Ribbing attachment Brother KR810 was released to the market in the very early 1970s to supplement standard-gauge Brother Knitting machines. Brother KR810 ribber features 200 needles, spaced 4.5 mm apart.
Brother KR810 can fit the largest variety of knitting machines: from 8-pushbutton KH552 and KH710 to early punchcard model KH800 as well as later punchcard models (specifically, KH820, KH821, KH830, KH831, KH836, KH840, KH851, KH860, KH864, KH868, KH871, KH880, KH881, KH890, KH891, KH892, KH893 and KH894) and all electronic Brother Knitting machines (model numbers KH900, KH910, KH920, KH930, KH940, KH950i, KH950e, KH965, KH965i and KH970).
Brother KR810 ribber as well as other Brother ribbers are available in my store for purchase along with the ribber and knitting machine assesories.
The ribber features a flatbed with sturdy plastic end caps and a standard set of assesories (barrel weights, table clamps, needle pushers, needle pressers, cast-on combs, wire-loop, and claw-type weight hangers, etc.).
The standard setup also includes reinforcing clamps. They attach to the slot in the side brackets (which would be preinstalled onto the ribber) and then to the table. This way of attachment to the ribber and a table is typical for early model ribbers but is different for later models (the brackets already have a lever that sits on the table and to which the knitter then attaches regular knitting machine table clamps).
When I tested a KR810 ribber (follow the links for the full article and a video blog), I did not have these vintage reinforcing clamps and I also did not have the original side brackets. So, I attached side brackets from the KR850/830 ribbers and successfully attached the ribber to the machine and a table using the regular flat-top knitting machine table clamps.
In that configuration, I then attached the ribber to the older narrower machine (Brother KH710) and wider later models (KH970). I was able to knit on the Brother KH970 with that particular Brother KR810 ribber but I was not able to knit on the KR810/KH710 configuration. I suspect that maybe the angle of the KH710 machine and KR810 ribber was a bit off (because I used slightly different reinforcing table clamps and side brackets) and this is why I could not knit. When I find the original side brackets, I will retest KR810 on push-button models to make sure the Internet sources are not mistaken that Brother KR810 ribber can knit on narrower older models like KH552, KH710 and KR800.
The carriage also has all the usual settings, although their positions is a bit different than on the carriages for the later models, like Brother KR830 and KR850. For example, the I-II lever for the KR810 carriage is on the top of the carriage but for the later KR830 and KR850 models, this lever is at the bottom of the carriage. The position of the Pr-R lever is reversed as well: it is at the bottom of the KR810 carriage and it is a side-to-side lever, while on KR830/KR850 it is an up-down lever and it is at the top-side of the carriage. Additionally, unlike any other ribber carriages I have had experience dealing with so far, the carriage for the KR810 has a release button (red button on the top left-hand side of the carriage). This button helps to easily position and remove the carriage onto the bed. When I worked with this ribber (which is described in a separate blog article), I actually liked the presence of this button quite a lot. It was very convenient to move/remove the carriage during the knitting or simply from the middle of the bed.
The connecting arm, to the current level of my experience, is somewhat unique. However, I checked and it is NOT interchangeable with connecting arms from other ribbers (like Brother KR830 and KR850). The pictures below show approximate dimensions (in cm) and photos from different angles. These pictures can serve as a reference when locating a missing connecting arm or checking to make sure you got the correct connecting arm with your setup.
The attaching of the connecting arm to the knitting machine carriage was a bit different as well. The manual described that when the two carriages are aligned one under another, the connecting arm needs to be unscrewed, then allowed to sink into the protruding peg on the ribber carriage, and then be tightened again (for KR830/KR850 models, the ribber carriages slides across the bed until the protruding peg meets with the connecting arm and latches onto it). For the earlier models, the manual had a different procedure but when I operated KR810 with the KH710 machine (keep in mind – with the modified brackets), I had to do the same. Just something to keep in mind is that there might be different (other than those described in the manual) ways of attaching the connecting arm.
Pros and Cons of Brother KR810 ribber:
(+) Compatible with a very wide range (bigger than other ribbers) knitting machines.
(+) Replacement needles can be purchased on a new market.
(+) Well-written instruction manual. This is my number one source of instructions and patterns.
(+) Very straightforward carriage threading (with yarn) process. It is more tedious on earlier ribber models (like KR580).
(+) The racking level allows for knitting wavy-racking patterns.
(+) The retaining bar is a plastic bar (no sponge). So, just regular clearing is needed. No sponge to worry about.
(+) Unlike earlier models (KR5XX series), the connecting arm allows to move of the main and ribbing carriage simultaneously. This tremendously decreases the movements required from the knitter as well as the possibility of making mistakes or problems with tension.
(+) Some parts (like, side brackets and racking lever) might be interchangeable with older Brother ribber models
(-) Missing more advanced features (like lili buttons) that later models (like Brother KR850) have.
(-) Unique connecting arm, not interchangeable with any other ribbers
(-) Less friendly than later models for double jacquard knitting
(-) The first initial adjustment of the distance between the main bed and the ribber might seem tedious. However, there are numerous resources on how to do it correctly.
(-) Dropped stitches are easy to miss while knitting because the knitted panel is underneath the double-bed setup and only becomes visible when a significant panel has been knitted.
(-) Plastic components of the KR830 ribber, 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.
If you have a well-serviced ribber, check the steps I take while testing the ribbers.
Regardless of the cons, Brother KR810 ribbing attachment is a very versatile tool deserving a place in every knitter collection. The fact that it works with such a large variety of knitting machines, from pushbutton to electronic, makes it an invaluable addition to any hobbyist or small production knitter.
Brother manufactured also similar ribbing attachments (usable with almost the same knitting machines with the exception of a couple of pushbutton machines) with model numbers KR810, KR830, KR850, KR880 and KR900.