More hints and tips

Turning circle

Dear Anne

Please could you explain what you do with a garter bar? It hasn’t got any machine instructions, so can I use it on my Brother machine, or is it for Toyota or Knitmaster? I’m sure you’ve been asked a million times, but I feel a bit embarrassed. The lady who gave it to me seemed really disappointed that I didn’t jump for joy, but I’d no idea what it was for or what to do with it. Please help or point me in the right direction. Thanks and best wishes, Maureen

Garter bars are wonderful accessories, but if you haven’t used one before, you may be slightly nervous. Yes, we’ve included similar instructions before, but it won’t do any harm to give them another airing. Follow these helpful hints for trouble-free turning!

1) Remove yarn from feeder and use a ruler to push all working needles to holding position.

2) Pull knitting slightly forward and put needle movement stopper in place.

3) Remove all but two small weights and make sure that latches on needles are open.

4) Hang garter bar onto needles, with indent groves facing upwards, lining up end needle on right onto end tooth.

5) Pull the garter bar towards you and at the same time pull knitting onto the teeth.

6) Lift garter bar off needles and push stitches down to base of the teeth.

7) Open latches of needles, make sure the latches lay flat against shaft of needle and then turn the garter bar.

8) Line up end needle and end tooth then, holding each end, push garter bar onto needles and pull it forward slightly.

9) Tip garter bar up slightly and check that all stitches have been caught on the needle hooks.

10) Pull both towards you downwards, then push knitting back behind latches and remove needle movement stopper.

Look out for our new 3-part series on the Garter Bar, starting in December 2018. Many knitters think a garter bar is only used for garter stitch, but there are many other uses and we’ll show you what else we can do with it.


Up the slope

Dear Anne

I stopped to realise that all those ideas we passed to each other years ago are probably not written down anywhere. Clubs have closed, so how do newbies find out the tricks of the trade? You’ve got to keep this going in MKM, Anne. I saw this idea many moons ago, I think in To & Fro, but can’t be sure. There’s no casting off and I’ve not shaped shoulders on a machine since.

1) At top of both back and front, add a good half inch (about 1½ cm) to the knitted length and take off on waste yarn.

2) With right side uppermost, sew all around the shoulder and neckline shape, in one operation either on a sewing machine or overlocker and cut to shape after finishing. When using my overlocker, I thread one end of 2/30s yarn through the upper looper to match the fabric.

3) Put the shoulders together, as you would a dress or jacket and using a small stretch stitch with a zigzag, or any stretch stitch for that matter, with light pressure on presser foot sew on a sewing machine about half an inch (1 cm) from the edge.

4) Fold back and catch down to the wrong side to produce a neat, flat seam. It can be stabilised with a non-stretch narrow tape or stranded cotton, which you fasten off securely.

5) Complete both shoulders before adding the neckband for a jacket or join one shoulder, then knit the neckband and complete the second shoulder for a sweater. Attach the sleeves and join the side and sleeve seams last.

I agree with recent sentiments that we ‘oldies’ have a duty to pass on as much as we know to the newbies, or how else will they ever learn? You get a really neat shoulder line using this method and it’s not just for Passap knitters; anyone can do shoulders in this way. Happy knitting everyone! Mary


Hot tip

Dear Anne

Here’s the easiest hot water bottle cover you’ll ever knit. It’s thicker and more cosy knitted in a Fair Isle pattern and great for using up the stash. Any yarn can be used but 4-ply is ideal. You can vary the stitches and rows but, basically, cast on around 75 stitches and knit 10 rows plain. Change to Fair Isle for about 115 rows. Knit 5 rows plain. Cast off centre 12 stitches with some scrap yarn and then cast them on again. This makes a hole for the bottle’s tail. Now knit the other half in reverse. For the tabs, measure 2½ inches in from each end, pick up 12 stitches and work 30 rows. Sew up the cover and, for extra strength, work a row of double crochet around the top edge and tabs. Sew snap fasteners on the tabs and front to finish it off. That’s it, and I told you it was easy! Best wishes, Ellen


Under the quilt

Hi Anne

Have you reminded the newbies about an easy way to turn their knitting into a quilt? Do you remember (of course you do!) we used to find a diamond-shaped tuck stitch pattern and elongate it. Press the L button if you have one, otherwise make sure the card moves only every two rows. Cast on in 4-ply across the full width of bed, using a suitable stitch size and knit the required length in the tuck stitch. Cast off. Place the knitting face downwards. Cover with a layer of wadding and then with lining material, which can also be knitted. Pin three layers together, starting at the centre and working towards the corners. Tack all around the edge. Now quilt, starting at the centre again and working to the corners to get it even. Follow the lines of the pattern, use a sewing machine or backstitch by hand. Bind the whole thing with a strip of knitting. After I’d made enough cot covers, I plucked up the courage to make a quilted jacket using a bought dressmaking pattern. Since then, I’ve never looked back. Knit happy, Yvonne


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