KnitKing/Knitmaster 4500

My first knitting machine was the KnitKing 4500 (won on ebay in Feb. 2010) which cost me a total of $46 dollars ($40 of it was the shipping cost).

It is a “standard gauge” machine, meaning that it can knit yarns from laceweight up through sportweight, and maybe a fine DK.  Mine is a “single bed” machine, meaning that it does not have a ribber or a row of needles that hangs vertically, so it cannot do ribbing except by manually reversing alternate columns of stitches after the ribbing section is knit.

The machine is about 4 ft long x 5″ tall x 6.5″ deep, it’s got a metal frame with a couple of plastic end caps and plastic guides in the needlebed.  It had a few minor cosmetic issues that glue fixed, a crunched plastic end cap, and a few missing needles (which I have rearranged to be on the outside).  But I was exceptionally pleased with my ebay gamble of buying my first knitting machine.  It’s wonderfully functional, and less than half the price of the cheapest new plastic knitting machine.

KnitKing 4500 Diagram

KnitKing 4500 Diagram

I believe it was built sometime in the 1950’s and from the lint and grime that I had to clean out of the needle bed, I can tell that somebody used it before me, although there’s no way of knowing how much it got used.

Knitmaster was a British company that sold their products under the name KnitKing in the US and Canada.  I have also heard that it was marketed under the name Knittax in Europe.

The KnitKing/Knitmaster products appeared to have been marketed towards young housewives looking to create their own fashions and garments for themselves and their families.

The KnitKing 4500 had a somewhat special way of creating an even tension to form new stitches.  Between every needle it has “stitch sinkers” which hold down the yarn between the newly knitted stitches.  This is very different from, for example, the Bond Ultimate Sweater Machine’s weighted bar method of maintaining tension.  Although I don’t have any experience with other modern knitting machines, I understand that “stitch sinkers” went by the wayside, and yet, are useful for conveniently cranking out short-rows (in socks, for example) without using pennies or claw-weights to compensate for the tension differential.

Knitmaster Know How

Knitmaster Know How

For anyone interested in more information about the KnitKing/Knitmaster 4500, I highly recommend checking out SusyRanner’s highly informative blog and videos of knitting machines, including her Knitmaster 4500.  On her website, she also has the manual and a series of newsletters that were originally produced for the KnitKing/Knitmaster 4500.

27 thoughts on “KnitKing/Knitmaster 4500

    • I assume you mean #12 from the parts diagram? Mine doesn’t have #12 (the wool feeder) nor any of the pieces for the wool container either. I believe all of those were part of a deluxe version of the same model. Unless it looks like #12 was actually removed or broken at some point, your machine may work like mine and the yarn can simply be laid across the row in the open hooks. The tricky thing is getting the tension right at that point so that the yarn doesn’t slip from the open hooks or you will drop stitches. I hold the yarn loosely looped over my thumb at the end of the row of hooks that are part of my working row. SuzyRanner has some videos on her YouTube channel (which I link too above) that should show the technique.

  1. Hi there,

    The yarn feeder was an optional extra on the 4500 model.

    Later models came with it as standard (the “Ambassador” was just a 4500 with a yarn feeder) and/or a ribber (“Super Plus”)

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  3. Hi there, I’ve inherited my Knit King 4500 but there are no instructions and the blog link you’ve posted is private so I can go no further. Can you offer any suggestions?

    • Bummer! I guess her website’s policies have changed. It’s too bad, she had great videos of working with knitting machines including the Knit King 4500. My next recommendation is that you get into the Vintage Knitting Machine group on Yahoo. Someone there is sure to have advice or instructions.

  4. where can i get a manual to learn how to operate this machine . we have and old knitking 4500 thats is british made.. I would also like some patterns.

    • I recommend that you get into the Vintage Knitting Machine group on Yahoo. Someone there is sure to have advice or instructions.

  5. Hi there,

    We hae a knitmaster super plus. It’s seems fully functional but we are having a hell of a time getting it to knit. When we cast on, all is well, but the next run we find the wool ends up on top of the needle latch, rather than under it. We can manually adjust this and then the next row (left to right) goes on correctly with the latch in the right place, then, once again (right to left) the latches are stuck under again. If we manually adjust each time we do get it knitting, but it’s really tight, even at tension 10 😦
    It’s very possible we are using it wrong, but we can’t work out for the life of us what’s up.

    • My first guess would be that something in your feeder is pulling badly from one side. Can you remove the end bolts and examine the underside of the feeder carriage?

      My other suggestions would be to try a smaller size of yarn just to see if that would make a difference, and also, if you don’t have an overhead feeder in action, then try holding the yarn at different tensions as you move the carriage. I find mine is happiest on the lighter side of DK weight and smaller. Also, it’s happiest if I hold the yarn somewhat loosely toward each side of the unit with one hand as I work the carriage with the other.

    • Hello Marc!
      I actually had the same problem with my knittax m2 and I finally found the problem after a lot of frustrating weeks of clearing and taking the hole machine apart.. I doubt that Yours look like my carriage, but I thought that my findings might help you after all.

      If you look at picture 4 and 5 on this google adress there is a yellow rectangle that marks which lever messed up my knitting the exact way that you describe.

      The problem was that the little lever on the left side (right side when the carriage are attached to the needle bed/ rails) had become a bit soft and had bent down a bit. This resoulted in less tention from this lever then on the other side, which apparently stopped the yarn from ending upp behind the needle latches. With me? What I did was to bend upp this lever a bit (with my bare hands) which gave a lot more tention when it touched the platform that’s ment to cooperate with the lever. Sadly, I Lost another function of the carriage when bending the lever up, but I hope I can make That work too in the future. As for now I am just happy when the machine knits.

      So, as I said, your carriage is probably not the same as mine. But my advise is to look at the differences between the sides on the carriage base. Feel the levers and platforms. Do they look and sence the same or is there some croocked or softer parts somewhere? Compare and analyse. If you turn the carriage upside down, the fault will probably be found on the left side since it’s active on left rows.

      Good luck!
      /Hanna Blom, Sweden

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  7. I have inherited a 4500 from my Great Nanna still in its box and everything and it has all the original books and knitting patterns and a ribber if anyone needs me to copy anything please drop me a repy

      • I’m afraid I don’t have access to it at present, I swapped machines with my mom and she is out of town. Try looking for a vintage knitting machine group on yahoo groups, as I believe they provided me with some parts of the manual I was missing.

    • I hope you are still reading these posts. I would love a copy of the manual as I just inherited a knitking from my mom and it came with literature and patterns but no manual. I don’t have a ribber yet. Can you scan it and email me? I would be so grateful.

    • If you still have the 4500 books, I would be very grateful for copies. Also, I wonder if you have information on changing a stitch sinker hook. Many thanks.

      • Thanks for your reply. I have downloaded a pdf from the internet. Should have thought of that before contacting you. Also saw your messages about not having the books any more further down the page. It was very nice of you to get back to me. Have a good 2016.

      • Barbara, I just watched a youtube video and the lady shows how to take this km apart to clean and repair. Very well done. I think she is a Russian lady so I couldn’t understand the words but the video is thorough and it looks easy enough. I’m going to try anyway. Her name is Something Wir Something…just search Knittax M2 knitting machine. It’s the same machine as the Knitmaster 4500. Good luck! Reggie

  8. Hi Shirley, Thank you so much for dropping by. Unfortunately, my Mom and I swapped machines a while back, so I don’t have access to this manual at present. I originally got it from a kind user on the vintage knitting machines yahoo group, although if you look above at some of the other comments, there are people who are offering to share theirs.

  9. Thank you for taking the time to reply. I found a copy of the manual on line, free to download, and found the videos you mentioned Reggie. I have managed to fix the sinker hook on my machine. Thanks again and very best wishes.

  10. Hello, I have a Knitking with ribbing attachment. The manual for the knitter has a listing of parts and tools. It lists a Rib Holding Device #29 which is a U shaped wire with what looks like loops on the two ends. I don’t see a mention of it so far in either manual. Does anyone know what this does or is used for?

  11. Oh geez, I just figured it out. page 21 of the manual shows hooking it into the fabric and pulling down to ladder down the stitches to latch up ribbing manually.

    • 🙂 I have definitely had the experience of being baffled by knitting machine diagrams. They aren’t always the easiest to follow!

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