December Update

Dear Readers

As you’ll read on Page 10, Doug Bristow’s funeral has taken place and my sadness at his passing has been replaced by many happy memories. A year or two after I first published the magazine, Doug and Brenda opened Heathercraft Knitting Machine Centre and their shop has been running for over 35 years. At that time, machine knitting was one of the most popular crafts. There were a huge number of small shows and large exhibitions up and down the country. Anyone selling anything to do with machine knitting loaded up their vehicle and set off for a day trip or a five-day marathon.

In those heady days, exhibitors soon got to know one another. I was in a small group that included Nick at Uppingham Yarns, John at B Hague & Co, Chris at Riverside Yarns and designer Jan Wright. Doug and Brenda brought up an ‘honourable rear’, as timekeeping was never their forte! After setting up the day before the show, we’d all stay in a Premier Inn (or similar!) and enjoy an evening meal together. It was one such time when the five of us learned that Doug and Brenda had met at a flying club. It was the end of the 60s and Doug would take her on trips when she got her pilot’s licence in 1971. Love blossomed… as they say! The couple were married in September 1973, so were able to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary just before Doug’s passing in October. As their older son Alan said at the funeral, Doug was: “Curious, eclectic, gregarious and intelligent. He was full of mirth, quips and silliness. He was also patient, persistent and always responsible”. Alan describes perfectly the man I knew.

Doug’s funeral was one of those rare events, conducted by someone who actually knew him. For the first time I’ve seen, the coffin remained in view until the very end of the service, not enclosed in faded curtains and lowered on squeaking apparatus crying out for a drop of oil. Everyone was of an age to remember the comedy song written by Eric Idle for Monty Python. Courtesy of the Order of Service, there were all the words. The vicar whistled and joined in the chorus. Toes tapped, hips swayed with the beat and everyone smiled as they sang:-

If life seems jolly rotten

There’s something you’ve forgotten

And that’s to laugh and smile and dance and sing

When you’re feeling in the dumps

Don’t be silly chumps

Just purse your lips and whistle, that’s the thing


Always look on the bright side of life

Always look on the right side of life

The video recording of the service is on Heathercraft’s website ( Brenda tells me she’ll leave it there for a little longer. It’s also her intention to keep the shop open. This lovely man fixed our machines and sorted out our wonky attachments. He found genuine sponge bars, needles and spares for Heathercraft, as well as many other shops in the country. He was also the best-ever dad and husband and a great friend to all those who really knew him. You have our love and support, Brenda, as we send our sincere condolences to you, Alan and Peter, your worldwide family and many friends. Rest in peace, Doug; you were one in a million.

NEXT ISSUE February 2024

Subscription copies sent out Thursday 4th January

On sale Thursday 11th January

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Season’s Greetings from Susan Guagliumi

Season’s greetings to you and yours!
May all your holidays be bright and beautiful and peaceful and may the New Year ahead be the best one yet!

Now through December 31, 2023 all of my teachable classes ( are on sale for 40% off! Perfect for the long, cold winter days still ahead of us. Just use the code HOHO40 at checkout and enjoy these full length classes at your leisure!

New subscriptions

NEW SUBSCRIPTIONS Our magazines are mailed to subscribers on the first Thursday of the preceding month, so our January 2024 issue was mailed on Thursday 7th December.

If you’d like a monthly subscription to the magazine and order by or on 1st January, your subscription will start with the February 2024 magazine.

Orders received on or after 2nd January will start with the March 2024 magazine. No money is taken with your order and March will be mailed out to subscribers on Thursday 1st February.

If you’d like to start with an earlier magazine, please buy it as a back issue and you’ll find January in our shop soon.

November Update

Dear Readers

At this time of the year, we’ve six weeks to go before turning ourselves into the kitchen’s Dream Queen, though there’s still time to do a bit of festive knitting. As Joan Lafferty used to say: “I don’t know what all the fuss is about, it’s only a roast dinner”! One thing’s for sure; if we run out of time, most goodies will be buy one, get two free by then and Easter eggs will be on promotion!

The best quick ‘n’ easy idea I’ve seen in a long time is a removable Santa motif that’s the brainchild of Carole Dunkerley. For several years, she’s delighted us with last-minute makes and this year is no exception. Ten minutes at the machine is all you need, to turn any sweater, even a bought one, into a Christmas jumper. Carole made a small one for a baby’s jumper and with a bit more time you could knit a matching back and make a small toy to pop in a stocking. Add one to the ends of a scarf, a hat, or perhaps turn a pillowcase into a Santa Sack. You could also go to town on an LK-150 or chunky machine and knit a splendid giant size. The joy of it is that when the festivities are over, the stitching is quickly undone to leave a perfectly wearable garment throughout the year. It’s a great idea and thank you Carole for sharing it with us. We also need to thank Diane, for writing to us with her similar idea in Dear Anne.

If Santa’s not your style, then we’ve lots to whet your appetite this month. Barbara Faulkner, Susan Guagliumi and Bill King share some super ideas and Claire Newberry digs deep into the DAK programme for a tool that’s hidden away. Karin Rogalski starts a new series to keep us warm on a budget and Dee Crew turns Card 1 into a crochet-look braid. Iris Rowe makes a welcome return to Toy Box and Stash Box has a much-loved Pippin Design from Ruth Cox. It’s our usual mixed bag that I hope you’ll enjoy.

As I was on the point of sending this to the printer, I had a phone call and I’ve been dithering about whether or not to mention the conversation. Knowing there’s only the time and space for a short message in this issue, I must let you all know that the call was from Brenda Bristow. She told me the very sad news that her husband Doug has died. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this year and the two of them grew Heathercraft into one of machine knitting’s long-standing, flagship names. For the time being Heathercraft will continue trading, though Brenda will need some time and space in the immediate future to readjust. I’ll bring you more news next time, but I know you’ll join me in sending our sincere condolences to Brenda, their two sons and all members of the family.

NEXT ISSUE January 2024

Subscription copies sent out Thursday 7th December

On sale Thursday 14th December

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December 2023 (Issue 311) with Susan Guagliumi, Bill King and Barbara Faulkner

The yarn does all the work to knit the cover design on our full-colour December 2023 issue. It’s a cosy round or polo neck sweater plus an optional cowl and hat and the yarn produces this magical pattern and colour in stocking stitch from a single ball. We’ve our usual mix of patterns and our highlights this month are a new and original Susan Guagliumi design, plus two iconic Barbara Faulkner designs. Bill King has us knitting a production line of Christmas Cards and Karin Rogalski returns to help us keep warm on a budget. DesignaKnit queen Claire Newberry shows us where to find and use single motif and border options in DesignaKnit, Dee Crew knits Card 1 braids and Iris Rowe’s crocodile is hopping and bopping all the way to the Toy Box. Sally-Ann Carroll makes sure our knits sparkle and shine and our mail order shop is always open. We’ve help and advice in Dear Anne plus news, reviews and club details.

October update

Dear Readers

Autumn is a busy time of year, as we settle down to some serious knitting and, with perfect timing, Yeoman Yarns has a fabulous offer for us. From 5th to 31st October, we can save 10% on all our yarn purchases from Yeoman Yarns. It’s a huge saving, but you need to use the code MKM10 with no spaces and typing a zero ‘0’ not a capital ‘O’. Do fill any gaps now, as the code won’t work outside of these dates. It’s also not one of those offers that runs on… and on… and never ends. When it’s gone, it’s gone!

I caught up with Nic Corrigan at the Machine Knit Community recently and felt so envious of the 16 machine knitters who spent six days on a Machine Knitting Retreat in West Yorkshire. The organisation was lots of hard work for Nic and her team, but the camaraderie made it a really special time for everyone. You can read all about it in Clubline on Page 10 and the Machine Knit Community is a very special place. You’ll find full details at

Saving on fuel for economy and ecology has been a topic for some time and dressing warmly instead of cranking up the heating is something we can all do. Karin Rogalski has been working on some new ideas because, as she reminds us, mittens or gloves covering our fingertips are none too practical for doodling on a smartphone! Her designs for keeping our hands and wrists warm will include all machines, with or without patterning devices or ribbers. Her mini-series will start next month, so it’s time to head for your stash! If you turn to Dear Anne on Page 12, you’ll see a letter Karin sent, letting us know about Sue from Knit It Now. Sue is collecting data about machine knitting clubs and tells us how every UK club could be highlighted on the map. To put your mind at rest, she uses a secure way to pass on the information without disclosing personal details, so do check it out at

Also in Dear Anne I’ve included a special request for anyone who might have a ribber to sell for a Brother KH260. A while ago I worked with Sally on a charitable project and she generously gave away lots of her machines and accessories to a very worthy cause. Yes, you’ve guessed, she’s now in need of a ribber herself. If you can help, please give me a call and I’ll put you in touch. By now, you all know my reluctance to launch into Christmas when this issue goes to press in September. However, I promise to include lots of seasonal ideas and patterns next month so, until then, happy knitting our way.

NEXT ISSUE December 2023

Subscription copies sent out Thursday 2nd November

On sale Thursday 9th November

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November 2023 (Issue 310) with Alison Dupernex and Bill King

The cover design on our full-colour November 2023 issue is a long cosy cardigan with a hood and feature patch pockets and we’ve our usual mix of patterns including three tiny cardigans for a special baby girl, a kid’s hoodie and lovely Passap sweater. Our highlights this month are an offer of 10% off all Yeoman Yarns until 31st October using the code MKM10 and Bill King’s amazing ideas for combining Fair Isle with holding position shaping. Alison Dupernex shares her patterns and fabulous colourways to make unique accessories and DesignaKnit queen Claire Newberry has had her fingers in a few creative pots. We join Nic Corrigan and the Machine Knit Community on retreat and Dee Crew knits a braid for everyone who loves the finished look, but can’t crochet. Ruth Horrocks points us towards free designs using punchcards or electronics to help knit hand-tooled lace patterns and Sally-Ann Carroll spices up our knitted wardrobe with a shot of crimson. Our mail order shop is always open and we’ve help and advice in Dear Anne plus news, reviews and club details.

October 2023 (Issue 309) with Bill King and Susan Guagliumi

The cover design on our full-colour October 2023 issue is an autumn cardigan for an extra layer of warmth and we’ve our usual mix of patterns for men, women and children on standard gauge, LK-150 mid-gauge and chunky machines including a tiny cardigan from one of Anne Baker’s much loved prem-baby collections. Our highlights this month are Bill King’s gorgeous sweater, which he’s knitted from yarn he’s spun and dyed himself. Alex Raw ( shares his latest Nordic-style Fair Isle sweater and hat and Susan Guagliumi’s ( cropped and boxy oversized sweater with the Judith Duffy cabled edging will be an enduring favourite in your wardrobe. Claire Newberry explains how to shape a ‘V’ neck in Jacquard knitting in DesignaKnit and Bill King explores some new ways to transfer stitches from one bed to another. Dee Crew knits a selection of scalloped edgings in holding position and Sally-Ann Carroll brings us the latest trends and colours. Our mail order shop is always open and we’ve help and advice in Dear Anne plus news, reviews and club details.

August 2023 update

Dear Readers

I’ve had fun this month, keeping up with Bill King and his latest project. It started off when he sent me the photo, on Page 54, of hanks of yarn drying in the sun. I loved it and asked him to tell me more. It seems he was given a raw fleece and decided to have a go at spinning some yarn. Having not used his spinning wheel for a long time he admits he was a bit rusty. However, the hypnotic pleasure of drawing out the carded fleece soon took over. He admits the yarn was rather uneven, but there was huge satisfaction in watching the hanks of yarn pile up. He plied two ends of his spun yarn together and was fully intending to hand knit it, but set off in a different direction before he found a pair of needles.

A trip to his freezer revealed some damsons and black currants that needed using. Then, inspired (of course!) by Alison’s article last month, he was side-tracked into a colour change. Having dyed the hanks with the fruit, such was his excitement to see it knitted, he abandoned thoughts of rather slow hand knitting in favour of his chunky machine.

It’s a matter of opinion, but I agree with Bill that machine knitting can be compatible with hand-spun yarn. However, feeding the yarn manually rather than threading it through the tension mast helps to take away some of the mechanised neatness of machine knitting. The uneven nature of the dye, with some hanks taking more colour than others, changed the colour of Bill’s original raw fleece to a lovely Ombré dusky purplish grey. Turn to Page 11 and you’ll see him wearing his new sweater. I asked him (nicely!) to tell me what he’d done and he’s sent me the basics. I’ve turned it into a pattern, hoping it may inspire some of you to try something a bit different and it’s coming in our October issue.

This month Bill turns his hand to some amazing stitch transfer patterns with his much-loved 7-prong tool and Alison has been knitting a wall of colour. Barbara’s stunning jacket and skirt is an all-time classic and next month they’ll be joined by Susan Guagliumi. She’s sent us two gorgeous sweaters – one is a boxy tweed sweater and the other is a top with a twist. The fronts are knitted extra-long, then grafted together at the back neck. The extra length is given a quick twist before it’s slipped over the head, to create a draped, scarf-like front. You’ll love both designs and we’re so fortunate to have la crème de la crème in the magazine. Until next time, knit happy!

NEXT ISSUE October 2023

Subscription copies sent out Thursday 7th September

On sale Thursday 14th September

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September 2023 (Issue 308) with Alison Dupernex, Bill King and Barbara Faulkner

The cover design on our full-colour September 2023 issue is a smart, casual and cosy classic sweater and we’ve our usual mix of patterns for men, women and children on standard gauge, LK-150 mid-gauge and chunky machines. With summer still with us, we’ve a good selection of designs. Claire Newberry has been out and about for DAK knitters and Bill King returns to the endless variety of options using the 7-prong transfer tool. Alison Dupernex gives us a wall of colour inspiration for her simple design and we feature two classic Barbara Faulkner designs for standard gauge and Passap machines. Dee Crew uses the slip setting to knit scallop borders and the exceptional talent of Susan Guagliumi offers lots of free help and advice. A spot of TV creeps in to inspire Joan Lafferty and autumn is approaching, so Sally-Ann Carroll looks at ready-made styles and colours in the shops. Fay Butcher knits half tubular for very wide fabric on her Passap and our mail order shop is always open. We’ve help and advice in Dear Anne plus news, reviews and club details.