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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.

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