Beverley Ward’s new shop

Beverley has written a circular sock pattern, which can be knitted on any standard gauge machine with a ribber.  It all started when she wanted to knit some socks to wear with her walking boots. She looked around for some to buy, but couldn’t find any she liked.  A friend had been on a course to knit socks on an old-fashioned sock machine, so she tried to buy one – until she saw the price of them!  This got her thinking that she must be able to knit socks on her knitting machine using the circular knitting setting.  It was important not to have a seam down the main part of the leg and she worked out how to do it. She’s uploaded the pattern to her Etsy shop, as she thought others might want to knit them as well.  You can see from the photos that she went mad, knitted loads of pairs and here’s the link.

https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/852358165/machine-knitting-sock-pattern

October update

Dear Readers

Autumn is always a busy time of year for knitters, as we take stock and think about some serious knitting. Having said that and as I write, it’s difficult to imagine chillier months ahead, as the days in both the North and South are still warm and sunny. To start the ball rolling, we’ve huge savings from Nina Miklin on Page 6, yarn offers on Page 8 and Page 52, as well as free patterns on Page 23 and Page 34. If you’re someone who knits Teddy Bears, LoveCrafts.com has a huge range of knitting patterns in every shape and size imaginable. Some patterns are free to download and the full selection is at www.lovecrafts.com

Ahead of your autumn knit-in, don’t forget Lionel and Carol at HKC, if you need help with a Brother knitting machine. Lionel is a Brother-trained engineer, so he knows all there is to know about servicing and repairing them. He can also arrange a carrier service to all mainland destinations in the UK. You can buy a fully refurbished machine with a parts and labour guarantee, at a sensible cost and not the ridiculous prices some folk are charging on eBay for rusted up metal. You can collect your machine and have a thorough demonstration, giving full and accurate meaning to the expression: “Try before you buy”. It’s always useful to remember that Brother stopped marketing and distributing machines sometime back in the late 1990s and that’s a mighty long time ago! Lionel’s knowledge of Brother knitting machines and accessories is immense. So, if you’re a knitter who feels you can’t switch to a Silver Reed machine, I suggest you take the gamble out of buying secondhand and ask Lionel for help and advice you can trust.

We’ve a tremendous selection of patterns for you this month, with Susan Guagliumi, Clair Crowston and Bill King as our guest designers. You’ll also find designs in the new Drifter DK range from King Cole and if you knit for tiny tots, you’ll love the hoodie on Page 24. Simply thread up your machine and watch as stocking stitch unfolds into a stunning, multi-colour pattern. However, if you don’t have an LK-150 mid gauge or a chunky machine, don’t panic. There’s also a four ply version of this amazing yarn. Simply follow the instructions we give, to knit the designs on a standard gauge machine. There’s also no drama required for those of you with or without a ribber. Hand knit the ribs whilst watching the TV, use a ribber if you have one, drop the stitches down and reform them, or work mock rib following our guide on Page 62. As Sally-Ann often says: “It’s entirely up to you!” so, until next month, knit happy!

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December 2020

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Where did it go?

Dear Anne

Could you please suggest something (sensible please!) I could try to get back on my machine again? You’ve not much scope, as it’s an old Knitmaster Zippy Plus with no attachments or ribber. Surely I can’t be the only knitter who reads the magazine every month, but never quite seems to get out of the starting blocks? Yours in hope, Charlotte

Many years ago Charlotte, punch lace was the high spot of a Knitmaster owner’s life. Standing head and shoulders above tuck, slip and Fair Isle, it was hailed as easy to knit as stocking stitch. We used a nylon thread together with the main yarn and the ‘lace’ was, in fact, a stitch knitted in transparent thread which couldn’t be seen at a distance. Disillusionment soon set in, as we all discovered that the nylon thread was a beast. It slipped out of the feeder, the knitting fell to the ground; it was harsh to handle and it also melted if the iron was too hot when we pressed the fabric! If you gave up on punch lace at that point, perhaps it’s time to revive the stitch if you’ve one of these older machines.

Head for your stash and look for some nice soft cotton, to replace the nylon thread. It’s easier to knit and the fabric is softer and more attractive. A similar combination to Hobby and Silky always works. Try 2/30s with three ends in the main feeder and one end in the other. The holes are not so pronounced and the pattern is much more subtle. When the colours match beautifully and the yarn is light, the texture is lovely without producing a heavy fabric. Try the existing cards in your basic set, as many of them can be adapted to knit punch lace. Remember, too, that a touch of Lurex and a dark colour will transform a summer top into gorgeous evening wear!   Anne

Magic tape

Dear Anne

I’ve just needed to never ever forget a tip I saw in the magazine ages ago from dear old Joan. I was shaping the neck in a patterned sweater, so I needed to ‘park’ the left-hand stitches out of work on a nylon cord, instead of pushing the needles to hold. There I was, needles at the right knitting one side of the neck, one lot parked in the middle for the front neck and the left hand stitches well out of the way. Concentrating so hard on keeping the Fair Isle going, I didn’t spot the needles in ‘A’ position had started creeping forward. The next thing was a disaster area of yarn and nylon cord all over the place, dropped stitches and a jammed carriage. I managed to free everything up and the easiest thing was to pull it all back to the armhole shaping and start again. What had I forgotten? If you knit needles down to ‘A’ position on a cord, a strip of Sellotape on the needlebed will stop the needle butts shifting forward by accident. Don’t forget it’s there before trying to pull the needles back to working position, or you’ll get into another pickle! I should have taken Carl Boyd’s advice that it’s often easier to knit two backs and do a cut and sew neck! Have a smile, I can’t be the only machine knitter who has done it. Best wishes, Dawn

Four by four

Dear Anne

I wonder if this might help other knitters with a garter carriage. I had no idea how to make a 4-stitch buttonhole in a sideways knitted band until my knitting club came to the rescue and this is what to do. Using a spare piece of yarn, knit and cast off four stitches for the buttonhole, putting the final stitch on the fifth needle. Now work an e-wrap cast-on back along the four empty needles. Set the garter carriage to knit the final rows. Someone mentioned putting a weight on the e-wrap cast-on, but I found my KG-95 didn’t need that. This may be of help to others who, like me, were puzzled how to make buttonholes using the garter carriage. Yours sincerely, Christine

Tool box

Dear Anne

I found Phoebe’s letter a huge help, so thank you Phoebe for sharing all the information with us. For anything to do with mid-gauge machines and the LK-150, my first port of call is always Susan Guagliumi. She first inspired me at Dream Week and, after all, she’s been using the machine for years! She has 4 and 5-prong tools and it’s best to buy them in pairs for crossing big cables. She has a 10-prong standard gauge tool and an 8-prong chunky tool for making wide raglan decreases and her every-other-needle transfer tools are good for lace designs. They have lovely hand-made solid wood handles. By the way, she also has double latch tools for reforming 2×2 ribs and every-other-needle latch tools for reforming 1×1 ribs. Susan has free videos at www.guagliumi.com where you can see everything working. I hope you can pass this on, as I’m always grateful for things you mention in the magazine. Yours sincerely, (another!) Susan

It’s astonishing

Hi Anne

I have a little tip for any of your readers that use a Knit Leader. It’s not always possible to use the pens that came with the plastic sheets to draw the shapes and it can be quite difficult to remove marks from the pens that are available, without removing the actual grid on the sheets. I’ve found that using an Astonish stain remover bar on a damp cloth does the job well for a lot of marker pens. To be on the safe side, always try it on a small area in the corner but I hope this helps as it can be very frustrating to clean the sheets without damaging them. Best regards, Lyn

Home thoughts

Phoebe is no stranger to our pages and following all the recent letters in the magazine, she’s written to pass on some help.

Dear Anne

I’ve just acquired another knitting machine. It’s a Singer LK-140, 6.5 gauge model and is the same as the Silver Reed LK-150, but with ten less needles. As the machine has no ribber, I’ve been playing around with samples. My little machine came with its own table, an intarsia carriage and charting device though I haven’t tried them yet. To help other readers new to the LK-150, here are some ideas to try.

Getting started Select 50 Ns to WP. Using 1×1 selector tool, push back every alt N to NWP. Now take your cast-on strip and hook it up to Ns in WP. What! You don’t have a cast-on strip? But it’s essential for starting your knitting on single bed work. Okay, let’s go off to the machine and make one.

Cast-on or bias strip With carriage on right, select first 10 Ns on far left of machine to HP. Using 8-ply yarn, e-wrap these 10 Ns. Thread up machine. With machine set to knit back Ns, K 2 rows slowly. Hang claw weight. * Now take first st on left and transfer it to next st (decrease) and at the same time bring N next to st on right to WP (increase) and K 2 rows *. Rep from * to * all along needlebed, moving the claw weight as you go. When you get to the far end of the machine, K 2 rows and cast off. There, that didn’t take too long did it and you’ll never have to cast on in WY again. As I’ve knitted mine in acrylic, it came off the machine biased (hence its name) so I killed it. I used my steam iron and actually ironed it flat. If you have another machine with a ribber, you can make an easier cast-on strip by casting on 20 sts in 1×1 rib and just knit a long strip. The cast-on strip can also be used when shaping a ‘V’ neck garment, where you knit one side of the neck whilst holding the other side. Simply hang the cast-on strip on the left half of the knitting. Push these Ns to HP. Set machine to hold and knit the right half of the neck, take off on WY then knit the left half of the neck. Using the cast-on strip this way means you won’t get a line across the held half of the knitting.

Sample 1 – 1×1 Mock rib With carriage on left, bring Ns to WP. Push back every alt N to NWP then take cast-on strip and hook it up to Ns in WP. K 1 row with ravel cord. As I’m using 8-ply acrylic, I used Tension 1, but this is only a guide. Using MY, K 20 rows. Bring up empty Ns to WP and pick up first row in MY to form a hem. Using Tension 2, K 1 row.

Sample 2 – ‘Garter stitch’ edge This is done after you’ve knitted your garment piece. With right side facing you, pick up sts from lower edge of garment piece. With carriage on right, K 1 row. Using 1×1 needle selector, bring every alt N to HP. Set machine to hold from right to left. K 1 row. Push Ns that were held back to UWP and bring Ns that were knitted to HP. K 1 row. Rep these 2 rows 4 times (10 rows altogether). Cancel hold, K 1 row and cast off.

Sample 3 – 2×1 Mock rib With carriage on left, select Ns 2 in WP and 1 in NWP all across work. Hang cast-on strip on these Ns and K 1 row with ravel cord. K 26 rows with MY at Tension 1. Bring up empty Ns to WP and pick up first row in MY to form a hem. Using Tension 2, K 1 row and carry on knitting.

Sample 4 – Pie crust edge Have wrong side of garment facing you. * Pick up 3 sts from edge of knitting and K 6 rows. Pick up next 3 sts from edge and hang them on the same Ns. K 6 rows *. Rep from * to * all along but after the last pick up, only K 4 rows. Cut yarn. Using a tapestry needle, thread yarn through sts and finish off neatly.

Sample 5 – Picot edge With carriage on left, bring Ns to WP. Push back every alt N to NWP then hang on cast-on strip. K 1 row with ravel cord. Using Tension 1 and MY, K 16 rows. Bring up empty Ns to WP and using Tension 2, K 17 rows. Bring up empty Ns to WP and pick up alt sts of first row in MY to form a hem. Using Tension 2, K 1 row, continue knitting.

Sample 6 – Rolled edge The easiest edge of all, of course, is really not an edge as such. It’s made at the start of each garment piece. With carriage on left, select Ns required. Hang on cast-on strip. K 1 row with ravel cord. Bring Ns to HP. E-wrap Ns from left to right. Set machine to knit Ns back and knit your piece. The edge will roll naturally.

Now Anne, after I posted off the samples to you, I decided to read the instruction book – as you do! I found you can do a finished edge cast on without using e-wrap. It’s like the weaving cast on we work on a standard gauge machine. It’s okay, but not as neat as the e-wrap. The best thing about it is that it’s very quick and easy. I also discovered that if you have a 7-prong tool from a standard gauge machine and set every 3rd prong to working position, you can transfer stocking stitch to 1×1 transferring three alternate stitches at a time. I make a lot of beanies for our local hospital and find this little trick very useful. Maybe there’s a 7-prong tool made for a mid-gauge machine, but I don’t know of it. Happy knitting to one and all, sincerely, Phoebe