Family fun

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Dear Readers

When I wrote my letter last month, little did I think that we’d still be in the grip of what we call a heatwave and the rest of the world calls summer. It’s been too hot to even potter in the garden, so spare a thought for me juggling press invitations to view this year’s selections for Christmas!

As Susan Guagliumi said herself, her new book has been the hardest to write – but it’s finished and a copy of Open Spaces: Machine Knit Eyelets, Ladders and Slits arrived recently. I’ve often said that if I was to be cast away on a desert island, the book I’d take with me would be Susan’s Hand Manipulated Stitches. Now I have to revise my plans, as Open Spaces has moved to top of the list, to give me something new to try each day until the rescue boat arrives. It’s been a long time coming but merits huge congratulations. It’s the best book published by a machine knitter for all machine knitters, probably since More Hand Manipulated Stitches. You can read about it on Page 6 and if you enjoy sitting in front of your machine and ‘messing about’ to discover some amazing machine-knitted fabrics, make it top of your Christmas wish list.

My other news this month is the relocation of Silver Reed to larger premises. They’ve only moved down the road to the next village, but needed the extra space. The excellent news for all of us in machine knitting is that their business continues to grow. Their new address is a bit of a mouthful and in full it’s the John White Business Centre, Atlanta House, Midland Road, Higham Ferrers, Rushden, Northamptonshire NN10 8DN. The phone number remains the same and is 01933-311888. There’s parking at the rear of the building and a nice bright showroom, but much larger warehouse. We’ve known for a while that the SK-830 fine gauge electronic machine was to be discontinued and it’s now no longer in stock. However, we still have the SK-155 chunky, the LK-150 mid gauge, the SK-280 standard gauge punchcard machine I use and the SK-840 electronic standard gauge in full production.

One thing to mention is a current offer including UK mail order, plus overseas with shipping at cost. They’ve hugely discounted their stocks of Forsell yarns with a 50% reduction on all cones. There’s 4-ply hand-wash Pure Wool and Slalom Aran plus 2, 3 and 4-ply Superwash Wool and Superwash DK. So, visit www.silverviscount.co.uk to see all the shades and prices. Until next month, try to stay cool!

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October 2018

Subscription copies sent out

Thursday 6th September

On sale Thursday 13th September

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Summer fun

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Dear Readers

The August issue went to the printer at the end of June and it was surely been one of the hottest months for years. Many of us have giggled on the phone that we’re spending far more time in the garden than knitting, though some have shown willing by finding a shady spot to read MKM or do a bit of crochet. It’s one reason why some new kits from the Wool Couture company caught my eye. It may seem a bit silly to tell you about cosy slippers in the middle of summer. However, with everything you need in the kit including a bamboo hook, which is great for crocheting in the heat, we could easily get ahead of the game. They’d make a gorgeous gift for young or old, there’s a great colour choice and full details are in Newsline. If the heat continues, I may also surprise myself by tackling some macramé to make a new deckchair cover!

If you haven’t been in the garden, it seems you’ve been shunting things around to free up space in a conservatory, where many of you have your machine set up. It’s a while since I mentioned them, so let me give you details of TWAM, short for Tools With A Mission. It’s a Christian charity which collects unwanted tools then refurbishes them, sorts them into trade kits and sends them across the world. They send about 20 containers filled with over 300 tonnes of tools every year to support local people in their own community. Dignity comes through having work and providing for yourself and your family, so lives can be transformed if folk are given tools, equipment and training. Of special interest TWAM will take manual, electric and treadle sewing machines, knitting machines including yarn and needles, lots of haberdashery such as needles, cottons, large material pieces or rolls of fabric plus buttons and zips. They take tools for use by agricultural workers, builders, carpenters, motor mechanics, electricians and plumbers, as well as power tools and items from a workshop. Children’s educational books are also passed on. They have requests for big items such as welding machines, generators, compressors and industrial sewing machines so if you’ve any of these or similar items, do get in touch and ask if they can use them. The list is comprehensive so visit the website to find your nearest volunteer collector or refurbishment centre. Here are their contact details.

Tools with a Mission, 2 Bailey Close, Hadleigh Road Industrial Estate, Ipswich, Suffolk IP2 0UD.

Tel 01473-210220 (Monday to Friday 9.00 am to 2.00 pm)

Website www.twam.uk

Instead of a trip to the tip, make TWAM your first port of call and help others to help themselves. Until next time, enjoy the sun.

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September 2018

Subscription copies sent out Thursday 2nd August

On sale Thursday 9th August

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Exciting news

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Dear Readers

My exciting news this month has to be that everyone has pulled out the stops and we’ve managed to reschedule our Bournemouth Show, to take place this autumn. Holidays will be over, the kids are back at school and there’s a gap in the diary with, I think (!) no other shows taking place on that day. I’m sure the weather will be kinder to us than earlier this year and almost all the exhibitors we’d expected in March will be there, perhaps with some surprises! I’ll have a full list for you next time and just as a reminder, Machine Knitting LIVE! will take place on Saturday 6th October at Bournemouth School for Girls in Castle Gate Close, Castle Lane West, Bournemouth BH8 9UJ. Tickets have just been delivered from the printer, so order yours now and do come and join us for this autumn feast of machine knitting.

A reader has been in touch with me because she’d like to give away her lifetime’s collection of magazines, designer patterns such as Carl Boyd originals, punchcards and lots more. Many of the items have never been used and would suit either a club or a knitter taking up the craft again after a long break. She also has many machines and accessories, which she’s happy to give away to a good home. However, she’s reluctant to publicise her collection too much, as she’s been duped in the past. Someone had some of her things and, shortly afterwards, advertised them for sale at a very good price. Sadly she saw the advert and recognised the phone number, so she’s a little nervous as she doesn’t want this to happen again. She tells me that it’s all in excellent condition, but you’ll need to collect anything you’d like and she lives in Oxfordshire. If you’re interested, give me a call on 01628-783080 and I’ll pass on her details.

My last fabulous news is that the magic word ‘DesignaKnit’ will return to our pages. For so long, many of you have asked for help and Rachel Mayer will be our new contributor. She’ll start by looking at standard garment styling to produce shapes in Designaknit and then follow on by showing us how to use original pattern drafting to convert a basic jacket or cardigan design to a waterfall front. Make sure you don’t miss Rachel’s new feature, which starts next month. Until then, happy knitting.

 

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August 2018

Subscription copies sent out Thursday 5th July

On sale Thursday 12th July

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It’s yarn time!

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Dear Readers

First of all, I‘d like to thank everyone who supported the Nottingham Show this year. Our three talks were sold out and we had a fabulous day with lots of very positive and rewarding comments. The staff looked after us very well with extra seating, car parking and good value refreshments.

I didn’t have quite such a good time, because we went over a ‘bump’ on the motorway on the way up and then one of our tyres shredded. I guess the smoke from disintegrating rubber alerted everyone behind us, so they slowed down and we managed to get across onto the hard shoulder with no mishap. We waited for a couple of hours and when we’d been uplifted to a garage, we learned that the wheel had actually cracked, so we were going nowhere in our car. Parts couldn’t be ordered until the Monday, so a kind young man loaned us his Astra. We’ve never been more grateful for four wheels and an engine. We loaded what we could fit into the boot and set off for Nottingham. The Leisure Centre stayed open for us and we eventually reached our hotel at 10.00 pm. It had to be an early start on Sunday, to arrive at 7.30 am with the first of the exhibitors, but we sorted everything out in time. Robert at B Hague & Co made a lovely little video of the day and you can see it on the following link at https://youtu.be/J8atPqpNJzQ

One thing which pleased me was to see the large range of the new yarn cakes on The Wool Cabin display. The colours are fabulous and there’s every weight available from four ply upwards. Many hand knitting yarns produce some amazing effects and Nottingham visitors simply couldn’t believe that the garment on the cover of last month’s magazine is stocking stitch. King Cole Drifter is wonderful and The Wool Cabin has it on offer this month on Page 00. They’ll supply by mail order, so call 07854-121067 or 07553-847483 for details. There are also super reader offers from Search Press with free postage on every order, as well as up to £2 off some beautiful craft books. You’ll find this month’s selection on Page 8 and don’t forget to mention this issue of the magazine to claim your reader discount.

It’s always good to see Alan Hunt, who came along to Nottingham for some of the time and chatted with everyone. We remembered back 21 years to his first Nottingham Show and mine in Bournemouth. Machine Knitting LIVE! had to be cancelled this year when we had atrocious weather at the beginning of March. One thing I’ve promised is to try to arrange a suitable date for a Bournemouth show this autumn. All the exhibitors are willing, so I’ll bring you more news next month. Until then, happy knitting.

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July 2018

Subscription copies sent out Thursday 7th June

On sale Thursday 14th June

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How we comply with GDPR

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Most of you who spend time online will by now have heard of the GDPR, legislation which primarily aims to improve the security of personal data that is held by companies.

We have updated our privacy policy and put processes in place to deal with requests to see copies of the data we keep, and to delete personal data if requested.

The privacy policy is quite lengthy and (if you are interested) the official guide to GDPR is even longer, so we can sum up our approach to your data with two main points:

  1. We collect as little personal information about you as possible – just what we need to send you magazines, exhibition tickets and other things we’ve previously sold in our shop.
  2. We’ve always been mindful of making this site (and the data we hold on it) as secure as we can against hacks.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us.

June 2018 – Issue 245

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This is our June 2018 magazine but July 2018 has gone out to subscribers and just been delivered from the printer, so it’s now our latest issue, officially on sale on 14th June. If you order a latest issue and subscription bundle, we’ll send you July and your August 2018 magazine will be posted on Thursday 5th July. Look out for the cover and all the July details next week.

Each one teach one

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Dear Readers

This month’s Slice of Life rang lots of bells and made me smile. Fran hooked a couple of teenagers and I may well have added my three-year old grand-daughter to the list of knitting machine enthusiasts. There’s always lots to do when she comes, as I’ve loads of paper and pens, books and crayons. She sits on my knee at the desk and we flip from stickers to dinosaurs and stamps to Play-doh as we while away many happy hours.

The last visit included mummy, daddy and her other granny, so we were all sitting round chatting when she announced that her bunny was cold and needed a scarf. I was ‘volunteered’ to make one, so we went up to my knitting room and she pounced on a luscious ball of multi-shade bright lime and emerald yarn with lots of shiny green knobbles. (Smooth DK? Not a hope!) I found a short pair of knitting needles and we went back to join the others. Having cast on six stitches and knitted a bit to start us off, I sat on the floor with her between my legs and we managed two rows. She held the ‘sticks’ and lassoed the yarn round the top of the needle, until dismay set in. She stood up. pulled it off the needles and with her hands about eight inches apart, announced she needed it ‘this long’, not just a tiny square!

For years I’ve had a Mattel toy knitting machine tucked away in a corner, which was holding much promise as we opened it up. There were balls of lemon, mauve and pink yarn sitting neatly on the top, soon destined to become a scarf for dolly. Instructions? What self-respecting machine knitter needs a manual? Having used one of those little French Knitting machines for years, I worked out a way to cast on and, with an easy turn of the handle, we were soon knitting. Round and round she turned and out of the bottom popped the knitting. We changed colour twice and, in no time at all, made a very fetching scarf to keep dolly warm. Slightly in danger of strangling herself, she pulled the rather short strip tight round her neck and waltzed through to the adults. She pushed the hand knitting out of sight behind a cushion, with the style of Joan Lafferty and announced: “I’ve made a scarf for my dolly, but this is proper knitting on a machine and I can do it”. It was huge fun and if ‘each one can teach one’ we’ll soon have a full-scale revival on our hands!

Do come and join us on Saturday 3rd March at Bournemouth School for Girls in Castle Gate Close, Castle Lane West, Bournemouth BH8 9UJ. There will be lots to see, try and buy and do bring a hand-knitting with you. We could try conversion tactics or, at the very least, have a really good knit ‘n’ natter!

 

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April 2018 – our 32nd birthday issue

Subscription copies sent out

Thursday 1st March

On sale

Thursday 8th March

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Where did last year go!

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Dear readers

Is it that we’re all getting older, or where did last year go? Before I seem to have turned around, it’s time to get into gear again for our Bournemouth and Nottingham shows. Machine Knitting LIVE! is on Saturday 3rd March at Bournemouth School for Girls in Castle Gate Close, Castle Lane West, Bournemouth BH8 9UJ. We then return to West Park Leisure Centre in Wilsthorpe Road, Long Eaton NG10 4AA for the Nottingham Machine Knitting Show on Sunday 8th April. After last year’s many concerns about these two shows continuing, please make every effort to join us and support our craft in 2018.

It’s with great sadness that we say goodbye to Dennis Wright, as he’s made the decision to finally retire. Dennis and I go back into the mists of time, to the glory days of machine knitting. He was always a much-loved exhibitor and long before they became popular, he’d bring a selection of immaculate circular sock machines in full working order to many of the shows. Often his wife Freda would come along too, as No. 1 demonstrator and I loved the soft purr of the rise and fall of the needles when I gently turned the handle. Advancing years and increasing health problems have finally caught up with both Dennis and Freda. I thank them both for many years of camaraderie and Dennis especially for all his help and trustworthy advice. Our warm friendship will continue, but we’ll no longer have Dennis as a contributor and Knitting Buddy. I hope life is kind to both of them and that their future problems are few and far between.

Whilst we say goodbye to Dennis, we welcome back Clair Crowston as a regular contributor and we’ll be featuring a selection of her designs in the magazine. She’s been one of our Knitting Buddies for a long time and she’ll also join us at the Nottingham show. You’ll find many of her designs on her website at www.machineknittingdesigns-by-clair.co.uk and the patterns are a very reasonable £4 each. For a limited time, she’s offering three patterns for the price of two. Order the first two in the normal way and then send Clair an email with your choice of a third free pattern. Call her now on 01724-342130 or email clair.crowston@ntlworld.com if you’d like more information.

This issue goes out at the beginning of January, so all that remains is to send you my very best wishes and hopes for a happy, a healthy and a prosperous New Year.

 

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March 2018

Subscription copies sent out Thursday 1st February

On sale Thursday 8th February

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A bright, new year ahead

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Dear readers

A bright new year is on the horizon. Our 32nd birthday issue is coming up in April and we’ve diaries waiting to be filled. So let’s look forward to the Spring and make a date to get together in Bournemouth on Saturday 3rd March or Nottingham on Sunday 8th April. The shows will have a slightly different look from now on and the letter I’ve received from Carol Hocknell will explain why. Carol writes: “Dear Anne, the decision has finally been made. We have held the last Dream Week and we are not going to do any further shows. It was not an easy decision to make but if I want to continue with the Shop, Mail Order and Courses this is our way forward. It was following Bournemouth that I was taken ill, so that settled it. As you would expect there has been much discussion and I am not yet ready for retirement, much as everyone thinks I should be! So that is my news for now and I hope all is well with you. Best wishes, Carol”.

I think everyone in the machine knitting world was worried as the news of Carol’s illness gradually spread. Since then there’s been much speculation, so it’s really good to hear direct from Carol that Metropolitan will continue. Of course we’ll miss them at the shows, but that’s a small price to pay for this long-established company to carry on serving us. Over the years, Carol and her team have put a huge amount of effort into flying the flag for machine knitting, so we must all try to support Metropolitan whenever we can.

We’ve always enjoyed putting together the Bournemouth fashion show and this year Marianne Henio is working with both the Carbery and Ringwood clubs to add a touch of her personal flair and pizzazz. It will be the first time Marianne has come to Bournemouth and she’s now working closely with Andrea at Andee Knits, so they’ll have lots of new things to show us. Marianne has been as a visitor to our Nottingham show but this time she’ll bring a selection of her fabulous designs and chat to you all. Now that her series on knitting for our shape and style has come to an end, she’s taking us on an exciting journey to look at the relationship between colour, birth signs and knitting.

With much ahead of us, all that remains is to wish you a very happy Christmas and a New Year which is filled with good health and contentment throughout 2018. Until next time, my compliments of the season to you all.

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February 2018

Subscription copies sent out Thursday 4th January

On sale Thursday 11th January

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January 2018 (Issue 240)

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January 2018 is our latest issue. It went out to subscribers on 7th December and was officially on sale on 14th December. If you order a latest issue and subscription bundle, we’ll send you this issue and your February 2018 magazine will be posted on 4th January.