Pros and Cons: Hand Knitting vs Machine Knitting


What are the advantages and disadvantages of hand knitting? How about machine knitting? Have you ever wondered about what you can get in one that’s not in the other? Let’s compare these two methods of knitting.

As we all know, hand knitting is the act of interlocking yarn using two needles held and moved by the knitter’s hands to produce a fabric. On the other hand, machine knitting is almost the same process, but it uses automation technology. It uses a mechanical, not a manual operation. Now, let’s take a closer look at each method’s pros and cons.

The Pros of Hand Knitting

1.   The materials used are fewer and portable.

You will only need the basics. Your choice of yarn, preferably two pointed needles, and other essentials--which are all portable! You can put these things inside a bag, and carry it wherever you go. You won’t be restricted to just one place.

2.           Hand knitting allows customization.

As they say, the sky's the limit! You can experiment on stitching, using the techniques you have learned and those that you are still yet to try. Knitters can always invent and create his or her own stitching patterns, even in the middle of knitting. If a client, neighbor or loved one requests a specific design, it will be an easy task with hand knitting.

3.           Complex designs can be achieved more through hand knitting.

Multi-colored, complicated patterns are more possible with hand knitting, as machines are most of the time, limited in terms of creativity. For example, an oblique motion of a reversible cardigan that merges colorwork and double knitting together. Another is a flame stitch. These patterns would still require hand knitting.

4.           Hand knitting is a form of mindful meditation.

Mindful meditation allows an individual to gain focus, relieve stress, and find peace. Amazingly, hand knitting is a form of mindful meditation (even regarded as the best one!). As textile crafting is very detailed work, doing the activity in a quiet place gives the knitter the calmness of the mind. If you have anxiety, this will help you clear your mind.

5.           Hand knitting improves your manual knitting skills.

As you keep on practicing and practicing, you will have deft and trained hands. Your skills will improve, and your creativity will be developed. This is a different kind of learning and practice. It is more hands-on, more engaged, more practical.

The Cons of Hand Knitting

1.   Hand knitting is slower than machine knitting.

Given that machines work much faster and more accurate than hands, hand knitting is really a slow process that can be tedious as well. If you are knitting large fabrics, it will take much of your time before you finish it. Nonetheless, labor still pays off!

2.           Stitches are likely to escape from the needles.

As you move the fabric that’s in progress in different positions, the needles are prone to fall off. You will lose your stitches! Learn some tips in preventing the stitches from sliding off.

3.           Hand knitting is not ideal for batch production of fabric or clothing.

Due to the longer time for working on stitching and knitting, fabric producers cannot merely rely on manual or hand knitting. Manufacturers will need to produce batches after batches of fabrics with a shorter time period for production.

The Pros of Machine Knitting

1.   Machine knitting produces consistent stitches more fastly.

Knitting machines are capable of producing the standard quality of the fabric. For example, the addi knitting machine. As it repeats its work, the consistency does not decrease nor die down. It performs an even caliber of work. What can you make with an addi knitting machine? You can design different patterns on knitted scarves, shirts, hats, etc.

Knitting machines have automatic features. This makes the production of fabric easier, faster, and more convenient for workers and manufacturers.

2.           The knitting machine can accommodate a huge number of stitches.

Because it has lots of needles held by a needle bed, it surely can accommodate plenty of stitches simultaneously. So, using a machine can really save you a lot of time and effort!

The Cons of Machine Knitting

1.   A knitting machine is not portable.

Due to its considerable size and weight, a knitting machine is apparently not portable. You cannot bring and transfer it from one place to anywhere you’d like to work at. You shall get a room and set it as a working place where your machine can fit properly. They also produce unpleasant noise that seems like clattering.

In addition to that, knitters may go through a steep learning curve with machine knitting. It may take a while to fully grasp how the machine works.

2.           Some machines cannot work with different yarn thicknesses.

Most of the machines are designed to work on a specific set of patterns or specific thicknesses of yarn. In this case, you will need a couple of varied machines to be able to use them for different yarn types.

3.         Adding purl to other stitches will still require hand manipulation.

Blending purls into the other stitches in the fabric will not be possible without doing hand knitting as well. Meaning to say, even though you have a machine, you will still need to work using your hands in order to achieve the desired results, especially when involving purl stitches.


Although the two methods have different advantages and disadvantages, both can still be very useful for knitters and fabric producers alike. It’s just a matter of choosing what suits a specific operation best.

Batch production would really need the magic of knitting machines. But if you’re a hobbyist or a personal knitter, you might want to do hand knitting to customize your projects more. Either way, you will still find each method helpful for your entire knitting journey.

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