My Thoughts On The Bond Knitting Machine

The Bond knitting machine is a bit like Marmite – you either love it or you hate it. I love it.

It was invented in Britain in 1981 by Roger Curry.

From the first Bond Magazine.

From the first Bond Magazine.

I bought mine some time in 1983 and had knitted my first jumper within a week of first taking it out of the box. I’m still using that machine now, 30 years later. I took to it straight away, the instructions were easy to understand and the machine worked perfectly from the start. It is made of good quality, sturdy plastic in a burgandy/mahogany/brown colour (don’t know how to describe it)  which doesn’t feel at all flimsy and after all this time still works as good as the day I bought it.

My original Bond, bought in 1983.

My original Bond, bought in 1983.

The first time I heard any derogatory remarks about this machine was when I went to a machine knitting shop in town (which has long since closed down) and explained to the woman that I had just bought a knitting machine and asked her advice on which yarn to buy. She asked me what sort of machine I’d bought and when I enthusiastically replied “a Bond” I was immediately deflated when she said haughtily, “oh well, that’s not a proper knitting machine.” Boy, did she make me feel stupid. I bought a cone of double knitting but I never went back there.

A few years later a woman who I worked with at the time who also had a Bond asked me if I wanted to buy hers from her as she had bought a more expensive metal bed machine. I bought it for £30. It is one of the blue Bonds which is exactly the same as my first Bond in all but the colour.

I knitted many, many jumpers on those Bonds. I did a lot of fair isle and intarsia and always felt proud of what I had produced and the machines never let me down.

About 10 years ago I was browsing in a charity shop when I spotted a boxed Bond ISM (Incredible Sweater Machine). I had a quick look in the box and everything seemed to be there so I bought it for the bargain price of £5. When I got it home and had a good look at it I could see it had hardly been used. Once I set it up I could understand why.

The first thing that was different was the way the machine was put together. The original Bond came fully assembled in a long box, with a long, metal rod holding the sections in place. The ISM, if I remember correctly, came in two seperate pieces, with smaller rods holding the sections in place and a nut and bolt to hold the two pieces together. I think that’s how it was. I do remember tightening the nut and bolt thinking that the machine would be able to move out of line. I didn’t like that set up at all. I also thought the needlebed didn’t seem as sturdy as the originals were.

Underneath the original blue Bond

Underneath the original blue Bond

Next was the carriage, it was terrible. The plastic was so flimsy compared to the original. It seemed to be really poor quality and I wasn’t impressed at all. I set it all up to knit but couldn’t move the carriage across without it catching the needles. I messed about with it for ages. I had used a Bond machine for about 20 years so I knew how it was supposed to work, how on earth was a new user supposed to manage? I just couldn’t figure out why it wouldn’t knit. Then I had a really good look at the carriage. The front of it looked just the same as the original with the hole for the yarn to slot into but below that on the underneath part there was a strip of red plastic. The original carriage does have a thin strip of grey plastic in the same place but this red piece seemed to be thicker. It was this red plastic piece that was catching on the needles and causing the carriage to jam. I removed the plastic piece and the carriage moved across and knitted perfectly.

However, knitting with this ISM wasn’t the same as with my original Bonds. It felt as if I was using a toy and that if I applied any pressure it was going to break. The quality was far inferior and I was really disappointed with it. I sold it on ebay.

My Bond came with four clear keyplates numbered 1-4. Later the clear green dot keyplates were produced which were double sided and gave you half sizes. These new keyplates also have what were described as ‘bounce bars’ which, according to what they said when they described them in the Bond Magazine, were designed to stop the needles moving out of line. I bought a set of dot keyplates and I have to say that I find them worse to use than the original ones. I found that if the needles are ever so slightly out of line they hit the bounce bars and the carriage comes to a standstill until you push the needles back into line. With the old keyplates it doesn’t seem to matter if the needles are slightly out of line, the keyplate will line them up as it passes over them.

bounce bars

From a 90s Bond magazine.

From a 90s Bond magazine.

I have never seen a Bond USM (Ultimate Sweater Machine) in real life, only in photos and videos but if it is the same quality as the ISM I can understand why a lot of people don’t take it seriously and think of it as a toy.

Having said that, there are many, many people who love their USM and produce wonderful items on it, so it can’t be that bad, can it?

People say there is a learning curve with the Bond and that it can take some getting used to. I didn’t find this to be true at all, I was up and running with it as soon as I took it out of the box. 30 years later and I’m still using my first machine.

Despite having more expensive metal bed machines I will never get rid of my Bond. I still love it for it’s simplicity and ease of use.

I’m sure there will be many of you who don’t agree with my opinions about the newer Bonds but I can only speak from my experience of using the ISM – maybe I just got a bad one.

I would love to hear what you think about the Bond.

Talk to you later,

Susan.

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80 Responses to My Thoughts On The Bond Knitting Machine

  1. sarah says:

    I bought my Bond USM 3 yrs ago and I LOVE it! Got it from Overstock.com for $100.00.(retails for $249.00) Couldn’t pass it up. It took a week or two to get the “kinks” worked out, Last year, I found a great deal on e-bay. Two older Bonds with so many extras that I still don’t know what they’re used for. If I had the space to put all the modules together, it would be over 12 feet long. Since I started using it, there’s always been some work in progress on it. It never has time to “cool off”.

    • susyranner says:

      At less than half price I don’t think I could have passed that up either.
      That’s the other good thing about Bonds, you can join as many of them together as you like and they’ll still work if the space allows. Brilliant for blankets!

      • steve says:

        hi susyranner,
        Can you advise regarding Bond elite knitting machine. Recently I cleaned
        machine bed to noticed that the sponge bar needs replacing as needles currently slide forward too much with too much play. I am led to believe needles shouldn’t slide forward at all when knitting machine is held in vertical position- Do you know where I can obtain replacement sponge bar for machine or possible supplier ?
        kind regards Steve

        • susyranner says:

          It’s a few years since I sold my Bond Elite but as far as I remember that machine doesn’t have a sponge bar, just a sponge strip. I don’t know of anywhere that sells them but you could probably get away with using weather stripping – the strips of foam that you put around door frames to stop draughts.

  2. Yvonne says:

    Can t comment on the Bond as I have the Zippy 90 version, but your story is lovely.It almost becomes more than a machine!! 😉

  3. Hi Susy – and thanks for that brilliant post. I bought my first Bond back in the nineties and I couldn’t get on with it at all – the stitches just kept dropping off. I can’t remember the model type but I know I hated it. Since then – I have tried Bond several more times and still couldn’t use them properly. Then – when I was living in the US – a friend suggested I try the USM so I did and I have to say – it was a piece of cake! I knitted on it straight from the box and loved it. Then I left the US and left the machine behind – not realising that they were hard to get over here. Last year, my daughter gave me a Bond classic (the first chunky machine made by Curry, after the Elite) which she asked me to sell on ebay for her. It was similar to the ones I had originally tried back in the 90’s. With 25 years of MK experience under my belt, I expected it to be easy to knit on but it wasn’t. I just couldn’t get those stitches to stay on the machine – and the experience took me back to my helplessness of 20 years before. Just one last point before I close this … Yvonne’s comment above about it becoming ‘more than a machine’ is a truth that many of us prolific machine knitters feel. Each model IS ‘more than a machine’ to us. Every one has its own character and quirks – even machines within the same model range – and that’s what’s so addictive about them. Terri in Scotland 🙂

    • susyranner says:

      I wonder if it was the wire fabric guide that caused you bother. Strange that you couldn’t use the Classic but you could the USM.

  4. Susan Kelley says:

    I ordered an Ultimate Sweater Machine a couple of weeks ago and returned it yesterday. I had read many reviews and realized it was either loved or hated, had a learning curve and that it would take time to learn. I have never knitted by hand and had never seen a KM until the USM arrived. From the beginning it was a struggle, but I kept at it, learning a lot about the machine and fixing dropped stitches. I believe the bed was fine, but the carriage was atrocious. It was getting stuck on the needles at the back, or the needle hooks were jumping just enough to catch on the thread guide in the front, or the green tips at the front (which are supposed to glide under the needles) would end up on top of the needles. At times the carriage would stop and it wasn’t any of the previous issues and I knew it was something to do with the green plate. I have sent it back and found a used Singer Lk 100 and am awaiting its arrival.

    My Dad was an engineer before retirement and upon looking at the USM said it was a precision machine with parts that were not precision. That summed it up for me.

    • susyranner says:

      It’s sad that some of the newer machines seem to have that problem. I couldn’t fault the original Bond, everything worked perfectly. I’m sure a lot of people are put off by it. Good luck with your Singer, it will be a completely different experience I’m sure.

  5. Florence Levy says:

    I bought my Bond in 1985. It was my very first knitting machine and I loved it. I bought all the accessories and all the magazines — everything I could find. I made wonderful sweaters. Everything was so easy. I agree that it was a great machine. As I met more machine knitters they introduced me to the Brother and Passap machines and I sold that Bond replacing it with an E 6000, a bulky 260, a standard 940. A couple of years ago I was feeling nostalgic for the simplicity of the Bond and bought the Incredible Knitting Machine. I hated it and quickly got rid if it. As you say it was flimsy and unwieldy. Until I read your article, I couldn’t understand why I had enjoyed my Bond so much all those years ago and then had so much difficulty with the new one — it’s really a totally different machine. Anyway, after that I bought an LK 150, which I liked a lot, but also sold in favor of the SK 560 and 860. Thanks for reminding me how much fun I had with my first Bond.

    • susyranner says:

      Using the ISM after having used the original Bond was quite a disappointment for me too. I had expected the ISM to be better with it being a newer, updated machine but I was wrong.

  6. Pam says:

    I finally sold mine this past year, but I had the Bond and the ISM and the USM. The Bond was beyond comparison to the other two. After starting on the Bond and then moving to the other two I was also very disappointed in them. The quality of the ISM and USM weren’t even close to the Bond. I had to “modify” the carriages on the ISM and USM just so they would stop catching the needle buts, never had that problem on the Bond.

    • susyranner says:

      I wonder why the quality of the later machines was so poor compared to the original. It seems such a shame.

  7. Passapman says:

    The Bond is not a true knitting machine. It is a way to hand knit more quickly. You must handle the yarn by keeping enough pulled out to allow the yarn to flow through the carriage. All of the patterning (needle selection) is done by hand. It will produce a hand knit look and feel that no other machine can. I wish the 7mm Elite was still produced, along with the ribbers for both machines. The key plates and the way the needles move produce small variances in the stitch sizes that are present in even the smoothest hand knitting and absent in work produced on machines with yarn masts. Another great machine, if you can get ahold of one is the old Knitking (the Knittax brand from Germany). Knitking later started selling re-branded Brother machines. These older machines did not have a yarn mast, but knitted a strand of yarn held across the open needles and fed through the thumb and forefinger of the hand not operating the carriage.

    Expensive yarn that you want to savor knitting every stitch can be enjoyed on the Bond. I knit lots of yarn on the Bond that I’d never knit ona true machine of any gauge.

    It helps to clamp the Bond with a wooden yardstick between it and the table. That tiny backward slope helps everything work more smoothly.
    I do prefer my old faithful blue bond to the newer USM.

    • susyranner says:

      I don’t agree when you say the Bond is a way to hand knit more quickly, as far as I’m concerned all knitting machines, including the Bond are a way to knit more quickly. But that’s a whole other debate, I think!

      I used to have a Bond Elite and even though it was another good quality machine I didn’t take to it as well as I took to the original Bond so I sold it. I do have a Bond Ribber but don’t use it much. I call it Beelzebub.

      I have an old Knitmaster 4500 which is the same as the old KnitKing/Knittax that you mentioned. It is another wonderfully simple machine to use and I would never get rid of it.

      I have never heard of putting a yardstick under the Bond!

  8. Josie says:

    Thank you for your interesting article Susy. I have never owned a bond knitting machine yet the bond machine is the reason I found out there ever was such a thing as a knitting machine! I saw the advert in a hand knitting magazine, I saved and saved my money – and almost bought one – then I found out about a shop in Northallerton, and the lady I spoke to there suggested a brother kx395 and I bought that instead on offer. Some years later I got a brother kh830 on offer second hand from bsk, and in more recent years I have replaced that with a second hand kh891 from eBay (thankfully in good condition)! However I do have to thank bond and their advert for alerting me to the world of knitting machines!

    • susyranner says:

      Oh well, at least it got you knitting! I think if you tried a Bond now after years of using a Brother you might have a hard time getting used to it.

  9. lilou79 says:

    I won a Bond on Ebay about 3 years ago and it’s still in its box! – now I’m just hoping it’s a good one! Haven’t got room to try it out until I take one of the others down.

  10. mathom says:

    I love my Bond USM. I took to it immediately and have had many happy hours knitting on it. Mine is several years old now. I guess I got lucky and bought it before they cheapened the plastic in the carriage and caused newer buyers so many issues. I have gone on to buy several other bonds including an older ISM with the clear keyplates and a Fashion Knitter which came with a shortened bed and only the intarsia keyplate. It is nice to be able to mix and match beds and carriages to do different techniques.

    All that said, I am now on the hunt for a standard gauge machine with ribber that has either punchcard or electronic patterning. I wonder how many of us found our Bonds to be the “gateway drug” to the higher end machines?

    …mathom…

    • susyranner says:

      I found I wanted to knit with finer yarns after I’d been using my Bond for quite a few years, that’s why I bought a standard gauge machine so know I go backwards and forwards between them depending on what I want to make next.

  11. anne says:

    I bought my Bond new when the model first came out and It has never caused me a problem. However a friend won one on ebay exactly the same early model. It looks as good as new and probably never been used. So after setting it up with her I tried to get it to knit. What a nightmare, it proved to be very tempremental. Can machines be like that I people day – YES!! It took a fair bit of patience but finally sucess. Each machine has it’s own foibles, it’s a matter of fiddling about or else it goes back in the box and shoved under the bed.

    • susyranner says:

      I wonder if there were some faulty batches, you would think that identical machines would behave the same but obviously they don’t!

  12. Maureen says:

    Great post Suzy. I have never seen an original Bond before. You certainly have got a lot of good use out of it. I have the Knitsmart which is a similar type of machine. I find it pretty easy to use. I haven’t made anything on it yet though, just played around with it. You have made a great hobby from your knitting machines. I envy you, I don’t seem to make the time I should for my machines. Love your blog, please keep on posting.

    • susyranner says:

      Thanks, Maureen. Aren’t the Knitsmart keyplates interchangeable with the Bond’s? I could be wrong.

  13. Morag Walker says:

    Hello Susy I saw one of these machines in a shop in Birmingham years ago but I didn’t have transport so wasn’t able to bring it home as Mum & I were on holiday for a few days then. I would have had to hide it when I was on my way home as my husband would have seen it! That’s not a good idea! I am quite happy with my standard gauge and my chunky. Best wishes Morag W

    • susyranner says:

      I once found a chunky machine in a charity shop, I think it was a Knitmaster 150 and I paid about £5 for it. I didn’t like it. There was nothing at all wrong with it and it worked perfectly but I just preferred my Bond for the thicker yarns. I ended up giving it away on Freecycle!

  14. Alex says:

    I have the Bond Incredible Sweater Machine now but I have owned several Bonds just for the sake of the colours they came in that I liked! Lol. I completely disagree that the Incredible Sweater Machine is inferior to the older Bonds, it was still made here in England, in the same factory as the original machines were and I have found little difference between it, the Bond Classic and the blue Bond, they all worked perfectly for me, no jamming, catching etc, I did have the chance to get an Ultimate Sweater Machine Carriage that cropped up on eBay a few years ago and I hated it, it jiggled around all over the place on the needle bed, the plastic it was made from was very cheap and flimsy with sharp edges and it constantly jammed, the stitches the carriage produced were very uneven due to the “jigglyness” of the carriage . I emailed Bond America about it but they just tried convincing me that the “jigglyness” is to assist jamming and make the machine easier to use, I was thinking…Well my sturdy older carriage NEVER jams even with the dot keyplates. If that is what the carriage is like on the USM, I am scared to imagine what the needle bed is like, especially now they have put foam under the retainer bars! It really doesn’t need it and is not designed to be there.
    All in all I LOVE my Bond and couldn’t not own one, I prefer knitting thicker yarns on it than my Knitmaster 155 chunky machine, I find that the Bond is such a fun and easy little machine to use and there is just something very intriguing about it that keeps me using it and never parting with it.

    • susyranner says:

      I think there must have been good and bad batches of ISMs made, mine was definitely from a bad batch!

  15. severina says:

    Just found your site and I’m looking forward to digging through the patterns and articles!

    I got an Incredible Sweater Machine in the 90s through a craft book club and absolutely despised it. It jammed constantly, dropped stitches, the plastic on the carriage wore out too quickly for my taste and no amount of wax would make it run smoothly. The pieces of needle bed didn’t seem to fit together at well all and the whole thing just felt cheap. The video mocked me. I spent several months fighting and cursing the thing before I got it through my head that I’d flushed $100 down the toilet.

    I’d only bought it because I couldn’t afford any of the fancy punchcard knitting machines advertised in Vogue Knitting, and eBay didn’t exist at the time. The ISM wound up under the bed and after stubbing my toes on the box multiple times I eventually gave it to a friend (who has thankfully forgiven me) and she passed it on to someone else. I imagine it’s in a landfill by now.

    Ten years ago I was curious about knitting machines again and won a Brother KH-551 on eBay. I ADORE it. I could knit with it in my sleep. I love the weight of it and the chrome trim just makes me happy for no logical reason. I recently found an affordable cone yarn supplier and as soon as I can clear off a work table I’ve got a dress from a 1950s Vogue Knitting that’s just screaming to be knitted up.

    Curse you, Incredible Knitting Machine.

    • susyranner says:

      Yet for a lot of people the ISM has given them no trouble. I should think that those who ended up with dodgy ones might have been put off machine knitting completely.

  16. severina says:

    After seeing how much people love the older Bonds I’m willing to give one of those a try if one crosses my path. My vintage Brother machines can’t handle anything bulkier than a sport weight so it’d be nice to have the option.

    My ISM was definitely dodgy! The ISM seems too inconsistent in quality, which is a shame because they’re affordable and easy to set up and store. It just made me more determined to find a knitting machine made of something other than toy plastic.

    • susyranner says:

      I hope you find one, when they are working as they should they are a joy to use.

  17. Daye says:

    My first knitting machine was a Bond ISM, years ago. I made quite a few sweaters for my family. Eventually I upgraded, went “machine crazy,” actually (I think a lot of us do). Now I have downsized and am pretty happy with my Brother KX-350 and KH-400. This winter, which we spent in our RV in Texas, I missed my machines desperately (our grandson came with us so I didn’t have room for my Brothers, which usually travel with me) so I got an ISM (with a wire guide) on eBay. Maybe I’m spoiled now, or maybe it was a lemon, but I couldn’t knit a thing on that. I tried over and over. It would jam or drop stitches. I couldn’t believe all the things I used to make on a Bond, as I couldn’t even accomplish the simplest thing this time. This discussion makes me feel slightly better about the disappointment. I can’t wait to get back to my Brothers next month!

    • susyranner says:

      This is what makes me think there must have been some bad batches made. It just seems odd how one machine will work perfectly and another won’t.

  18. missusprim1 says:

    What an interesting read so far!

    I bought my ISM in 1986 which I still have today. Gray bed, red retainer bars and the carriage with the wire guide. I have all the accessories inc. an extension and the intarsia plate. Back then I had a hard time with it but refused to give up on it so I cleaned it up and put it away in a nice plastic tote.

    Fast forward to a year ago and I got it out again. I used the spray that it came with and liberally sprayed the plates and the bed. Success! It knits wonderfully, as good as the one Cheryl Brunette uses in her videos. I threw the awful wax away and never looked back.

    It saddens me to hear of people who had trouble with one version or another and got rid of them. There must be an island somewhere for all the Bond misfits that aren’t wanted anymore.

    Even today I occasionally hear someone refer to the Bonds as a hobby machine. It makes me a bit angry as I can produce just about anything on my Bond. It’d take a critical eye to tell the difference.

    But I digress. I love my machines simplicity, its ease of use, its portability, and yes – even its bad days.

    • susyranner says:

      I too get annoyed when the Bond is referred to as a hobby machine or a toy. I wonder if the people who say that have ever used one or were they the unlucky ones who got dodgy machines?

  19. missusprim1 says:

    Perhaps, and I speak from experience, it wasn’t the machine but ‘pilot error’? If you’d asked me years ago when I purchased my new machine I would’ve been like so many who couldn’t operate it correctly. I would’ve given it a thumbs down.

    But, many years later and much wiser, I did my research and sat down to it with lots of patience (well, most of the time!) and gave it a go. I am SO glad I did!

    I am now a proud owner of not only my original ISM, another ISM from a coworker, a USM carriage (hate the wire guides on the ISM’s), a set of dot key plates and an LK-150.

    I truly enjoy hand manipulation and am perfectly happy with what I have. I have zero interest in punch card capabilities or electronics. Although I am seriously looking into knitting software.

    Spent a good part of an evening enjoying all the goodies on your website and appreciate the effort you’ve put forth in compiling it for all of us MK’ers.

    Thank you!

    • susyranner says:

      Thanks, missusprim1

      I don’t believe in my case it was pilot error although I think for a lot of people who have trouble getting their Bonds to work, it is. As I said, I’d been using an original Bond for quite a few years with no problems whatsoever. The ISM just wasn’t the same quality as my original machine.

      For a time I was adamant that I wouldn’t get a punchcard machine but then I found one in a charity shop for £10 so I bought it and loved it! I don’t think I’ll ever get an electronic one though.

  20. maggi bloice says:

    Hi Suzy
    Great thread and takes me back – I bought my first Bond Classic from a catalogue and absolutely loved it – its been a few years now since I have taken them out (have a few) – and now I must, though I am worried this damp climate here has damaged them. I used my Bond for my home spun yarn which was terrible stuff ie all thick and thin – I produced the most wonderful waistcoat for my new grandson – (hes 21 now) one thing I do remember was that my daughter actually washed it in the washing machine and ruined it. I searched and searched for a Bond Ribber but lest said about that gadget soonest mended….

    • susyranner says:

      Ah, the Bond Ribber, that was my ‘Holy Grail’. I found one on Ebay and paid a lot of money for it. It’s like the little girl who had a little curl right in the middle of her forehead – when it’s good it’s very, very good but when it’s bad it’s horrid. Trouble is, it’s nearly always bad!

  21. JEElston says:

    I got an usm and have worked for weeks to try to get it to operate correctly. I have read the directions and watched YouTube videos. I am about ready to throw it out the window. It just won’t work. Like your blog says, the needles get stuck on the bounce bar. Grrrr

    • susyranner says:

      For me those bounce bars are a nuisance, I personally think the original old keyplates were better.

    • DL Wyman says:

      I found if there is the slightest misalignment of the bed sections the needles will jam.

  22. Helena says:

    Hello,also I can use basic knitting machine, I to hate the Bond.
    Long story short, after getting 3rd carriage and spending weeks to making work, I offered it on knitting forum free just for shipping.
    But, I stumbled on this website searching for contact for Maggie Bloice from the KM museum. I need some help with my Singer 888 that I just got new in box, never used!
    Maggie, if you read this, please email me!
    I am not able to contact you through your website.
    hm4461@msn.com

  23. Hi, have you any idea of the current value of the various Bond machines? I have the original Bond (mine is grey and blue) with an extension and the garter bar. I also have a Bond Elite with the ribber. I never had much luck getting the Elite to work, though I loved the original Bond. To be fair, I didn’t have a lot of time to spend trying it out, nor much patience for the task at the time.

    I loved the original Bond and made many things on it. My favorite was an extra long sweater for my nephew who was about 4 at the time. (He’s 29 now!) I made the sweater extra long because I’d heard that children grow up more than out in that age range. He was able to wear it for about 4 years! It was green with lovely red intarsia motifs and red buttons on the shoulders.

    I want to sell the Elite with ribber, but am not sure how to price it or where to try selling it. Does anyone have any ideas for me?

    Thanks,
    Marilyn in Arizona

    • susyranner says:

      After having a quick look on ebay(UK) I would say that you could get at least £50 for the Elite ribber, probably more. I would think Ebay is probably the best place to sell it as that’s where many people tend to look first.

  24. Robin says:

    Hiya
    Just bought a Bond Classic in a boot sale. We had electronic Knitmasters, etc., years ago but they took up so much space, had their own problems, etc. – so out they went. Have played with the Bond – it works fine – but need keyplates: it only came with No 2. Any ideas? Ebay has drawn a blank.
    Had to make our own green and yellow cards, but that was easy enough!
    Rgds, Robin (Norfolk)

  25. pvcrr says:

    Hey
    I got a Bond ISM on eBay a couple of weeks ago and tried it but to my dismay I had a couple of problems with it, mostly the carriage jamming up and so on. I took it all apart cleaned it real well and now it works like a charm. I have found out, however, that you have to keep the plates lubed up real good or it jams.
    Oh and by the way this is not a hobby machine.
    phil

    • susyranner says:

      I agree, the Bond is not a hobby machine, it can produce items that are just as good as any metal bed machine can produce.

  26. Sal Tuplin says:

    Hello, I have been looking into buying a knitting machine and came across your article. Would a Bond Original machine be suitable for sock knitting… thank you.

    • susyranner says:

      You can knit socks on the Bond but they will be a bit thick. The thinnest yarn that you can knit on the Bond is DK, socks are usually knitted in 4ply (fingering) or thinner. Ideally you would need a standard gauge machine for socks.

      • Sal Tuplin says:

        Ahh thank you for that, most helpful as I would require a machine appropriate for 4ply. I have never used a machine before so I am at the start of my research journey… much appreciated.

  27. Donna says:

    I bought a USM almost 5 years ago, I paid 1/2 price for it with a 50% 0FF coupon. I set the Bond up for the first time a week ago, I hate the method of casting on, I use to have a Phildar KM that had a special cast on com that I absolutely loved that comb, hubby is trying to figure a way to make one for the Bond. So far have made a sweater coat and an afghan without too much of hassle. I have a Brother Profile 550 that my sister gave me years ago, I should give that MK a go and see which I prefer.

    • susyranner says:

      I made a cast on comb for the Bond using a length of thin wood and some cup hooks but to be honest I never use it, I much prefer the plastic hem.

  28. Theresa says:

    Hello there. I’m enjoying everything you all have to share about the Bond. I started with the ISM in the ’90s and have had a passionate relationship with it. Now I’ve graduated to the Elite and am almost in tears. I cannot get the ribber and main bed to coordinate with knitting. I’ve done everything I’ve heard to do, to no avail. The yarn just glides between the rows of needles.
    HELP please.

    • susyranner says:

      I no longer have an Elite and never had the Elite ribber so I don’t really know what to suggest. Have you tried the Bond Knitter’s group on Facebook? Maybe someone there can help.

  29. Julie says:

    I bought a Bond in the 80’s, second hand but almost as new, can’t even remember where from but it didn’t cost very much, £15 my hazy memory tells me. I even used to take it camping (I know I’m sad) It knits virtually anything and looks as good as new today. I have since purchased a few other machines, some I sold on and now I only have my Bond, a Brother 881, and Brother 260 chunky. I purchased an electric motor for my brother machines, brilliant but it hasn’t had a lot of use and I hope one day to get it out of the loft as it cost a small fortune. I was wandering around the knitting exhibition at NEC Birmingham and my Husband had taken my nephew to the Motorcycle museum. I thought I had better ask him first if I could get the motor as it cost £500 so I called the Museum and asked if they would put a message out for my Husband. My nephew said I thought I heard them calling your name over the tannoy and he said I don’t think so. Anyway they put out another message and he went to reception. They told him your wife asked can she buy a motor for her knitting machine and will you go halves with her if she does. She said she would call back in 20 minutes and needs to know if its yes or no. Of course I knew it would be yes but It didn’t really make a difference I had already purchased it I just let him think he was the one making the decision. 35 years later we still laugh about it. I still love my Bond and I would never sell it. Take it anywhere, can’t beat it, so quick and makes lovely sweaters. My favourite a chunky cardigan, the second thing I made. I wear if I’m not feeling well, still as good today, plenty of room in it, you can snuggle and just a little bit tatty.

    • susyranner says:

      Great story, I wonder if he knew you’d already bought the motor and wasn’t letting on.

  30. Julie says:

    I love your site Susy, it has been a joy to read your stories about all your machines. Keep Knitting! Julie

  31. Donna Wyman says:

    Hello! I just love all the information on your web page, it has helped me out numerous times. Thank you for sharing so much information! I have a USM, I bought it 4 years ago, I remember paying $160 for it, and it was the “Deluxe” model. It took me awhile to get the hang of using the Bond, the carriage seems flimsy, I’m kind of scared that it might break on me, I am tempted to buy an older, used ISM, just so I can try the carriage and see if it is studier. I wonder if anyone has reenforced the USM carriage, the plastic is so thin, it bends easily with very little pressure on it. I have two other knitting machines, a Brother KH550 and a Phildar Big Phyl.

    • susyranner says:

      Since writing this post I have acquired a USM carriage and it is a lot flimsier than the blue Bond carriage. I don’t know how it compares to the ISM carriage.

      • DL Wyman says:

        Susy, last weekend I picked up a “EZ Knittr”, another version of a USM, the carriage is heavier than the newer one that came with my USM, the keyplates are interchangeable, I don’t get why the quality of their product seems to be going downhill.

  32. mathmathical says:

    Great blog – so glad I found it. I had one of the original Bonds back in the 80s and lived it. Sadly it seems to have disappeared in our last house move and I have just bought an ISM on Ebay, barely used. I feel lucky that despite the many years since I last Bonded, I found I swiftly picked up the habits and rhythmic working that I remember from way back. Waxing the key plate is vital – scrape a bit off the supplied lump and smear it on thinly with a finger tip. Ball of yarn in a deep bucket to the right or rear of the table, and pull off enough for 2-4 rows of knitting – NEVER let it get taut, but don’t pull off so much that it tangles. Pulling wool off gives you chance to feel for any knots, too, which can also throw some stitches off. All these things were just as true of the original Bond as they are of the ISM. Personally I like to cast on in waste yarn and work 2 or 4 rows before swapping to my own yarn, and at the end of the piece I swap back to waste yarn for a further 4 rows. I can then thread the loops onto hand needles for a quality rib or whatever finish I want. I am so far absolutely delighted.

    • susyranner says:

      I used to pull out full balls at a time straight onto the table, not into a bucket.

  33. Pingback: Bond Knitting Machine Unboxing - Izzy Tinsley

  34. doraschmora says:

    I just bought an ISM on Ebay for £36 (inc del, so bargain) I have never used a knitting machine before but this one is so uncomplicated I was able to knit with it immediately. It is so much fun! I can do eyelet lace and colour work so easily. It has its own little quirks but it is definitely a very usable machine. I think if I had tried to start on a more expensive metal bed machine I would have been put off by its complexity. I may eventually upgrade but I am quite happy with this little thing for now 🙂 Really enjoyed your article.

    • susyranner says:

      I too was able to knit with my Bond as soon as I got it but I’m not sure I’d have had the same experience with the newer USMs, they seem to be a lot more finicky than the original Bonds.

  35. Renate Kock says:

    Susy, because of you I am in love with my Bond Knitting Machine. When I found this blog I started to read and with everything you said it made sense to me. day 1 n 2 where very frustrating but then like I said found this blog and it made me try one more time. It worked oh wow I was just so happy. I know work everyday on it and learn more and more. I will be making a video for Youtube on what I found works for me. and why I could make it work. thank you thank. My machine is very temperamental so I am named it “Patients” because I have that and she needs that ….. lol.

    • susyranner says:

      Patience and practice, that’s all it takes and in no time you’ll be making jumpers for everyone. It’s easy once you get the knack.

  36. Jill says:

    Hi Susy, I was recently given an old blue bond to play with and I’m looking to extend it but not sure how to purchase an extender or two. I have looked around and eBay seems the best direction but I’m not sure if I can find a reliable source. Would you have any suggestions on places to purchase parts?

    • susyranner says:

      You could try http://www.bond-america.com though their links don’t appear to be working properly. It might be easier to buy a full needlebed from ebay and just take it apart so you can use as many sections as you want.

    • mathom says:

      Susy is absolutely right (as if we would have any doubt). Even on eBay the extension kits are seriously overpriced. You should be able to find another complete machine for reasonable money. Just be patient and you can probably even find another blue bond so the pieces all match up.

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