June 2021 update

Dear Readers

It’s been a good month, as news begins to trickle through that clubs are planning to meet up again. The lockdown isn’t over, but we’re starting to see light shining at the end of a long dark tunnel. We’ve begun to add changes to our Clubs Directory, but it’s going to be a few months before the list will be anything like up-to-date. As soon as you’ve any news, do please let me know and I’ll update everything as quickly as I can.

 Last month’s Dream Machine feature has brought lots of response, as many of you want to knit a baby’s shawl. I’ve included one for Silver Reed, Brother and Toyota machines and you’ll find it in Dear Anne on Page 12. The centre square isn’t the problem, it’s how to shape the mitres at the corners of the border. There’s not much coned 3-ply white acrylic to be had these days, but Uppingham Yarns has a high bulk 1-ply acrylic in Optic White. It’s ideal for a baby’s shawl, as the yarn is soft and machine washable. This 1-ply 2/28 Nm yarn, also known as 2/30s, was previously on big 1265 gram cones and the 17,710 metres went a long way! We can now buy it on 250 or 500 gram cones. It’s been tried, tested and well-loved by machine knitters for years, so you can’t go wrong. Knit two strands together for a 3-ply thickness and three strands will make a lovely 4-ply fabric. There’s a huge colour range and you’ll find details on the website at www.wools.co.uk or call 01572-823747.

One of our two Designer Special patterns this month is from Beverley Ward, known to us all as the designer and name behind In-Ex. Beverley and I have been friends since the heady four-day Nationwide Shows. I remember visitors flocking to her stand for her latest patterns and one design in particular was a firm favourite. You’ll find it on Page 31 and I can guarantee that those of you who bought a Shadow Pleated Steaming Kit will be rummaging in your knitting room to dig it out. Sadly they’re no longer available, but using it will give Beverley’s lovely top a superb finish. I can’t thank her enough for sharing it with us and do catch up with her at www.etsy.com/uk/shop/BeverleyWardDesigns

My final thank you this month is to our own, wonderful Bill King. He’s stretched his imagination and extended his iconic Gold Star top to give a longer, more draped silhouette. Tie it in any number of ways, or leave it to fall into graceful points. His design is on Page 41 and if you thought you knew how to knit cables, I guarantee that Bill’s Masterclass feature on Page 56 will open your eyes a little wider. With clubs starting up again, there’s growing confidence that our freedom to meet and mingle is set to return, so let’s all smile and knit happy!

NEXT ISSUEAugust 2021

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May 2021 update

Dear Readers

It won’t be long before you read the sad news on Page 9 that David Hilton has died. He survived Phyllis for just six months and I’d spoken to him recently, so the news was as much of a shock to me as it had been to members of his family. Whilst we all thought that Phyllis and David sat for much of their time in front of knitting machines, they actually spent lots of evenings doing jigsaw puzzles. David also loved playing cards, especially at Christmas or when they enjoyed a family Sunday lunch. At the last Bournemouth Show, David came to see me on the Friday evening. He’d phoned earlier in the week and I arranged for the huge number of garments Phyllis and David had made over all the years to be donated to Julia’s House children’s hospice. Their designs were then used to raise funds to provide support for families caring for children with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions. Even then his health wasn’t good, but he made several taxi journeys to bring in all the beautifully kept garments.

David cared for Phyllis at home until his amputation meant she had to be moved into a care home with vascular dementia. Although they spoke on the phone, his health problems and Covid-19 restrictions meant that they were unable to see each other again before she died. It was a truly sad ending for a devoted couple and I’m pleased to have spent the time I did chatting to him. One thing never revealed is their generous financial support for the Bournemouth Show. Even when they no longer came as exhibitors, they’d pop in for a few minutes with a contribution in a ‘plain brown envelope’, but specifically asked that it wasn’t made public. Now they’ve both passed, I’d like to record my personal thanks for their unwavering support and may they together rest in peace.

There’s one other important thing to mention this month and it’s the very special offer you’ll find on Page 23. Nina Miklin has slashed the price of her Cesari and Maestro cashmere blends to just £42 for any 350 gram cone. There are assorted colours and qualities in the offer and she’s also including free postage and a free PDF pattern for you to download. While stocks last, it’s a great opportunity to buy a cone of beautiful yarn at such a low price. There are also unwelcome big price rises in the pipeline for many of the yarns sold by suppliers who support the magazine. They’ll no doubt start to come through at the end of May, so don’t be caught out by waiting too long to stock up.

Finally, I’d like to pass on my sincere thanks to all the contributors who have helped me to put this issue together. With summer on the horizon, hopefully better days are ahead for us all so, until next month, knit happy.

NEXT ISSUE – July 2021

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April 2021 update

Dear Readers

What a mixed bag of emotions there’s been for me this month and your first port of call must be our Clubline Special, bringing you the happy news that two Australian knitters, in the same club, were born within four months of each other a hundred years ago. The club is Macknit, the New South Wales Machine Knitters Association (http://mkansw.org.au) where Passap expert Fay Butcher has had a long association. I’ve received their quarterly Newsletter for years and I’ve many happy memories of times spent with New South Wales knitters at Metropolitan’s Dream Week. Dorothy is slightly older by four months and it’s only recently that she’s stopped entering shows. She’s a fantastic knitter and her baby garments are exquisite. She’s also a beautiful lady, who never takes anyone for granted. She’s as camera-shy as I am, so we’ve just a small number of photos of her. Dorothy’s 100th birthday fell on the day of their monthly meeting so they celebrated on the day, but she couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about! You’ll see her in a photo talking to Judy Schultz, President of the Newcastle Club.

            Pat is the younger of the two and still drives. Like many of us, she’s yet to find the notes she made to finish a garter carriage cardigan she started four years ago, which now only needs one sleeve! She’s sent us some lovely memories of things mothers taught their children years ago, which will give us all a giggle. For sure, Dorothy and Pat have filled every second of the 52,560,000 minutes of their lives. I’m truly grateful to Newsletter Editor Margaret Tulloh, Dorothy and Pat for their kind permission to share this story.

            Much closer to home I’ve the sad news that two knitters, many of you will know, have recently died. The first is Denise Turner, who became a great friend. Many of you will have seen her name on our letters’ page, or received items you needed with just a letter ‘D’ at the end of a short message. If she had it, she’d give away any number of things such as patterns, spare needles and instruction manuals along with passing on endless information. News of the second death has only just reached me in time to include now and it’s the sad passing of Ann Noble, from Donington Knitting Club. Over the years, Ann and I became good friends and we met up once a year at the Nottingham Show, to catch up with life and living. I hope to contact club members and include a little more next time. There’s also a third very personal loss for me, of a lovely lady who was born in the same year as Denise. We never met, but we shared the same name and she always called me the Knitting Lady. All three had hearts of gold and may they now rest in peace. Until next month, enjoy the spring sunshine and knit happy.

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June 2021

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May 2021 new subscriptions

This is May 2021 and our latest issue

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March 2021 update

Dear Readers

Welcome to the 35th birthday issue of MKM and you’ll find articles and designs from many popular names in machine knitting, all doing our best to fly the flag for our craft. We’ve some lovely designs from Anne Baker, Sue Booth, Heidi Cleary, Susan Guagliumi, Bill King and Nina Miklin, along with the start of a great project for our toy box. Iris Rowe has designed and knitted a Noah’s Ark, with Mr and Mrs Noah to keep the menagerie of animals in order. It’s been a huge undertaking and all the little ones will love it.

I’ve recently had a great conversation with one of our subscribers. She runs a care home in West Yorkshire and as a Christmas ‘thank you’, she knitted cardigans for all her staff. She started by hand knitting the ribs, then whizzed through the stocking stitch on her LK-150, using a pattern from the magazine. Everything was fine, except for one member of staff whose size needed more stitches across the Back than the number of needles available. First we’d a short discussion about knitting the ribs first, or at the end and she always knits them first. She then puts the stitches onto the machine, but this time she decided to insert a panel to make the Back wider, so she hand knitted more stitches for the larger size. Using the normal DK tension, 15 extra stitches gave her three much-needed inches. To knit the Left Back and then the Right Back, she picked up stitches starting at each end and added an extra stitch at the centre for making up. When it came to knitting the panel, she replaced the stitches to use the purl side as the right side. Having added an extra stitch at each edge for making up, she mattress stitched the panel in place. She used a lovely heathery shade and it looked like a gorgeous design feature, because you simply couldn’t tell it had been inserted. It’s a lovely idea to pass on, instead of knitting a more usual back in two halves, with a centre seam or adding a chunk of extra stitches at the sides.

My giggle of the month came from another subscriber living in Cheshire, who asked how I was coping with Tier 4 lockdown in the south. My usual reply is that the drawbridge was raised and the portcullis lowered a year ago but, following on from his suggestion, I’ll make sure I don’t overfeed the crocodiles swimming around the moat! Machine Knitting Monthly has the most amazing readers and each one of you has played a vital role in keeping the magazine alive. My very sincere thanks to you all, for your enduring help and support over the years; I simply couldn’t do it without you. Knit happy!

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May 2021

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March 2021 (Issue 278)

We’re pleased to let all our readers know that the March magazine has been mailed out to subscribers and is officially on sale on Thursday, 11th February.

March 2021 new subscriptions

This is March 2021 and our latest issue

NEW SUBSCRIPTION If you’d like a monthly subscription to the magazine, no money will be taken with your order and it will start next month with the April 2021 magazine, to be mailed out to subscribers on Thursday 4th March. If you’d like to start with this March issue, please buy it as a back issue.

February 2021 update

Dear Readers

I’ve been glad of a few extra layers this month to keep snug and warm and hopefully the weather will soon improve, so we can all look forward to Spring. I write this letter to you in January and we’ve just had the first snowfall of the winter. It doesn’t snow much in the south-east and our temperatures are well below freezing. The snowman the kids next door made at the weekend is still standing and looking pristine. It’s definitely been the time to bring out my chunky knits and we’ve a couple of nice designs this month, as well.

I still hugely enjoy machine knitting and putting the magazine together and I’m especially proud of the fabulous line-up of designers we have this month. They include Alison Dupernex, Susan Guagliumi and Nina Miklin plus, of course, our own amazing Bill King! Between them they offer so much to machine knitters and if you do nothing else, please check out their websites. You’ll find them at https://alisondupernex.co.uk as well as https://guagliumi.com and www.exclusiveyarns.co.uk There’s a wealth of knowledge and expertise at your fingertips, all offered freely. If you get in touch with Nina and mention the magazine, she’ll always have a special offer to tempt you.

Another knitter who needs more than a passing mention is Sally Butcher, known to many of you for her Facebook page. Her letter is in Dear Anne this month, where she shares her method of casting on with a nylon cord on the LK-150. As users will know, this machine has no sinker posts so there’s nothing to hook the nylon cord round for a quick and easy cast on. Sally has worked out what to do and how to do it and neither of us knows of any previous mention of the method. We think, therefore, it’s a first and how generous of her to share it with us. Sally gives masses of free help and advice, so check out her video demonstration on her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/kalamundakrafts She also has a variety of videos showing techniques on the SK280, LK150 and SK155 Silver Reed machines. She’s just started transferring some of them to YouTube and she’ll be re-making several of the older videos, for better clarity. The link is https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSDxy6pQHAs4gd5XBztYWmw and you need to look for Sally Butcher’s Kalamunda Krafts Machine Knitting.

Last but not least I say it each year but do please join me next month, as each one of us can take personal pride in celebrating the 35th birthday of MKM. We’ve kept our craft going for all these years and it’s a huge achievement, for which we should all be immensely proud. Knit happy, Anne

NEXT ISSUE – April 2021, our 35th birthday magazine

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January 2021 update

Dear Readers

I know we’re all getting older, but where did last year go? None of us could ever have anticipated the last twelve months, but some good things did happen and I’ll start by passing on a bit of gossip. You’ll all recognise the name Fay Butcher, as she’s our Passap guru. I’m certain though, you won’t know that back home in Australia she’s rather good at golf. In fact, she won the Gold Medal at her club last October. Not only that, she became the oldest player, either male or female, at the club to achieve this. She’s also keeping it in the family, as her mother won the same Gold Medal in 1973 and they must surely be the only mother-and-daughter combination to have achieved this accolade? To win the medal, you have to qualify and every month a Club Medal is won in Grade A, B and C. At the end of the year, all winners of the Club Medal play for the Gold Medal. The best nett score for the day wins over the field, with no grades. Fay tells me she did break her handicap, but was more pleased that her score held up sufficiently well to win. So there! In Fay’s words, not mine: “There’s life in the ‘old dog’ yet”.

            We start 2021 with a new online publication for machine knitters. I had a long chat recently with Alison Peck, who has remained a friend since we met as fellow Directors at the Guild of Machine Knitters (GMK). Back then, as well as a quarterly newsletter, members had an online publication called Beyond the Gatepegs. When the GMK merged with the Knitting & Crochet Guild (KCG), everyone’s membership was transferred free for a year. If yours has lapsed, you may not know about Across the Needlebed, which is freely available to all members three or four times a year. The aim is to include articles, a bit of news about the machine knitting world and other items of interest, perhaps with a bit of show-and-tell. If you already use social media, it could be another way of sharing your knowledge and ideas, as well as showing others the things you’ve made. It’s not an alternative to Slipknot, but will complement it by publishing more in-depth articles and highlighting items of special interest to machine knitters.

            The first issue looks at using a hand-knitting pattern on a machine and knitting with a Brother KH260. There’s an article on charting devices, alongside a discussion on who would want a Passap/Pfaff, especially an E6000. (Fay Butcher, of course!) A raglan cardigan pattern for a 6-month-old baby is also included. Members can access the new publication via the pull-down menu on the Members’ Area of the website. We must give Alison and the KCG our full support. Non-members will find a taster at https://kcguild.org.uk and perhaps it’s time to renew your membership?

You all know by now that this issue is printed before Christmas, to go out at the beginning of January. There’s not a mince pie in sight so I need to turn myself into a domestic goddess, but not before sending you my very best wishes and hopes for a happy and a healthy New Year.

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March 2021

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December 2020 update

Dear Readers

This month I’m delighted to bring you our first design from a long-time friend, Sue Booth. Mention her name in any machine-knitting circle and she’s undoubtedly one of our most highly-respected designers. For our two garments, Sue has used Uppingham Yarns 2-ply Lambswool, but has also achieved the same tension using two ends of Filigree for those who don’t like or can’t wear wool. Sue’s knitting and finishing are superb and her pattern, in 13 sizes, will be a firm favourite in your pattern library.

I’ve squeezed in some quick and easy stash-busters from Helen Lewis. Helen has been busy turning her stash into cash and her fingerless mitts have proved to be immensely popular. She’s had multiple orders from some folk and when we last spoke, she’d reached a total of 54 orders. She’s selling them at £10 per pair, to raise funds for the Village Hall roof. She’s already made 40 pairs, so has quite a few more to go. As she said, it’s not costing her anything because she’s just using her stash and still has plenty of odds and ends to use up, in lots of colours. She also passed on the news that only two copies remain of her book Inspirational Machine Knitting. So, if it’s been on your wish list for a while, perhaps it’s time to make a move before it’s too late!

Finally, it’s been a sad year for many of us and especially so for David Hilton, who lost his wife Phyllis in September. They’ve been friends of mine for years and their intarsia sweaters were a familiar sight at many machine knitting shows. They always supported the Bournemouth Show and lit up the gym with their sweaters. As their health started to fail, they continued to come as visitors, always making a most generous financial contribution, with the hope that the show would continue. As we were setting up our Bournemouth Show in October 2019, David was able to come over on the Friday evening and we chatted for a while. Phyllis was frail by then and she went into a nursing home at the end of the following month, whilst David dealt with the unwelcome news that it was necessary to have one of his legs amputated. Along came 2020 and Covid-19 filled everyone’s life. We all went into lockdown and although they could speak on the phone each week, David and Phyllis were not able to see each other again. I’m sure many of you will join me in sending our heartfelt condolences to David at this sad time in his life.

Whenever a year draws to a close, many of us reflect on the recent past and look forward to the Spring. Without exception, we all hope the coming year will bring us restored health and normality so, until next month, my compliments of the season to you all.

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February 2021

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