First to arrive was Jo Newton, who has a dilemma and I’ve offered to help. A reader called to ask her to design a crinoline lady motif, but the telephone number she gave doesn’t work and Jo can’t get in touch with her. If the mystery reader would call Jo on 01476-563111, her special design is waiting.
Celia Ford said hello from Manor House Knitting Club and they’re very proud of their new website at www.manorhousemk.org.uk. Jean Conduit stopped by from Mapperley KMC to show me a hair band she’d made for the Fashion Show and she’s given me the pattern to share with you in Dear Anne on Page 13. Maureen Sanders wondered if I’d be interested in some of her designs for future issues. Many readers will remember her as Maureen Coxon and she made a very valid point that older knitters also want to look smart, but there’s a dearth of suitable patterns. Her ideas are practical, yet inspiring and I hope we can set the wheels in motion to bring some of them to you. Jean Ryder, former Editor of Machine Knitting News asked me to say hello to all those who remember her.
Mary Hawkins represented Ruddington Framework Knitters’ Museum and asked me to let you know that anyone visiting the museum during opening hours can have a free ‘ten minute twirl’ on the circular knitting machines and take the resulting scarf length home. You can also book for a comprehensive lesson on all aspects of Griswold machines and other makes. The lesson lasts for five hours (with breaks!) and will be tailored to your requirements, in return for a donation to the museum. Tuition is individual or you can bring a friend and knowledge of flatbed knitting machines is not necessary. Just visit the museum’s website at rfkm.org or phone 0115-984 6914 for details.
Finally, my biggest surprise of the day was to see John Blakeman again. He wrote many articles for us, led the slick demonstration team for Brother machines and his knowledge is extensive. After a break of many years, John has returned to machine knitting and I hope he’ll keep in touch. It would be lovely to have him back in the fold once more. The day was studded with more of our machine knitting gems including Iris Bishop, Elaine Cater and Nina Niklin so Nottingham has left me with many happy memories.
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It’s been a strange month in the South East and we’ve seen temperatures plummeting to minus eleven one morning and soaring to twelve degrees by lunchtime the next day. I’ve never been more thankful for all the knitted clothes in my wardrobe, because I’ve certainly needed to add an extra layer to keep warm. My first choice is always a warm gilet Jane Woodward designed for us in Cashmere for the August 2009 issue. It always reminds me that yarns such as Lamb’s Wool, Cashmere, Alpaca and Mohair keep animals warm and they do the same for us, too. They may be more expensive than man-made fibres, but usually only small quantities are needed and it can be well worth some occasional self-indulgence.
If you live within travelling distance of Nottingham then please turn to Page 6, where we’ve 20 free tickets to give away for the show on 15th April. We’ll have the usual Lucky Dip, so please send in a self-addressed and stamped envelope as soon as you can. Don’t forget to mark the top left hand corner of both envelopes with ‘Nottingham’ and I hope you’re one of our winners. Guest speakers this year are Sue Booth 11.00 am, Iris Bishop at 1.30 pm and Erica Thomson at 2.30 pm. The lectures cost an extra £1 each and numbers are limited, so book in advance. There’s more information about the show and contact details on Page 33.
Carol Hocknell tells me that a few places still remain for this year’s Dream Week from 3rd to 7th September. It’s probably the annual highlight event in the machine knitting calendar and visitors flock to Cheshire from all over the world. There are some wonderful tutors this year including Iris Bishop and Bill King and I’m always very pleased to be asked to join in the fun. If you’d like more information about Dream Week then give Carol a call now on 01270-628414.
Finally, let me remind you that March has five Thursdays so you’ll have to wait just a bit longer for your May magazine. It will be mailed out to subscribers on Thursday 5th April and it’s officially on sale on Thursday 12th April. By then Easter will have come and gone, I’ll be heading for the Nottingham Show and I hope to see as many of you who can join us. Until then happy knitting.
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Betty and other club members first met Gloria when she retired from Saudi and returned permanently to the UK. As soon as she was back at home, I remember including a request in the magazine to see if we could find her a local knitting club. Betty spotted the letter, telephoned her and from then on the two became close friends. They also formed a small group of six knitters who each owned an E6000. Every Tuesday morning they met in one of their homes and Gloria taught them much more than the basics. A good time was enjoyed by all, including a good old natter. Gloria had been very ill for some time with several medical problems and sadly she passed away in October. Betty and the group will miss her very much at their Tuesday get-together. They’ll always remember her – not only for her love of her machine, but also because she was a really kind and helpful person. Over the years I often chatted to Gloria and the last time I saw her was at the Thornbury Show. Together with Nick Traylen at Uppingham Yarns we sorted out some 2/30s for her to take home to knit. Although her health was failing at that time, she still had lots of ideas and enthusiasm for future designs. I’m most grateful to Betty for letting me know and I’m sure you’ll all join me in sharing the group’s grief at Gloria’s passing.
Diary Date Change
After such a sad start, let me leave you on a brighter note by letting you know the revised dates for Machine Knitting LIVE in 2011. I’ve managed to move the Chepstow Show to a Saturday. If my memory hasn’t totally failed, I’m almost sure it’s around the time that Alice used to have her summer Get-Together. We’d pack up from the Croydon Show one weekend and head for Wales the next. This year, there’s a week in between so the Croydon Show will be on Saturday 16th July, followed by the Chepstow Show on Saturday 30th July. Please make a date to join us at Croydon and Chepstow for some Summer fun.
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Thursday 3rd February
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Machine Knitting LIVE! in Bournemouth is almost here and our Guest Speaker this year is Queen of Posh Frocks, Ann Brown.
The Sherborne Club presents our fashion show this time, with lots of new designs and ideas.
Our exhibitor list so far includes:-
Silver Reed knitting machines, Silver Viscount sewing machines and overlockers.
Elaine Cater designer books, patterns and Knitwords magazine.
Nina Miklin kits and exclusive Italian designer yarn.
Fiona Morris machine knitwear design, craft courses on hand and machine knitting and she gives talks.
Guild of Machine Knitters – join today and support our craft.
Ann Brown yarn and notions plus Posh Frocks designer patterns.
Beryl Jarvis brings her own unique Info Sheets and teaching techniques plus the new Mock ‘V’ DVD.
Metropolitan’s Aladdin’s Cave for all machine knitters including DesignaKnit, yarns, machines, books and accessories for all machines.
MKM current and back issues plus Passap and Brother patterns and books from Anjo Designs.
B Hague & Co with linkers, twisters, bits and bobs.
Anne Baker with Karabee patterns and kits.
Arnold Bennett with yarns and button selection.
Weather and family circumstances permitting, Busy Bee with masses of well-loved patterns.
Phyllis & David Hilton demonstrate intarsia.
Sherborne Machine Knitters with amazing club ideas and samples.
Uppingham Yarns – with industrial, hand and machine knitting yarn plus superb Italian yarns.
Finally let me add just a quick note to say that we’ve re-instated the registration form with a couple of changes to see if we can beat the spammers! Now you can register yourselves, but don’t forget you’ll have to click the activation link in the email we’ll send you, which may find its way into your spam folder, depending on how strict your mail server is. If you have any questions or problems with this, please drop Matt an email.
Our 25th Birthday Issue
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Thursday 3rd March
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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.