Northern Contemporary Craft Fair

The Little Northern Contemporary Craft Fair’s Christmas edition returns to Altrincham Town Hall on Sunday 3rd December 2017. Browse and buy work from 40 selected, top UK designer-makers and artists.  It’s a perfect opportunity to buy thoughtful gifts and individual presents for Christmas such as unique precious jewellery, fashion design and accessories and lovingly crafted pieces for the home. Opening times are from 10.30 am to 4.30 pm and the entrance fee of £3 on the door includes mulled wine. Why not make a day of it and also visit Altrincham’s award-winning festive market for fabulous food and artisan shopping. All proceeds from the LNCCF help to subsidise new makers at the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair,

Telephone problems

Hooray! Our telephone lines have been upgraded and we’re up-and running again if you need to give us a call.

All my best wishes, Anne

Publisher & Editor of Machine Knitting Monthly


Fatal Attraction

Hi Anne
December is another great issue, but one of the letters on the Dear Anne page has me worried. While the idea of using magnets as closures for cardigans is great, if you have a pacemaker it could seriously interfere with the heart rhythm. Before 2000, I was working for a GP and at one of our Christmas parties I wore a little Christmas tree brooch with lights powered by a battery. I thought I looked very festive but the doctor and his wife, who was a nurse, were very concerned. They asked me to remove the brooch – not just switch it off, remove it. The doctor then gave me a really good reason why I needed to remove it. It was fairly close to my heart and it seems it could affect my very healthy heart rate. Needless to say I took it off straight away. Neodymium magnets are very strong. I have a craft stamping platform which uses two to keep the card in place while stamping. I accidentally put them close together with a bit of skin in between. A huge ouch! They’re strong and very difficult to pull apart. If you use them instead of buttons on a cardigan please, please be careful where you put them and here’s an article you might like to read for the full story.
Magnetic Jewelry May Have Fatal Attraction

Best wishes, Katy

Karin spotted this and wrote to say:

Hi Anne
Yes, the usual safeguards for magnets apply. They come with a warning about such things as pacemakers and other electronic devices. Like all magnets, don’t put them near magnetic data carriers such as credit cards or they might wreck havoc with the stored data! The magnets need to be pretty strong so they can work through two layers of knitting and still be quite small. But since they are coated in plastic, at least it’s difficult to put a bit of skin between them. Without that plastic cover, it would be very hard to pull them apart by hand when joined, as they really are strong. Since no one near me has a pacemaker, I didn’t think about it much. But to your readers it might be highly important, so please give my thanks to Katy for reminding us. Best wishes, Karin

Meet Tamay and try on jackets

Bristol Textile Quarter :  Come and Chatter with Tamay

The date is 22nd November from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm . You’ll drink tea (Tamay’s is green tea) and find just the right jacket for you. Bring your embroidery to share or interesting textile pieces you’ve made or treasure. Contact Hannah to book an appointment (these will be limited)


Tel 07725696984 

Evening at the Forge

Red Dzao culture, their textiles and sustainability at the Forge in Bristol

As part of Tamay’s first visit to the UK, enjoy an evening at the Forge on 29th November from 6.30 to 9.00 pm. Tamay tells her story: her culture, the textiles, the future. This will be an engaging visual feast, to take you travelling to the North Vietnamese mountains to discuss indigo, embroidery, living sustainably the Dzao way, ethical fashion and the importance of artisans in that conversation. The evening also includes a Pho, noodle soup and light supper with handmade fresh Vietnamese spring roll. Tickets can be booked by following the eventbrite link

Follow Tamay & Me on Instagram and Facebook @tamayandme
Twitter @me_tamay

Countdown to crafting

The Knitting & Stitching Show, opens two weeks today in Harrogate. The Harrogate show attracts thousands of visitors and there is no better place to get great ideas, learn new skills and meet like-minded people.  The show hosts Textile Galleries featuring work by world-leading artists and groups, competition-winning quilts from The Festival of Quilts and a showcase of work by leading textile graduates.  Weavers, spinners, embroiderers, lace and braid makers will be demonstrating their skills and there will be textile artists at work in a live studio environment (Artists in Action, in association with Art Van Go).

Expert tutors will be teaching over 230 workshops (in association with Groves) and classes, from rag rugging to up-cycling, embroidery to dressmaking, and there’s something for everyone, from complete beginners to seasoned stitchers.  For those planning a homemade, hand-stitched Christmas, festive makes include delicate book folded angels made from recycled books, needle-felted robins, decoupage baubles and patchwork Christmas stockings, plus hundreds of handmade textile gift ideas like cushions, scarves, bags, underwear and jewellery.  For the crafter in your life (or an early Christmas treat for yourself), there’s plenty of opportunity for Christmas craft shopping, with hundreds of fabric retailers, yarn companies and specialist suppliers under one roof.

‘Yarn Doctors’ from UK Hand Knitting will be teaching knitting and crochet at their Drop-in clinic, and are inviting crafters to stitch and decorate stockings for their annual Christmas Stocking Appeal.  Stockings will be transformed into decorations which are being sold at the show in aid of mental health charity Mind and donated to care homes and hospices.   Free stocking patterns are available on the UKHK website and finished stockings can be donated at the Harrogate show or sent (with maker’s name and address) to: UKHK, 60 Bridge Road East, Welwyn Garden City, Herts AL7 1JU.

The show has teamed up with world-famous Betty’s tea room to hold The Knitted Tea Room competition.  From cakes to tea cosies, cups and saucers to sandwiches, the show organisers are looking for a sumptuous spread of knitted or crocheted tea room items.  Entries will be displayed throughout the show and the judges will be looking for innovative and beautifully made pieces.  Judging takes place on Sunday 26th November and the winner will receive a Betty’s Christmas Hat Box worth £75, packed full of Betty’s festive delicacies.  Items should be sent before 15th November to: The Knitted Tea Room competition, twistedthread, 58 White Lion St, London N1 9PP, or brought along to the show before Sunday 26th November.  Tea cosy and cupcake patterns can be found on the show’s competition website.

Dressmakers and sewing bees can enjoy a dedicated workshop programme in the Dressmaking Studio (in association with Vlieseline Freudenberg) and expert advice about working with patterns at The Sew Today Pattern classroom (in association with the McCall Pattern Company).  For those keen to show off their handmade vintage handiwork, the glamorous McCall Pattern Company Cocktail Party in aid of the Eve Appeal is the place to be seen.  

The Harrogate show will be collecting stitched signatures for an embroidered petition by the Campaign for Creativity, a campaign by leading textile artists, designers and craftspeople to protect creative and craft subjects in education.  The stitched petition will be presented to the Education Secretary later this year.

Tickets for The Knitting & Stitching Show Harrogate cost £14.50 in advance (concessions £13) with a wide selection of options available at or by calling 0844 581 1319 (+44 0121 796 6100 from outside the UK).

Check it out

Dear Readers

I’d just returned from a family dash to Scotland, when Joan Fielding-Browne called to say hello. Sadly, we were in too much of a hurry to stop off at her shop and studio in Galashiels, but Joan tells me that her Aladdin’s cave is now fully stocked. She sells hand and machine knitting yarn, knitting and sewing machines, tables, cabinets and lots of accessories including DesignaKnit. She has gift packs, knitting patterns and everything you’d ever need for crochet, embroidery and tapestry. She’s very knowledgeable and always makes time to talk to old and new customers, so do call her on 01896-850734. Joan has recently rebuilt her website and you can check it out at

I’ve heard from Maggie Andrews recently and she tells me that as she’s now nearly 80, she’ll be retiring very soon. She’s sold the copyright of all her booklets and pattern leaflets to our friend Linda Williams of Country Knitting of Maine at and many of us go back a long way in machine knitting. Maggie reminded me that we go back 25 years to 1992. Her decision means that she’s selling off the residual stock of her booklets and patterns, at reducing prices, until they’re all gone. You’ll find them on eBay, so make sure you don’t miss the opportunity if there are any gaps in your collection as once they’re gone, they’re gone. I’m sorry to say that Maggie is no longer able to knit, but urges us to keep going and sends us all good wishes for the future. She’s made a significant contribution to our craft, whilst not enjoying the best of health for many years, so I know you’ll all join me in wishing her a content and comfortable retirement.

I’m so pleased to hear that members of Mapperley Knit & Natter will join us at the Nottingham Show on 8th April 2018. We’ve often mentioned Ann Matthews in the magazine and she’s an amazing knitter who is truly one of Joan Lafferty’s ‘old hands’. Ann’s knitting is superb and her finishing is outstanding, so it’s wonderful to know that she’ll bring her electronic machine to demonstrate, as well as display some of her garments. Fellow club members will join in the fun and this friendly group is always happy to answer any questions you may have, so it will definitely be a ‘hot spot’ at the show.

At this time of the year, all that remains is to settle down with a cuppa and dig out all your old magazines to knit some festive favourites for friends and family. Until next time, happy knitting!

NEXT ISSUE January 2018

Subscription copies sent out Thursday 7th December

On sale Thursday 14th December

Ask your newsagent to reserve a copy now.

December 2017 (Issue 239)

December 2017 is our latest issue. It went out to subscribers last Thursday and is officially on sale on 9th November. If you order a latest issue and subscription bundle, we’ll send you this issue and your January 2018 magazine will be posted on 7th December.

Warm & Cosy

As winter draws in, it’s time to start thinking about making our homes as warm and toasty as possible. Statistics reveal that draughts are responsible for 10% of heat loss in the average home and up to 25% in some households. That’s a lot of heat to lose, especially in the coldest weeks of the year. By draught-proofing, households can save between £25 and £55 per person on the annual energy bill. What’s more, draught proofing can be a cheap and painless (even fun!) activity. If you’re a machine knitter, you’ll have a cosy strip made in next-to-no time, but if you’d like a bit of inspiration First Utility has put together an illustrated guide. It details the steps of making your own caterpillar draught excluder. Share this handy idea with your hand-knitting friends, so they can knit their own colourful caterpillar to keep the family warm throughout the winter. It’s a simple guide – perfect for both beginners and seasoned knitters who want to try something a bit different. Follow the link:

Craft Central Winter Market

Craft Central will hold its first Winter Market in its new London home, The Forge, from 24th to 26th November, bringing together over 50 talented craftspeople to sell handmade products ranging from home accessories, fashion and jewellery to ceramics, stationery, prints and more. This festive event is a chance for visitors to meet and shop directly from designer-makers, explore Craft Central’s imaginatively converted 19th century Victorian forge building, take part in one of the family craft workshops and and enjoy a drink in the pop-up café. The Winter Market will feature work by makers selected from Craft Central’s network of 700 designer-makers, including: Frank Horn’s handcrafted leather accessories made in London using vegetable-tanned leather; Rachel Cox’s functional ceramic tableware created in a range of block colours; geometric, monochrome lino-cut prints by Charis Tsang; and knitted home accessories by Kate Jones, which she creates using natural fibres that are spun and dyed in the British Isles.  Products on sale at the Winter Market will range in price from £2.50 to £500.

Craft Central is a charity that has supported craftsmanship and craftspeople in the UK for 40 years. It moved to The Forge in the Isle of Dogs, East London in September. This Grade II listed iron works has been imaginatively converted to provide creative studios, workshops, offices, shared work spaces and the Exhibition Hall.  By moving to the Isle of Dogs, Craft Central is bringing design and making back to an area of traditional industry. The Winter Market is part of Craft Central’s ongoing programme of public events at The Forge, which include open studio events and its popular Craft It Yourself workshops, positioning the building as a destination in its own right and bringing new commercial life into the area.  Through these events, Craft Central will also become a creative hub for the local community.

Opening hours are Friday 24th November 5.00 to 8.00 pm (late opening event). Saturday 25th November 11.00 am to 6.00 pm. Sunday 26th November 11.00 am to 5.00 pm. There’s free entry and no advance booking is required.

Craft Central is at The Forge, Westferry Road 397-411, London E14 3AE. The Forge is close to the river and within easy access of Greenwich, Canary Wharf and Surrey Quays. It’s a five-minute walk from Mudchute station on the DLR. There’s free on street parking after 5.30 pm on  weekdays and all weekend. Discover more at  Instagram / Twitter / Facebook: @CraftCentralUK