The USM doesn't have the best reputation. Some hate it, some love it. I'm one of the people who love it. More experienced machine knitters might prefer their fancier machines, but for the price of the USM, I'd say it's well worth it.
Unfortunately, my go-to pattern place (Ravelry.com) doesn't have very many patterns for the USM, so I started coming up with my own:
How does it work? I'm glad you asked (well, you didn't really ask, I kind of- never mind...)
You see that big, purple, expensive-looking thing in the first photo? That is called the carriage. To knit the stitches, you need to insert what is called a key plate inside the carriage. Depending on what number the key plate has been labeled with, it will make a certain sized stitch. The bigger the number, the bigger the stitch. The USM comes with plates 1-4, plates 2 and 3 can be flipped over, so you now have 6 sizes; 1 (used for thinner than worsted weight, unless you want tighter tension), 2, 2.5, 3, 2.5, and 4. It knits up to chunky weight yarn (although I have had success knitting every other needle on the loosest tension with Wool-ease Thick and Quick).
The key plates have different ridges that slide against the needles when you push the carriage across the bed of needles, moving them into certain positions:
If you are interested in learning how to machine knit, I highly recommend Diana Sullivan's Youtube channel. She has lots of very informative videos that are sure to help you :)
That's all for now :) -Emma
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