Circular Sock-knitting Machine (CSM): Dean and Bean’s Sock Machine

Sock Knitting

I take months (and sometimes years) to knit even basic socks by hand. Still, I love wearing hand knit socks. I started looking into circular sock knitting machines last year after looking at flat bed knitting machines. Due to affordability, availability, and liking the idea of 3D printed replaceable parts, I decided to order Dean and Bean’s Sock Machine – Kitchen Sink package (2.0 version).

When I ordered, the waiting list was around 7 months long. I was expecting to receive it in December 2022, but was happily surprised by it a few months early! Unfortunately, this didn’t heavily affect when I ended up setting up the machine, since I had set aside time in December, but not before, to set up and learn the machine.

Dean and Bean’s Sock Machine Setup

Open circular sock machine "kitchen sink" package box with colorful setup bonnets, bags of red and white 3D printed parts, and a silver bag visible
CSM unboxing
red circular sock knitting machine base still wrapped in plastic
CSM Base
adding initial indicator marks to a circular sock knitting machine cylinder with a purple paint marker
initial marking of CSM cylinder

Once I sorted through all of the items included in the Kitchen Sink bundle, basic setup was pretty straight forward. Inserting all the needles was slightly tedious, but not bad.

bag of bags of sock machine compound needles with the label "compound needles, Dean & Bean's sock machines"
sock machine compound needles

The most ideal workspace is a sturdy square or rectangular (not round or oval) table that allows you to set up your machine on one corner. You probably want it to be big enough to hold your machine, project and waste yarn, soft weights, heel forks, and pattern. The table we use has a 24 x 27 inch surface.

Dean and Bean’s work area setup recommendations

So far, I have gotten away with having the sock machine attached to a TV tray (approximately 15 inches deep by 19 inches wide), so a setup doesn’t have to take up too much space, even if you want to set it up to be permanent or semi-permanent.

Overall, I happy with what I have tried out so far of the Dean and Bean product. I love that the Kitchen Sink bundle comes with all of the tools I need (including a latch hook, weighted heel forks, setup bonnets, etc.) to jump into using a circular sock-knitting machine without feeling like I am “making do”. However, I did have an issue with the 60 needle cylinder where the needles kept catching in one area on plastic filament that was coming loose / had printed in an unintentionally pooled way. I was able to rectify with some small files that I have, but quality control of this type could impact people who don’t have relevant tools at home. (Thin plastic “fly aways” aren’t a problem, but the larger filament pooling in the needle channel caused some issues for me.)

close up of a circular sock knitting machine cylinder that was 3D printed, showing that one of the needle slots has some filament mess that interferes with the smooth movement of a needle in the channel
3D printed CSM cylinder slot with some filament mess

CSM Socks

I haven’t thoroughly documented all of the pairs of socks I have made, but I know I have made 10+ pairs. While I have made basic cuff down and toe up socks (with both short row and 3 wedge heels), I prefer cuff down construction. For me, grafting the toe area together is faster/easier than trying to manually cast off the cuff on the knitting machine.

in-progress view of a grey/purple sock toe stretched wide over a circular sock knitting machine
in-progress toe-up CSM sock
an in-progress sock on a circular sock knitting machine where waste yarn is being used to hang the cuff of a toe-up sock
Hanging the cuff of a toe-up sock
a circular sock knitting machine with needles raised for working the heel, and a soft round weight in the center; the yarn is teal for the heel and speckled off white, orange, and teal for the main part of the sock
CSM heel in progress
in-progress grafting a toe shut (sock body is grey, sock toe is yellow, and waste yarn on toe edge is variegated dark blue)
grafting a sock toe
mismatched multicolored socks (both in red/pink/gold self-patterning sock yarn) that were knitted on a circular sock knitting machine
black and white striped socks that were knitted on a circular sock knitting machine
mismatched multicolored socks (one with white/black striped cuff, heel, and toe and red/pink/gold main sock body; with the other sock with red/pink/gold cuff, heel, and toe and white/black striped main sock body) that were knitted on a circular sock knitting machine
variegated green socks (ranging from green to golden green) that were knitted on a circular sock knitting machine

What’s Next? Ribbing

The Kitchen Sink bundle came with ribber options, but have been too intimidated to try them out yet! I do think long-term I would like to make socks with a ribbed cuff.

Bag of red and white 3D printed disks and items with nuts and bolts labeled "Ribber package, includes: ribber frame, parts for compound cylinders, parts for tuttle cylinders, ribber dials, ribber needles, spacers, stitch markers, and spare screws"
CSM ribber package

Work within Your Limits

I am able to “crank” about 1 sock every 2ish hours on the CSM. I could potentially go faster, but even at this pace, when I try to knit too many in a row, I end up with a very sore arm. Last time I cranked 3 pairs of socks (1 pair per day, 3 days in a row), I had enough pain that I was having difficulty sleeping, and ended up web searching my symptoms. My symptoms were indicative of repetitive strain injury, so I am dialing back my sock cranking to 1 pair per week max for now!