Brother KH830 knitting machine

Brother KH830 knitting machine was manufactured by Brother and released to the market in the late 1970-ies. Sometimes is branded as KnitKing.

This is a standard knitting machine with 200 needles positioned 4.5 mm apart. Comes with a detachable row counter (available in my store), a two-thread yarn mast and a 24-hole (in one row) punch card reading mechanism.

When we talk about 24-hole punchcards, we really imply that the maximum stitches in one row of a pattern will be 24. There are not really 24 holes in one row but there might be if needed.

The machines I worked on were yellow in color with some brownish accents. The original color of the machine was probably light yellow (judging by the color of the inside of the built-in tool storage box.

Handle on the carriages (main and lace) fold not in use for easy storage.

The carriage has tuck, part and MC (fair isle) buttons to advanced patterning. Patterning is activated by attaching the carriage to the timing belt by turning the knob on the carriage to KC position. CR and NL positions of the knob on the top right-hand side of the carriage are for “no-patterning” and carriage release functions. Positions of these settings is somewhat opposite to those in later models, Brother KH840, KH860 and up: the CR setting on Brother KH830 is at the bottom while in later models, it is on top and is the last setting.

If the carriage does not seem to be working correctly, you can refer to this article on common problems with the Brother knitting machine carriages.

By using punch cards and by pressing these corresponding buttons, the machine can automatically pattern and knit tuck-stitch patterns, hold-stitch patterns, skip-stitch patterns, fair-isle patterns (two color patterns are possible without any color changes).

Standard setup includes lace carriage, cast-on combs and extension rails (to hold lace carriage or main carriage on the side of the machine when not in use).

Brother KH830 also has a distinct color combo: greyish case and lid and brownish end caps.

It comes with a built-in toolbox, which holds all minor assesories. Parts are available for purchase on new and used markets.

The machine is compatible with the following assesories:

  • Ribbers: KR810, KR830, KR850, KR900
  • Color changers: KHC820A, KRC 830, KRC900, KRC 1000E, KRC-1100M
  • Knit leaders: KL113, KL116
  • Garter carriages: KG88, KH88II, KH88III but with some additions (of a special yarn tensioner and special racks according to the manual). I personally have not yet tested the garter carriage on KH830.
  • Transfer carriage: KA8300

The retaining bar includes a long sponge strip, that needs to be replaced every 6-12 months depending on the use of the machine and the extent of oiling.

Brother knitting machines with punch-card patterning capabilities are often present in my store.

Pros and Cons of Brother KH830 knitting machine:

PROS:

(+) Solid machine with plenty of replacement parts on the used and new market.

(+) Plenty of resources online on how to use it.

(+) Automatic patterning with slip-, tuck- and fair isle stitches. Just insert the punch card and knit away. Can do weaving.

(+) Can handle two different yarns (of different color, for example) at once without the need of a color changer.

(+) Compatible with a variety of add-on assesories like ribber, transfer carriage, garter carriage, knit leader, etc.

(+) A timing belt when using the machine in patterning mode makes the carriage slide a bit easier.

(+) Very well written manual

(+) The handle on the carriage folds nicely (on some older models it screws on) for storage. Almost zero chance for the handle to be misplaced or lost.

(+) Built-in minor accessories storage box.

(+) The carriage has several settings for pattern knitting and carriage release.

CONS:

(-) The repeat pattern is limited to 24 stitches. If you want more flexibility, electronic patterning of KH9XX series machines is the way to go.

(-) The sponge bar needs to be replaced regularly.

(-) If not stored/taken care of properly, it will rust.

(-) Buttons on the carriage are often stuck if the machine is not in use for prolonged periods of time.

(-) 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).

(-) Again, only if not used for prolonged times, the patterning mechanism might start misbehaving… The reasons might be: gunk/dirt, stuck pieces of yarn, incorrect engagement with the timing belt, incorrectly (too thick) selected yarn/tension, faulty needles, etc.

(-) Plastic components of the machine, including plastic parts on the carriage, end caps, and others 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.

(-) The carriage has fewer settings for patterning options compared to the later models of knitting machines (like Brother KH840).

Almost all the cons refer to when the machine is not stored properly and are mostly related to machine maintenance.

Here is a video of knitting tuck-, slip- and fair-isle-based stitches.

Other standard Brother knitting machines with punch-card capabilities are KH820, KH836, KH838, KH840, KH860, KH864, KH868, KH880, KH881, KH 890, KH891, KH892 and KH894.

Studio/Singer/Silver Reed also produced standard-gauge knitting machines with punch-card possibilities. Their patterning mechanism is somewhat different (they use patterning drums). The models are 210, 260K, 3XX series (e.g., 321, 326, 327, 328, MemoMatic 360K and mod. 360K), and 700 mod., to name a few.