Brother Profile KH500 Knitting machine is a lightweight machine with manual-only needle manipulation capability. It looks very similar to 4-push button machine, like Profile KH 551. But since it has a more advanced row counter, I assumed that it was manufactured after it – maybe in the very early 1970-ies. A could not find any specific information anywhere on the web or in printed brochures. Other indications that this machine was a later but simplified version of push-button machines is KH500 still has slots for the extension rail (but does not come with the lace carriage) and slots to attach a ribber. The original cardboard box still shows the older version of the row counter….
The standard setup comes with cast-on combs but without a case lid and without a lace carriage. To the best of my knowledge, this model does not have a compatible ribber but, based on my experience with similar machines and compatible ribbers, ribber KR551 and KR560-580 might be compatible with this machine.
The absence of the lid and needle selection mechanism makes this machine very light-weight, which is excellent for people with smaller complexion or with weaker upper bodies. It also makes this machine easy to transport. I kind of even like that this machine does not have a lid – it often takes a while to close the lid (after all major parts are tucked inside it), especially, if case or a lid were bent during the long life of this machine.
Despite only manual needle manipulation capabilities, this machine can still produce patterns: you just need to push needles to the desired positions by hand. With the several needle pushers with various gauges, it is easy – just need to keep track of which needles to select next! Some might say that it is a limitation, but some will argue that needle manipulation by hand is more satisfying and is closer to hand-knitting…
About this specific machine:
I inserted a brand-new retaining bar and sponge (not remade, but purchased from a supplier). I cleaned and inspected all needles: one by one. Cleaned under the main bed. I did not see any rusty on the machine or on the carriage. Overall the machine is in great shape and works great! A video of it being fully tested is here. In that video, I showed a couple of examples of how to create patterns on this machine (by manually selecting needles) and also stockinet on a full bed. The fabric knitted on a full bed was then converted to a bag/pouch to hold a pickleball paddle. My friend needed a new pouch with pockets and I needed to test a machine and practice how to create pockets!!! My favorite thing – combining education with producing something useful and something that makes people happy!!
The machine came with minimum assesories so I had to put together a set. To you, this machine will come with all major assesories with a couple of exceptions. So, this leads us to discuss minor flaws of the machine and the whole setup.
The minor assesories not included are:
- Cast on thread: any thin, strong thread/yarn will work instead
- Oil bottle – none came with the machine. A good oil for knitting machines is gun oil available on Amazon for purchase.
- The toolbox and its lid are not included.
- The carriage lock was missing but I fastened the carriage with a 3D-printed carriage lock.
- Paraffin will not come with this machine.
The left-hand side screw on the carriage that holds the knob to hold the sinker plate was bent really badly so I replaced it with a different, shorter, one. It is a bit wobbly while ONLY the clamp screw/knob is on top but is secure and not wobbly when is tightened on the carriage with the sinker plate attached. See a video – it shows what I mean.
The left-hand side claim on the tension mast is a bit cracked. To fold the tension mast and the yarn tension wires, loosen a screw (by just a notch) and fold it. When unfolding, secure the position by tightening the screw on the left-hand side end cap.
The fasting plate on one of the clamps comes off. In the past, I attempted to fix such a loose plate and honestly, it destroyed completely the thread making the whole clamp unusable. So, since these clamps just needed a bit of an adjustment (holding the plate while screwing the clamps to the table), I decided not to try to tighten or glue them to the threaded rod. These clamps are hard to find these days and since it worked with some adjustments, I decided not to mess with it.
I hope you will find these minor flaws not being flaws but just small things that add character to this machine. I believe that this machine in the hands of a designer or a hand-knitter trying to accelerate their masterwork or to knit more even pieces will create wonderful knitted gifts and garments!