How to Make Knitting Machine Weights
Updated: Sep 4
Knitting machine weights can be easily made from many different household items. Because it costs so much to ship weights and buy them, it may be more economical to make them yourself. Note that most knitting machine claw weights are approximately 4oz and lace weights can be 8oz (but equally as wide as approx 2 claw weights)
Here is some information about typical knitting machine weights, which might help guide you in making your own:
How to make a Knitting Machine Weight with Forks:
Supplies Needed to make Knitting Machine Weights with Forks:
Cheap Forks – the cheaper the better. We get ours at the dollar store, often 6-8 for $1. Cheap forks bend and cut easily
Weight – We use a roll of 50 pennies – cheaper than any weight you can buy at the store!
Tape – we use gaffer’s tape, but you can use duct tape or any other sticky tape
Pliers or similar tool to bend the fork
Directions for making your Knitting Machine Weights:
Bend the tines of the fork down so that they look like a claw weight (see previous video showing commercial claw weights)
Tape the pennies to the handle of the fork
More details are described in the video.
How to Make PVC Pipe Weights
The video below shows a small demo of using the pvc pipe weight. They can be made in any length you want. We have a set that is
the width of the knitting machine bed
3/4 the width of the knitting machine bed
1/2 the width of the knitting machine bed
1/4 the width of the knitting machine bed
the width of a swatch
You may find other widths that you may prefer, but this is a good starting point
Supplies needed to make one PVC Pipe Weight
1″ pvc pipe that is the length you want + 2″ or longer
2 caps to fit a 1″ pvc pipe
3/4″ pvc pipe that is the length you want + 2″ or longer
A pvc pipe cutter or saw – there are special wire saws that cut pvc pipe. We prefer a miter saw, but a hack saw will work too. Or ask the nice guy at the Home Depot to do it for you. They might use the backsaw in the molding cutting area to cut it.
Making your PVC Pipe Weight
Cut the 3/4″ and 1″ pipe to the length you want + 2″. The extra 2″ is space for the caps. The caps will sit outside of your cast on rag, as shown in the video
Insert the 3/4″ pipe inside of the 1″ pipe – the 3/4″ pipe will be loose inside and is there only to add more weight.
Put the caps on either end of the 1″ pipe. There is no need to glue it. The caps fit tightly enough without glue.
If you feel that you need more weight in your pipe, you could fill the pipe with rolls of pennies or with concrete. Just make sure that the inside weight is evenly distributed, or else you weight may lean to one side. Leaning is not what you want for your pipe weight! We just use the 3/4″ pipe and add claw weights above the pipe to avoid creating a pipe that has poorly distributed weight.
Making Knitting Machine Weights from Lead Fishing Weights
We prefer NOT to use Lead Fishing Weights for machine knitting weights for the following reasons:
They aren’t cheap to buy and we are cheap folks! If you were able to obtain a collection from a fisherman, this may not be an issue for you
We don’t want to touch “bare” lead. This is why, when we found these fishing weights with a knitting machine we bought used, we used Plasti-dip to plastic coat them so that we wouldn’t have to touch the lead again.
Despite these reasons not to use them, they can be very helpful for small areas such as socks or weighting newly cast on stitches in small areas such as a sleeve area.
Supplies for making Knitting Machine Weights from Lead Fishing Weights:
Wire that will fit through the hole of the weight (typically this is between 16 and 20 gauge wire). 22-24 gauge may be too soft and the wire might bend under the weight. The wire should be at least 8″ long. If you have a roll, it’s easier to avoid cutting the wire until you’ve attached it to the weight.
Wire cutters and Pliers to help you cut and shape the wire
Directions for making Knitting Machine Weights from lead Fishing Weights
Insert the wire into the hole and twist the end of the wire around the wire to prevent the weight from falling off the wire. Use the pliers to help you twist the wire end and to clamp the wire tight to avoid a sharp pointy end sticking out and snagging your knitting
Leave a length of wire at least 7″ above the weight. Cut the excess wire off.
If the cut edge of the wire is sharp, you may want to consider sanding it with sand paper or with an emery board (don’t use the emery board for your finger nails after it has been used to sand your wire!)
Bend the top of the wire to form a rough number 7 shape (the top of the 7 will be approximately 2″). Bend the end of the wire approx 1/4-3/8″ down
Note that you cut the wire long because the weight may need to hang low to avoid getting in the way of the carriage and other knitting processes (particularly if you’re using a ribber or a double bed machine). If you need the weight higher, you can always reshape the top to move the weight higher or you could reshape it to be lower. The longer wire length gives you this flexibility to adjust.
Any other stuff we can use as a Knitting Machine Weight?
We found some small weights or rods in fitness equipment that was on clearance. Check yard sales or the clearance rack for weighted vests, weighted waistbands, weighted gloves or wristbands. Some are filled with sand and that’s potential disaster. But some are solid rods or metal weights. Insert the weight into a sewn fabric pocket and hang the pocket from a fork and you’ve got a cheap weight.
In a pinch, consider a small fabric sack with coins/pocket change hung from a fork.
Our research shows that most knitting weights weigh 4oz to 8oz each So we recommend that you stick to weights in that range. You don’t want them so heavy they will tear your knitting and not so light that they don’t do their job.
How much weight should I use when Machine Knitting?
Weights are used in machine knitting to keep the knitting pulled down SLIGHTLY to allow the carriage to form and release the new row of stitches. Certain stitches may need additional weight to form properly (such as a tuck stitch).
When should I move my weights as I knit?
Typically you move the weights up, closer to the bed, every 6-10 inches of knitting. If you’re using a cast on comb or a cast on rag with pvc pipe weight, this may require that you add an even row of weights across the knitting as the knitting grows.