Knitting machines are for the enthusiast knitter. There are many types that are available for purchase. Some people even think that knitting machines are difficult to use, and there is a learning curve, but that is true with any craft. But learning how to knit using a machine can be fun.
Know what type of machine is available. Manual machines require the knitter to move around the pegs by hand when you want to change a pattern. Then there is the card punch that requires a punched card to create the pattern. Electronic or computerised machines allow you to store the basic pattern in their memory.
Machines are also classified by the type and size of yarns they use. There are three main classifications for the machines: bulky, standard and mid-gauge. The bulky is used to make bulky sweaters or sport-style yarns. The standard is best for the finer yarns. The mid-gauge machine is the most versatile and able to use most common yarns.
Learn how to cast-on with the machine you are using. Consult your manual that comes with your machine. I like the e-wrap cast-on. If you have ever used the new circle loom knitter, then the e-wrap will be familiar to you. I like to prepare my needles so I make sure that all the little needle legs are laid back from the hook area. With the carriage on the right and the needles in the holding position, start to wrap in and “e” fashion around the needle stems (that is past the small legs of the needle). Just like casting on with the circular looms, it takes two rows to create your cast-on. Now you need to wrap the yarn around the needle, but in the hook area, and push the needle back to the working position. Manually do this for each needle.
Make sure that all your needles are in the working position now. Set your row counter to "000."
Now place your combs with the weights on the stitches.
Load your yarn through the threads and through the carriage.
The first push of the carriage will be tough, but the rest will flow with ease. I find that if you keep your working yarn tight before you move your carriage, you will prevent those loops that get caught up on your bed hooks. It also helps from dropping stitches.