Dear Anne

I’m enclosing details, which may help knitters like me, who hate sewing and particularly backstitching through the neckband on the right side. I could never get it neat enough. This method doesn’t need to be stitched at all, which suits me fine. Maybe if you’ve a little space you could print it to help others, who aren’t so good at sewing! Yours sincerely, Lorraine in Colwyn Bay

1. Work over width of sts around neck, such as 130 arranged as 65-0-65.

2. Knit about 7 to 9 rows with WY. Carriage at left. K 1 row with nylon cord. Carriage at right.

3. K 4 rows in MY and 1 row on alt Ns in HP. Set carriage to slip both ways. Don’t set carriage to hold. Use MT such as Tension Dial setting 6.

4. Transfer sts to ribber, or use garter carriage with Pattern 532 for 1×1 rib. Put in comb and hang weights carefully if transferring.

5. Using MT-4, K 30 rows in 1×1 rib or use Pattern 532 on garter carriage. Transfer to main bed.

6. Pick up loops of 5th row of main yarn onto alt Ns. K 5 rows at MT.

7. Pick up first row (the one after the cord) and K 1 row at MT. Pick up neckline sts with wrong side facing you and K 1 row. Cast off using MT.

Cut ‘n’ sew

Dear Anne

I’ve just read in an old magazine the method of using the cut and sew neckline for Passap machines. When I was studying for my City & Guilds Certificate, I was shown a method for Japanese machines that doesn’t involve putting the garment on the bed of the machine. I think it was Carol Hocknell who showed us, but I can’t be sure so I apologise in advance if I’ve made a mistake. I’ve attached the method and you’ve probably seen it before but if not, perhaps you could use it in the magazine? Thank you for a great read every month and you must be tired of hearing it, but please keep the good work going if you can. King regards, Joan in Northampton

Join one shoulder, cut and sew the neck, find out how many stitches are needed for the rib and knit as follows.

1. Start rib on MT-2 or MT-3.

2. Knit first row and hang ribber comb.

3. Don’t knit any circular rows, as this makes it much easier to pick up these stitches.

4. Knit as many rows for the rib as you normally do, decreasing the tension and increasing again as you wish.

5. Transfer stitches to main bed, take off machine on waste yarn leaving a long thread of rib yarn for casting off.

6. With right side facing hang neckline on needles, pulling it behind latches.

7. Pick up last of row of rib before waste yarn, but not taking stitches behind latches.

8. You now have to pull these stitches through the cut and sew neck, so make sure all latches are closed and use a long tool. I use my ribber comb and pull the stitches through the neckline all in one go.

9. Pick up the cast on row of rib, ‘sandwiching’ the cut and sew between. There are now two stitches on every needle, so cast off behind the sinker posts using the long thread.

10. Join remaining shoulder and mattress stitch the neck seam.

Feel the width

Dear Anne

I’ve noticed you say on ribbed edges that it’s often easier to cast on with waste yarn, then pick up the stitches and hand knit the ribs downwards. Well, what do we ‘plus sizes’ do in tuck stitch patterns? It’s a great stitch for giving us the maximum width but tuck stitch patterns often have less stitches, so the ribs can be very tight and unwearable. Any suggestions please? Debbie in Northampton

Thanks for your query Debbie and here’s what to do.

Step 1 Knit the rib over the usual number of stitches required for your size. This will almost certainly be more than for the main tuck stitch garment.

Step 2 Transfer the stitches to the main bed, using main tension knit one row then remove the rib on waste yarn.

Step 3 Replace the stitches on the correct number of needles required for the pattern, decreasing evenly across, then continue to knit in pattern, as usual. This is also useful for anyone who doesn’t like a tight band of rib pulling in, say, the lower edge or cuff of a cardigan or jacket.

Tuck in

Dear Anne

I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to see the word ‘Passap’ in MKM. To be honest, I feel it’s a bit one-sided in favour of Duo 80 knitters, so here are some nice tuck stitch patterns for E6000 knitters. Thanks again and best wishes, Lydia in Rotherham

Single bed tuck stitch Use Stitch Pattern 1004 and T133. Using Col 1, K 4 rows. Using Col 2, K 4 rows. Repeat this 8-row sequence.

Double bed tuck stitch Use Stitch Pattern 1021, Colour Reverse and T139. First, let me tell you a little more about colour reverse. It’s the seventh option in Alter/Directions and reverses the pushers. This means that in a four row sequence, rows 3 and 4 become rows 1 and 2 and rows 1 and 2 become rows 3 and 4. Try doing this for a motif and making it a single motif and you’ll find the results are very interesting!

To obtain a single motif After enlarge position, go into Position and press ENT. Now press ENT three more times, then press No and ENT, No and ENT.

Eyes right

Dear Anne

Sadly my eyesight isn’t what it used to be and threading a tapestry needle with the garment yarn is more ‘miss’ than ‘hit’. As I was sewing up a sweater I’d made for him, my grandson watched me struggle. In the way they seem to know everything these days (!) he told me to put a loop of thin yarn through the eye, then thread the thick yarn into the loop to pull it through. I quickly worked out that sewing thread was the obvious choice and the answer to a prayer. Happy knitting, Mary in Exeter

A bit of fluff

Hi Anne

You might not approve of this one but I love all the fluffy yarns around these days. Yes, the fibres get caught up in the sinker posts if you use the normal knitting carriage, but not if you use the ribber carriage. I’ve used my ribber carriage this way on my standard gauge punchcard, electronic and chunky machines with great success. You can only do it for stocking stitch, but who wants to knit a complicated pattern in mohair anyway? Thanks for a great read every month and I love all the hints and tips, so this is mine. Best wishes, Sarah in Romford

All shook up

Dear Anne

The letter from Doreen in the December issue gave me lots more inspiration. My empty cones are part-filled with anything that rattles, such as sea shells or pasta. I close up the small hole at the top, cover and seal the base and the cone turns into a great ‘musical accompaniment’ for my grandchildren. In all honesty, it makes a big noise rather than a tune, but they love shaking and banging as loudly as they can! Best wishes, Christine in Plymouth

Who’s in charge?

Dear Anne

I smiled when I read the Child Care letter from Denise in the December issue. When granny is in charge, my 2-year old grand-daughter paints patterns (mostly splodges!) on empty cones and we use them for a game of skittles. She’s also allowed to play with empty plastic cones in the bath. Whilst I’m distracted for half a second, she ends up in charge and I miss her hurling a part-used cone of yarn into the tub, along with the empty cones. I have to fish out the soggy yarn from the bath, once it comes into view as the water drains away and the bubbles subside. All I can think to do is roll the dripping cone in a towel and leave it to dry, but methinks Joan (Lafferty) would smack my wrists and have the answer if she was still with us! Happy memories and she lived not far from me before she moved to Cornwall. Maureen in Horsham

Hey presto!

Dear Anne

Would you like to pass on my non-knitting tip, which may prove useful to any readers who still have a holiday to come? To prevent the frustrating search through your luggage for appropriate earrings, cut a small length from a punchcard roll. Insert earring shanks and fasten butterfly clips on the reverse side. Hey presto! Neat storage and no bulk. Happy knitting, Iris in Kingston

On the edge

Dear Anne

As we now have some nice chunky patterns in the magazine, you don’t seem to have mentioned something you told us donkey’s years ago about getting a quick but nice cast on edge on a chunky machine. It was to e-wrap all the needles you need on the main bed. Using the tightest possible tension knit one row very carefully, to take the needles back to non-working position. Transfer every alternate stitch to the ribber, insert the ribber comb then carry on in rib. It’s always worked for me. All the best, Irene in Stafford