would be an excellent fit for somebody who is transitioning from hand-knitting to machine knitting and simply wants to accelerate their work while maintaining satisfaction from manipulating stitches and patterns by hand. This machine is compact as the bed is narrower than newer models. Because of this, the machine is lightweight, which makes Brother KH710 excellent for people who are not as strong with their upper body or for older knitters.

Brother manufactured also other standard-gauge 8-push button knitting machines: Profile 552, KH560, KH561, KH 581, KH583, Profile/KH 585, KH587, and KH588.

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Brother 8-pushbutton knitting machines are very often available in my store for purchase.

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