January update

Dear Readers

Each year I’ve to finish this issue long before I’ve looked at a mince pie, so let me remind you of one or two things which may slip through the net. The first is a note from Jean Richardson to let us know that starting in the New Year, members of Bromsgrove MKC will meet on the third Saturday afternoon of each month, instead of a Thursday. You’ll find all the details in Clubs Directory on Page 59.

Now a note to reassure you that Claire Newberry hasn’t deserted her many devotees. After her exciting trip to Italy last month and wonderful tales from Bologna, she’s taking a well-earned break. Her popular DesignaKnit feature will return next time and don’t forget that Patreon is a new way to connect with Claire. For a small subscription fee, you’ll have access to recorded tuition on beginner DesignaKnit topics. Replay them at leisure as many times as you wish and she’s adding new recordings all the time. Look for Patreon.com and the page is Claire Newberry’s Knitting School.

I now need to give you very grateful thanks from Brenda Bristow at Heathercraft. You’ll remember that last month we looked back at the life of her husband Doug, who had passed away and Brenda writes: “Thank you so much for your lovely tribute to Dougie and I’m attaching a thankyou letter to you, which I’d love you to put on your ‘Dear Anne’ page, if possible. It’s to let people know that I’m continuing with the shop on my own, with the help of other members of the family”. As Brenda’s letter arrived just before this issue went to the printer and we’d finished the whole magazine including Dear Anne, here’s what Brenda would like you to know.

“My dear Anne, thank you for your wonderful tribute to my dear Dougie, he would have been very touched by it. I was moved by all the wonderful cards and letters of condolences from everyone and I thank each one of you. Doug leaves a big gap in all our lives, but I intend to continue to run Heathercraft Machine Knitting Centre. It will be with the help of my family to assist where needed, although there will be a few gaps which will be difficult to fill. However, we will do our best for everyone. Thank you one and all for bringing back such wonderful memories of the shows that I had forgotten. Very best wishes, Anne, to you and all your readers and wishing you good luck for a successful New Year. Love from Brenda, Alan and Peter”

I’ll bring you more news of Brenda’s plans for Heathercraft next time and let’s now look forward to a happy, healthy and prosperous year ahead for us all.

NEXT ISSUE March 2024

Subscription copies sent out Thursday 1st February

On sale Thursday 8th February

Ask your newsagent to reserve a copy or order a subscription in our shop NOW!

New subscriptions

NEW SUBSCRIPTIONS Our magazines are mailed to subscribers on the first Thursday of the preceding month, so our February 2024 issue was mailed on Thursday 4th January.

If you’d like a monthly subscription to the magazine and order by or on 1st February, your subscription will start with the March 2024 magazine.

Orders received on or after 2nd February will start with the April 2024 magazine. No money is taken with your order and April will be mailed out to subscribers on Thursday 7th March.

If you’d like to start with an earlier magazine, please buy it as a back issue and you’ll find lots of choice in our shop.

February 2024 (Issue 313) with Alison Dupernex and Bill King

The cover design on our full-colour February 2024 issue is in a large size range. It’s a comfy round neck sweater and the largest finished measurement is 55½ inches. We’ve our usual mix of patterns and one of the highlights this month is a fabulous Persian Knot jacket in amazing colours from Alison Dupernex. It sits alongside an elegant serape Alison has designed using as many cone ends as you like. Bill King reveals his secret hoard and uncovers some retro-rack gems for us this month and Susan Guagliumi (https://susan-guagliumi.teachable.com/) is our constant help and support. Dee Crew knits some superior mock ribs you’ll not have seen before and Karin Rogalski is helping us keep warm on a budget. Sally-Ann Carroll shows us how to show off our knits to their full potential and our mail order shop is always open. We’ve help and advice in Dear Anne plus news, reviews and club details.

Great news from Craftsy!

When Susan Guagliumi shut down her website, she made arrangements with Craftsy.com to offer some of her most popular patterns on their website, including the carrying case for the LK-150 and other hobby knitting machines. It took a while, but there are now 5 patterns for sale and five FREE patterns available at https://www.craftsy.com/

You don’t need to be a member of Craftsy, just go the website and search for machine knitting patterns. You’ll be directed to the checkout for the free classes, but will not ultimately be charged for them. Enjoy!

To celebrate the patterns being available, Craftsy has also authorised a 30% discount on all three of Susan’s Craftsy classes through to the end of this month! Just enter the code SUSAN30 at the checkout. You can use the code three times for all 3 classes until 31st January 2024.

January 2024 (Issue 312) with Bill King

Our winter classic on the cover of our full-colour January 2024 issue is in a large size range, ideal for wearing all year round and it’s a comfy round neck sweater. We’ve our usual mix of patterns and a moving tribute to the life of Doug Bristow. One of the highlights this month is an Alex Raw design, with an interesting pull-up technique. It sits alongside a Carl Boyd classic in two, three or more colours. The tensions and shapes are the same for both, so you’ve the bonus of two patterns in one! Bill King has us multi-tasking to knit some truly amazing patterns, racking in Half Fisherman’s rib. DesignaKnit queen Claire Newberry shares her Italian trip to Bologna and Dee Crew knits six pretty edgings using simple lace. Sally-Ann Carroll rounds up some looks worth copying, to get us out of a mid-winter slump and our mail order shop is always open. We’ve help and advice in Dear Anne plus news, reviews and club details.

December Update

Dear Readers

As you’ll read on Page 10, Doug Bristow’s funeral has taken place and my sadness at his passing has been replaced by many happy memories. A year or two after I first published the magazine, Doug and Brenda opened Heathercraft Knitting Machine Centre and their shop has been running for over 35 years. At that time, machine knitting was one of the most popular crafts. There were a huge number of small shows and large exhibitions up and down the country. Anyone selling anything to do with machine knitting loaded up their vehicle and set off for a day trip or a five-day marathon.

In those heady days, exhibitors soon got to know one another. I was in a small group that included Nick at Uppingham Yarns, John at B Hague & Co, Chris at Riverside Yarns and designer Jan Wright. Doug and Brenda brought up an ‘honourable rear’, as timekeeping was never their forte! After setting up the day before the show, we’d all stay in a Premier Inn (or similar!) and enjoy an evening meal together. It was one such time when the five of us learned that Doug and Brenda had met at a flying club. It was the end of the 60s and Doug would take her on trips when she got her pilot’s licence in 1971. Love blossomed… as they say! The couple were married in September 1973, so were able to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary just before Doug’s passing in October. As their older son Alan said at the funeral, Doug was: “Curious, eclectic, gregarious and intelligent. He was full of mirth, quips and silliness. He was also patient, persistent and always responsible”. Alan describes perfectly the man I knew.

Doug’s funeral was one of those rare events, conducted by someone who actually knew him. For the first time I’ve seen, the coffin remained in view until the very end of the service, not enclosed in faded curtains and lowered on squeaking apparatus crying out for a drop of oil. Everyone was of an age to remember the comedy song written by Eric Idle for Monty Python. Courtesy of the Order of Service, there were all the words. The vicar whistled and joined in the chorus. Toes tapped, hips swayed with the beat and everyone smiled as they sang:-

If life seems jolly rotten

There’s something you’ve forgotten

And that’s to laugh and smile and dance and sing

When you’re feeling in the dumps

Don’t be silly chumps

Just purse your lips and whistle, that’s the thing

And

Always look on the bright side of life

Always look on the right side of life

The video recording of the service is on Heathercraft’s website (https://www.heathercraft.co.uk/)and Brenda tells me she’ll leave it there for a little longer. It’s also her intention to keep the shop open. This lovely man fixed our machines and sorted out our wonky attachments. He found genuine sponge bars, needles and spares for Heathercraft, as well as many other shops in the country. He was also the best-ever dad and husband and a great friend to all those who really knew him. You have our love and support, Brenda, as we send our sincere condolences to you, Alan and Peter, your worldwide family and many friends. Rest in peace, Doug; you were one in a million.

NEXT ISSUE February 2024

Subscription copies sent out Thursday 4th January

On sale Thursday 11th January

Ask your newsagent to reserve a copy or order a subscription NOW!

Season’s Greetings from Susan Guagliumi


Season’s greetings to you and yours!
May all your holidays be bright and beautiful and peaceful and may the New Year ahead be the best one yet!


Now through December 31, 2023 all of my teachable classes (susan-guagliumi.teachable.com) are on sale for 40% off! Perfect for the long, cold winter days still ahead of us. Just use the code HOHO40 at checkout and enjoy these full length classes at your leisure!

New subscriptions

NEW SUBSCRIPTIONS Our magazines are mailed to subscribers on the first Thursday of the preceding month, so our January 2024 issue was mailed on Thursday 7th December.

If you’d like a monthly subscription to the magazine and order by or on 1st January, your subscription will start with the February 2024 magazine.

Orders received on or after 2nd January will start with the March 2024 magazine. No money is taken with your order and March will be mailed out to subscribers on Thursday 1st February.

If you’d like to start with an earlier magazine, please buy it as a back issue and you’ll find January in our shop soon.

November Update

Dear Readers

At this time of the year, we’ve six weeks to go before turning ourselves into the kitchen’s Dream Queen, though there’s still time to do a bit of festive knitting. As Joan Lafferty used to say: “I don’t know what all the fuss is about, it’s only a roast dinner”! One thing’s for sure; if we run out of time, most goodies will be buy one, get two free by then and Easter eggs will be on promotion!

The best quick ‘n’ easy idea I’ve seen in a long time is a removable Santa motif that’s the brainchild of Carole Dunkerley. For several years, she’s delighted us with last-minute makes and this year is no exception. Ten minutes at the machine is all you need, to turn any sweater, even a bought one, into a Christmas jumper. Carole made a small one for a baby’s jumper and with a bit more time you could knit a matching back and make a small toy to pop in a stocking. Add one to the ends of a scarf, a hat, or perhaps turn a pillowcase into a Santa Sack. You could also go to town on an LK-150 or chunky machine and knit a splendid giant size. The joy of it is that when the festivities are over, the stitching is quickly undone to leave a perfectly wearable garment throughout the year. It’s a great idea and thank you Carole for sharing it with us. We also need to thank Diane, for writing to us with her similar idea in Dear Anne.

If Santa’s not your style, then we’ve lots to whet your appetite this month. Barbara Faulkner, Susan Guagliumi and Bill King share some super ideas and Claire Newberry digs deep into the DAK programme for a tool that’s hidden away. Karin Rogalski starts a new series to keep us warm on a budget and Dee Crew turns Card 1 into a crochet-look braid. Iris Rowe makes a welcome return to Toy Box and Stash Box has a much-loved Pippin Design from Ruth Cox. It’s our usual mixed bag that I hope you’ll enjoy.

As I was on the point of sending this to the printer, I had a phone call and I’ve been dithering about whether or not to mention the conversation. Knowing there’s only the time and space for a short message in this issue, I must let you all know that the call was from Brenda Bristow. She told me the very sad news that her husband Doug has died. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this year and the two of them grew Heathercraft into one of machine knitting’s long-standing, flagship names. For the time being Heathercraft will continue trading, though Brenda will need some time and space in the immediate future to readjust. I’ll bring you more news next time, but I know you’ll join me in sending our sincere condolences to Brenda, their two sons and all members of the family.

NEXT ISSUE January 2024

Subscription copies sent out Thursday 7th December

On sale Thursday 14th December

Ask your newsagent to reserve a copy or order a subscription NOW!

December 2023 (Issue 311) with Susan Guagliumi, Bill King and Barbara Faulkner

The yarn does all the work to knit the cover design on our full-colour December 2023 issue. It’s a cosy round or polo neck sweater plus an optional cowl and hat and the yarn produces this magical pattern and colour in stocking stitch from a single ball. We’ve our usual mix of patterns and our highlights this month are a new and original Susan Guagliumi design, plus two iconic Barbara Faulkner designs. Bill King has us knitting a production line of Christmas Cards and Karin Rogalski returns to help us keep warm on a budget. DesignaKnit queen Claire Newberry shows us where to find and use single motif and border options in DesignaKnit, Dee Crew knits Card 1 braids and Iris Rowe’s crocodile is hopping and bopping all the way to the Toy Box. Sally-Ann Carroll makes sure our knits sparkle and shine and our mail order shop is always open. We’ve help and advice in Dear Anne plus news, reviews and club details.