Brother KX350 Home Knitter (also known as KnitKing Simple Seven) is a plastic-bed knitting machine with only basic/manual capabilities of manipulating stitches.
It has 132 needles, positioned 7 mm apart. It is considered a mid-gauge knitting machine.
It was manufactured and released to the market sometime in the early 1980-ies as a hobbyist and inexpensive alternative to heavy-duty metal punch-card/electronic knitting machines.
When it is branded under the Simple Seven by KnitKing name, the color combination is the same. The writing on the carriage is slightly different. All other assesories are the same.
No other major add-on assesories can be fitted to this machine (no ribber, no lace carriage, etc.).
Despite being advertised and considered by many knitters a mid-gauge machine, it can easily handle thicker yarns – like worsted. Check one of my videos showing how to knit a cowl using red heart Super Saver yarn.
The carriage has settings to knit and hold stitches. Brother KX350 comes with a detachable row counter (available in my store). The carriage handle folds when not in use for easy storage.
Minor assesories include standard stitch-manipulation/holding tools, cast-on comb, mast, and weights.
If you are lucky, the machine will come with a nice Styrofoam packaging, in which all minor accessories can be fitted easily.
The sponge needs to be inserted into the machine underneath the needles. It is somewhat of a painful process (because there is no rigid retaining bar) but manageable. It needs to be done every 6-12 months depending on how you store the machine and how often you oil it (oil facilitates sponge decomposition).
Needles are thick and sturdy but unique to this machine. Can be purchased on the new and used markets.
Unlike earlier Brother Knitting machines (even with metal needle beds), Brother KX350 knitting machines do not typically show discoloration of the plastic due to UV damage.
I refurbished to date 4 of these machines and I am very fond of them. Read about those specific machines and how much refurbishing I’ve done in my other blog. The Brother KX350 knitting machine is often available in my Etsy store and on my own website (for less then on Etsy) for purchase.
Other plastic flat bed knitting machines manufactured by Brother are: KX355, KH355 (with the electronic knit leader), KH360, KH370, KH380, KH390, and KH395. In this list, KH360, KH390 and KH395 are dual gauge (4.5 and 9 mm) convertible knitting machines.
Silver Reed (also known as Studio and Singer) also has machines similar to KX350: model HK100 (8 mm gauge) and HK160 (6 mm, can use punch cards). Specific to Silver Reed only, there are plastic machines with basic stitch manipulation capabilities. The model numbers are LK100 (considered bulky gauge – 9 mm), LK140 (true mid-gauge – 6.5 mmm), and LK150 (6.5 mm).
Below are the Pros and Cons of the Brother KX350 knitting machines I discovered while testing/refurbishing these machines:
- This model of knitting machine is excellent for beginners as it is easy to maintain, operate, handle, and lift.
- The sponge bard replacement does not need glue
- Needles are easily replaced without the need to remove the sponge bar – a huge advantage: the needles can be changed in the middle of a project
- Light-weight, which makes it easy to handle, put together and put away
- Simple and straightforward to use
- Very well written manual with instructions on how to knit garments and other techniques
- The sinker plate is not detachable – will not be lost. It also makes the setup easy to assemble: the knitter does not need to attach/detach the sinker plate and worry about screwing it on correctly.
- Replacements for most parts can be found online. Needles are available on the used and new market. They are available in my store as well.
- Table clamps are built into the bed. No more worries about misplacing them or using incorrect ones. The table clamps are tucked away under the bed and unfold to attach to the table.
- Comes with heavy-duty combs, which act as weights as well.
- Knits quieter than its metal-bd counterparts (although for its specific noise, my husband calls it a type-writer)
- Has a stopping mechanism to prevent the carriage from accidentally sliding off the bed when knitting too vigorously
- The number/positions for the needles are written on the bed. So, no need to worry about misplacing the strip with needle numbers.
- Putting the machine into the box is extremely easy – unlike its metal-bed counterparts. All minor assesories are stored in their designated places inside the Styrofoam.
- Easily knits relatively thick yarns. I used wool/acrylic blend on this machine (100g/230 m, 3.5 oz/255 yards) without any problems.
- The carriage moves very easily. The cons are:
(-) plastic bed (which to me does not seem to be a con at all…. I am not worried about rust. I am also not worried about plastic being brittle and discolored if I keep the machine in the box when not in use). However, parts are not as durable as parts for metallic flatbed machines. However, I kind of think of it as almost an advantage: plastic can be glued together but getting rid of the rusted parts on a metal knitting machine is a big pain.
(-) comes in a cardboard box (instead of a hard case), which is not a turn-off for me personally…
(-) The machine has only basic patterning capabilities. But since it knits regular yarns (those that you can buy in Michael’s and Joan Fabric) – no patterning is needed since you can get self-striping and variegated yarns that provide a lot of interesting color combinations and self-patterning.
(-) The sponge bar is basically a long weather strip. It is not attached to a solid long metal retaining bar. So, inserting this strip and replacing is more involved.
Overall, in my opinion, this machine is perfect for beginning machine knitting. You will get a feel of what machine knitting is. You will not kill your back trying to carry this machine. You can still knit a lot of various patterns, however, they will require a lot of hand-manipulations, which is again great for people who LOVE hand-knitting and just need to have knitting with more even stitches and faster and who are not ready to give up yet the satisfactory feeling of hand-manipulating the stitches.