KM encyclopedia

Knitting machines come from many manufacturers with different patterning capabilities. Some knitting machines are still being manufactured. The used market of vintage knitting machines (manufactured in the 1920s-1990s) is still booming. Check out my store for some of them.

To learn more about various knitting machines, browse the lists below or check our latest posts.

Most of the articles in my Encyclopedia are based on my personal experience with specific models of knitting machines and attachments. It would be great if you are familiar with a model not listed or not yet described here and would like to contribute.

By manufacturer:


German company Addi makes sturdy circular plastic knitting machines.


Japanese company Brother manufactured up to the 1990s flatbed (including foldable) metal and plastic knitting machines and assesories.



“Elna” is another brand name for the knitting machines manufactured by Toyota



“Jones” is yet another brand name for knitting machines manufactured by Brother Co.


“KnitKing” was another brand name for Brother knitting machines targeted for the North American markets.





With the exception of just one model, “Studio” was another brand name for the Japanese Silver Reed knitting machines sold in Canada.


By patterning mechanism:

The ability of a knitting machine to pattern is one of the main parameters differentiating a knitting machine. My store offers machines with different patterning capabilities.


Machines without any (semi)automatic needle selection can only form patterns if a knitter manually selects the needles and moves them to specific positions.


By pushing buttons and rotating a corresponding lever, needles will be automatically brought forward for further patterning. The needles need to be selected/deselected for each row of patterning.


… to be updated. Still learning the gist.


The needles are selected according to the holes in the punchcard inserted into other punchcard reading mechanisms. The needles are selected automatically for each row. There are machines capable of reading 24- and 12-hole punchcards.


The needle selection is performed electronically according to the predetermined pattern (built-in or custom). The needles are selected automatically for each row. The pattern size can be up to the full bed (100-200 needles).

By gauge:

“Gauge” is the distance between the needles on the knitting machine bed. It is also a reflection of the needle size itself. Since the machines were first manufactured in Japan and Europe, the gauge is measured in metric units – millimeters.

The very first machines were of “standard gauge”. The “fine”-, “mid”- and “bulky”-gauge machines came later. This is why they are harder to find.

Some standard, mid-gauge, and bulky machines are still being produced by Silver Reed and Taitexma companies. Fine gauge knitting machines can only be purchased on the used market. But after some TLC, those vintage machines will still serve you long years. Check out my store for some of them.

By bed type:



Ribbing attachments, or ribbers, convert a metal flat bed knitting machine to a double bed and allow to knit rib or to extend stockinet knitting capabilities to another set of needles (by knitting in a circle or U shape). More advanced ribbers also enable knitting machines to knit double jacquard as well as other patterning.

Color changers

Color changes assist in a more automatic switching between colors. Hobbyist knitting machines can be equipped with color changes capable of handling up to 6 colors.


Add-on carriages perform a variety of functions, like, knitting lace, transfer stitches, link panels, or even knitting on their own (garter carriage from Brother).


Motors attach to the main carriage and move it without the assistance of a human machine-knitter.

Charting Devices and Knit Leaders

Charting devices and knit leaders help to create shaped panels (for sweaters and other garments) by reminding the knitter where to decrease/increase stitches.

Disclosure: The information presented in my Knitting Machine Encyclopedia is based on my personal experience/knowledge unless otherwise noted. Some pictures were taken from the web with the permission of the original posters.