Winter wonderland

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Dear Readers

Those of you who know me well (and there are a lot of you!) will chuckle when this magazine arrives. I find it so hard to work on the Christmas issue. We started the patterns way back in the heatwave and the January issue is well on the way. February has to be printed before Christmas to go out on time in the New Year and I’m heading towards our 33rd birthday issue before a mince pie has been made. You’d think I’d had sufficient practice by now!

Thinking about the seasons coming and going brought up a very interesting observation, both during and after our Bournemouth show at the beginning of October. Many visitors came with quite different needs and expectations. In March, everyone has finished packing away the evidence of festivities and machines are reinstated in their familiar places. A lot of clubs don’t meet in December and only just get going in January, so Bournemouth can be the first outing of the year. Having had quite a long break since making last-minute knits, visitors have often ‘lost touch’ with their knitting. They come in March to be inspired and look for ideas to help them start knitting again. Following the long and hot summer break, our Bournemouth visitors in October knew exactly what they wanted to knit and came to buy yarn, patterns and accessories. Anne Croucher spent a while in her Knitting Clinic showing one knitter how to make Christmas Stockings and there was lots of yarn for sale to get her going. When visitors leave, they often thank me for the show and hope I’ll do another the following year. This time, though, they added: “Any chance we can have it in October again?”. Machine Knitting LIVE! has always been organised by machine knitters for machine knitters, so if you’ve a strong opinion about having the Bournemouth Show in March or October, please get in touch as soon as you can.

You’ll see there’s a good selection of patterns this month for mid-gauge and chunky machines. Please don’t throw your hands up in despair if you only use a standard gauge model and like the style, but wish it had been in four ply. For anyone who doesn’t use a charting device, there’s a conversion factor given with each pattern, for both stitches and rows. Multiply the stitches and rows given for your size in the pattern by these numbers and, with a few minor adjustments, you’ll replicate the blocking diagram shapes. Have a trial run and do it just once, perhaps with a baby cardigan or something small. The garment can go in a charity box and you’ll then have the confidence to discover how easy it is to do. With six weeks to go before the ‘big day’, all that remains is for us to fit in a bit of festive knitting before we’re needed in the kitchen!

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January 2019

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Thursday 6th December

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Thursday 13th December

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The Silver Standard

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Dear Readers

I had the most heart-warming conversation recently with Norman Whitfield. Many of you will remember his beautiful Passap knitting in MKM, including his ever-popular polo insert and necklines. He called to tell me that his grand-daughter, Nicole, has started a small craft business. It’s based online, with a presence on Facebook and Etsy. With help from grandpa and mum, Norman’s daughter Susan, Nicole has designed some dummy clips, knitted on his Passap E6000. She’s called her business Bairn Designs and you can read more on Page 9.

The family collaboration started some months ago, after Nicole had a dream. Norman has machine knitted for as long as Nicole can remember and, as a youngster, she sat on his knee helping to push and pull the locks. Over the years, they’ve worked on a number of small projects together, so Nicole spent a while wondering if her dream might come true. She always loved learning from her grandpa so, after months of them trying different stitch sizes and yarn weights, they’ve come up with the product in Newsline and there are lots of lovely colours. Most of all, Nicole has enjoyed spending time with her grandparents, popping over for lunch and to develop the product. I’m also sure Norman and his wife loved seeing their grand-daughter and great grandchildren, too! It’s a lovely family story and shows how our craft is truly being passed down through the generations.

Since my last letter, I’ve visited Silver Viscount in their new premises and, my goodness, the company has grown beyond all my expectations. Anyone thinking machine knitting has died should take a look at their stocks of knitting machines and accessories. There’s rack after rack piled top to bottom from floor to a very high ceiling. The pristine new boxes of sewing and knitting machines and every spare part imaginable are waiting to be dispatched. Long may they continue to distribute genuine and original Silver Reed knitting machines, accessories and parts. We all need to support Silver, to make sure our beloved craft remains sustainable for generations to come. One final thing to remind you is that whilst stocks last, Forsell Pure Wool is on sale with a staggering reduction of 50% on all cones, plus shipping at cost, of course. There’s 4-ply hand-wash at £5.31 for 500g and Slalom Aran at £8.43 for 1000g. Superwash 2-ply is £3.17 for 250g, 3-ply is £4.34 for 350g, 4-ply is £6.28 for 500g and DK is £7.66 for 500g. Call Jackie or Rosie now on 01933-311888 for full details and, most definitely, knit happy!

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November 2018

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Thursday 4th October

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Thursday 11th October

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Essential autumn knitting

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Dear Readers

I’ve lots of news to pass on, so I’ll start with a request for you to knit for charity. You’ll read in Clubline that the Scottish Machine Knitters have linked up with a charity which needs some trauma teddies, so let’s do what we can to help. When you’re making them, do remember that the teddies don’t have to be perfect specimens. A few years ago, we sent out a batch to help war stricken children and when the shipment arrived, one small girl pounced on a teddy. She knew it had been made especially for her, as one leg was shorter than the other and she’d lost part of one of her legs treading on a land mine. These teddies can do so much to help and full details are on Page 10.

I’ve been in touch with David Hampson at The Wool Cabin and his doctors have told him it’s vital that he takes a compulsory break from work. David has asked me to thank all the customers who travelled for miles to see him at Glossop Market and at Chorley Market. Trading at both outlets will be suspended from the end of November until sometime in February 2019. David would like me to thank you for your support and he looks forward to seeing you all again next year. We wish David a full and lasting recovery. In the meantime, you can continue to visit his son Jason at The Wool Cabin in Chesterfield and mail order will still be available.

I spoke recently to my long-standing friend, Yvonne Knapman, who tells me that Heather’s Hair is to close. We wrote about this thoroughly worthwhile charity back in 2015. It helps people with hair loss due to chemotherapy treatment or illness. The driving force behind it is Mrs Iva-Mary Cripps and she now has to retire and move North to be closer to her family. It means the end of the little local team in Devon, who have been making the individual hairpieces. There are still some stocks and a hope that someone may take on the commitment so, before it’s too late, do visit www.heathershair.co.uk

Finally, our thoughts must now turn to another of my long-standing friends, Sue Castro. I have to pass on the very sad news that her husband, Ion, died peacefully at St Michael’s Hospice on 30th August 2018, aged 69 years, after a short but devastating illness. After the huge burden Sue has had to bear for so many years, she now needs time and space to try to get her life back on track. Please cancel any of her club visits you may have in your diary and I know you’ll all join me in sending our sincere condolences to Sue and their children. Come back to us when you can Sue and you’re in all our thoughts and prayers.

 

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December 2018

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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

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Thursday 6th 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

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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

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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

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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

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Thursday 1st March

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Thursday 8th March

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