Knitting Machine FAQ's]
Machine Knitting Blog]
Machine Knitting Patterns]
Metric Conversion Chart]
Pictures of Knitting machines]
Machine Knit Help]
Buyer Beware]
What Knitting Machines Do]
Which Machine]
[Knitting Machine Q&A]
Whats the difference?]

Problems - Questions - Opinions

Mylar sheet help

I found your website on Google. I hope you are still there!
I can't get my 950i to accept mylar sheet patterns. Everything acts normal, but when I go to knit, I get plain stitches. The sheet feeds through and acts like it worked, but no pattern.
Are there fuses in the computer board that might be bad? I have talked with two technicians and they both said they don't have parts for the 950i. I just can't imagine what might have gone bad.
Any thoughts?
Thank you so very much,

    Is it a Brother Mylar (BLUE) sheet or Knitmaster (PINK) ? Did you draw the pattern and what did you draw it with?

A black prismacolor wax pen. I even colored in the back to intensify the color.

    Ok - well, that's your problem. The computer cannot read your drawing.

    Brother Mylar sheets can only be read by the computer if you use either the Brother oil based Mylar pen, which is IMPOSSIBLE to buy, or another pen - hang on a mo while I have a look in my box for you ...

    Buy ZIG PAINTY TWIN or ZIG Writer - in black of course. (You can use the Edding 330 but itís so permanent that you wonít be able to clean it off).

    Each of these are oil-based pigment inks. You may find these on Ebay. They don't come cheap but they are certainly a lot cheaper and easier to find than the Brother Mylar pen.

    You use them a different way from the Brother Mylar pen. The Brother Mylar pen dries matt black. Impossible to find another pen that does the same. The other pens dry with an oily shine to them which stops the computer from reading the drawing, because the computer can only read MATT, not shiny. The way out of this is to draw your pattern on the REVERSE side of the Mylar sheet because the computer reads the right side, and when the drawing dries the shiny side is facing the wrong way whilst the matt side is facing the computer pattern reader.

    I use spray with WD40 & soft tissue to clean my sheets. Works a treat and very quick. Don't know if you can get your wax pen off though, but it works with the Zig pens.

    Have fun - Jo

IT WORKS!!!! OMIGOSH. You can't believe the time (and$$) I have invested in trying to get it to work. You have made my whole year.

Thank you a million times,

Ribber help:

Firstly thank-you for bringing a smile to my face this after noon with your wit. It's wonderful.
I came across your site whilst looking for an answer to my question.
I have a Brother 891 and an 850 ribber bed. Both are maintained well, regularly and oiled. Why is it that as soon as I connect the ribber carriage to the main bed carriage 'it drags'? By 'drags' I mean it feels heavy and sluggish. I have tried knitting with and with out yarn and when the yarn is in I'm almost having to force the carriages to and fro which isn't good for my back or the machine. Any idea please?
Cheers, Rachael.

    Hi Rachael,
    I have had this problem before and found there was only one thing to do - take the whole lot apart, ribber and main bed, unfix it all from the table.
    But - saying that - first of all unscrew the ribber connection off the main carriage and put it back on again making sure that it falls into the right position. It is easy to screw it on so it sets too high.
    When putting the machine together, it is very easy to fix the screws slightly wrong (even though the experts will tell you that you need to oil, replace the sponge bar, set the needles and so on) and this can upset the whole carriage motions.  By taking the whole lot apart and starting again this invariably fixes the problem - the problem being that your main bed carriage and the ribber carriage are too far apart and are therefore dragging.
         - The tilting table clamps fixed to the main bed - make sure that they are screwed in ok to the main bed and make sure they are pushed back tight against the table edge.
         - Make sure the reinforcing arms of the ribber are flat on the table and clamped down.
         - Make sure that before fixing the ribber on that the racking is at the middle/normal position - not that this should make any difference, but who knows.
         - It says in the KR-850 manual that the setter plates have a Left and a Right - maybe that was what I did wrong and accidentally got it right when I fixed it back together, I will never know!  Either way, make sure you fix the setter plate screws on properly and on the correct side.
         - When you push the ribber up towards the main bed I find that I need to shove it once more and it clicks a fraction higher.
    I hope this helps you


Me again. May I ask a question?

I've had a quick look through the manual. And the K-carriage is shown as having a KC setting - good so far - but mine has a KC-I and a KC-II. Is there something I am missing here? Or do these just correspond to the I and II buttons on the comp panel?

Sorry to be a bother - very last question, I promise!

Best regards, Helen

    Its ok - ask away ...
    Gawd - I had to go out to my knitting shed (the garage down the garden - and it is raining!) to see what you are asking by looking at the machine.
    KC1 is for fairisle knitting where you want the end needles selected to knit the last stitch in the contrast yarn at each end of each row.
    KC11 is for when you are knitting a centralised motif or intarsia, and do not want the contrast yarn to be picked up at each end as you would have big floats at the back of your piece of knitting.
    The top of the knob (CR I think) is to release the carriage from the main bed when you have got the whole lot snagged up & all the needles caught.
    When you knit fairisle/motif, on the middle on the carriage under the handle you will see 2 square central buttons. Only press the top one in for fairisle & motifs.  Press them both in for threadlace patterns which is used with main yarn 4 ply and thin 2/30's or thinner contrast yarn.

PPD & Cartridge help please, thanks

    In your knitting machine manual, does it have a page where it tells you how to install patterns from a cartridge? It is very important that you switch the knitting machine computer on and off, when to put the cartridge in, exactly as the instructions tell you to.
    The Japs don't make anything easy - finding the pattern number is a task & makes you wonder why they didn't just number them consecutively.  Every time you want to install a pattern to your machine ALWAYS use the instructions as one little mistake screws the whole works up - FOLLOW EXACTLY WHEN TO TURN ON AND TURN OFF THE POWER.
    I found a lovely pattern with lots of cats on it size 60 stitches x 150 rows.  I did try to put it all on a PPD120 (pattern programming device) to transfer it to my machine, but I lost patience with the length of time it took to `draw` the pattern on to the PPD device - after 2 years I realised I would never finish `drawing` it (dot dot dot dot up left left dot dot up right dot right dot dot and all the time this awful ping - try that some 9000 times). I found it a lot quicker to buy a second-hand KH-950i and draw the pattern on a mylar sheet which took about half an hour & 30 seconds to install (which didn't please my husband "What, another machine???").
    I sold the PPD120 after concluding that it was possibly a WW11 Japanese method of torture along the lines of the Chinese water droplets which sent people mad.

    I once upon a time would have liked to buy the Designaknit programme but it is very expensive for something that I would rarely use. I arrange my designs using a Mylar sheet picture which is in BMP format (Bitmap) which enables me in the PAINT programme or any programme which allows for filling in with colours

Hello to you,
My wife is in some need of help. I thought that you might be able to help her. Her name is Vanessa, and when she tries to knit using the ribber and carriage, the needles that are selected, get caught under the carriage of the brother 891. If she detatches the ribber and carriage from the 891, and cast on herself, without the carriage for the ribber, and use the normal one that came with the 891, it works fine and the selected needles dont get caught.
Hope this makes some sensEe.

Kind Regards, Richard.

    Hello Richard,
    It's probably all to do with general maintenance - bits need resetting and sorting.
    I guess she has a bent needle on the main bed which looks perfectly ok.  Bring forward the needles where she is finding that the carriage sticks. Take the connecting arm off the main carriage and run the carriage across the needles very slowly. If it is a bad needle she will know exactly when the carriage is about to stick.  Release the carriage and see which needles are crossed over. Replace them with good ones. It isn't always the latch end of the needle which is bent - often it is the bit that sticks up.
    Or - take a look under the main carriage and see if the pieces of bent metal at each end are the same - sometimes when the carriage regularly sticks one of those can get pushed out of place a bit.
    Or - make sure the Half Pitch lever is in the right position.  P for 1x1 rib -
    Or - sometimes the machine can be temperamental if the connecting arm is not screwed on in the right place.  So take it off and put it back on again.
    Lastly - unscrew the ribber from the main bed and put it back on again.  All of these bits are screwed in and screws can become loose and need resetting.
    I do hope this helps, Jo

I have a knitting machine that I am hoping to sell.  It was my mother-in-laws, I am not sure about the value, it is practically new. It is a Brother KH 965, and a ribber KR850.  Do you have any idea how much I should charge for this machine?  Thanks in advance for any advice!
Sincerely, Denise

    Hello Denise,
    As your machines are in as-new condition I recommend that you pretend to shop around at some knitting machine dealers to see what prices they are asking and also to check that you have all the accessories with your machine and then to offer your machine for sale at $100 less than the dealer is asking.
    The KH-965 is an electronic machine - the KH-970 is top of the range, KH-965i next, and yours is the third one down - which means that your machine is practically top of the range and in demand.
    In the UK you can ask for around £350 which is a bit low, mainly because machine knitting is no longer popular here and the British hate to part with their money.  In the USA I reckon you can ask for $750 or more.
    It is always a good idea to have the machine serviced by a dealer which gives the buyer a guarantee that the machine is in good working order - otherwise a buyer can break your asking price by pretending to find faults which are not there. As your machine has a computer to work the patterns then that is the first thing a buyer will break your price with if you don't have a service certificate.
    It is a MUST that you have the instructions manuals and the Stitchworld pattern manual to hand over to the buyer. If you don't have those then buy the downloads from my website and put them on a CD.
    If you have a bale of coned yarns and magazines which you are also selling, they are not necessarily an incentive to a buyer.  Coned yarn is always difficult to buy at bargain prices and you cannot expect to ask much more than half the new price for each cone - although definitely count how many cones you have, how many are new and how many are half used, etc - no need to give it all away for nothing.
    Any bundle of machine knitting magazines has its value to all machine knitters because they are not so easily available. Each magazine is usually worth at least the same price as it was bought new especially if they are the Brother Fashion books.
    If you also have other accessories like the Linker, Transfer Carriage, Colour Changer & Knitleader, then all of these are extras and can be treated in a sale as extras for extra money.
    If, perchance, you also have the Designaknit software then that HAS to be sold separately as it cost hundreds new so can sell for $300.
    Long-winded but I hope this all helps you, Jo

Thank you so much, Jo for all the information. You have been very helpful!  I was surprised to find a local knitting group, I am going to try them first. I used to be a machine knitter myself, owning a punchcard machine at first, and then an electronic model.  I sold them both around 15 years ago, so I wasn't sure what the new prices were.  I had no idea Brother stopped manufacturing the machines. 
Thanks again for all of the information, have a great day!
Sincerely, Denise

My Brother KH- 950i cant set pattern programme. I put numbers in but it just knits plain also no beeps when switched on.

    That happened on my machine & I couldnt get away from the problem until I noticed that under the computer programme lid it shows which button to press to CANCEL. Always remember that the electronic knitting machines have the most basic of computers installed - if they crash they are not programmed to recover the next time you turn it on, so get used to programming slowly and surely and to the word in the instruction book to prevent this happening. With any luck all you need do is to cancel your last programme.

I was told that ribber KR-850 would fit my Brother KH-965 machine, but the brackets don't appear to fit as there is a different connection.

    All you have to do is to find the right coupling arm that fits the two together then you don't have to go to the expense of buying a new ribber

When I try to knit on my Singer 700 knitting machine, the carriage jams.

    Check every needle in case one is slightly bent, check all the latches to make sure they move freely and are not bent, make sure the spong bar has not gone flat which causes the needles to be pulled up, check the carriage to make sure everytrhing is working freely.

I am having problems with the cast on (open), the wool is catching on the needles and cast on comb. It never used to. I haven't used my machine for years. Are the needles warped?

    Sorry to give such a basic reply, but I suspect that:

    you haven't threaded the yarn properly,
    your carriage tension may be too tight or loose,
    the yarn you are using is hand knitting yarn,
    you've cast on all the needles instead of 1x1
    the needles have rust on them

    The needles do not warp but they may need cleaning. A good way to do this is to wipe them over with some white spirit on a clean cloth, then wipe the knitting machine oil over them. It isn't just cigarette smoke which clings to the machine bits - the needles will have some remnants of oil on them anyway, and over time dust can be attracted which will cling & clog.

I have a Brother 860. When using a punch card the machine picks up the second color in the wrong places. When doing tuck or lace stitches it is also not reading the card correctly. Is there an adjustment I could make to fix this. I have tried cleaning, checked needles, inspected carriage...etc. Problem seems to be in the card reading section of the bed.

    The machine is probably reading the card properly but the reason that it is miselecting needles is because the selector plates are sticking together, the plates are as thin as razor blades and they need to be perfectly clean and dry, the only thing you can do is to get it to a Brother dealer for it to be stripped down, this is one job you cannot do yourself.

Brother Knitking 5 Star help! I remove the carriage from the machine - I put on Sinker Plate on the Carriage. Now I try to put on the carrige , Sinker plate hits the gates. BUT if I have the carriage on the kneedle Bed and now put on the Sinker Plate, when I tighten the Two Screws the sinker Plate rises above the level of gates. Also sinker plate looks to be uneven.

    DIY - you dont need to line up a sinker plate with the help of a dealer - do it yourself.  Dont be afraid to loosen the screws, even take them off altogether, to make sure that the sinker plate falls into position. Also bear in mind that screws dont last forever & new ones may need to be bought from a dealer. (dont even bother to try to find a screw from somewhere else - I went down that line & got nowhere)

Brother KH930 all of a sudden appears to have lost all memory. All patterns seem to be gone, and the display will only show '888' flashing. Does this sound like a motherboard problem?

    When the power switch is turned on and the Ready light does not light but "888" begins to blink, an internal memory back-up error has occurred. If the "step" key and the "input" key are pressed at the same time, and the "input" key pushed once again, the READY light will light. At this point the contents of the memory will be completely cleared.
    When back-up errors have occurred numerous times, it is possible that the lithium battery is bad or worn down or that there is a problem with the main PC board. Remove the main PC board and check the voltage of the lithium battery. If the voltage is less than DC 2.5 V, replace the lithium battery.

I have just purchased a second-hand Brother KH-936 knitting machine and ribber KR-850. These are both in excellent condition. However when I try to use the ribber carriage it cannot pass over the needles and seems to be catching on them - It is not anything to do with the ribber alignment as when I lower the ribber and try to use just the carriage it will not budge. I am an experienced machine knitter of about 30 years, but cannot solve this one - can you help please!

    You may need to replace the sponge bar on the knitting machine, if this is worn & not holding the needles down the connecting arm will catch on the needles when using the ribber.

Have trouble with dropped stitches when casting on for finished edge.The machine seems to be OK.I am a beginner and have spent many hours trying to do this. Can anyone please help ?

    Are you ewrapping your cast on? If you are you need to place your weaving brushes on for about 5 rows and pull your needles out to the hold position, that's as far as they will pull out, each row for about 5 rows. Then you should be able to turn off the weaving brushes.
    If you are using a different cast on such as pulling out the needles you want to use, then return everyother needle to hold position, all the way out, take your yarn and place it over the needles in hold and with your weaving brushes on knit one row. Leave your weaving brushes on for a few rows before taking them off.

I went to have a look at your website, and I do like your design illustrations, the cats.  They're lovely,   Im in the process of designing a new collection, Im in Brasil at the moment, looking for handknitters to help etc, and I will do the machine knits here.  Was always interested in picture knits but was never sure where to get them made, as I have no access to electronic machines. Would you be interested in collaborating with me on some picture knits?  We can pass around some ideas based on my research?  And if so, let me know what you would ask for price wise, as I am more of a couture designer and not mass production, I am not looking into loads of meters!!  Depending would just be enough for a few garments or so.

Was just a thought in my mind after seeing some of your stuff, I was not thinking of including any in my collection, more hand knit and my personal machine work, as well as some beading, but it formed some ideas in my head! Of course you would have full use of the pictures from the photoshoot and I could promote you where ever I get the chance!

Let me know

    Hi Liria,
    It is likely that you are looking for someone who will do intarsia picture knitting for you - which I don't do solely because it is so long-winded & life is too short. My "thing" is in designing charts which are simple 2 colour fair-isle for straight panel work - i.e. afghans, ponchos, cushions, shawls, which reflect the fair-isle design.
    On my computer I made a blank Mylar sheet (graph paper), 60 stitches across x 150 rows high, which is the size of a Mylar sheet for 2 or 3 of the Brother electronic knitting machines, in bmp format so I can put colours behind the designs to see the effect. A Mylar sheet is a plastic sheet of paper which has the pattern drawn on it using an oil based pen or pencil & one can see at a glance if there are mistakes which can be corrected immediately. The other electronic machines need to have patterns programmed into them - for which the software, Designaknit by Softbyte, is very expensive, unless it is programmed in by hand "dot dot dash dash" a zillion times.

    All my multi-colours-in-a-row designs are only there for others to do - there are people out there who love to get their teeth into stuff like that but I don't have the inclination or the perseverance as I want results today, not next year.
    The biggest problem for you with picture designs are the floats. Which is why I have gone over to afghans because I knit the reverse exactly the same as the front, join them together & viola, the floats have been hidden inside. The float problem is probably one of the reasons why a lot of new designers tend to cut between long floats & leave the threads on the outside of the work & make it a fashion expression. It's an easy way out otherwise you would have floats of 15 to 50 stitches on the inside of a piece which makes it impossible for someone to wear it (Gawd - do I remember my mother on that subject, forever having goes at me because the floats were more than 3 or 4 stitches & she got her damned fingers stuck through them whenever she put on a sweater).
    There are knitting machines which will do jacquard using very fine yarns, like the Passap & other Swiss machines, which may create the effect you are looking for in picture knitting. You also have to consider the yarn you want to use - standard machines of 200 needles use the 2, 3 & 4ply yarns, the Passap for fine 1 ply yarn type, or Chunky machines for thicker yarns but which do not have so many needles on the bed. If you want to use any mohairs then handknitting is best - for brushing out the strands because on the knitting machine the strands get knitted in with succeeding stitches. Mohairs are only successful on the machine if woven in.
    If you are looking for machine knitters then I recommend the Yahoo groups - I am banned from most of them because I donít have any patience with groups that close ranks on new ideas.
    Apart from that - I have rambled on enough  

I wonder if could help me to choose my first knitting machine. I have spent hours researching, reading, googling and browsing - and I'm still unsure which one is the best bet!

I need a machine for knitting up homegrown, homespun alpaca fibre. I don't need any fancy fairisle attachments but it would be handy to be able to do some simple cable and ribbing. I will start with small items - scarves, simple hats, fingerless gloves and wrist warmers etc. I have been looking on Ebay and I came across a Brother KH836 which comes complete with ribber and colour changer - I think I can buy it for around £160 which seems reasonable, but does this machine require the use of punchcards - would this fit in with what I want the machine to do?

I'd really appreciate your help - love the website by the way!!!

Thanks so much


    First of all, make sure that when you bid on a machine that the seller says it works. Secondly make sure you pay with Paypal because Paypal protects your payment immediately when there may be a dispute. Unlike credit card companies who take months to work anything out.

    To have a machine sent to you through courier, you can check this yourself with www.parcel2go.com is 22 kg weight, 36 ins length, 12 ins height, & 10 ins width - costing less than £15. The main bed and ribber cannot be put into the same parcel therefore you would be paying approx £25 - £30 to have the machine delivered by, say, City Link or DHL, if you're within the UK.

    The machine you have chosen is standard gauge. Standard gauge knits CONED (pre-waxed yarn on the cone) 1 ply, 2 ply, 3 ply, 4 ply & fine DK. Yarn which is sold by the ball is handknitting yarn and is thicker than coned yarn.

    Chunky or bulky knitting machines, which includes Brother KH 230, KH 260 & KH 270, plus the BOND and Knitmaster Zippy, etc, will knit hand-knit yarns and anything that is thicker than, say, 4 ply handknit yarn.

    So you do need to work out the thickness of the yarns you prefer to use before buying a machine.

    The basic machines, KH 230 & KH 710 & KX 400 will only knit plain stocking stitch. The KX400 does not have a ribber attachment & is a very annoying machine to use. If you buy a chunky machine with ribber, check that the ribber is the one that fits the main bed (KH 230 x KR 230; KH 260 x KR 260).

    The KH 800 series, (KH 836 you chose) use punch cards for making patterns. You do not need to use the punch cards and patterning if you don't want to.

    Every machine will knit without using the patterning bit - thats just the added extra.

    You don't need a Knit leader unless you are used to following the shapes of sewing patterns.

    You will not find it easy to knit unless you use either coned yarn or have wound your yarn into balls, which feed from the Centre and keep still, with a cone-winder - costing around £10 on Ebay.

    If you are just starting out and are using thick yarns, then I recommend you chase after something like the Bond or Knitmaster Zippy, which are often quite cheap, unless you go for the Brother KH 260 which is an excellent choice.

    The one you have chosen is good, but like I said, check the thickness of the yarns you want to use because you'll be furious if you have spent that money on a standard gauge machine when you actually want a chunky one.

    Hope that helps you a bit

Thank you SO much - it's the first time anyone has spoken to me in words that I can understand!!

I'm holding back on the KH836 until I'm sure and I've put an offer in for a Knitmaster Zippy 210. Alpaca yarn can be very fine or quite chunky, depending on how it is spun and what the finished item is. I'm beginning to wonder, reading through your email, that I might need two machines. One for fine yarn (baby clothes, small items, fine shawls etc) and one for chunky knits (blankets, throws, heavy sweaters etc) unless there is one out there that will do both!

You've been so kind, and taken so much trouble - I really do appreciate your time. We have just three alpacas to start, but they are all due to give birth next year, so we plan to build a herd here in the Herefordshire countryside and sell products made from their fleeces....small beginnings but we have big hopes of a new, more gentle way of life. We also plan to supplement the alpaca fleece with Jacob sheep fleece - all homegrown here on 'Kynaston'. All sounds very idealistic, especially to a couple of hardbaked, now past middle-aged, business people....but months of research suggest that it's the way to go and yes, you can make a living in the 'slow lane'!!

Thank you again

With kind regards from a novice but enthusiastic machine knitter!



If you purchase an Instant Access to an online PDF file that has become unstable, faulty or damaged, please email me at ScanTheCat@aol.com so that I can correct the problem as soon as possible.

Each file is an Adobe PDFfile created using Adobe 7.0. If you do not already have Adobe Reader or your version needs updating then click here:www.Adobe.com

website design