April update

Dear Readers

I’d an unexpected trip down memory lane this month when I found, quite by accident, the design you’ll see on Page 22. I’d decided to check if an old lever arch file was empty before I reused it and, hidden in the index, I came across this Joan Lafferty design. Always the first to be practical, her cardigan is as suitable for using up oddments today as it was back then. She’d thought through needing a decent amount of main yarn, some self-striping yarn and a few colours to pull it all together. I’ve included it not so much as an easy design to knit, but more to show beginners how an ordinary and, dare I say, a rather boring stitch pattern can be transformed with a few oddments from a stash. As we’d expect, Joan used the full width of the needlebed to give the largest size range and, once again, I’m very happy to say ‘thanks for the memories, Joan’.

Sally Butcher, like many of us, has been kept indoors recently by days of pouring rain and lashing winds. The advantage is that she’s had plenty of time to knit and she’s given us lots of ideas and useful tips in Dear Anne. She’s uploaded her patterns on Facebook and the Machine Knitting Beginners & Returners Circle. Sally has also passed on the very unwelcome news that machine knitting groups on the internet have recently been targeted by scammers. They’re offering what looks like a bargain of a machine, for the cost of shipping only. The buyer pays, then no machine arrives. Sally tells us they’ve been taking steps to exclude the scammers from her groups. However, please heed the warning and take extra care if you’re buying online. The old saying goes: “If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is” and it definitely applies here.

You’ll read in Clubline that the Fashion & Textile Museum in London is looking for volunteers. The time commitment is usually for the duration of an exhibition, around four to six months. Volunteers must be over 18 and asked to commit to volunteering one day a week, on the same day every week, from 10.30am to 6.00pm including a one-hour break. The museum is open Tuesday to Saturday inclusive and volunteers are unpaid, but travel reimbursement is available. If it’s of interest, find full details at https://fashiontextilemuseum.org Finally, do remember that Heathercraft Machine Knitting Centre has now closed down so, until next month, Knit happy!

NEXT ISSUE June 2024

Subscription copies sent out Thursday 2nd May

On sale Thursday 9th May

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

New subscriptions

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

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

Orders received on or after 2nd May will start with the July 2024 magazine. No money is taken with your order and July will be mailed out to subscribers on Thursday 6th June.

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.

May 2024 (Issue 316) with Alison Dupernex and Bill King

The cover design on our full-colour May 2024 issue is a pretty jumper in a wide size range and we’ve our usual mix of patterns for standard, mid-gauge and chunky machines. We also have four patterns to knit in our popular Classic Tuck series. The shawl-wrap, multi-size jacket from Alison Dupernex has a fabulous large collar that can be worn as a hood. If your ribber has spent its life knitting plain ribs, take it on a magical journey with Bill King’s ripples and tucks. Susan Guagliumi (https://susan-guagliumi.teachable.com/) along with Alison Dupernex are our constant help and support and Sally Butcher’s Kalamunda Krafts (www.facebook.com/kalamundakrafts) has great ideas on our letters page. We learn how to draw our own pattern for a personal fit in Part 2 of a mini series with Ruth Horrocks. Sally-Ann Carroll reminds us to keep blue hues on our radar and Claire Newberry explains how to calculate yarn amounts in DesignaKnit. We’ve all the usual help and advice, news and reviews.

Machine Knit Community

MKC will be opening the doors again for new members on Monday 22nd April.

It’s a friendly & supportive online space for machine knitters from around the world – with no adverts or algorithms. It’s all things machine knitting and nothing else!

Help and support with your machine knitting is available at the tips of your fingers 24/7, with access to a private community of over 750 members worldwide. From an activity feed to share your wins and ask questions, to a library of self-paced machine knitting workshops and an exciting schedule of live events and classes with leading machine knitting designers and tutors, help is never far away. Never get stuck again!

Nic Corrigan will also be running the successful 21 Days of Fair Isle Challenge from May 1st and it will be included automatically in your membership!

If you’re already on the Waitlist you can relax – you don’t need to do anything.

Nic will be sending out an email next Monday to everyone on the Waitlist as soon as registration is open. So, if you want to get that reminder, make sure you’ve registered at www.mkc.community

The MKC only opens to new members 3 times a year. The next signup after April won’t be until September so if you want to make the most of your knitting machine before then, don’t miss out!

April 2024 (Issue 315) with Alison Dupernex, Barbara Faulkner and Bill King

The cover design on our full-colour April 2024 issue is a short, boxy cardigan in a wide size range. We’ve our usual mix of patterns for standard, mid-gauge and chunky machines including a popular Anne Baker Karabee Design. We’ve two gorgeous Alison Dupernex wraps and a stunning Barbara Faulkner easy-to-wear jacket and dress as well as four more patterns, in ten sizes, in our tuck stitch series. Bill King knits mini cables that don’t slow things down too much and Susan Guagliumi (https://susan-guagliumi.teachable.com/) along with Alison Dupernex are our constant help and support. We learn how to make our own pattern for a personal fit with Ruth Horrocks and Sally-Ann Carroll shows us why skirts have replaced trousers as the everyday go-to. Karin Rogalski adds latex protection to her knitted gloves for a good grip and Roni Knutson’s lined, double mittens are a stash box staple. Claire Newberry has DesignaKnit updates and we’ve all the usual help and advice, news and reviews.

February update

Dear Readers

As Spring approaches I’ve some news to share, which will bring sadness to the many knitters she’s helped over the years. Alison Lee, known especially to past members of the Guild of Machine Knitters, has to give up machine knitting completely. If you were a lone machine knitter, often uncertain about what to do, you kept Alison’s phone number close at hand. She ran the Guild Helpline and dealt with a huge number of assorted knitting queries and problems. She ran classes at Cherry Willingham and often helped out on the Guild stand at knitting shows. She’s had serious health problems for many years and was hopeful that recent surgery would improve the quality of her life. Sadly this hasn’t happened and she’s now quite severely incapacitated. Like others in a similar situation, she can no longer knit and will have to drastically downsize. We send her our sincere thanks for all she’s done to help and promote machine knitting, along with our best wishes and hopes for as smooth and as easy a transition of her circumstances as is possible.

Patricia Dadson has also been in touch to let us know that the very well-known Knitaholics has had to close down. With Patricia at the helm, the club has had 23 really successful years with regular workshops, outings and speakers. Over the years, Romford was also the home of many popular knitting shows. A lot of clubs have found themselves in a similar position, with falling numbers and rising costs. However, all is not lost because the remaining members have amalgamated with the Knit ‘n’ Natter group at North Romford Community Centre. Now the days are getting longer, why not give Patricia a call to renew past friendships. The group meets on alternate Tuesday afternoons, with on-site parking. If you’d like an update or more details, please give Patricia a call on 07806-765876.

Finally, I’ve heard from his wife Janice that Alan Hunt has passed away. Alan was known to all old hands for his Hush Knit Yarns, especially Fine French Crêpe. He was also the man who brought us the Nottingham Show at Harvey Hadden Sports Centre each April and Just Knitting at Thornbury Leisure Centre in September. Alan had been suffering with ill health for some time and, sadly, his heart eventually failed. Rest in peace, Alan and we send our sincere condolences to Janice, their family and many friends.

I still hugely enjoy machine knitting and putting the magazine together, so do please join me next month. We’ll reach another milestone in the magazine’s life as the April issue celebrates the 38th birthday of MKM.

NEXT ISSUE April 2024

Subscription copies sent out Thursday 7th March

On sale Thursday 14th March

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

March 2024 (Issue 314) with Bill King

The cover design on our full-colour March 2024 issue is a pretty cardigan in a wide size range. We’ve our usual mix of patterns for standard, mid-gauge and chunky machines including a popular Anne Baker Karabee Design. Bill King transforms a simple diamond into an intricate selection of squares and Susan Guagliumi (https://susan-guagliumi.teachable.com/) along with Alison Dupernex are our constant help and support. Claire Newberry looks at audible warnings in Interactive Knitting and it’s a ‘must-read’ for DesignaKnit users. You’ll find Claire at Patreon.com and her page is Claire Newberry’s Knitting School. Sally-Ann Carroll looks at the current trends for Spring/Summer 2024 – and we probably own most of the key elements! As always, our mail order shop is open and we’ve help and advice in Dear Anne plus news, reviews and the fabulous circular yoke challenge completed by members of Rumney Knitting Class & Club.

Ways & Means

Dear Anne

I’m one of Joan’s old hands and love searching through the magazine for small nuggets of information. Time served knitters can forget that not everyone knows these little tips. They not only help beginners, but also jolt the memory bank of us ‘oldies’. One tested and tried thing I do may help other readers, so here it is. I find casting off behind the sink pegs difficult due to arthritis in my neck and shoulders. So I either do one row at Tension 10, waste off, then crochet the stitches with a 2mm crochet hook or I work as follows. I transfer half of one stitch, usually the left hand side, to the next needle and knit through, leaving the stitches on the needles. This gives a nice stretchy cast off, too. When knitting through, it’s also easy to do that as loose or tight as required. Thanks for a very good magazine each month and keep the ‘golden oldies’ coming for ‘oldies’ like me! Kind wishes, Elaine


Scrap value

Scrap value

Hi Anne

I’ve just come back to machine knitting after a long break and can you help, please? Years ago a guest speaker visited our club and used cast-on rags. (I’m sure she called them ‘rags’ but I might be wrong.) The club closed down a long time ago, so there’s no-one I can ask. Do you know how they are made? They seemed to make life really easy. Thanks for your help and a great magazine. Yours sincerely, Pat

Thanks for asking Pat and these strips do away, to a great extent, with the need for waste yarn. For beginners, the easy way is to find a bit of (dare we say) ‘rubbish’ yarn in your stash. It’s best to use a smooth yarn in a neutral colour.

Step 1 Cast on about 50 stitches, using the latch tool chain stitch method for a firm cast-on edge.

Step 2 Knit 10 or 12 rows at a fairly loose tension, finishing with one row at the loosest possible tension.

Step 3 Cast off round the gate pegs to make nice little ‘blocks’ at the cast-off edge.

Step 4 If you’ve a ribber cast-on comb and with the wrong side facing, you can push the teeth of the comb through the holes of the cast-on edge then insert the wire.

Step 5 If you don’t have a ribber, keep the wrong side of the strip facing you and start with a couple of needles at each side of centre 0, the centre of the strip and the cast-off edge. Either way and using a transfer tool, pull through a needle at each end then work across, bringing all the needles through the holes.

Step 6 Make sure all needles are in holding position with the machine set to knit them back.

Step 7 Place weights in position, if required.

Step 8 It’s now vitalto knit one row with a nylon cord at a large tension, or you won’t be able to separate the strip from the knitting.

Step 9 Push needles to holding position again and cast on using an e-wrap, latch tool chain or method needed for the garment.

Step 10 Remove the nylon cord when the work is completed and the strip is intact to use over and over again.

Strips (or rags) can be made in different lengths and widths. Short strips are useful for casting on a small number of stitches, as you can hang weights directly on the strip. Some knitters make their strips garment width with a hem, then insert a old Knitmaster welt bar (see Fig. 3 and Fig. 4) into the hem. This adds a little weight plus stability and Brother owners can hook on a cast-on comb. A cast-on strip can be the most useful bit of scrap knitting you’ll ever do, especially if you have an LK-150. Don’t, though, forget the row with the nylon cord or you’ll be unable to separate the strip from the knitting.

Kalamunda Krafts

Slightly more experienced knitters (in less of a hurry!) knit a bias strip. It has its own built-in loops that spread out nicely the more it’s used. Sally Butcher has a step-by-step video demo on her Facebook page, along with videos of techniques on Silver Reed SK280, LK150 and SK155 machines. Visit www.facebook.com/kalamundakrafts She’s also transferred some of the techniques to YouTube, the link is https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSDxy6pQHAs4gd5XBztYWmw and it’s called Sally Butcher’s Kalamunda Krafts Machine Knitting.

What fits what?

Dear Anne

I noticed in the magazine that Mini Mart has Silver Reed sponge bars and I wondered if one would fit my Brother 860? Also would the cast on comb wires be the same as those for my Brother 850 ribber? I haven’t been able to use the machine for a while, as I’ve had a replacement shoulder but now I can and, of course, the sponge bar has had it! Thanks for any help and best wishes, Barbara

PS The ballet cardigan now gets worn to football practice!

I case you missed it last year, Barbara told us about a cardigan she’d knitted for the daughter of a friend of one of her daughters. She was three years old, loved dressing up and wearing tutus. She had a pink tutu and a mauve one so Barbara made her a ‘Lafferty cardi’ to go with them, using up some cone ends in the right colours. It seems the cardi has now moved from the dressing up box to the football field! As for many replacement accessories, Nick Traylen at Uppingham Yarns keeps a list of what fits what and he’s a great source of parts to keep old machines going. Write to Uppingham Yarns, 30 North Street East, Uppingham, Rutland LE15 9QL, call 01572-823747 or visit www.wools.co.uk