Some hand knitting purists think of it as cheating, but machine knitting is a quick and relatively easy to make just about anything that you could knit by hand.
You do need a bit more space to set up your machine and it is no where near as portable as hand knitting project but it is a whole lot faster!
Knitting machines work on similar principles to a knitting loom. The machine will have a main bed of needles complete with hooks.
As you knit a row, the shuttle passes the wool over the top of the hooks and forces the needles forward and then back.
The forward movement causes the original stitch to move behind the latch on the needle while catching the new thread under it, while the movement back forces to original stitch over and off the hook to form the new stitch.
Each pass of the shuttle knits all of the stitches on the needle bed one after another. It is very fast compared to both hand knitting and loom knitting and provided your yarn can feed into the shuttle freely and smoothly, the stitches created are very uniform.
That's one of the things I am not keen on - machine knitting is too even, done well your knitted fabric will have none of the small flaws or uneven patches that give hand knitting character!
Having said that I have to admit to you that I actually have two knitting machines and I use them quite regularly (for the boring bits).
Whenever I have to do any straight or plain knitting I tend to use one of the machines. As I said I have two, one is a bulky knitter that I use for 8, 10 and 12 ply yarn, and the other is for fine work, usually a 4 or 5 ply.
Only the finer machine has a ribbing attachment and I tend to prefer a hand knitted cast on anyway so I do most of the ribbing for my knitting projects by hand.
The machines handle most shaping quite well, but for more complicated shaping I tend to take my knitting off the machine and do it by hand. I have worked out how to match the tension on both machines to my hand knitting tension.
So with most yarns unless you knew what to look for you wouldn't be able to see where I stopped using the machine and changed over to hand knitting.
To show you what you can do, here are a couple of small cardigans I have made on the knitting machine.
© Knitting Naturally - Apricot Baby Cardigan Knitted on a Knitting Machine
© Knitting Naturally - Mauve Baby Cardigan Knitted on a Knitting Machine