November update

Dear Readers

I must admit to having a complete change of heart recently. As some of you know, I’ve said that Christmas would be a non-event in the magazine this year. With many of us continuing to self-distance, if not already placed in compulsory lockdown, what did any traditional Christmas have to offer? Well, by chance I came across my collection of Bill King’s Christmas cards. I don’t have his full set, but I’ve kept every one he’s sent me and I bring them out each year. He designs, knits and makes up each individual card and they’re absolutely gorgeous, as well as something money can never buy.

This year, although we’ve little chance of getting out and about, we could all make something to be treasured. Do look at Book Review, as I’ve included lots of different crafts and simple projects. I think I’ll stick with my usual cake, but I’ll need half a bottle of tipple to feed it, as it will no doubt last until Easter with just two of us eating it! With the thought of making small, personal gifts, I’ve included lots of bits and bobs for some inspiration. It’s also why I’ve decided Chez Smith will have the Full Monty this year. I usually groan about battling round supermarkets filled to bursting with Christmas, long before we’ve had the fireworks. Well, I’ve hardly seen the inside of any shop this year. We now have delivery groceries and, I can hardly believe I’m saying this in October, our Christmas slot is already booked. I won’t, therefore, have to do battle with aisles filled with Brussels sprouts, so I’ll ‘deck the halls’ instead!

Talking of supermarket deliveries, I think we need a Gigglebox in the magazine, but I need you to join in with your snippets. I won’t mention any names, especially the identity of the supermarket, but laugh along with this gem a reader passed on.

Mum We’ve a delivery coming on Sunday morning, what do you fancy for lunch? Son How about chicken? I love roast chicken, then we could have a curry with the left-overs. Great idea, thought mum, as she added it to the list. On Sunday morning the groceries arrived, with a note to say they’d run out of medium size chickens, so they’d substituted it with six eggs! Grow your own, perhaps! If you’ve a similar gem to pass on, please share it, so we can all have a giggle. For sure, we need it right now.

One tradition I keep on these pages each December issue is to send you very best wishes for a happy Christmas, from everyone who helps to bring the magazine to you each month. Keep well and stay safe all of you, but most of all, knit happy!

NEXT ISSUE

January 2021

Subscription copies sent out Thursday 3rd December

On sale Thursday 10th December

Order a subscription now, or ask your newsagent to reserve a copy.

December 2020 (Issue 275)

You won’t need a colour changer for the cover design on our full-colour December 2020 issue. The yarn knits stripes from a single ball to give a stunning effect in stocking stitch and a different look with each ball you knit. We always tell you how to knit all our patterns on standard gauge machines and we’ve lots of designs this month, with plenty of ideas for festive knitting. Once again, our Designer Spotlight shines on Susan Guagliumi and an exclusive design which will soon be for sale on her website at www.guagliumi.com. We’ve another corona cardigan design from Karin Rogalski, to put us at ease after the second lockdown and Sally-Ann Carroll helps us to look good and feel great this Christmas. Bill King knits a few plain stripes that, as if by magic, he turns into zigzags! Bill also turns a bit of two-colour Fair Isle into some amazing cards for friends and family. Fay Butcher shows Duo 80 knitters how to knit tuck stitch with the Deco and Alison Dupernex shares her design for a scarf and wrist warmers to cheer up any cold morning. We always include news, reviews and club details and everyone has been knitting in lockdown so we’ve lots of ideas, hints and tips.

December 2020 new subscriptions

NEW SUBSCRIPTIONS Start a new subscription now! You pay for our current December 2020 magazine when you place your order and we send you a copy straight away. From the next issue, your magazine will be mailed direct from the printer on the first Thursday of each month and the January 2021 issue goes out to subscribers on Thursday 3rd December.

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!

NEXT ISSUE

December 2020

Subscription copies sent out Thursday 5th November

On sale Thursday 12th November

Ask your newsagent to reserve a copy now

November 2020 new subscriptions

NEW SUBSCRIPTION If you select this option, no money will be taken with your order and your subscription will start next month with the December 2020 magazine, to be mailed out to subscribers on Thursday 5th November. If you’d like to start with this November issue, you need to order a Quick-Start Subscription.

QUICK-START SUBSCRIPTION If you’d like to start a subscription with the November issue, you pay for our current November 2020 magazine when you place your order and we send you a copy straight away. From the next issue, your magazine will be mailed direct from the printer on the first Thursday of each month and the December 2020 issue goes out to subscribers on Thursday 5th November.

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