Best fit

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Dear Anne

I’m expecting my first baby in September. Would it be possible to request a cardigan or jumper pattern in the magazine for newborns? I found a pattern in March 2019, just after I wrote the email to you, and made this using it. I’ve got no specific pattern requests, but part of my trouble is not knowing how the inch sizing relates to standard ages, so would you include some guidance please? Very many thanks, Ayesha

Thanks for asking Ayesha and we still have lots of Anne Baker’s baby designs in the pipeline for the coming months. Along with many others, you may not have realised that we often include these details in our baby patterns. For example, look at Candy Kisses on Page 36 in the June 2019 issue. Under the Measurements section we say, ‘To fit age 6-12 months [1-2, 3-4, 4-5, 6-7] years. To fit chest 46 [51, 56, 61, 66] cm, 18 [20, 22, 24, 26] in. Actual size 50 [55, 60.5, 66, 71.5] cm, 19¾ [21¾, 24, 26, 28¼] in. You’ll not be far out if you keep in mind that the average chest size of a 6 to 12 month old baby will be around 46 cm, 18 inches and the actual measurement of 50 cm, 19¾ inches allows this design to be worn over other clothing. Typical baby sizing is to fit premature [new born, 0-3, 3-6, 6-12, 12-18] months. To fit chest 31 [36, 41, 46, 51, 56] cm, 12 [14, 16, 18, 20, 22] in. Actual size 35 [40.5, 46, 51.5, 59, 64.5] cm, 13¾ [16, 18¼, 20¼, 23¼, 25½] in.

The other thing to do, of course, is visit one of the baby chain shops with a tape measure in hand. They almost always size their garments by age and you’ll get a fairly good idea of what’s likely to fit. The only thing to remember is that tiny ones grow fast, so it can sometimes be more useful to knit a slightly larger size for a baby to grow into, rather than be a snug fit at birth. We all wish you the safe and happy delivery of your baby and do, please, keep in touch.

Side step

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Dear Anne

I have a query regarding a pattern in a backdated copy of MKM and hope you may be able to help. At the Nottingham show I bought a few back copies of MKM, one of which is October 2016. On Page 24, there’s a pattern for a top and cardigan using King Cole Opium. I want to knit the cardigan and have bought the yarn but according to the pattern the ribs need to be hand knitted. However, I’m struggling with arthritis in my hands and find hand knitting both difficult and painful. I’m not over experienced in machine knitting, being a returner after 30-odd years and would like some advice on whether or not I could knit the ribs on the machine and, if so, what tension would be preferable. If this isn’t advisable then I shall have to persevere with the hand knitting. I look forward to my monthly magazine and have just completed two chunky jackets for my granddaughters from a back copy, substituting the hand knitted ribs for some I machine knitted. Thanks for any help, Gill

I’m sorry it’s such a painful struggle to use your hands Gill and, quite honestly, ‘ignore’ the instructions and ‘do your own thing’. If you can still get the ribber carriage across a chunky machine, and it can be hard work at the best of times, it’s easy enough to knit ribs. I’m sure crochet is out of the question, so another suggestion is to make a simple hem. If you use the purl side as the right side, which I think has a much nicer texture, the plain knit stitches of a hem will look like rib anyway.

It really doesn’t matter how you adapt the instructions to suit your circumstances and, by making the changes, you’ll also create your own unique garment. When it comes to tension, it’s anyone’s guess what your machine will need. Just as you go down two needle sizes for hand-knitted ribs, we usually go down three full tensions for ribs on the machine. The zigzag and circular rows need to be as tight as possible, so you’ll have to try out a small sample to see what’s best. There’s no point in breaking the yarn or struggling to stick to figures on a page, just give it all a try and you’ll quickly have the answers you need. The most important thing is to enjoy what you do, not make it a painful chore.

Cosy up

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Dear Anne

My July magazine arrived today and I’m really pleased to see the ‘Home Comforts’ feature, as not everyone fancies tackling a garment every time they knit. Can we have a tea cosy pattern, please? It might be ‘old hat’ to some, but not to me! Also the hooded cardigan and the other patterns are lovely. I had some issues with DesignaKnit recently and wondered if Claire would consider a feature on ‘Knits that Fit’ covering shaping with DesignaKnit. I knitted a tuck stitch sleeveless summer top in size 38, however when I tried it on I found there was masses of room at the armholes and it gaped at the side of the bust. Quite frankly it looked awful, so I had to go to work on my linker. (I hate sewing, the linker is a godsend.) I improvised with some bust darts and had to take out four inches each side around the armhole for the darts then cut off the excess fabric. I’m sure it would be much easier to integrate shaping into the pattern rather than ‘cut and sew’ darts! The top is now wearable and I’m pleased with it. Kind regards, Jane

Tea cosies are back in fashion, Jane, so here’s one from the late Joan Lafferty.

INTRO Tea cosies are back in fashion and this one is guaranteed to be a best seller on any bazaar stall or fund raising event

QUOTE “To display it effectively on your stall, make a teapot-shaped cardboard cut out and hang a tea bag on the ties.


Use any pattern of your choice including an all-over Fair Isle or single motif, noting cosy is knitted from the top down.


This pattern requires a machine capable of knitting Fair Isle.


Oddments of 4-ply yarn in colours required. 2 strips of Velcro, each one approximately 15 cm, 6 in long.


No tension swatch is required and choose tension to suit yarn used. Use tension dial approximately 7 for stocking stitch and 8 for Fair Isle.


Make 2 pieces the same Cast on over 76 Ns in 1×1 mock rib (see Page 62) and K 40 rows. Make a hem by placing loops of first row worked in MY onto alt Ns. With all Ns in WP, K across then set RC at 000. Cont in pattern, noting pattern should finish on or before RC shows 64. Cont in st st until RC shows 68. Set RC at 000. K 68 rows in st st for lining. Catch up along edge of closed rib and K across at Tension 10. Cast off.


Close edges and sew strips of Velcro along the edges. Join ribs. Knit a circular cord over 5 Ns in contrast yarn and thread through rib. Gather to form top.

Drifting along

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Dear Anne

I’ve been doing a tension sample for the Drifting Along pattern in your May issue using the recommended King Cole Drifter DK yarn on my Silver Reed LK150. The recommended tension dial setting for that particular machine is listed at 6, but after trying this I have found that 3• gives the correct tension for the pattern. Is this just a mistake in the pattern instructions? I find your magazine very helpful, having come back to machine knitting after a very long break. Many thanks, Anne. I’m looking forward to the next issue of MKM as I love finding all your useful tips and recommendations. Best wishes, Lennox

I’m so pleased you’ve written, Lennox, as this will re-assure all readers that every machine is different. I’m always reluctant to give any approximate tension dial settings in the magazine, because they can vary so much. Yours will be a gem, as you’ve lots of availability to open up your tension dial beyond 3• for DK. I once had a Brother standard gauge machine which needed 8•• to knit 4-ply, whilst my Knitmaster had to be down at 5•. For years I wrongly assumed that Brother machines knitted tighter than Knitmaster! It’s a joy to hear that you’ve matched the tension and I hope you enjoy knitting the design. Best wishes, Anne

The Humpty People

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The Humpty People

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall

But it wasn’t the usual sorrowful scene

As Humpty was made on a knitting machine!

Hi Anne

I remember making several ‘Humpty People’ on my machine, probably in the 1990s. I’ve got rid of all my books (just had too many!) so do you know where I might look for them? They were made from small amounts of yarn and I think a competition was held to let machine knitters’ imagination run riot. They were about four inches or so tall and my friend still has a couple that I made for her grandchildren. Thanks for any help, Diane

The original Humpty Dumpty design was first published in the Oct-Nov 1993 issue of To & Fro magazine. Audrey Harrison was the designer and we held a Mini Competition inviting readers to knit their own adaptation with either the ‘friendliest face’, the ‘naughtiest look’ or an ‘upper crust’ humpty. They’re such fun, make great stocking fillers or charity knits and we hope you enjoy them as much this time around. Make lots… they get lonely!

The Humpty People

MATERIALS Any 4-ply yarn in Red or Main Colour (MC) and White (A). Oddments in Black (B). Polyester stuffing. Crochet hook.

MEASUREMENTS Height around 10 cm, 4 in.

TENSION Use tension dial setting 7 as main tension (MT) throughout, unless otherwise stated.

Girl Humpty


Push 41 Ns to WP. With carriage at right and using MT and MC, make a woven or automatic closed-edge cast-on. Carriage is at left. Set RC at 000. K 20 rows for body. Using A, K 10 rows for face *.

HAT Using MC, K 1 row. Using MT+1, K 2 rows. Using MT+3, K 1 row. Using MT+1, K 2 rows. Using MT, K 1 row. Make a hem by placing loops from first row worked in MC onto corresponding Ns for brim. K 1 row. Using A, K 2 rows. Using MC, K 7 rows. Transfer every alt st onto adjacent N and push empty Ns back to NWP. K 2 rows. Break off yarn, thread end through sts and release from machine. Draw up sts at top of hat, secure and join back seam.

ARMS (2) Push 12 Ns to WP. Using MC, cast on by hand. Set RC at 000. Using MT, K 10 rows. Break off yarn, thread end through sts and release from machine. Draw up sts and secure, then roll up and join seam.

LEGS (2) Push 14 Ns to WP. Using MC, cast on by hand. Set RC at 000. Using MT, K 14 rows. Break off yarn, thread end through sts and release from machine. Draw up sts and secure, then roll up and join seam.

MAKING UP Stuff body. Pull up sts at bottom and secure. Sew arms to top of body. Sew legs just below arms. Using B, embroider eyes and nose as shown. Using MC, embroider mouth as shown *. Cut two 25 cm, 10 inch lengths of B for hair. Fold each in half and using a crochet hook, pull one loop through each side of head just below hat. Work chains along length.

Boy Humpty


Work as for Body, Head & Hat of Girl to *.

CAP Using MC, K 1 row. Set carriage to hold. Push 12 Ns at opposite end to carriage to HP on next 2 rows. Push 3 Ns at opposite end to carriage to HP on next 4 rows. Push 3 inside Ns at opposite end to carriage from HP to UWP on next 4 rows. Push 12 Ns at opposite end to carriage from HP to UWP on next row. Push rem 12 Ns at opposite end to carriage from HP to UWP. Make a hem over centre 17 Ns by placing loops from first row worked in MC onto corresponding Ns for peak. K 10 rows. Transfer every alt st onto adjacent N and push empty Ns back to NWP. K 2 rows. Break off yarn, thread end through sts, release from machine. Draw up sts at top of cap, secure and join back seam.


Work Arms and Legs as for Girl and Making Up to *.


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Hello Anne

I saw your page in MKM and read about your grand-daughter machine knitting. How time goes by for us all and I see you were surprised at how the LK-150 knits, so I thought you’d be interested in my information about this brilliant machine. It’s my best seller of all the machines I sell for beginners, but most of all for hand knitters. The hand knitters love it, as I do myself, to get something done a bit quicker. Hand knitters love the various wools it can knit and creating patterns by hand is also great. I try out all yarns on it, to see how they will work. At first it was guess work, but the LK-150 is now listed in DesignaKnit 9. King Cole yarns from 4-ply to fine chunky are great on this machine and it loves knitting Aran. My buyers enjoy the machine and after short instructions they’re soon making garments. In my opinion, the LK-150 is far better than the old Bond used to be and the machine is magic, because it has everything except a ribber. Love to all, Joan Fielding-Brown

The Little Knitting Fairy, Old Redhead Cottage, Clovenfords, Galashiels, Selkirkshire TD1 1UG

Tel 01896-850734



A clean sheet

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Dear Anne

I wonder if you might like to put this in your magazine, as a lot of readers may be pleased to have the information. Over the years, I’ve had quite a lot of experience buying, reconditioning and selling various bits of machine-knitting equipment. More than once, whilst servicing machines and attachments, I’ve been faced with the problem of cleaning a KL-116 Knit Leader sheet. Often the pen marks simply won’t come off with soap or washing up liquid, so today I tried some kitchen cleaner. First of all I was a bit dubious that it wouldn’t work, but then I became more worried that it would work but take off the lines as well as the pen marks. To my surprise the kitchen cleaner worked beautifully and didn’t take off the permanent lines! It’s called Cif Multipurpose Ultrafast cleaner and I’d recommend it to clean all knitting machine pattern sheets. There may be some permanent marker lines that might not come off using anything, but the marks I used it on were coloured permanent marker lines. Use a damp micro cloth, spray a small amount on the sheets and gently rub it off. Clean the Cif off afterwards with a clean cloth, to make sure the cleaner has been completely removed. Kind regards, Sandy

March 2020

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Our full-colour March 2020 issue is now on sale, with over 10 designs. Our cover design is a 4-ply lacy cardigan with a wide size range from bust 71-76 cm (28-30 in) to 112-117 cm (44-46 in) and we always show you how to knit all our designs in a different yarn on standard gauge machines. Sally-Ann Carroll tells us the colours, prints and styles for Spring and Summer knitted wardrobe and Bill King combines all needle rib and tuck for one of his favourite looks. Helen Lewis has fun with a bit of ‘make do and mend’ reconstruction for a new Spring jacket and we’ve a Phyllis Moran multi-design for all Passap machines. Claire Newberry begins a series of tutorials for DesignaKnit 9 and Joan Lafferty breaks every tension rule in the book! We always include news and reviews, letters, club details and great reader offers on new craft books from Search Press. There are great bargains this month, with all the books under £10.

Nottingham Knitting Show 2020 is on Sunday 5th April

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If you can travel to Nottingham, do please come along to the West Park Leisure Centre in Wilsthorpe Road, Long Eaton NG10 4AA. This year our show is on Sunday 5th April. The centre is about a mile and a half from Junction 25 on the M1. When you come off the motorway, take the exit to Long Eaton onto Bostock’s Lane. After about half a mile, at the junction with Longmoor Road, turn right onto the B6002. The road bears left and becomes Petersham Road. Continue along the B6002 into Wilsthorpe Road and the Leisure Centre is along this road on the left.

We have lectures which we hold upstairs, but there are stairs and a lift, so access is easy for everyone. A new cafe has been built downstairs in the Leisure Centre, with an excellent choice of hot and cold snacks and drinks. For those who like to bring a packed lunch, we’ll make tables and chairs available in the hall so there’s sufficient seating for everyone.

Happily, most of our exhibitors join us year after year and our 2019 show included Andee Knits and Andrea brought her shop to the show. She had machines and accessories, books and patterns, spares and yarn plus DesignaKnit. Anne Baker has retired, but still had some remaining items to sell and Arnold Bennett (the Button Man) has the most amazing buttons at rock-bottom prices. Sue Booth is known to everyone in machine knitting for her gorgeous designs and club talks. She always has lots of patterns and rails of her beautifully knitted designs. B Hague & Co need no introduction to machine knitters for their linking machines, winders and twisters, knitting accessories and much more. Bill King had his machine and lots of samples to show you what to do and how to do many of his Masterclass techniques. Rob Fountain had used machines and accessories plus spares, bits and bobs. David and Jason Hampson brought The Wool Cabin to the show with not-to-be-missed bargains on packs of quality yarns at knock-down prices.

As we’re in Nottingham, we always welcome the Framework Knitters Museum as well as the Spinners, Weavers and Dyers. Patricia and friends set up their spinning wheels and have a warm smile and welcome, as we chat whilst they spin. Mapperley Knit & Natter Club play an even bigger part this year. As our local branch of the Knitting & Crochet Guild, Mapperley will fly the flag both for the club and the Guild. Their displays are wonderful and they demonstrate on a machine throughout the day, surrounded by lovely examples of members’ work. Last, but by no means least, Nick Traylen is often the first port of call for visitors collecting their  pre-ordered yarn and accessories from Uppingham Yarns. No-one can walk past his huge selection of coned and balled yarn without finding something new for their stash, including Editor Anne! She’ll be there with Machine Knitting Monthly current magazines, back issues, binders and Anjo Patterns.

Nina Miklin will launch a new design at this year’s show. It’s knitted in Maestro and Cesari, lovely blends of Cashmere and Merino Wool. The design needs five colours and Nina is making special yarn kits, to include the 400 grams of yarn needed. For a limited period and at the show, there’s a saving of £27 on the kit! There are two patterns, both with detailed step-by-step instructions. Pattern 1 (£4.50) uses an intarsia carriage and includes detailed, perfect finishing. Pattern 2 (£7.50) is knitted without an intarsia carriage. Lots of photos show how to knit, finish and join panels perfectly. Nina’s recent Book No.4 in the Knit To Finish series is available as PDF email attachment at £14.50. For those with no computer, she’ll have a few printed copies for £18.50 along with some special bargains for kits and reduced end of dye-lot colours.  and Uppingham Yarns.

Watch this space as we update the details until the show and tickets will go on sale on the website very soon.

Machine Knitting LIVE! Bournemouth 2020 is on Saturday 3rd October

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Bournemouth School for Girls will, once again, welcome us all to Machine Knitting LIVE! Bournemouth School for Girls is in Castle Gate Close, Castle Lane West, Bournemouth BH8 9UJ and the show opens from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm. The school is on the A3060 (Castle Lane West) and once you reach Castlepoint Shopping Centre on the right, continue straight. First left is East Way, then take the next left turn into Castle Gate Close. Everything is on one level so disabled access is easy. If you want to bring a non-knitting friend, Castlepoint is a good dropping off point for shopping and free parking.

Unless something comes up at the last minute, most of our exhibitors join us every year and our 2019 exhibitors included Andee Knits who brought her shop to the show. She had machines and accessories, books and patterns, spares and yarn. Anne Croucher is our machine expert and she holds a Knit Clinic to help with any problems. Ann Brown brought a selection of her designs and garments. Rob Fountain had used machines and accessories plus spares, bits and bobs. Bill King had his machine and lots of samples to show you what to do and how to do many of his Masterclass techniques. David and Jason Hampson brought The Wool Cabin to the show with not-to-be-missed bargains on packs of quality yarns at knock-down prices. Designers Elaine Cater and Nina Miklin brought their designs, books and patterns and Fleet Knitting Club set up displays and demonstrations. Nick Traylen had a huge selection of coned and balled yarn from Uppingham Yarns and Anne had Machine Knitting Monthly current magazines, back issues, binders and Anjo Patterns.

We always have excellent displays and demonstrations from local knitting clubs Carbery in Christchurch and Ringwood, with some wonderful ideas to inspire us.

Last year we had a break with tradition and warmly welcomed Guest Speaker Sally Butcher. Sally is a prolific knitter and she runs a monthly knitting club in Bodmin. Her main focus is on all makes and types of Japanese machines and she talked about the huge presence of machine knitting on the internet. She told us how they set up the Beginners Group, talked about what they try to achieve and displayed some of their designs. She also brought a laptop, to show us photos of many interesting projects completed. Having set up one of her machines, she talked to everyone during the day whilst sitting and knitting.

The School Canteen opens all day with hot and cold meals, snacks and drinks.

Do come and join us and tickets will be on sale on the website very soon.