Hearts of Gold

Iris Rowe has designed and knitted these small hearts to help bring comfort to families who have not been able to see a loved one before they die. The original message asking for help appeared on Saturday 4th April on the BBC news website.

MACHINES This pattern is suitable for all standard gauge machines.

MATERIALS Any suitable 4-ply yarn in Pink (see Laura’s note at end). Polyester toy stuffing.

MEASUREMENTS Height is about 5 cm, 2 in.

TENSION Tension dial setting approximately 6.

TO KNIT Push 16 needles to working position. Using Pink make a woven or automatic closed edge cast on. Knit 3 rows. Increase 1 st at each end of next and every following alternate row until there are 30 stitches. With carriage at left, push 15 needles at right of centre 0 to holding position and set carriage to hold. Place marker at both ends of next row. Decrease 1 inside stitch on next 4 rows. 11 stitches remain. Break yarn then using a bodkin, thread end through stitches and release from machine. Return 15 needles at right to working position. Re-join yarn. Place marker at both ends of next row. Decrease 1 st at left on next 4 rows. Break yarn then using a bodkin, thread end through stitches and release from machine.

MAKING UP Pull up stitches at top of heart and secure. With right sides together, join seam up to markers. Complete other side in the same way. Join back seam and turn right side out. Stuff lightly, pull up stitches and secure.

Brighter Futures This original message asking for help appeared on Saturday 4th April on the BBC news website. It reads:- “Nurse Laura Kirby-Deacon wants people to send small handcrafted hearts to give to patients who contracted Covid-19 and their families. Laura, who works as a sister at the Great Western Hospital’s intensive care unit in Swindon, said the hearts could bring comfort to families who have not been able to see a loved one before they die. She said it was important to use clean yarn and seal the hearts in a taped bag, such as a freezer bag or bin liner. She also asked for the bags to be dated because 72 hours must have elapsed before they are safe to use. Laura urged anyone wanting to post hearts to send them to Brighter Futures at the GWH, Great Western Hospital, Marlborough Road, Swindon SN3 6BB.” The BBC link is www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-england-wiltshire-52165537/laura-kirby-deacon-says-the-hearts-will-help-those-who-lose-loved-ones

Knit a heart for Covid-19 patients

On Saturday 4th April, we’ve just seen the following message on the BBC news website asking for our help.

Laura Kirby-Deacon says the hearts will help those who lose loved ones

Nurse Laura Kirby-Deacon wants people to send small handcrafted hearts to give to patients who contracted Covid-19 and their families.

Laura, who works as a sister at the Great Western Hospital’s intensive care unit in Swindon, said the hearts could bring comfort to families who have not been able to see a loved one before they die.

She said it was important to use clean yarn and seal the hearts in a taped bag, such as a freezer bag or bin liner.

She also asked for the bags to be dated because 72 hours must have elapsed before they are safe to use.

Laura urged anyone wanting to post hearts to send them to:

Brighter Futures at the GWH, Great Western Hospital, Marlborough Road, Swindon SN3 6BB

The link is https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-england-wiltshire-52165537/laura-kirby-deacon-says-the-hearts-will-help-those-who-lose-loved-ones

Could you knit a blanket to help cats during lockdown?

If you’re looking for a new project while the country is on lockdown, an RSPCA cattery in London is hoping you can help!

RSPCA Friern Barnet Adoption Centre – located within a new Pets at Home store at the Friern Bridge Retail Park in North London – is calling on creative and crafty people to help provide some knitted blankets for its cats. Nicole Grover, from the centre, said: “We give all of our cats a knitted blanket when they arrive here. It’s something warm and cosy for them to curl up on in their pods and when they find their forever homes it means they have something to take with them with a familiar scent. This helps the transition from our centre to their new home much easier and less stressful”.

“While there are lots of people spending more time at home during the current Coronavirus lockdown we thought it would be a great opportunity for anyone who knits or crochets to make a blanket for our lovely cats.”

The centre is asking for blankets around 30 to 40 cm in size, made out of machine washable yarn. “Some of our wonderful volunteers have also been making dangle toys and toy mice to keep our cats entertained and to make their pods more fun,” Nicole added. “We’re incredibly grateful to all of our wonderful supporters who spend time creating toys and blankets for our cats so we’d like to say a big thank you”.

  • Please send your donations to Pets At Home, Friern Bridge Retail Park, Pegasus Way, Friern Barnet, London N11 3PW.
  • For more information, visit the RSPCA Friern Barnet Facebook page

Current update

Dear Readers

As we all tried to navigate the unknown of the coronavirus situation, it became very clear, incredibly quickly that we had to follow the government’s advice. Therefore, it was with a heavy heart and great sadness that I cancelled this year’s Nottingham Show. Shortly after, of course, West Park Leisure Centre received the order to close its doors with immediate effect.

Many knitting clubs have called to say that they’ve decided to suspend their meetings and our Clubs Directory list gives you all the contact details, should you have any queries. Michelle Ferguson has told me that The Scottish Machine Knitters have cancelled their Spring Workshop on Saturday 18th April. For the most up-to-date SMK details, please visit www.scottishmachineknitters.org.uk

Many of the companies who support the magazine are following the Government’s Public Health England advice on Covid-19 and have closed their shops to the general public. However, a large number are currently working online as normal and continuing to dispatch orders until they’re advised otherwise. With so many of us spending more time at home, perhaps a little more knitting will be done and mail order is always a reliable and excellent option.

It’s business here as usual and I hope to stay that way. If the situation changes, I’ll let you know on the website and you can always email with any queries. Our printers remain open and Royal Mail is still delivering, so the May 2020 magazine will be sent out as usual next week. The readers who may be affected are those buying their copies in local outlets, as small shops have now been ordered to close. If you buy your magazine this way, I can always send a copy from the office.

As we all work together to protect ourselves at these unprecedented times, I’d like to thank you all for your continued support. As others in a similar situation, I’ll carry on mailing orders until notified otherwise and I’m only an email away if you need my help. Stay safe and look after one another.

Nottingham Show 2020 is cancelled

With growing concern over the current Coronavirus (COVID-19), heeding the health advice and using common sense, we feel the most sensible decision is to cancel this year’s show on Sunday 5th April. We’re sorry to disappoint exhibitors and visitors, but feel this is a prudent decision in these uncertain times.

March update

Dear Readers

April 2020 is the 34th birthday of MKM and it’s a huge achievement that we’ve kept our magazine and craft going for so long. It’s especially rewarding that our current and future articles include many leading professionals in machine knitting such as (in alphabetical order, of course!) Elaine Cater, Alison Dupernex, Susan Guagliumi, Bill King, Nina Miklin and Claire Newberry. Bill, Nina and Claire will join us at our Nottingham Show on Sunday 5th April at West Park Leisure Centre in Wilsthorpe Road, Long Eaton NG10 4AA from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm and details are on Page 47. It will be Claire’s first visit and she’ll bring her laptop, answer every question you may have on DesignaKnit and tell you about the courses she runs. I’m also delighted that Yarn2Cone will come to the show for the first time. You’ve not seen them before, but the name has been in the magazine for many months. They’ll bring a selection of hanks and cones of their current yarns and I’ve also asked them to bring some of their long socks. Made from 90% British wool and 10% nylon, they come in various colours and sizes from 4-7 and 8-12, so are perfect for inside wellies!

I need to let you know that The Scottish Machine Knitters will hold a Spring Workshop on Saturday 18th April from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm at Parklands Hall, 192 West Stirling Street, Alva FK12 5BG. The cost is £5 for members, £8 for non-members and tickets can be bought on the door. Tea and coffee will be available but take your own lunch. There will be a raffle and sales table, home baking and a Knit Clinic, demonstrations, yarn, books and magazines. For more details, visit www.scottishmachineknitters.org.uk

If you live in Northern Ireland, there’s  a craft event from 26th to 28th March at the Stormont Hotel in Upper Newtownards Road, Belfast BT4 3LP from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm (4.30 pm on Saturday). Look out for knitting, stitching, textiles, yarn, sewing machines, vintage and more. There are classes and workshops plus a Stitchers Dinner on Friday evening. Call Margaret on 07710-995034 or email info@quiltfayre.com for details.

Newsline has a slightly different look this month. We highlight Alison Dupernex’s new book and reader offer, as well as the start of a series of articles and patterns from Susan Guagliumi. Over the past 30 or so years, she’s become our ‘go-to’ authority on hand-manipulated techniques and written four books on machine knitting. Both Susan and Alison have an easy-to-follow style and inspire everyone to fall in love with machine knitting all over again. Alison’s book is nothing short of amazing and Susan’s articles start with some incredible cable trims next month. This time, though, sit back and enjoy Nina Miklin’s fabulous ideas for frills and trims. They’re all easy to knit and have an endless number of possible uses. Until next month, knit happy and do join us in Nottingham if you possibly can.

NEXT ISSUE May 2020

Subscription copies sent out Thursday 2nd April

On sale Thursday 9th April

Ask your newsagent to reserve a copy now

April 2020 new subscriptions

This is April 2020 and our latest issue

NEW SUBSCRIPTION If you select a new subscription, no money will be taken with your order and it will start next month with the May 2020 magazine, to be mailed out to subscribers on Thursday 2nd April. If you’d like to start with this April issue, you need to order a Subscription Bundle.

SUBSCRIPTION BUNDLE If you select a subscription bundle, you pay for our current April 2020 magazine and we’ll send you a copy straight away. Your magazine will then be mailed direct from the printer on the first Thursday of each month and the May 2020 issue goes out to subscribers on Thursday 2nd April.

April 2020 – our new issue

Our full-colour April 2020 issue has been sent to subscribers and is on sale 12th March. Our cover design is a quick ‘n’ easy sweater in King Cole Opium, which glides through LK-150 and chunky machines and we always show you how to knit all our designs on standard gauge machines. We’ve a 4-page pullout of Nina Miklin frills and trims and the launch of the stunning new book from Alison Dupernex, with reader saving of 20%. You’ll never knit drab beige again after opening up her radiant book. Sally-Ann Carroll helps us and our knits look our very best for a special occasion and Bill King’s space cables are amazing. Claire Newberry finds an exciting new feature in DesignaKnit 9 and Joan Lafferty shows us how to knit intarsia with an ordinary carriage. We always include news and reviews, letters, club details and this time we’ve a taste of spring and summer to come, with techniques and designs from Susan Guagliumi.

Best fit

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

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.