Many of you ask repeatedly for inspiration and I hope we can provide it this month. There’s an amazing Andy Holden exhibit at the Tate until 10th April and I can’t wait to go into London to see it. Yes, your eyes aren’t playing tricks : there’s machine knitting at Tate Britain! Andy broke a Knitmaster and Silver Reed machine before seriously injuring a Brother chunky during his epic knit-in. The result is absolutely awesome and I’ll include a feature in the next couple of days.
I’ve had more inspiration on from the next generation of Oz knitwear designers. Tony Bennett has sent us some great examples of their work and not one of them had any experience with machine knitting at the start of their year. Tony was a tutor at his local college and I wish he was over here to share his undoubted talent with us. Interestingly, lots of the yarn the students used was from Yeoman so we can replicate some of the ideas.
For those of you who like to attend workshops with eminent names in machine knitting, I need to mention that there’s a rare opportunity to work with Iris Bishop on an individual basis from July 19th to 23rd. It’s hands on and you’ll experiment with single and double bed fabrics, in preparation for textiles and garments. It’s for Japanese machines only, but single or double bed. Places are strictly limited and for more details please call 01270-628414.
Good luck with your endeavours and happy knitting.
I’ve included a lovely story from Irene Krieger in this month’s magazine. A friend of hers was inspired to create an amazing four-panel mosaic, by a tea set given to her parents. When she was small she’d been fascinated by the picture on it and wanted to preserve the spirit of her childhood memory. I remember when Carl Boyd was giving lectures a while ago that he talked along similar lines. To create something original for yourself, find something that you love for the colour and it may be some china, a birthday card or picture. Whatever it is, match as best you can the colours in the object and then use those colours for your knitting. You’ll find it really does work and next time you need some inspiration, why not take a leaf out of Irene’s friend’s book? On similar lines, do look at Ann Matthew’s Alpaca designs in Newsline. Ann is a Knitting Buddy and she worked with a breeder to develop the yarn. Ann loved the warm, natural colours as well as the texture and feel. That, in turn, inspired her to make some gorgeous garments. It wasn’t easy going and Ann had to switch between standard gauge and chunky machines, as well as fiddle around a lot with the tension. However, her hard work has paid off and she’s produced a fabulous collection.
It was indeed exceptional, except for one thoroughly mean act brought to my attention at the end. One of the stands hoped to sell a couple of wool winders. They had been donated and the proceeds were to be donated to a worthy cause. £10 was asked for one that holds a plastic cap and the other was £7.50. The show was very crowded and the exhibitor couldn’t always see what was going on at the other end of her stand. When the crowds cleared, the £10 wool winder had gone and not been paid for. Perhaps it was unintentional or maybe too tempting when other winders were being sold at the show for around £30? It left all of us wondering how much more stock had gone the same way. Surely the vast majority of knitters are honest and fair minded? This miserly person won’t ruin it for the rest, but it was a bitter pill to swallow on an otherwise lovely day.
On to happier things and I managed to have a quick word with Beryl Jarvis. We were all thrilled to know that Jeffery now has a permanent job. He’s proudly showing off the medals he won in China on the front of a leaflet for the Special Olympics in Leicester in July this year. (Lord Mayor’s Special Olympics Appeal, Leicester Games 2009 Ltd, c/o A12 New Walk Centre, Welford Place, Leicester LE1 6ZG.) Beryl also mentioned that Uppingham Summer School will take place again this year from Monday 10th to Friday 14th August. We’ll include full details next time, but one of the courses fills quickly and they often have to turn people away. Beginners and experienced knitters are welcome and Brother punchcard machines are available, or take your own. If you can’t wait until next month, contact Uppingham Summer School, 34 Stockerston Road, Uppingham, Rutland LE15 9UD, telephone 01572-820800 or visit www.uppinghamsummerschool.co.uk
Also received just too late for Newsline this issue was a note from Dorothy Hughes who is Regional Officer for GMK. She’s organising an exhibition at Living Crafts in Hatfield from Thursday 7th to Sunday 10th May 2009. This is held in the grounds of Hatfield House. We’ll see Dorothy at the Nottingham Show so if there’s any more information, we’ll include it next time.
We’ve another fabulous idea worked out on the machine by Dianne Bunyan and you’ll find her pattern for a scarf and hat on page 24. Diane has produced a fascinating stitch design that shows on the right side and is completely hidden on the reverse. This means that the beanie can be pulled down and worn as a plain navy hat, or have the brim turned back to show the intricate eyelet holes with a navy backing. Any small pattern repeat of six rows can be used and it really is a new technique to try. Our packed issue has meant we’ve had to hold over news from Anne Reid about Undy YarnCrafts’ move to a country park outside Lydney. We’ve also had to postpone Norman Whitfield’s return to our pages, but they’re both waiting in the wings.
Our cover design this time is from Clair Crowston and knitted in a gorgeous DK acrylic yarn from James C Brett. Marble is 100% acrylic in 15 marled and variegated colourways. Texere is selling it online, so it’s sure to be a website winner as well. At just £1.75 per 100g ball, you’ll just go into the third ball and there can be no grumbles at looking as good as our cover girl for £5.25!
Finally, don’t miss Carl Boyd’s easy-to-make clutch bag on page 16. You need just 100 grams of yarn plus a few bits and bobs to be bang on trend. There’s still time to check if there are any vacancies for Carl’s Hands On week at Metropolitan. The date is Monday 23rd to Friday 27th November, from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm each day, at a fee of only £175. Call Carol Hocknell now on 01270-628414 to see if she can fit you in. Carl will be with them for the whole week as a tutor. It’s a unique opportunity to absorb and put into practice his innovative ideas. If you wish you can make this bag or any of his designs, with his special finishing touches and expert guidance.
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.
Then there’s Fiona Morris with patterns and yarn; Forsell Yarns with Undy Yarns; the Guild of Machine Knitters; Heathercraft pre-owned machines and accessories; Iris Bishop and her new collection; Jane Woodward and Shades of Cashmere yarn; Nina Miklin with her new patterns and luxury yarns; Riverside Spinning with yarns plus home comforts; Sue Castro with her novel patterns and ideas; Undy Yarns who bring their shop to the show and Uppingham Yarns with a wide range of yarns. In addition, John Scotton and Hilary will help me and bring Hague linkers, twisters and accessories. New this year will be Claire Watson at Thread Yarn & Fabric with a selection of finer yarns including lovely Tussah Silk plus Tessa from Silkwood Angoras with hand-dyed angora yarns. We featured Les and Tess in Spotlight in April 2008, Issue 123. It’s looking good, so please try and join us on the day.
I’ve chatted with Alison Dupernex recently and she’s back at her machine designing for us, having been away at shows for several months. She tells me she’s stocked up on cottons and also knitted us some sumptuous throws for cosy autumn and winter months. Don’t laugh – the summer will soon roll by! Several readers have also mentioned the tremendous talents of Mark Fast. He truly is a knitwear sensation and it’s great to know that domestic machines are being used to produce such amazing catwalk spectacle. Sally-Ann has been on the case to feature him in MKM since we read about him in The Times back in February. So far she’s had no joy but she’ll keep trying and will hopefully succeed.
Finally, do turn to Newsline this month to see the fabulous new books now available from Iris Bishop, Elaine Cater and Nina Miklin. The trio are three of the best designers currently working in machine knitting and they present masses of expertise in their quite different approaches. Devotees of all three will be thrilled with their latest offerings and Elaine also has a special MKM offer on a garter carriage book. It’s been much requested, following on from our article on the garter carriage last time. At just £6 including UK postage, Simply Garter Stitch is not to be missed and the offer is open until the end of July.
The captcha box is used on any page where you upload content to the site. It shows a word that you have to enter in order for the form to submit properly, and is used to prevent spam.
However, AOL users will have found that they were unable to enter the word correctly. This is because the first time that an AOL user visits a page, AOL will store a copy of that page on its server. Then, when the AOL user goes back to see that page, instead of showing them a page from the site, AOL shows them the one stored in its memory instead. It does this to save money, and unfortunately it causes problems on pages where certain bits of content change (such as the captcha box).
So, until Matt can find a way of getting round this problem, we’ve removed the captcha box from the site.
I’m sorry for the trouble it’s caused you, and thank you for letting us know about the problem – we’re ‘on the case’, so to speak!
The exhibitor list is looking good and new additions this month are Carl Boyd coming along with his new patterns and Jane Woodward back in her usual classroom. As we’ve mentioned, Carl is working on a new collection and you may also remember that Jane was on holiday last year and couldn’t make it. She’s back this year with Wendy’s help and the sleeved wrap featured on page 35 is the first of Wendy’s designs for MKM. It’s been much admired, so we snapped it up for the magazine. You can belt it, button it, pin in or let it drape into soft folds and points. It’s a very flattering shape to cover all manner of ‘lumps and bumps’ and the length takes it well past any ‘thunder thighs’!
When I went to the Isle of Wight last autumn, I spent a lovely morning with the Newchurch Knitters. Jan’s coffee and cake went down a treat and Linda showed me lots of her designs. Amongst the goodies was a pile of Tan-o’-shanter hats, which she makes by the dozen for young and old alike. The pattern is ever so easy and you can add a brim or pon-pon if you wish. Best of all, they can be knitted from any oddments and take next-to-no-time. The base of the hat needs to be picked up on a circular needle for eight rows of garter stitch but you can vary the number of stitches you pick up, to fit different head sizes. It’s a fabulous pattern I’m sure you’ll want to cut out and keep.
As the days get longer, spring will soon be here and the cover girl on our latest issue (February 2009) wears a lovely jacket from Anne Baker knitted in Charlotte, from Chris Brennan. It’s very soft yet holds its shape beautifully and, when knitted in Fair Isle, makes a gorgeous warm garment. You can use Anne’s stitch pattern, or chose one of the hundreds you must have stored away. If haven’t used Charlotte before, raid Chris’ stand at Machine Knitting LIVE! (Sorry, he doesn’t do mail order.) At his knock down prices, every cone will be a bargain!
How was your Christmas and New Year break, and what are your plans for the New Year? Let me know by leaving a comment!
All the best
The changes are only to the checkout process. There are now 4 steps to checking out your order, once you’ve chosen your items:
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That’s all for now!