Spring Clean

Brushing After every garment piece brush the tension discs and behind the tension plate. Brush the needle beds, channels and colour changer. We hear many complaints about back bed pushers but none about front pushers, so we suspect this main trouble lies in the back pusher channels. Bring the pushers out and brush the channel while you hold it open and again when it’s closed. Return the pushers and brush again. Remove front lock and brushes. Remove any fluff. Make sure you push the brushes back home then replace the lock.
Oiling Oil the back pushers, back needle butts, back lock channel, front lock channel, front pushers, racking handle, screw and sliding part of the colour changer. Don’t oil the front bed needles, as oil from them can seep into the reading channel and get onto the brushes. If the colour changer is not oiled, you could have trouble with it sticking and, consequently, not have a clean changeover. Put a little oil on the tension wires to avoid rusting. There’s no need to oil the locks, because sufficient oil will work through from the lock channels.
Surgical spirit With a cotton bud dipped in surgical spirit, wipe along the front reading channel till it’s clean and then do the back channel. As long as the tension is right and the cones are placed properly you should have no more trouble with yarn pulling tight, sticking pushers, Error 200 or Error 207, rough racking, or back colour change-over.
After every garment In addition to the above, remove the back lock and give it a good brush. Vacuum both the needle beds. Tighten screws on the front lock. If you’re one of the people afraid to use the motor drive, do use it a little without the locks to make sure you keep it in a good state for when you have the courage to use it.
Once a year Give your machine a real spring clean annually or more often if you knit as a business. Remove all pushers and needles, soaking them in surgical spirit and oil. The mix is 1 ml of Bellodor oil to 20 ml of surgical spirit. Now is also the time to wipe the locks with the oil and spirit mixture and then with oil except for the electronic sensor, which is in front of the brushes. Give the empty needle channels a good clean with a vacuum cleaner and then scrub with an old toothbrush dipped in the spirit and oil mixture. Finally replace the dry and clean needles and pushers. Remember to put old newspaper on the floor under the beds and then do a little knitting in waste yarn : just in case!

Fair Isle Knitting

From Alice When knitting in Fair Isle or pattern, make two backs. Run off the neck and shoulder stitches on cotton waste yarn. Steam press the edges then run across the edge of the knitting with a small straight stitch on your sewing machine. Take off the waste at the same time. Stretch the knitting a bit, as you sew. Mark and zigzag the neckline on both back and front. Overlock the edges of shoulder seams if you wish. Pin shoulder seams together, matching pattern if possible and sew across on the slant. Turn back the triangle flaps on the inside and slipstitch them down. This make a very neat seam and the flaps form a small shoulder pad.


From Alice Don’t, unless you want it for other sewing needs. All you truly need is a coloured thread tacked to the neck shape and a zigzag machine stitch. I zigzag with a wide stitch, then zigzag on top with a narrow stitch. It never runs, but is a pig if you need to unpick it. (Smile!)

Competition News

The Knitting and Crochet Guild Archive is an amazing resource with knitted and crocheted samples going back to the 1830s, as well as a huge collection of pattern leaflets and every kind of knitting needle and crochet hook you can imagine. Yarn Stories believe this is an historic collection (arguably larger than the Victoria and Albert Museum) and one that should be treasured. So they’ve come up with a very special design competition for knitters and crocheters from all around the world to enter.

They’ve gathered together a selection of inspirational images of items in the archive on Pinterest. They’d like you to design a 15 cm blanket square in DK yarn, inspired by the archive, which can be created in either knit or crochet.

The competition is now open and closes on 5th June. A judging panel including Debbie Abrahams, Jane Crowfoot and Angharad Thomas from the KCG archive, as well as members of the Yarn Stories team, will choose 10 finalists by the middle of June. Then Yarn Stories will throw open the judging to knitters and crocheters all over the world to vote for their favourite square during July and August. The overall winner, announced on 4th September, will receive £100 of Yarn Stories yarn and each finalist will receive two balls of the Yarn Stories yarn of their choice.

All the finalists’ squares will be put together into a blanket pattern that will be available on the Yarn Stories website, with 50% of the revenue going towards the continued protection and support of the archive. The finished blanket will be at The Knitting & Stitching show in October for you to see. You don’t have to be a guild member to take part, but it’s an organisation Yarn Stories highly recommends you join.

Amanda Crawford, Head Designer at Yarn Stories says: “I have been lucky enough to visit the Knitting & Crochet Guild Archive and it is such an amazing collection. We wanted to do something to support this vital piece of history for knitters and crocheters everywhere. Our competition is a fantastic project and we are very proud to be able to help the archive.”

Entries for the Yarn Stories competition should be sent by email to information@yarnstories.com or posted to:-

Yarn Stories/KCG competition
Spa Mill
New Street
West Yorkshire HD7 5BB

Free Craft Day

The free craft day will run from 11.00 am to 4.00 pm and will be held in the museum chapel. Patterns will be available for experienced knitters, whilst the museum’s hand-knitting machines will enable everyone else to easily create stunning woollen flowers. Felt activities will also be available for smaller children and for those who would like to make two pieces, they can take one home. Refreshments will be available to buy in the chapel and normal admission charges apply if you wish to visit the rest of the museum.

Paul Baker, museum manager, said “When we were invited to get involved with the National Woollen Woods project we jumped at the chance. We can’t wait to see Rushcliffe Park decorated with knitted and crocheted flora and fauna and love the fact that many will have been made by our visitors”.

Woollen Woods is a national initiative organised by Voluntary Arts Week. The aim is to bring outdoor spaces alive with woodland-themed textile artwork in support of the Campaign for Wool. When Eden Arts originally created the concept in 2013 it was just displayed in Cumbrian National Trust Properties. However it has now grown to cover five sites across the UK including Rushcliffe Country Park Nottinghamshire. The outdoor exhibition will be on display from 15th to 24th May 2015. For more information on the project visit www.voluntaryartsweek.org/woollen-woods and for more information on the Campaign for Wool visit www.campaignforwool.org.

The Framework Knitters Museum is the ideal place to create items for this project. Situated in a historic knitters yard it is the only working textile museum in the county. The museum re-launched last year after a £100 000 redevelopment and holds regular special events throughout the year. For information on the museum including admission prices and opening times visit www.frameworkknittersmuseum.org.uk.

Hard times

We were very sad to close our doors, but it was always the same faces who attended every time and there simply were not enough members to pay the costs to hire the hall. I have to ask you to take us off your list of clubs in North Wales. I buy every issue of the magazine and enjoy it, so please continue the good work; we don’t want the same thing to happen to you. Many thanks and best wishes, Ria Bell

Where have all the speakers gone?

We’ve some talented club members who are very generous with their help and support, but we all agree that input from new people does help to inspire us, stimulate our productivity and increase our range of skills. We’ve asked a neighbouring club and they seem to have the same problem. Do you or any of your readers have a list of speakers and/or demonstrators that we can access? Keynsham MKC meets on the second Monday of the month at Stirling Way Community Centre in Keynsham. For more details, please contact Margaret Marsh (Chair) on 0117-986 5559 or Pat Hames (Sec) on 01454-322553.
Many thanks, Pat Hames
Perhaps it’s time for us all to stir things up a bit, Pat. If you’re able to give a talk or demonstration to a knitting club, please get in touch for a free listing in the magazine.

Meet and greet

It will be held on Wednesday 18th March between 10.30 am and 12.30 pm at the City Gate Hotel in Exeter. I hope it will be an opportunity for people to meet each other and the hotel is in Iron Bridge, Lower North Street, Exeter EX4 3RB (for those with a SAT NAV). The Mary Arches and Guild Hall car parks are quite close by and there’s a ‘Park & Ride’ service in operation at the M5 Junction 29 (Honiton Road). There’s another at Junction 30 (Sowton) as well as one at Junction 31 (Matford). If any readers would like further information, please call me on 01626-859552 and I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible. Thanks Anne and best wishes, Penny Clennel-White

Where are you now?

If you do create a space for this, can I please make a request? My name is Dorothy Patrick, but I was formerly Dorothy Marchant. I’m a very keen machine knitter and I have often wondered if I have any ancestors in common with Nancy Marchant, some time ago mentioned in the magazine? I’d be very pleased if anyone with the surname ‘Marchant’ would like to get in touch and thank you, Anne, for offering to pass on my details. Best wishes and here’s hoping! Dorothy Patrick

Pattern for Baby

Please can you tell me why you are suggesting the use of a stitch holder on the neck of the Boy Blue pattern in Feb 2015, Page 25? My daughter-in-law is just starting out and was very frustrated at breaking needles trying to hold stitches in this way. Why not put them in hold or waste yarn which is the usual machine knitting way? Is this a new idea to use a stitch holder? I have only ever used one in hand knitting and have never seen it in machine knitting but have been machine knitting for a long time now! Would be interested to hear why now this is being used?
Kind regards, Maggie

Hi Maggie
Thanks for writing and I’m sorry your daughter-in-law is struggling.

There’s absolutely no reason why the stitches can’t be knitted onto waste yarn, held in holding position or taken back to non-working position on waste yarn. They could just as easily be tucked out of the way on a safety pin, or have a length of waste yarn threaded through to hold them before the needles are pushed back to non-working position. They could be cast off, but with children’s garments we usually try to cast off as few stitches as possible around the neck, especially on sweaters, so it doesn’t pull in tightly.

We try to make the instructions as ‘user friendly’ for as many knitters as possible and we hope that those who know another method will simply ‘do their own thing’. For example, giving instructions for shaping shoulders in holding position is far more wordy than simply saying ‘cast of x sts at beg of next x rows, then cast off rem x sts’.

In this and other patterns, we now often give hand knitting instructions for ribs, because many knitters don’t have a ribber. We give mock rib instructions on Page 62 of every issue – again, to try to be as accommodating for as many machines and abilities as possible. It’s not easy to please all of our readers all of the time, but we do try to help and inspire as many machine knitters as possible.

Best wishes and happy knitting.

Anne – Editor & Publisher