Singer HK100 knitting machine is a plastic flat bed knitting machine. The needles are large and are 8 mm apart. It was released to the marker in 1983. The simplicity of this machine (only basic/manual patterning capabilities) and its plastic bed makes me think that the target audience was the hobbyists, looking to destash their yarn for hand-knitting. It was an inexpensive alternative to very popular in those days metal-flat-bed Japanese knitting machines.
The machine is very easy to setup and almost intuitive to use. It can handle with ease (or much easier than some its metal counterparts) thicker acrylic and cotton yarns, typically used for crocheting and hand-knitting.
The machine is brown with white carriage. This color combining makes the machine very unique and easily recognizable. All components are plastic. The needle bed fits 120 needles. The tension mast is simple and is attaches to the carriage. The yarn is supposedly on the floor or behind the knitting machine.
The machine comes with standard set of assesories, including, cast-on combs, weights, table clamps, stitch transfer tools and detachable row counter.
The levers on the carriage also also plastic. By manipulation these levers, the knitters can pattern with various stitches, including, slip and tuck. The handle folds for easy storage. For the needles to knit properly, the machine needs a sponge, which needs to be replaced every 6-12 months depending on how often the machine is used and oiled and also how it is stored.
Some classify this machine as mid-gauge and some as bulky. My personal experience with this machine makes me think that even though it creates large stitches (see it in this video), its handling of bulkier yarn could be better.
The pros and cons of the Singer HK100 are the following:
(+) Very light-weight (due to the all plastic components), thus, easy to handle, set up and put away.
(+) Plastic needle bed eliminates the possibility of hard-to-remove corrosion.
(+) Mast threading and installing is very easy and newbie-friendly.
(+) The yarn is always in front of the knitter, which helps to see the knots right away. The knitter also sees right away how much yarn is left.
(+) The row counter is interchangeable with any other Singer/Studio/Silver Reed knitting machine.
(+) Parts are available for purchase and interchangeable (transfer tools, table clamps, and row counter) with other machines/models.
(+) Overall very beginner-friendly setup/machine
(+) The lever on the carriage activates the “Not Knitting” function and the carriage can be simply slid from the bed if needed
(+) Can handle small knots in the yarn without drama
(+) The sponge bar is relatively easy to replace
(+) The yarn is right in front of the knitter minimizing the possibility of running out of yarn
(+) Probably because the machine was released later than its counterparts, the plastic is less prone to UV damage and is more durable. On machines that I worked on, there was no visible UV damage (yellowing) to the plastic components, including the needle bed.
Some of these pros are hard to explain in words: so watch my video testing this machine.
(-) Only manual patterning capabilities. However, there are numerous online and printed tutorials on how to achieve advanced patterning by hand-manipulating needles.
(-) The detachable row counter can be lost or misplaced.
(-) Plastic parts might break more easily if dropped or mishandled.
(-) No other add-on assesories are available
(-) Table clamps are not permanently attached to the bed (like in, for example, Brother KX350) so they can be lost or misplaced.
Singer HK100 is sometimes available in my store for purchase along with other basic and more advanced knitting machines. The Singer HK100 knitting machine is excellent for beginners who are just trying to get a feel for what machine knitting is like. If these newbies outgrow this machine, it has a good resell value, especially if passed on in good condition with a new sponge bar.
Similar bulky plastic bed machines made by Singer/Studio/Silver Reed are model numbers LK100 (9.0 mm gauge), Bulky knitting machines with plastic flat beds made by other manufacturers are Bond (8.0 mm gauge), Brother KX350 and KX355 (7 mm gauge) as well as Brother KH370, KH390 and KH395 (all convertible, 4.5/9 mm gauges).
Flat-bed but metal knitting machines with 8.0 mm gauge and only basic patterning capabilities are Corona CN9N, Studio 120 (also known as bulky eight), and Studio 140.