Review: PRYM Knitting Mill

I just bought myself a present, a knitting mill.

As my collection of yarns is growing, sometimes in leaps (Finland), I have way more meters of wool, acrylic and cotton than I can process manually. Therefore I considered buying a knitting mill.

I have considered, for a moment, Addi Knitting Express, but I found the price prohibitive (over 110 Euro).

So, my choice is PRYM, which offers similar machines way cheaper, they look to be quite ok quality-wise and can be found on YT to check how they work (in some countries distributed as “Innovations”).

Now PRYM has a Maxi model and just-a-mill model. The first one is like Addi bigger option, makes either flat panels or tubes (40 stitches wide and 44 stitches around, respectively), the second however produces a narrow, 4-stitches tubes.

As a rationale for the first one may be “it will do the same as I, but faster”, and is not exactly a powerful justification for 50 Euro expense, the second one makes something that is painful to get manually, so I bought it with much easier conscience. Also, it’s cheaper. Almost 3 times cheaper. So. I ordered it last week, it arrived on Monday (hail my delivery lady, she calls my mobile to ask when I’ll be at home) and I’ve already tried it out.

Review:

I’ve never used a mill like this before. I’ve tried using a “french knitting doll”, but the process was about as fast as manual knitting, so the only gain was that it produced a narrow tube. Still, not satisfactory.

The mill you have to just unpack, put the handle in, take your yarn, cast it on two opposite pins, weight so that it properly progressed through the mill and… start knitting. The yarn will get “knitted” by the mill’s pins and the final product will be soon visible coming out of the base of the mill. This means that the whole thing has to be done with the mill in the air, unless you create an elaborate construction supporting it with an appropriate hole in the middle.

Work goes quickly and can be done more or less mindlessly, so can be a great thing to do when watching TV or reading, as long as you pay attention to the slack in the yarn and the weight on the end of the tube.

Mill doesn’t get stuck, doesn’t seem to be easily breakable (of course if you try smashing it on the table, it will give up) and is a very simple construction all in all. 4 pins moving up and down with closing/opening latches to keep yarn in or out, the mill body and a handle.

Advice:

1. Don’t use wool that is easy to pull apart. Mill will do it and nothing can stop it. Thus breaking the yarn and spoiling work.

2. Aim for yarns that have a good, stable structure with no fuzz and small risk of parting in the middle (mill’s hooks will catch half and either see point 1 or you’ll get a clog).

3. Thinner yarns (very thin, like 400/100), or slippery threads don’t work well with the original weight supplied with the mill. The stitches get very long (“tall”) and tube looks ugly. I used multiple big safety pins to get the right pull and make the tube actually go down the mill, but not make the stitches overly stretched.

4. Always make sure there is a lot of slack in the incoming thread (pull lots from the ball in advance), there are no knots (push them through manually) and that whatever weight you apply is not already flat on the floor.

5. Keep your weighted tube far away from the incoming yarn. If you don’t, you will get a big knot of both tangled together, as the outcoming tube spins all the time.

6. To manage the outcoming tube better, you can roll it around the weight into a ball and pin with a safety pin.

7. Before you get half of your yarn collection through the mill for the sheer pleasure of getting a nifty outcome, stop and think how you’re going to use these tubes. Knitted yarn uses up more space than yarn in balls/hanks.

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12 Comments on “Review: PRYM Knitting Mill”

  1. I am thinking of buying a Prym Knitting Mill mini and have found your review and advice very interesting. Thank you for taking the time to write this :)

  2. Maureen Bennett says:

    This is very useful, thank you. Is the finished tube always the same size? For instance I want to make dolls socks with no seams in them to expand to a maximum circumference of 12-15cms, and then I’d like to produce dolls pullovers that expand to 23cms. Would this be possible on this one machine?

    • Srebrna says:

      Hi Maureen,

      They all come out the same size, more or less. Imagine knitting on 1cm needles, 40 stitches.
      In your case, I’d advise probably either one of the smaller mills (Addi has http://www.amazon.co.uk/Addi-Express-Knitting-Machine-Black/dp/B000XT3OPG/ref=pd_cp_kh_2 – smaller size, I haven’t had a chance to test this one yet) or a set of round knitting looms – working on these will be significantly slower, but they come in 4 and more sizes (depending on the set) and are much more versatile as far as stitches are concerned (you can doubleknit, to get a tighter tube, or use much thicker yarn). See here for my review of this tool: https://srebrna.wordpress.com/2013/10/19/review-prym-knitting-looms/

      Hope this helps.

    • Srebrna says:

      Hi Maureen,

      I just came back after some time and saw that your comment was actually under the post about the small knitting mill.

      The tubes produced by this mill would be useless as socks for anything bigger than ants, I’m afraid – this is 4 stitches around. They are more like a thick cord. The other mill I reviewed is the 40 stitches one. Other advice still stands – small Addi Express or set of round looms would probably work better for you.

  3. Mpzinha says:

    Hi! Can we do diffrent stiches or only purl?

    • Srebrna says:

      It’s only one stitch all the time – looks like knitting all time around OR purl/knit/purl/knit flat knitting. If you want to use different stitches you need either a knitting loom or a professional knitting machine.

  4. Smiley says:

    Hi there, thanks for you very valuable review. Do one always have to cast on 40 stitches? Can I choose to cast on only 30 and knit it as a flat piece? I think I understand that if I want to knit in the round that I should use all 40 stitches, but I would like to make flat pieces of varying width. Thanks

    • Srebrna says:

      Hi :) Glad you found it useful. You could cast less, but you will find it a bit harder to turn then. If you cast 40, then the mill will stop you after each row (not allowing you to ovetshoot ;) the edge). If you cast less, you will need to pay attention at the end of the row to get an even edge.

  5. GeraldiI says:

    I made a few tubes and made them into ‘worms’ with crocheted eyes for my nephews a few years back – they were very large and the act as draft stoppers. I am considering making a few tubes into cushions so as to use up some of the huge amounts of wool I have. How chunky do you think one can go with this?

    • Srebrna says:

      Hi,

      I’d say no thicker than 180m/100g, if it’s normal wool. 250m/100g if it’s acrylic yarn (acrylic is usually fluffier/lighter).

      In general, remember that the yarn has to:
      * move easily through the “input guide” on the side of the mill
      * fit easily under a hook of the machinery

      If hooks have problem “closing” during first round, when you’re just starting the work, it’s way too thick. If you start the second round, with the handle, and it’s even a tiny little bit hard to turn, or you hear “unhealthy” clicking sound – don’t continue. If you feel resistance when turning the handle from time to time, the yarn may have differing thickness and parts are too thick.

      Also, avoid yarn that is too easy to separate into strands, hooks will damage it.

      Hope this helps :)

  6. NattyKnitter55 says:

    This is very helpful in making my decision. Thank you.


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