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.


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.


February 2021

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November 2020 update

Dear Readers

I must admit to having a complete change of heart recently. As some of you know, I’ve said that Christmas would be a non-event in the magazine this year. With many of us continuing to self-distance, if not already placed in compulsory lockdown, what did any traditional Christmas have to offer? Well, by chance I came across my collection of Bill King’s Christmas cards. I don’t have his full set, but I’ve kept every one he’s sent me and I bring them out each year. He designs, knits and makes up each individual card and they’re absolutely gorgeous, as well as something money can never buy.

This year, although we’ve little chance of getting out and about, we could all make something to be treasured. Do look at Book Review, as I’ve included lots of different crafts and simple projects. I think I’ll stick with my usual cake, but I’ll need half a bottle of tipple to feed it, as it will no doubt last until Easter with just two of us eating it! With the thought of making small, personal gifts, I’ve included lots of bits and bobs for some inspiration. It’s also why I’ve decided Chez Smith will have the Full Monty this year. I usually groan about battling round supermarkets filled to bursting with Christmas, long before we’ve had the fireworks. Well, I’ve hardly seen the inside of any shop this year. We now have delivery groceries and, I can hardly believe I’m saying this in October, our Christmas slot is already booked. I won’t, therefore, have to do battle with aisles filled with Brussels sprouts, so I’ll ‘deck the halls’ instead!

Talking of supermarket deliveries, I think we need a Gigglebox in the magazine, but I need you to join in with your snippets. I won’t mention any names, especially the identity of the supermarket, but laugh along with this gem a reader passed on.

Mum We’ve a delivery coming on Sunday morning, what do you fancy for lunch? Son How about chicken? I love roast chicken, then we could have a curry with the left-overs. Great idea, thought mum, as she added it to the list. On Sunday morning the groceries arrived, with a note to say they’d run out of medium size chickens, so they’d substituted it with six eggs! Grow your own, perhaps! If you’ve a similar gem to pass on, please share it, so we can all have a giggle. For sure, we need it right now.

One tradition I keep on these pages each December issue is to send you very best wishes for a happy Christmas, from everyone who helps to bring the magazine to you each month. Keep well and stay safe all of you, but most of all, knit happy!


January 2021

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January 2021 new subscriptions

NEW SUBSCRIPTIONS Start a new subscription now! You pay for our current January 2021 magazine when you place your order and we send you a copy straight away. From the next issue, your magazine will be mailed direct from the printer on the first Thursday of each month and the February 2021 issue goes out to subscribers on Thursday 7th January.

October update

Dear Readers

Autumn is always a busy time of year for knitters, as we take stock and think about some serious knitting. Having said that and as I write, it’s difficult to imagine chillier months ahead, as the days in both the North and South are still warm and sunny. To start the ball rolling, we’ve huge savings from Nina Miklin on Page 6, yarn offers on Page 8 and Page 52, as well as free patterns on Page 23 and Page 34. If you’re someone who knits Teddy Bears, LoveCrafts.com has a huge range of knitting patterns in every shape and size imaginable. Some patterns are free to download and the full selection is at www.lovecrafts.com

Ahead of your autumn knit-in, don’t forget Lionel and Carol at HKC, if you need help with a Brother knitting machine. Lionel is a Brother-trained engineer, so he knows all there is to know about servicing and repairing them. He can also arrange a carrier service to all mainland destinations in the UK. You can buy a fully refurbished machine with a parts and labour guarantee, at a sensible cost and not the ridiculous prices some folk are charging on eBay for rusted up metal. You can collect your machine and have a thorough demonstration, giving full and accurate meaning to the expression: “Try before you buy”. It’s always useful to remember that Brother stopped marketing and distributing machines sometime back in the late 1990s and that’s a mighty long time ago! Lionel’s knowledge of Brother knitting machines and accessories is immense. So, if you’re a knitter who feels you can’t switch to a Silver Reed machine, I suggest you take the gamble out of buying secondhand and ask Lionel for help and advice you can trust.

We’ve a tremendous selection of patterns for you this month, with Susan Guagliumi, Clair Crowston and Bill King as our guest designers. You’ll also find designs in the new Drifter DK range from King Cole and if you knit for tiny tots, you’ll love the hoodie on Page 24. Simply thread up your machine and watch as stocking stitch unfolds into a stunning, multi-colour pattern. However, if you don’t have an LK-150 mid gauge or a chunky machine, don’t panic. There’s also a four ply version of this amazing yarn. Simply follow the instructions we give, to knit the designs on a standard gauge machine. There’s also no drama required for those of you with or without a ribber. Hand knit the ribs whilst watching the TV, use a ribber if you have one, drop the stitches down and reform them, or work mock rib following our guide on Page 62. As Sally-Ann often says: “It’s entirely up to you!” so, until next month, knit happy!


December 2020

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September update

Dear Readers

This year has skipped by far too quickly for many of us and I can hardly believe that our magazine year is now well into the autumn and winter season. One thing I learned recently is that there’s an annual event called Chesterfield High Street Awards and there are 15 categories. Basically, it celebrates the mix of independent and High Street businesses in the town. At the end of July, one of the three finalists named in the Best New Store category is The Wool Cabin. The 2020 winners are to be announced at a virtual awards ceremony in October 2020 and we all wish Jason Hampson and The Wool Cabin the best of luck.

 I’m especially cold a lot of the time, so I’ve an assortment of hot water bottles. I love unusual covers for them and I can’t resist a new throw to wrap myself up on a cold winter’s evening. Our recent spell of hot weather dismissed all thoughts of cool evenings, but there’s now a nip in the air and autumn is definitely around the corner.

For a while, I’ve had my eye on some lovely throws I spotted on the Woolyknit website. They’re 100% Pure British Wool in a crunchy deep traditional Aran-style patchwork pattern with a knitted sheep border. They’re a very generous size (140 x 200 cm, 4½ x 6½ feet) so could double up as a blanket on a bed or breathe new life into a sofa. They can be hand or machine washed on a wool setting and there are some lovely colours. Mine had to be red, it’s just arrived and the word ‘gorgeous’ doesn’t do it justice.

If just under £30 is an amount you’d spend, either to keep yourself warm or for a lovely gift, I promise you won’t be disappointed. All the contact details for Woolyknit are in Newsline this month and I’ve just remembered that we’ve a reader offer, so if you order soon, you’ll get 20% off!

 Until next time, very happy knitting.


November 2020

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September 2020 (Issue 272)

Our full-colour September 2020 issue cover design is simple stocking stitch, given a stunning effect knitted in a new King Cole yarn which gives a different look with each ball you knit. We always tell you how to knit all our patterns on standard gauge machines and we’ve lots of designs this month. Karin Rogalski helps us adapt a cardigan or knit something new to put us at ease after lockdown and Sally-Ann Carroll has some ‘knit-hot’ ideas in Style File. Claire Newberry returns to show us how to make curves in DesignaKnit 9 and Bill King turns a basic stitch into some gorgeous fabric designs. By very popular demand, we’ve sold out of the original magazines, so Bill King’s one-piece waterfall design is repeated in this issue! Fay Butcher shows Passap knitters how to knit Norwegian Fair Isle and we’ve free downloads from a huge selection of books from Search Press. We always include news, reviews and club details and everyone has been knitting in lockdown so we share lots of ideas, hints and tips.

Thank you NHS

Iris Rowe has designed this rainbow for us to knit and hang in a window, to thank care workers in our area

PATTERN RATING * Easy to knit.

MACHINES This pattern is written for all standard gauge machines. Use a mid-gauge or chunky machine and thicker yarn for a larger version

MATERIALS Any suitable 4-ply yarn Small amounts in Lilac (L), Magenta (M), Blue (B), Green (G), Yellow (Y), Orange (O), Red (R).

MEASUREMENTS Height around 8 cm, 3¼ in. Width 32 cm, 12½ in.

TENSION No tension gauge is necessary. Iris used Tension Dial setting 5 as main tension (MT) throughout unless otherwise stated. The knitting needs to be tighter than for a garment.

ABBREVIATIONS For a list of abbreviations we use, please turn to page 62 in any magazine.

NOTES Iris used knit side of knitting as right side. ‘Thread off’ means break yarn, using a bodkin, thread end through stitches and release from machine. Always leave a long length of yarn when casting on and casting off to use for making up.

TO KNIT Push 21 Ns to WP. Lilac curve Using L make a woven or automatic closed edge cast on. Set RC at 000 and K to RC 015. Place a WY marker on centre N, then K to RC 025. Place a WY marker on centre N, then K to RC 035. Place a WY marker on centre N, then K to RC 045. Place a WY marker on centre N, then K to RC 055. Place a WY marker on centre N, then K to RC 070. Thread off.

Magenta curve Using M knit in the same way placing WY markers on rows 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60, then K to RC 080. Thread off.

Blue curve Using B, work in the same way placing WY markers on rows 25, 35, 45, 55 and 65, then K to RC 090. Thread off.

Green curve Using G, work in the same way placing WY markers on rows 30, 40, 50, 60 and 70, then K to RC 100. Thread off.

Yellow curve Using Y, work in the same way placing WY markers on rows 35, 45, 55, 65 and 75, then K to RC 110. Thread off.

Orange curve Using O, work in the same way placing WY markers on rows 40, 50, 60, 70 and 80, then K to RC 120. Thread off.

Red curve Using R, work in the same way placing WY markers on rows 45, 55, 65, 75 and 85, then K to RC 130. Thread off.

MAKING UP With right sides tog, pull up stitches at each end of tubes, secure then join seams. Turn right side out, making sure roll is even. Using a long piece of red yarn, make a large knot in one end Start at centre and thread lilac tube onto yarn followed by correct sequence of colours, removing WY no longer needed. Lay tubes on a flat surface and straighten out. Pull tubes together lightly then make a small stitch at top of red tube to hold in place. Fasten off on inside of tube. Repeat this process each side of centre join. Using a very long length of red yarn thread a bodkin with a double length. Make a large knot in the end. Thread through the tubes starting with lilac and keeping in line with last set of WY markers. At top of red tube make a small stitch, take yarn across to WY marker on the other side leaving a long loop at top of rainbow to hang it in place. Adjust length as required. Make a small stitch before threading yarn through each tube until you reach the bottom. Pull slightly and fasten off inside the tube. Hang in your window.