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Over the holidays I found a sweet deal (50% off!) on an Addi Express King Knitting Machine. I watched a lot of tutorials on YouTube on how to cast on, how to make a hat, etc. It was a bit fiddly at first and took some figuring out, but I got the hang of it and have knitted some really cute things.
The first item that I attempted to make was a hat. I used Red Heart Super Saver yarn since it was for practice, and that hat turned out pretty decent.
Then I made a batch of hats for friends and family using Lion Brand Heartland yarn. They are super soft and cozy and the yarn slid through the machine with no issues.
I went through all of my yarn and pulled out whatever skeins I thought would be a good weight/length/color to use in the knitting machine. This was a great yarn stash-buster! The machine likes some yarns a lot better than others, which I found out through trial and error.
The machine likes Lion Brand Wool-ease, JoAnn Big Twist, Hobby Lobby I Love This Yarn, and Michael's Impeccable. I made a lot of hats with those and they all turned out great. I've decided that 135 rows is a good number to get a nice slouchy hat with a wide brim. There is only enough yarn in a skein of Wool-ease to get 130 rows, so those are a bit shorter. But a skein of Big Twist or I Love This Yarn has enough to make one hat plus one headband
These are made with about 80-90 rows. After you knit the tube you seam the ends together and then sew them into a twist. I eventually want to try out this beautiful Bella & Brin pattern that uses wrapped stitches.
Cranking out a lot of rows makes your arm tired after a while, so I ended up getting a drill attachment with was a game changer! You attach it to the handle and then use a cordless screwdriver to crank away. It is louder, but saves a lot of time and muscle.
Next I tried to make a scarf, but kept getting tucked/tangled stitches and got frustrated. I later found out that this can be due to the type of yarn, but can also be due to static electricity. Someone suggesting holding the yarn with a dryer sheet but I didn't want to get the residue onto my finished project in case the recipient is allergic.
Then I read that you can stick a silicone earplug onto the front of the machine below the tension guide and let the yarn glide over it, and that prevents static build-up. I gave it a try and so far so good. I will try that scarf project again soon and let you know how it turns out.
Here are some good tutorials and other resources that helped me a lot in figuring out how to use this machine: