June 2023 update

Dear Readers

I very much enjoy keeping up with Nic Corrigan and her Machine Knit Community (www.mkc.community). Her inclusive, supportive community inspires knitters of all levels through classes, talks and workshops with leading designers and practitioners. Whether you’re a complete beginner, someone returning to their machine or an experienced knitter looking for a challenge, the community has lots to offer. There are workshops you can take at your own pace and step-by-step videos to get you started. Enjoy free technique classes, talks, KALs, challenges and masterclasses, along with access to a global international community. You’ll recognise familiar names such as our own Alison Dupernex, Bill King and Claire Newberry. Along with them and other MKC guest presenters is Kandy Diamond. She’s a designer, artist and senior lecturer at Nottingham Trent University. Kandy teaches across the knitwear and textiles BA courses and she’s also one of MKC’s guest presenters.

Crowood Press has just published her book Discovering Machine Knitting, to help demystify our craft. For years, newbies have been crying out for a book that explains how a machine works, how stitches are formed and how we shape to make garments. Each chapter focuses on different skills and there are lots of projects to put the expertise into practice and make knits for yourself. At the end of each chapter, Kandy includes designer profiles to showcase the work of professional machine knitters. She hopes to inspire newbies and celebrate the huge potential for creativity in machine knitting. From troubleshooting and looking after the machine, to using advanced techniques such as intarsia and shaping, her book will help beginners fall in love with their knitting machine. If you work through all the step-by-step instructions and projects in her book, you’ll be designing and knitting your own garments by the end of it.

Publisher Crowood Press (www.crowood.com) Edition Paperback ISBN 978-0-71984-199-6 Size 215 x 260 mm Pages 160 Price £16.99

Readers of Machine Knitting Monthly cover every age group and level of experience anyone can imagine. So if you’re one of our newbies and need a gentle, helping hand, head for Nic’s Machine Knit Community. Make sure you’ve a copy of Kandy’s book close by. They’ll light up your machine knitting journey and fill you with the joy of our craft. Until next month, knit happy!

NEXT ISSUE August 2023

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April 2023 update

Dear Readers

It’s been a busy month and we’ve some exciting new items in the magazine, so let’s look at some of them. Read all about Bill King’s new book on Page 10. It’s called Cables and if you’ve met him, you’ll sense the joy and enthusiasm he’s had writing it. Each time a lovely new book comes my way, I’m torn to decide which one to take to the desert island. I’ll have to change the rules and take eight books and one track, plus the luxury of all the machines and paraphernalia I’m allowed. I’m not sure what the music will be, but I guess I’ll have the noise of the sea lapping the shore to keep me company!

Claire Newberry’s new Blog Spot is on Page 47. One month she’ll focus on DesignaKnit and then keep us up-to-date with her blog. We don’t often hear about a designer’s life behind the scenes, so I’m looking forward to having a sneak peek! One such glimpse comes courtesy of Diane Wharton, who’s written an eBook about elongated stitches. Elaine Cater mentioned it and we both agreed that it doesn’t cut across the incredible work of Susan Guagliumi. Diane’s ideas are quite different and can be used, for example, in small projects such as edgings. Perhaps club leaders in need of something new might like to take a look and the details are on Page 48. By the way, Elaine’s club is hosting a talk and demonstration by Bill King in June and details are on Page 11.

Our final surprise is an insight into the amazing work of fashion designer Steven Jünemann, who uses domestic knitting machines for his international collections. For a month or two he’s giving us a glimpse of his current designs. With all that’s in this month’s magazine, I doubt you’ll be searching for much more inspiration!

Finally, let me mention that The Wool Cabin has had a low profile in the magazine for a while. David Hampson had a fall last November, that’s left him with health issues and a fair number of medical appointments. His son Jason is running the shop, in between keeping a close eye on his father. His regular lines and bargain buys are always popular. For opening times or any requests, call Jason on 07553-847483 or email hamps1971@hotmail.com and put The Wool Cabin in the subject box. The shop will be back in the magazine next month and, in the meantime, I send my best wishes to Dave for a speedy and lasting recovery. Until next month, happy reading!

NEXT ISSUE June 2023

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March 2023 update

Dear Readers

As we celebrate the 37th birthday issue, I’ve very much enjoyed talking to Neville Bramwell. He’s now 90 years old and a little frail, but still strong. Joan’s ‘old hands’ will certainly remember him and the heady days of our craft. Since the business closed, there’s been no substitute for Bramwell’s Fine 4-ply. Fellow pioneer Mary Weaver suggested to Neville that if he could find a way to produce three ends of 2/30s as one strand of yarn on a 500 gram cone to fit a 44-inch chest, machine knitters were ready and waiting! At that time England couldn’t produce it, so the first cones came from Italy and the statistics are impressive. At the height of demand, we had 84 colours in Fine 4-ply alone. There were 24 cones in a carton, a 40-foot container held 800 cartons and, as fast as they could be filled, containers were shipped to places such as Canada and the USA, Russia and both Perth and Sydney in Australia. That’s an impressive number of 4-ply cones! Neville’s three children Tony, Peter and Alison continue to support him and with 8 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren, it’s still pretty much a ‘family affair’. In a month or two, I’ll drive North to visit Neville and also see the mega hotel complex now built on the site of Holmes Mill in Clitheroe, Bramwell’s home for ten years.

Jean Richardson runs the Bromsgrove MKC and she’s sent me the sad news that Pat Stanton has passed away. Over more years than I can remember, Pat was a great ambassador for machine knitting. Jean had known her since the early 80s, when machine knitting was at its height. Pat had a vast knowledge of all things ‘machine knitting’ and willingly shared it. I know I’m not alone in remembering Pat from her numerous visits to knitting clubs around the country. She drove to some clubs during the day and, up to a few years ago, would think nothing of loading up her car and setting off to give one of her evening talks. Pat loved to visit the shows and, in the early days, enjoyed many busy days out. Two favourites were the Thornbury Show near Bristol and Nottingham.

Pat produced a series of booklets covering many aspects of machine knitting, along with organising Bromsgrove Machine Knitters. She brought her knowledge and experience to many demonstrations then, sadly, her health began to deteriorate. However, ‘her’ club continues and they’ve welcomed some new faces recently. The members will continue to talk about Pat and remember her lasting legacy to the club and our craft. She’ll be hugely missed and many will mourn her passing, as will I. Rest in peace, Pat.

Finally, my very sincere thanks to you all, for your lasting support over 37 years. It’s made it possible for me to continue to publish my magazine, for the craft I love. Until next month, knit happy!


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February 2023 update

Dear Readers

It’s been under wraps for a while, but the covers are off and Nic Corrigan’s new book has been published. She set out to guide beginners and intermediate machine knitters through all the stages of Fair Isle. From personal contact, Nic and I know that everyone loves Fair Isle, but knitters of all abilities often struggle. How do we get a punchcard to the right place for the second side of neck shaping? How do we restart when we’ve made a mistake? How do we match the side seams and shape shoulders? Nic set out to give readers the confidence to work out their own Fair Isle patterns and incorporate them into any machine knit. Without a doubt she’s done it. If you’ve a punchcard machine, my best advice is to replace the Fair Isle section in your instruction manual with her book. Nic’s Machine Knit Community is packed with monthly challenges, live events and classes with guests such as Alison Dupernex and Bill King. Do join, to meet and be inspired by other machine knitters from all over the world.

Do you plan to go to The Stitch Festival this year? It takes place at the Business Design Centre in Upper Street, Islington, London N1 0QH from Thursday 23rd to Sunday 26th March. Tickets are on sale and MKM readers can claim a discount of £2 off standard adult and concession tickets, if booked before 11.59 pm on Wednesday 22nd March 2023. Advance adult tickets are £16.50, concessions are £15 and the discount code is MKM23. For full terms, conditions and details, visit www.thestitchfestival.co.uk

            Finally, I’ve received news from Leicestershire Machine Knitters, formerly Manor House Knitting Club. It’s with much sadness they’ve learned that Jean Brotherhood, a founding member of the club, has passed away. Amongst other roles over many years, Jean was treasurer of the club and a very talented knitter, who willingly passed on her expertise to lots of new members. In the months before the pandemic hit, Jean’s health began to fail and sometimes it was difficult for her to get to meetings. Then, during lockdown, she went to live with her son Simon in Kent and sadly wasn’t able to return to her home in Leicestershire. Simon logged her into some of the club’s Zoom meetings and it was lovely for the current members to see her face-to-face again. I’ve known Jean for as long as I can remember and she was such a lovely lady. We’d often chat and put the world to rights, so I’ll miss her hugely and I know all the club members and old hands from Manor House times will, too. I send my sincere condolences to everyone who knew Jean, especially to Simon and all the family.

NEXT ISSUE April 2023

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January 2023 update

Dear Readers

This issue always arrives when mounds of Easter eggs replace piles of sprouts in the supermarket. We always have to go to press very early, so let me remind you of one or two things which may slip through the net.

Pat Banyard Smith is Chairman of Long Buckby Machine Knitters and the club is preparing to welcome Bill King in April. If you’ve not visited the club before, you can look forward to a lovely afternoon in the company of fellow knitters. It’s a very friendly group, with the kettle on for free tea and coffee when you arrive. Bill is an absolute genius on a knitting machine and everyone can look forward to an afternoon of magic. Take your own lunch and spend time browsing around the tables, before Bill’s demonstration and talk. They welcome other clubs, so if you fancy a day out, you’ll receive a very warm welcome. There’s no need to pre-book tickets, but do let Pat know you’re coming so she can make you especially welcome. All the details are in Clubline on Page 11.

We’ve some splendid plans for next month’s magazine, including a fabulous feature from Ruth Horrocks. She’ll show us how to move a 24-stitch punchcard design or electronic pattern diagonally across a garment. If you can’t wait, she published her book last month, so it’s now available. You’ll find details on Page 45, or visit www.chartingheaven.co.uk

Are you a member of the Machine Knit Community? It’s a fabulous online space for machine knitters of all abilities. Nic Corrigan and her team will help you to become the machine knitter you want to be. Members have access to a treasure house of all previous live events, with guest speakers and classes from Bill King, Ria Burns, Marie Bruhat, Alison Dupernex, Kandy Diamond and many more. Nic offers modern designer-level knitting patterns, step-by-step classes and a superb online support network. You’ll find her at www.machineknit.community and it’s a place to meet and be inspired by other machine knitters from all over the world. If you’re a current member, you’ll have heard Nic’s splendid news… but, I’m not going to spill the beans just yet. Hopefully you’ll read all about it in next month’s magazine, so don’t miss our March issue.


March 2023

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December 2022 update

Dear Readers

Last time I promised you confessions of an Editor and Joan Lafferty’s words are ringing in my ears. In her article this month she can ‘guarantee that more haste means less speed’ and, of course, she’s absolutely right. Our grand-daughter needed a new hat and scarf, similar to the set we’d previously knitted on my LK-150. She looked through my stash and fell in love with the Raspberry shade in King Cole Bramble DK. She was raring to go, so who needs a tension swatch? I cast on and she merrily knitted. It all seemed a bit big, but foolishly we kept going. She went off, leaving me to gather in the stitches at the top and join the seam. I can’t believe I actually sat and made it all up, because it was far too big. I’d no option than to unpick the lot and start again. The scarf was to be as long as the remaining yarn would allow so I’d none to spare, as she now wanted a ‘really big’ bobble on her hat.

I searched every nook and cranny for my pompon set but it was no-where to be found. Back to the machine I went, to push a couple of needles forward and wind the yarn round and round them. With the needles pulled together to capacity, I tied yarn round the centre then slid the yarn off gingerly and cut round the edges. Making a bobble this way and mindful of my machine’s needles, I didn’t pull the central yarn as tightly as needed and the whole lot fell apart. I’d to line up ‘hundreds’ of cut strands of yarn of different lengths to turn into a pompon.

Eventually, with her hat pulled on and the scarf tied under her chin, she was warm and cosy. However, a job that would normally take me an hour at the most turned into a two-day marathon. So, how did I get it so wrong? The tension dial, of course! I’d been in too much of a hurry to check and we’d knitted everything far looser than we should. It was no wonder her hat was so big and it’s taught me the salutary lesson that the tortoise took his time, but he got there!

This year seems to have flown by and as it draws to a close, let’s hope the coming year will bring each of us the best of health and good fortune. Until next month, my compliments of the season to you all.

NEXT ISSUE February 2023

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November update

Dear Readers

Last month I promised you some new and exclusive designs for Christmas from Alison Dupernex, so I hope you’ll fall in love with our centre seven pages. Only Alison could give us such a gorgeous array of colours and she doesn’t disappoint. If you don’t have sufficient time to make them this year, her baubles could be an on-going project, so let me pass on something personal. My mother died almost twenty years ago, having spent sixteen years as a widow. In those lonely years and in due course, she joined some groups and also went to craft classes. One year she made us nine Christmas baubles by carefully folding different colours of ribbon, in a specific pattern, around polystyrene balls. It can’t have been easy with painful fingers and limited sight, but each one is perfect and they’re still absolutely beautiful. Every year I carefully take them out of storage and hang them on our Christmas trees. They remind us of her and all the family Christmases we shared when she was alive. Think of the joy you’d give to young relatives or friends, if they received such a handmade gift from you. They really would become treasured heirloom knitting and perhaps could be your 2023 stash-busting project.

One of the designs I like especially this month is Snow Orchid, on Page 28. It’s not so much the shape or stitch pattern, but more the understated way the colours of the self-striping yarn merge. We can’t deny that we love the instant pattern these new yarns give us. However, let’s not necessarily dismiss the delicate changes produced by some colourways. The shade used for this sweater would look equally nice knitted in plain stocking stitch. Made up with the wrong side facing, it would become a timeless classic.

Last Minute Gifts – for you and for giving! There’s just time to tell you that if you’ve still got some last-minute gifts to make, check out the free patterns for mittens and Loopity Loo hats (and loads of other items!) at Guagliumi.com. You can access all the free downloads by clicking here. The Pedicure Socks (not a freebie) are a downloadable pattern on the web site. All purchased patterns are for download only so watch for instructions when you place your order. Until next time, knit happy.

NEXT ISSUE January 2023

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October update

Dear Readers

It’s been a long time coming, but Alison Dupernex’s new book has at last been published. As you’ll read on Page 10, it’s the most comprehensive book to date for machine knitters. Whatever your age or ability, you’ll learn so much about our craft. I know of no other book, written by a professional machine knitwear designer, that generously shares so many original design ideas, tips and advice. When have we ever had over 100 designs in a book? Alison has included sweaters and cardigans, jackets and coats, waistcoats and sleeveless pullovers for all shapes and sizes. There’s also a lovely section of children’s knitwear designs. To dress us from head to toe, she includes lots of scarves and hats, gloves and wrist warmers, socks and slippers. Our homes are not forgotten, with patterns for new cushions and throws. It really is an amazing collection, not to mention 100 Fairisle colourways and stitches. There’s also a pattern directory of 70 inspiring examples, as well as 50 machine-knitted cable stitches.

The content Alison has given us is truly mind-blowing. I remember saying that her book Machine Knitting: Designing With Colour was nothing short of amazing. Having seen Creative Machine Knitting, I now need to adjust that comment, because I didn’t think it was possible to give machine knitters any more. If you have neither book, please add one or both to your Christmas wish list. If you’re a very new knitter and just starting out, Creative Machine Knitting will fill you to the brim with the joy, excitement and possibilities machine knitting has to offer. It’s impossible to recommend it too highly and I send my personal congratulations Alison. It’s a phenomenal amount of work, a splendid new book and you should be immensely proud of your achievement and major contribution to our craft.

The next thing I must do is thank our many overseas readers who sent me their condolences at the recent passing of Queen Elizabeth II. I’ve included a very small selection in Dear Anne this month, but a huge number poured in. I know our UK readers will join me in asking all those who wrote to accept our personal thanks, at our time of national sorrow.

Finally, when you turn to Page 37 you’ll see that next month we’ve a selection of new and exclusive designs for Christmas from Alison Dupernex. They’re gorgeous knitted baubles in two shapes and sizes, some beautiful lavender bags for handmade gifts at any time of the year and pin cushions as another lovely gift for sewing enthusiasts. You’ll need just ten grams of many assorted colours so it’s time to sort out your stash, ready to make a start when your December magazine arrives. Until next month, knit happy!

NEXT ISSUE December 2022

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September update

Dear Readers

It’s been another sad month for me, as you’ll read on Page 10. Frank Dineen, who brought about the foundation of the Guild of Machine Knitters, has died peacefully at the grand age of 90 years. I’ve spoken at length with his wife Jan and we found ourselves sharing many happy memories of a life well lived, rather than tears.

As you’ll read, Frank and I go back as far as 1994, when he sent a letter to To & Fro. Hazel Ratcliffe was working with me at the time and she felt very strongly that old machines should be thrown away, not preserved. I’m still of the opinion that if someone hasn’t used a knitting machine before and they buy what Hazel called an ‘old rogue’, it could be enough to put them off machine knitting for life, especially if the machine was in poor condition with bits and pieces missing. To be honest, they may not be old Record, Girotex or Turmix machines but folk are still being caught out today with rusted relics sold on eBay with missing parts and essential accessories.

I think it’s fair to say that Hazel and I ‘humoured’ Frank at the time and, besides, Rosemary Sheath at Knitcraft had masses of spares and instruction manuals for old Knitmaster machines. One letter led to another and before long Frank and Jan were frequent visitors in my office, with their parrot and dog safely tucked in as well. Yes, I wasn’t alone in having more than one ‘run-in’ with him, but no-one could ever doubt his dogged determination in those early days.

Frank was never bashful about handing out advice and he’d often try to persuade me to delve into the highways and byways of the tools of my trade. I’d like to think I kept my feet firmly on the ground and was far happier knitting on my new punchcard machine than wondering how best to clean decades of oil and rust from something ‘vintage’. We laughed a lot as, back then, Frank had a wicked sense of humour. In one of his To & Fro articles he offered lots of advice about selling things and wrote: “Having successfully sold your machine, you will experience a great rush of adrenalin. You will run around the house dreaming up the wildest selling description for all the old and useless paraphernalia that one acquires over the years. I can just see it now. ‘New home required for husband. Recently retired. Reason for disposal, lack of space. Needs to be seen to be believed. First sensible offer secures.’ Difficult to guarantee a sale though, there’s a lot of them about!” Dearest Jan, how many times must you have felt like placing a similar advert? You’ve looked after him so well and given him such devoted and steadfast support over all these years. I know that you’ll tackle whatever lies ahead day-by-day and take it in your stride, as you’ve done for so many years. We all send you our sincere condolences and hope that the future brings you a happy and well-lit path to walk along. Rest in peace, Frank; our craft will never forget you.

NEXT ISSUE November 2022

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Frank Dineen 1932 – 2022

Anne writes:-

Having spoken with his widow Janet, I’m letting you all know that Frank Dineen has passed away peacefully at the age of 90 years. Frank had a wide circle of friends and acquaintances, so Jan has asked me to help her spread the news of his passing to as many of you as possible.

Frank was especially known to us for launching the Guild of Machine Knitters in March 1998. By doing so, he hoped to ensure the preservation and growth of our craft and his initial aims were to:-

1. Increase the awareness of machine knitting as a craft.

2. Provide help and encouragement to all knitters, whatever their level of ability.

3. Encourage and maintain a high standard of craftsmanship.

4. Encourage young people to take up our craft.

5. Foster these aims for individual knitters by awarding certificates of quality.

6. Organise the Guild’s own shows and exhibitions.

7. Liaise with manufacturers and suppliers, to ensure that we all worked together for the greater good of our craft.

8. Foster links between UK knitters and those overseas.

9. Promote greater media awareness.

By doing all these things and more, it was Frank’s hope that we’d strengthen the bonds between clubs, individual knitters, manufacturers and suppliers to the overall benefit of machine knitting. Membership was open to all with an interest in our craft including knitters, designers, suppliers, manufacturers and journalists – all working together for the future of our craft.


For those who would wish to know and attend, here are the details for his funeral.

His service will be held in the afternoon of Friday 2nd September at 1.00 pm at The Oaks Havant Crematorium. It’s on the outskirts of Havant in Bartons Road, just past the entrance to the Spire Portsmouth Hospital. For full details and directions by road, visit www.havantcrematorium.co.uk

For those using public transport, Havant train station is 1.7 miles away.

The funeral directors are The Co-operative Funeralcare at 96 Bedhampton Road, Bedhampton, Havant, Hampshire PO9 3EZ. Their telephone number is 02392-453549.

Jan has requested no flowers please. However, Frank had a lifelong love of birds and animals and an enduring love for greyhounds. Jan has asked that any donations in his memory should please be made to Greyhound Lifeline. For more details, please call The Co-operative Funeralcare on 02392-453549.

Frank’s funeral will mark his passing and if you’d like to attend his service, please join Jan in wearing bright colours as a celebration of his life.