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Vintage Craft LOVE: The Knitting Machine

Have you ever seen one of these hand-crank knitting¬† machines by Mattel, Inc. that make cute little knitted yo-yos? I stumbled upon this vintage craft beauty – complete with two manuals – last weekend at an outdoor market in Fraser, Mich. (my hometown) and bought it for a dollar. I haven’t had a chance to test it out to see if it works, but I have high hopes that this machine still has a little life left in it. Something tells me it’s going to work better than the modern plastic version we have floating around the house. The date on the box says it was made in the U.S.A. in 1975.

Do any of you have one of these knitting machines? Does it work? Please do share what you know about it. It’s amazing how giddy I get over a $1 vintage craft find. What is the best vintage craft supply or product you’ve ever discovered at a thrift sale?


Comment from Emily Lindberg
Time: June 9, 2010, 2:25 am

What a great find! Don’t you just love finding these little treasures? Sorry, don’t have one or know how to use it, but I’m sure you’ll be able to figure it out with the manual. You can do it!

Comment from JJ
Time: June 9, 2010, 7:21 am

Oh, wow! I have that exact one. My mom found it while cleaning out her stuff. I tried using it once, but I wasn’t too successful. I’ll have to try it out again. Have fun!

Comment from upstatelisa
Time: June 9, 2010, 8:06 am

My daughter has new version we bought at AC Moore. She has made leg warmers and scarves.

Comment from Diane
Time: June 9, 2010, 9:17 am

Found a Knitty-knotty at a tag sale a few years ago for 50 cents. It’s a little wooden barrell-shaped piece with a hole in the middle and four bent-over wires on top. When you weave around the wires, it makes an I-cord through the hole. Came with lots of shiny fibers too.

Although I never used the knitting machine you bought, I did try the Brother knitting machine my Mother had from years ago. Never could figure it out, so sadly I had to put it in the White Elephant sale at church. Hope someone else was able to use it.

Good luck with your new craft – it looks like fun!

Comment from MzTallulah
Time: June 9, 2010, 9:24 am

I have the kiddy version, also made by Mattel in the 70s. I remember wanting it so badly, and then getting incredibly frustrated with it! I must dig it out next time I visit my parents, as I don’t recall mine saying it could make yo-yos – just tubes or plain squares/rectangles.

Comment from Rachel
Time: June 9, 2010, 9:29 am

1975? only $1??? what a treasure you found !!

Comment from Dana Smith
Time: June 9, 2010, 9:30 am

I’ve never had a cool find like that…but the one I remember from ’80s TV commercials was the daisy-maker that popped out daisies. In my memory, the crafter wrapped yarn around pegs of some kind. I’d love to find that because I craved it with an intensity bordering on obsession when I was about 8. ;-)

Comment from Kathy Elsie
Time: June 12, 2010, 9:01 am

This is a group I belong to dedicated to the type of knitter you found

Comment from Lisa Thoms
Time: June 12, 2010, 9:06 am

I have a modern version of your machine. Mine (the newer one) makes knitted tubes or you can adjust it to make a flat piece of knit wear. I played with it this past winter during our back to back snowstorms and posted the results on my Blog. The beauty of this little machine is that you get quick results and if you use wool or another natural fiber yarn like alpaca, you can completely transform your creation by felting it. Glad you found one — have fun!

Comment from jennifer
Time: June 13, 2010, 7:53 pm

Sweet. Thanks for the link, Lisa!

Comment from annette
Time: July 13, 2010, 3:12 pm

I bought this knitting machine on ebay about 4 years ago. It is a zippy knitter with a sturdy acrylic yarn (not too stretchy – not too stiff). The machine I have came with everything including the yarn the previous owner had used which I found works well (although it is not a very fashionable shade of red). I have tried all types of yarns in the machine with varied success, you will be surprised by the yarn which works best. Happy knitting!

Comment from Missy
Time: July 18, 2010, 8:47 am

We found one at the local vintage shop a few years ago! What a fabulous craft find! Ours is called Knit Magic and had original yarn with it and the instructions.

I also found a purse kit that day, too. Have you seen those?

Here is a link to our post about Knit Magic and the box purse kit.

Comment from Nef
Time: August 2, 2010, 11:05 am

I have the kiddie version too…Mattel Knit Magic (1974). I had a bad problem with mine binding up on one of the needles, until last night my boyfriend took it apart and reseated all of the needles. Now it knits tubes just fine. Either I no longer have the knack for panels or it is still having a problem somewhere. (To MzTallulah) You can make the puffs for granny squares, same as you do with the adult version, but you have to come up with the directions online:

Comment from Leah Breach
Time: August 30, 2012, 5:47 pm

I have a knitting machine just like it! It works really well and definitely use it. It’s real easy to use!

Comment from Roberta Wells
Time: September 14, 2012, 7:15 pm

I have one of these wonderful machines and I love it. My problem is that I haven’t used it in a while and have lost the instruction book. I can’t seem to get started without the book. I would really appreciate it if you could send me one. Thank you for your help.

Pingback from Knititation | The House of Why
Time: November 2, 2012, 6:08 pm

[…] of things for my dolls (heck, my favorite doll was a stuffed cat named Custard that I made with the Knit Magic knitting machine), but then college happened and the job search.¬† There was no time to give to […]

Comment from Roberta Wells
Time: February 9, 2013, 7:14 pm

PLEASE, If anyone has the instruction book on this wonderful machine, I would like to have a copy. I have tried “unsuccessfully ” to remember how to use it. I am wanting to make some baby socks and can’t get it to work. PLEASE, if you have one, email me.Roberta Wells

Comment from Ellen
Time: February 28, 2013, 7:56 pm

I just picked one up at the trift store for $2, complete with instruction book. Let me know your email and I will scan it and send you a copy if you still do not have one.

Comment from Roberta Wells
Time: March 15, 2013, 10:42 pm

Still looking for an instruction book. PLEASE does anyone have one I could borrow?

Comment from Lisa Fletcher
Time: May 11, 2013, 6:46 pm

I just bought a Mattel The Knitting Machine 1976 in the box without the instructions. Please, if anyone has the instructions and pattern books that came with the machine, I would very much appreciate a copy. Thanks,

Comment from Amie
Time: February 16, 2014, 1:41 am

I found a 1974 Mattel Magic Knit machine at a thrift store today ($4.99!) but no instructions. I did some poking around on the internet and found a pdf of the instructions for the Mattel Magic Knit machine and I got it to work!!!

Email me at and I’ll email them to you.

I sent them to Lisa (above) but didn’t see a complete email address for Roberta so couldn’t send it to her. :(

If anyone needs these, let me know!

Comment from Lisa Warnecker
Time: October 19, 2014, 5:10 pm

I have one would like to have more info on how to start it.

Comment from Darlene Hicks
Time: October 29, 2014, 1:25 pm

A friend of mine gave me the same machine minus the instruction book. Tried to use it the same as a loom but I must be doing something wrong and not sure what. Would sure appreciate a copy of instruction manual if I can ever find one.

Comment from brigitte durepos
Time: December 18, 2014, 4:55 pm

I have one knitting machine made by Mattel 1974 and I have no instruction so I can,t start.

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