“ Brand: Bond / Type: Sweater Machine „
Review of the Bond America Ultimate Sweater Machine
(For the purposes of this review I am referring to the product as simply the 'Bond')
I have owned my Bond for many years, to be honest, for decades!
It was a Christmas present from my ex-husband, given to me when my daughter was around 7 years old, in fact, I recall that one of my first knitting projects on the Bond was her navy blue school jumper! As my daughter will be 32 in a few weeks time, you can see how long I have owned it!
My Bond was originally purchased from Argos, it's purchase price then was in the region of £50 I believe.
**So What Is It?**
As the review title implies, this is a knitting machine. Unlike the huge electric computerised knitting machines, the Bond is a simple manually operated machine which produces stocking stitch knitting in a remarkably quick time.
The Bond is ideal for producing sweaters in a wide range of sizes, from babies to adults.
The machine is basically a flat bed which is set with 100 'needles'. Each needle has a latch at the end of it which picks up the yarn and turns it into a basic knitted stitch. The machine is operated by means of manually sliding the carriage across the needles. The needles slip in and out of the machine bed as you slide the carriage across them.
The carriage has various interchangeable key plates that denote the size of the knitted stitches, in the same way that differing size needles affect hand knitting. Yarns from 3ply to Aran weight can be used on the Bond. I have found that the machine works best with smooth yarns, the fluffy or knobbly textured yarns tend to clog and bunch up in the needle latches.
Different stitches can be achieved on the Bond and the machine comes with very comprehensive instructions to help users master the various techniques possible. My Bond came with a video tuition course and a set of 5 instructions manuals. I would imagine more up to date Bond Knitting Machines would now be provided with a CD for use in a computer or DVD player! The instructions show new users how to cast on, knit, increase and decrease stitches within the pattern, how to cast off, make up your finished knitting and care for the machine.
It is possible, with patience and practise, to knit lace patterns, twisted stitches, cable and Fair Isle designs. I have to admit that my own knitting projects haven't been that ambitious, mainly because garments of this style are not to my families taste! I have knitted many jumpers and cardigans on my Bond and when some years ago, my grandmother became involved in a children's charity project, I knitted her a huge sack full of squares to sew up into blankets for the appeal.
To use the Bond does not really require any previous knitting skills and although it does seem a little daunting at first, with perseverance anyone could master this machine.
The company also produce accessories such as extra key plates, gadgets and wool holders and pattern magazines. There are many websites offering Bond knitting patterns for sale and some free ones too.
**A Brief History of The Bond & Where To Buy**
Roger Curry, the inventor of the Bond knitting machine, introduced the machine in the United Kingdom in 1981 and subsequently to many other countries around the world.
He named the machine "Bond" after London's fashionable Bond Street which he called 'the epitomy of British fashion sense'.
His aim with the Bond knitting machine was to provide consumers with an affordable, quick and easy way to knit fashionable garments.
I have to be honest and say that I haven't seen any Bond Knitting Machines in the shops recently. I had a quick look online and found that there are several second hand models for sale on Ebay for prices ranging from a 99p auction starting bid, to Buy it Now offers of around £40.
The Bond manufacturer is based in America and they have a very good website selling Bond machines and accessories worldwide.
There is a UK contact address in my instruction booklets which I have noted below just in case readers are interested.
Bond Knitting Systems Ltd.
**My Thoughts and Conclusion**
After many years use, my Bond is still in good working order, yes it is a bit battered and scuffed but after 20+ years service, that is to be expected. I have had virtually no trouble with the machine other than having to replace a broken needle on the odd occasion. These can be obtained directly from the company.
In my opinion, the Bond is the best knitting machine around for domestic use. In comparison to the all singing all dancing models from competitors, the Bond is a dream to use. It does take time to master, but once you have the basics, knitting becomes quick and simple. To give an example of time frames, I have knitted a child's jumper in an evening on the Bond.
I tend to knit the ribbing part of garments by hand, it is possible to do this on the Bond, but I find the finish of a hand knitted rib is firmer and neater than the machine version. I have to admit that I am not using the Bond currently as my knitting machine table has broken. The Bond can be used on a dining table, but as ours is a round table, I cannot fix the clamps that hold the machine steady during use, to it. I have tried using a pasting table designed for wall papering, but found this was not sturdy enough. The Bond instruction manual suggests using a ironing board if no suitable table is available, but as I don't own one (!) that is not an option for me. I am intending to buy a new knitting machine table after Christmas, so the Bond will be back in action soon!
I would definitely recommend the Bond America Ultimate Sweater Machine to anyone interested in producing knitted clothing with a hand-knit finish in a fraction of the time it usually takes to knit on needles!
Thank you for reading.
©brittle1906 December 2011
N.B. My reviews may appear on other sites under the same user name.
Please disregard the 'battery life' section of the Quick Rating section...this item does not require batteries!