Eye catching

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One problem I have is tinnitus and I discovered that the noise of the carriage made it much worse, so I shall now have to save up for an electronic. Having done very little knitting since Christmas, the workroom has been empty. However, I did manage to finish something I’d virtually completed last year. I’d promised myself a wall-hanging and it was in four panels – two in the centre with Siamese cats (still, after 40-odd years!) and two end panels with single and double ‘ladders’, into which I threaded multi-coloured lightweight chunky. I trimmed the fringe and my son put up a long pole. I made four hangers and then we put it up on the rear wall of the living room so it draws the eye as you enter the door.

Perhaps the recession will persuade people to get ‘doing’, as we did during the war. I remember getting cards of sock darning wool from Woolworths and wherever else, when I couldn’t spare clothes coupons for ‘real wool’. We used it to make the ankle socks we all wore to save wear on the heels and toes of our very precious (and very scarce!) stockings. I also used up all the oddments of 3-ply I could find to make a stripy front for a jumper when I could only get enough wool for the back and sleeves – and very dashing it looked, too. I’m knitting very simple socks at present, because I have chronically cold feet. Cast on sixty stitches on one needle, divide on to three needles as you knit the first round; 6ounds in rib, 20 in pattern (often double moss stitch) then another 6 rounds rib and knit a fold line – purl one, knit one, instead of knit one, purl one. Naturally, if you were a purist you turned the sock! After that there’s 20 rows rib followed by 20 rows stocking stitch (what else), then divide for the heel of your choice. Finally, stocking stitch for the length of the foot and turn the sock through before decreasing for the toe. You were then on the wrong (purl) side, which made the toe grafting easier.

The trouble came when you lost a needle, because it was impossible to buy steel sock needles during the war, all the metal had gone to the war effort! To do your sock on two needles, you planned the seam for the centre back, knitted as far as the heel, then left 15 stitches each end for the heel. You continued the front foot to the toe and then did a ‘short row’ toe; as you continued back up the foot, you picked up and ‘knitted in’ a stitch on each side as far as the heel – where you knitted another ‘short row’ toe and grafted the stitches to your 15+15 stitches and sewed up the back leg seam – just like socks on the machine! It helps to look back and have a laugh!

Best wishes
Edna Cahill
Isle of Wight

Festival of Quilts

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From 20th to 23rd August 2009 at the NEC Birmingham, over 250 companies will be selling masses of hard-to-find patchwork and quilting supplies. The Quilt Academy programme includes over 75 Masterclasses, workshops and lectures and the Quick & Easy workshops provide another 160 sessions for beginners. With over 1,000 quilts on display, The Festival of Quilts is a stunning visual feast. Book now and save money on advance tickets and here are contact details for more information.
The Festival of Quilts, Creative Exhibitions Ltd, 8 Greenwich Quay, London SE8 3EY.
Tel 020 8692 2299
Website www.twistedthread.com

Back on track

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I would recommend anyone who has not done so to obtain the reinforced extension rails if using either KG88 model, especially if trying out garter stitch and lace. It’s tedious when you have to keep removing and replacing the back rail, as the garter carriage and the lace carriage both lock into the drive belt. I recently tried a small sample of this and it looked super, well worth the hassle on a small area but not worth doing for the whole garment. However, I haven’t got the reinforced extension rails and the garter carriage looked a bit precarious when sitting on the normal rail! I think that later Brother machines came with these fitted as standard.

If the small magnets on the back rail sections come off, they can be glued back on with a small dot of superglue – and yes, this has happened to me! The point about the sponge bar cannot be emphasised enough. If it is completely dead then the garter carriage will stop at the first needle in WP as the needle is too high for the carriage to move over. The main carriage is more forgiving, so you may not notice the problem until you come to use the garter carriage. A simple test is if there is any vertical movement in the needles at the business end (that is, the hook) when in WP then the sponge bar needs checking.

Also a good idea is if you are resting the machine for any significant time is to remove the sponge bar from the machine until you go to knit with that machine again. No need to do this with the Passap and Pfaff of course, but here any damaged needles must have their hooks broken off before being removed or serious and expensive damage happens to the retaining spring. I wouldn’t be surprised if machine knitting sees something of a resurgence in the recession, making a one-off garment for a fraction of the cost of buying a designer label item is a strong incentive. Keep up the good work!

Katharine Humphries
Poole, Dorset

Missing link

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So I now have a Brother linker all due to MKM. I have two Brother machines and hadn’t thought about accessories at all.

Thank you for the article.
Best wishes from Ronda Green

I have had knitting machines since 1957.

I took a break for 5 years (back probs – eased by cortisone jabs into spine) and have now returned to my Brother kh970; my Knitmaster 321. All seemed to be o.k. (i ordered new sponge bars) until I started up the kg95 garter carriage. There was a grinding noise which turned out to be a long silver metal object which slots into a metal rectangle (called a foot??) a full installation is quite expensive and as the gizmo only fits into 2 slots.

Is it possible to obtain one and fit it myself? Any advice is welcome please.

Wendy (down-under)

2009-11-20 07:56:18

Mid-summmer nights and shows

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A couple of weeks ago I was thrilled to receive an e-mail from Susan Guagliumi. As you’ll read on Page 6, she’s back in print with Hand Manipulated Stitches for Machine Knitters. It’s one of the best source books of all times for machine knitting and I have one of the original hardback editions. It seems that Bond USA had the reprint rights for the book back in 2001 and it came to Susan’s attention two or three years ago that it was out of print. Bond USA was acquired by a very big outfit, but they only bought the assets. The original film was lost, so Susan spent months re-assembling photos and drawings and putting the book back together again. It was a huge amount of work and she’s republished through Book Surge, an arm of Amazon.com. She’s also had the video switched over to DVD. If you didn’t buy the book the first time round, then it really is one not to be missed. My hardback version is 210 x 260 mm and has 250 pages crammed with masses of ideas. This is the only book you’ll ever need on a desert island with your machine and a stash of yarn, I promise! I spent many happy hours with Susan when lots of us visited the States in the heyday years of machine knitting. It was around the time of the Bramwell Expos and I also joined in the fun with Susan and lots of American knitters and tutors at Camp Tuckanitslip. Her e-mails have brought back many happy memories for me and I hope we can meet up again.

I’m finishing this issue a little earlier than usual, because I’m having a few days off to go back up North. One of the reasons is to check out an alternative venue for Machine Knitting LIVE! in Bury. For a few years now, parking has been difficult and there’s been no room available for us to have talks. Things are looking very promising and I’ll let you know how I get on next time. When you read this, Machine Knitting LIVE! at Croydon will be just round the corner, so do come and join us for a lovely day out.


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Over 100 stalls offer a wide range of high quality fibres, yarns, textiles and textile craft equipment. There are workshops and seminars on weaving, spinning, sock machines and knitting including Sasha Kagan lecturing on knit and crochet techniques. There’s free entry to Coldharbour Mill working wool museum with over 200 years of textile history. Visitors can sit, knit, chat and exchange ideas and admire animals that produce fibre such as sheep, goats and alpacas. Advance ticket prices start at £6.50 for one day for adults with children under 14 at £5.50. There are further savings for weekend tickets. For more information and to buy tickets contact Fibrefest, PO Box 8, Lynton, North Devon EX35 6WY.
Tel 01598-752490 or 01884-841442

E-mail info@fibrefest.co.uk
Website www.fibrefest.co.uk


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The book provides readers with all the information they need to hand knit, as well as customising and designing their own sweaters. Beginners will love the straightforward patterns with comprehensive explanations and for more advanced knitters, the book teaches how a sweater is constructed, so they can take that knowledge beyond simply knitting a pattern exactly as given. Publisher David & Charles Edition paperback ISBN 978-1-60061-096-7 Size 279 x 216 mm Illustrations 200 colour Pages 144 Price £14.99 For stockists, buy online from www.rucraft.co.uk or call the customer hotline on 0844-880 5851

David & Charles, Brunel House, Newton Abbot, Devon TQ12 4PU
Website www.davidandcharles.co.uk

Projects for Christmas

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I also had the pleasure of taking with me a watercolour painting of Joan and her grand-daughter. It had been copied from the photo of the two of them in October 2009 on page 59. I know you’ll all remember Ruth Cox. When she retired from Pippin Designs, Ruth took up painting as a hobby and I asked her if she’d accept a commission to copy the photo for me. It was absolutely lovely, so it went with me and I was delighted that Joan loved it. It’s to be framed to fill just the right size gap on one of Joan’s walls. Now I need to nudge Ruth’s son Chris into action, because it would be nice to have his cartoons in the magazine again.

My other good news came as a result of Glenys Taylor’s plea for help in the December issue (Clubline, page 10). Joyce Monks has run a very successful club in Warrington for 37 years and she’s offered to be a new Knitting Buddy. Joyce wrote a very useful and popular series on setting up a club from scratch and running it. It was first published in World of Knitting and I’m sure the ideas might help Glenys and others wanting to start a small group. Some of the suggestions may also be useful for giving existing clubs a new lease of life. We’ll bring Joyce’s articles up-to-date and start the series next time. Clubline will therefore take on a new look but please continue to send in your club news, because we’ll include it elsewhere in the magazine.

Now all that remains is for me to join everyone at MKM in sending you the compliments of the season and wishing you a very happy New Year.

Guild Event

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This will be followed on Saturday 11th July from 10.30 am to 3.30 pm by A Day with Ruth Lee and the cost this time is £5. Uppingham Yarns are also attending. Both days are to be held at Wilnecote Parish Hall, Watling Street (old A5), Wilnecote, Tamworth, Staffordshire B77 5AD. Drinks will be provided but bring your own lunch. Cheques made payable to the Guild of Machine Knitters Ltd and please enclose an sae. For information and tickets contact Lidia Higson at 54 Main Road, Wigginton, Tamworth, Staffordshire B79 9DZ. Tel 01827-63992 or e-mail lidia.higson@btinternet.com

Uppingham Summer School

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On Monday and Tuesday you’ll make a small garment including hems, shaping with tools and holding position, plus neckbands, making up and so on. Basics are there for beginners and more experienced knitters can try intarsia and cables. Wednesday and Thursday will be two days of ribber work including setting up, basic ribs, buttonholes, shaping and knitting a variety of ribbed fabrics including jacquard. Beginners and those who want to can continue with the project from Tuesday if they choose. As every machine can produce a variety of lace fabrics, Friday will be a lace day covering as many variations of machine knitted lace as possible.

Further details are available from:

Uppingham Summer School, 34 Stockerston Road, Uppingham, Rutland LE15 9UD
Tel 01572-820800
Website www.uppinghamsummerschool.co.uk