The circular knitting machine (ahem) machines are called addi Express Professional with 22 needles and addi Express King which has 46 needles. My bright idea in acquiring a circular knitting machine was to be able to crank out knitted hats and other tubular creations, lickety-split.
If you think it's cheating, well then it's only half cheating, my hats are both machine knit and hand-knit.
Basically I cast on to the addi Express King with waste yarn, crank for awhile, then cast off with waste yarn. When I remove the waste yarn the stitches are "live" and ready to be picked up with my knitting needles. Then I knit a 1x1 rib brim on the bottom and a knitted decrease for the top. The body of the hat - the middle section - is knit by the machine.
Sounds easy-peasy but there was definitely a learning curve for using the device and I'm still tweaking the pattern to get a good-fitting hat, i.e., one that is not too long, nor too short, you know, just right. It's not instant knitting but it's fun to see what I can create in a few hours as compared to a few days.
Right now my completed hats are squeezed in between eight Comfort Scarves and nine colorful skeins of soft fuzzy yarn.
The big box of yarny goodness is ready to be mailed out to Leslye Borden of Handmade Especially for You charity. The five knitted hats are intended for the children at the Women's Shelters.