Side step

Dear Anne

I have a query regarding a pattern in a backdated copy of MKM and hope you may be able to help. At the Nottingham show I bought a few back copies of MKM, one of which is October 2016. On Page 24, there’s a pattern for a top and cardigan using King Cole Opium. I want to knit the cardigan and have bought the yarn but according to the pattern the ribs need to be hand knitted. However, I’m struggling with arthritis in my hands and find hand knitting both difficult and painful. I’m not over experienced in machine knitting, being a returner after 30-odd years and would like some advice on whether or not I could knit the ribs on the machine and, if so, what tension would be preferable. If this isn’t advisable then I shall have to persevere with the hand knitting. I look forward to my monthly magazine and have just completed two chunky jackets for my granddaughters from a back copy, substituting the hand knitted ribs for some I machine knitted. Thanks for any help, Gill

I’m sorry it’s such a painful struggle to use your hands Gill and, quite honestly, ‘ignore’ the instructions and ‘do your own thing’. If you can still get the ribber carriage across a chunky machine, and it can be hard work at the best of times, it’s easy enough to knit ribs. I’m sure crochet is out of the question, so another suggestion is to make a simple hem. If you use the purl side as the right side, which I think has a much nicer texture, the plain knit stitches of a hem will look like rib anyway.

It really doesn’t matter how you adapt the instructions to suit your circumstances and, by making the changes, you’ll also create your own unique garment. When it comes to tension, it’s anyone’s guess what your machine will need. Just as you go down two needle sizes for hand-knitted ribs, we usually go down three full tensions for ribs on the machine. The zigzag and circular rows need to be as tight as possible, so you’ll have to try out a small sample to see what’s best. There’s no point in breaking the yarn or struggling to stick to figures on a page, just give it all a try and you’ll quickly have the answers you need. The most important thing is to enjoy what you do, not make it a painful chore.

Cosy up

Dear Anne

My July magazine arrived today and I’m really pleased to see the ‘Home Comforts’ feature, as not everyone fancies tackling a garment every time they knit. Can we have a tea cosy pattern, please? It might be ‘old hat’ to some, but not to me! Also the hooded cardigan and the other patterns are lovely. I had some issues with DesignaKnit recently and wondered if Claire would consider a feature on ‘Knits that Fit’ covering shaping with DesignaKnit. I knitted a tuck stitch sleeveless summer top in size 38, however when I tried it on I found there was masses of room at the armholes and it gaped at the side of the bust. Quite frankly it looked awful, so I had to go to work on my linker. (I hate sewing, the linker is a godsend.) I improvised with some bust darts and had to take out four inches each side around the armhole for the darts then cut off the excess fabric. I’m sure it would be much easier to integrate shaping into the pattern rather than ‘cut and sew’ darts! The top is now wearable and I’m pleased with it. Kind regards, Jane

Tea cosies are back in fashion, Jane, so here’s one from the late Joan Lafferty.

INTRO Tea cosies are back in fashion and this one is guaranteed to be a best seller on any bazaar stall or fund raising event

QUOTE “To display it effectively on your stall, make a teapot-shaped cardboard cut out and hang a tea bag on the ties.

PATTERN NOTES

Use any pattern of your choice including an all-over Fair Isle or single motif, noting cosy is knitted from the top down.

MACHINES

This pattern requires a machine capable of knitting Fair Isle.

MATERIALS

Oddments of 4-ply yarn in colours required. 2 strips of Velcro, each one approximately 15 cm, 6 in long.

TENSION

No tension swatch is required and choose tension to suit yarn used. Use tension dial approximately 7 for stocking stitch and 8 for Fair Isle.

TO KNIT

Make 2 pieces the same Cast on over 76 Ns in 1×1 mock rib (see Page 62) and K 40 rows. Make a hem by placing loops of first row worked in MY onto alt Ns. With all Ns in WP, K across then set RC at 000. Cont in pattern, noting pattern should finish on or before RC shows 64. Cont in st st until RC shows 68. Set RC at 000. K 68 rows in st st for lining. Catch up along edge of closed rib and K across at Tension 10. Cast off.

TO FINISH

Close edges and sew strips of Velcro along the edges. Join ribs. Knit a circular cord over 5 Ns in contrast yarn and thread through rib. Gather to form top.

Drifting along

Dear Anne

I’ve been doing a tension sample for the Drifting Along pattern in your May issue using the recommended King Cole Drifter DK yarn on my Silver Reed LK150. The recommended tension dial setting for that particular machine is listed at 6, but after trying this I have found that 3• gives the correct tension for the pattern. Is this just a mistake in the pattern instructions? I find your magazine very helpful, having come back to machine knitting after a very long break. Many thanks, Anne. I’m looking forward to the next issue of MKM as I love finding all your useful tips and recommendations. Best wishes, Lennox

I’m so pleased you’ve written, Lennox, as this will re-assure all readers that every machine is different. I’m always reluctant to give any approximate tension dial settings in the magazine, because they can vary so much. Yours will be a gem, as you’ve lots of availability to open up your tension dial beyond 3• for DK. I once had a Brother standard gauge machine which needed 8•• to knit 4-ply, whilst my Knitmaster had to be down at 5•. For years I wrongly assumed that Brother machines knitted tighter than Knitmaster! It’s a joy to hear that you’ve matched the tension and I hope you enjoy knitting the design. Best wishes, Anne

The Humpty People

The Humpty People

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall

But it wasn’t the usual sorrowful scene

As Humpty was made on a knitting machine!

Hi Anne

I remember making several ‘Humpty People’ on my machine, probably in the 1990s. I’ve got rid of all my books (just had too many!) so do you know where I might look for them? They were made from small amounts of yarn and I think a competition was held to let machine knitters’ imagination run riot. They were about four inches or so tall and my friend still has a couple that I made for her grandchildren. Thanks for any help, Diane

The original Humpty Dumpty design was first published in the Oct-Nov 1993 issue of To & Fro magazine. Audrey Harrison was the designer and we held a Mini Competition inviting readers to knit their own adaptation with either the ‘friendliest face’, the ‘naughtiest look’ or an ‘upper crust’ humpty. They’re such fun, make great stocking fillers or charity knits and we hope you enjoy them as much this time around. Make lots… they get lonely!

The Humpty People

MATERIALS Any 4-ply yarn in Red or Main Colour (MC) and White (A). Oddments in Black (B). Polyester stuffing. Crochet hook.

MEASUREMENTS Height around 10 cm, 4 in.

TENSION Use tension dial setting 7 as main tension (MT) throughout, unless otherwise stated.

Girl Humpty

BODY, HEAD & HAT

Push 41 Ns to WP. With carriage at right and using MT and MC, make a woven or automatic closed-edge cast-on. Carriage is at left. Set RC at 000. K 20 rows for body. Using A, K 10 rows for face *.

HAT Using MC, K 1 row. Using MT+1, K 2 rows. Using MT+3, K 1 row. Using MT+1, K 2 rows. Using MT, K 1 row. Make a hem by placing loops from first row worked in MC onto corresponding Ns for brim. K 1 row. Using A, K 2 rows. Using MC, K 7 rows. Transfer every alt st onto adjacent N and push empty Ns back to NWP. K 2 rows. Break off yarn, thread end through sts and release from machine. Draw up sts at top of hat, secure and join back seam.

ARMS (2) Push 12 Ns to WP. Using MC, cast on by hand. Set RC at 000. Using MT, K 10 rows. Break off yarn, thread end through sts and release from machine. Draw up sts and secure, then roll up and join seam.

LEGS (2) Push 14 Ns to WP. Using MC, cast on by hand. Set RC at 000. Using MT, K 14 rows. Break off yarn, thread end through sts and release from machine. Draw up sts and secure, then roll up and join seam.

MAKING UP Stuff body. Pull up sts at bottom and secure. Sew arms to top of body. Sew legs just below arms. Using B, embroider eyes and nose as shown. Using MC, embroider mouth as shown *. Cut two 25 cm, 10 inch lengths of B for hair. Fold each in half and using a crochet hook, pull one loop through each side of head just below hat. Work chains along length.

Boy Humpty

BODY, HEAD & CAP

Work as for Body, Head & Hat of Girl to *.

CAP Using MC, K 1 row. Set carriage to hold. Push 12 Ns at opposite end to carriage to HP on next 2 rows. Push 3 Ns at opposite end to carriage to HP on next 4 rows. Push 3 inside Ns at opposite end to carriage from HP to UWP on next 4 rows. Push 12 Ns at opposite end to carriage from HP to UWP on next row. Push rem 12 Ns at opposite end to carriage from HP to UWP. Make a hem over centre 17 Ns by placing loops from first row worked in MC onto corresponding Ns for peak. K 10 rows. Transfer every alt st onto adjacent N and push empty Ns back to NWP. K 2 rows. Break off yarn, thread end through sts, release from machine. Draw up sts at top of cap, secure and join back seam.

ARMS, LEGS & MAKING UP

Work Arms and Legs as for Girl and Making Up to *.

Multi-purpose

Multi-purpose

Hello Anne

I saw your page in MKM and read about your grand-daughter machine knitting. How time goes by for us all and I see you were surprised at how the LK-150 knits, so I thought you’d be interested in my information about this brilliant machine. It’s my best seller of all the machines I sell for beginners, but most of all for hand knitters. The hand knitters love it, as I do myself, to get something done a bit quicker. Hand knitters love the various wools it can knit and creating patterns by hand is also great. I try out all yarns on it, to see how they will work. At first it was guess work, but the LK-150 is now listed in DesignaKnit 9. King Cole yarns from 4-ply to fine chunky are great on this machine and it loves knitting Aran. My buyers enjoy the machine and after short instructions they’re soon making garments. In my opinion, the LK-150 is far better than the old Bond used to be and the machine is magic, because it has everything except a ribber. Love to all, Joan Fielding-Brown

The Little Knitting Fairy, Old Redhead Cottage, Clovenfords, Galashiels, Selkirkshire TD1 1UG

Tel 01896-850734

Email joan@littleknittingfairy.co.uk

Website www.littleknittingfairy.co.uk

A clean sheet

Dear Anne

I wonder if you might like to put this in your magazine, as a lot of readers may be pleased to have the information. Over the years, I’ve had quite a lot of experience buying, reconditioning and selling various bits of machine-knitting equipment. More than once, whilst servicing machines and attachments, I’ve been faced with the problem of cleaning a KL-116 Knit Leader sheet. Often the pen marks simply won’t come off with soap or washing up liquid, so today I tried some kitchen cleaner. First of all I was a bit dubious that it wouldn’t work, but then I became more worried that it would work but take off the lines as well as the pen marks. To my surprise the kitchen cleaner worked beautifully and didn’t take off the permanent lines! It’s called Cif Multipurpose Ultrafast cleaner and I’d recommend it to clean all knitting machine pattern sheets. There may be some permanent marker lines that might not come off using anything, but the marks I used it on were coloured permanent marker lines. Use a damp micro cloth, spray a small amount on the sheets and gently rub it off. Clean the Cif off afterwards with a clean cloth, to make sure the cleaner has been completely removed. Kind regards, Sandy

Foot warmer

Dear Anne

I thought I’d send you the sock pattern our club has been using. We’re making socks, hats, bonnets and cardigans for our local SCBU. I’ve enjoyed knitting tiny garments and all the nurses are so grateful. The socks are a big hit, as they stay on! I use 4-ply acrylic and find it washes well in hot water. Seeing the pattern for the prem baby cardigan in the April issue, gave me the push to drop you a line. Thank you so much to Phoebe for sharing your pattern with us all. Yours sincerely, Dorothy

Four ply baby’s sock

Using MY and Tension 0, cast on 15 sts at left and right of centre 0 in 1×1 rib. Set RC at 000. Using Tension 1, K 10 rows in rib. Transfer sts for stocking stitch. Set RC at 000. Using Tension 6, K 10 rows. * Push 15 Ns at left to HP and cont on rem 15 sts at right. Push 1 N to HP at same side as carriage on next 10 rows. 5 sts rem in WP in centre. Push 1 N back to UWP at same side as carriage on next 10 rows *. Cancel hold and with all Ns knitting, K 12 rows. Rep from * to * once more then using WY, K a few rows and release from machine. Unravelling WY as required, graft toe stitches.

You might like to know that if you double up all the stitches and rows in the baby’s sock pattern, it makes bed socks for the elderly in care!

Ready for Fair Isle

Dear Anne

Most of the punchcards that come with the colour changer are ready for Fair Isle. I find it’s useful to remember that if you think you might want to use an ordinary Fair Isle card with the colour changer, it saves a lot of hassle if you punch another card in reverse. If you want to use a reversed card for normal Fair Isle, you need to swap the main and contrast yarns over in the ordinary sinker plate. I’m a punchcard knitter but yes, I do know that on electronic machines you just have to use the colour reverse lever to make a Fair Isle pattern suitable for using with the colour changer. Best wishes, Lisa

On guard

Dear Anne

I’ve just had fun and games using my colour changer for the first time in years. So, here’s a tip if you’re working with three colours rather than four. I left the fourth roller empty and accidentally pressed the button by mistake. With no yarn in it every single stitch dropped, so you can imagine the language! Now I’ll always thread it up with yarn. However, it needs to be a strong contrast or, as I did first time, you’ll knit away in the wrong colour! I now always thread it up with a colour such as black against pale shades, so I notice at once if I select the wrong feed accidentally. My theory is that it’s much better to unpick a wrong colour, instead of having all the dratted knitting falling off the machine. I’m now a little older and wiser! Kind regards, Margaret

Split ends

Dear Anne

Here’s a tip I think Joan Lafferty passed on years ago and I always use it. When you get near the end of a cone of yarn and you’re not sure if the new one is an exact match, use the old and new yarns one row at a time alternately and you’ll not notice the changeover. Best wishes, Irene