Centre point

Centre point

Dear Anne I was thinking about the words ‘golden oldies’ which you mentioned last month. Do you remember the tip for pulling out the nylon cord we add to get rid of wavy ribs? If you knit a circular row and pull it out from the centre, not one of the two ends, it comes out much easier and I’ve never had a problem. Best wishes, Jackie

Snap it up

Snap it up

Dear Anne As we’re now remembering the old tricks in the book, don’t forget that sew-on plastic press studs in most sewing boxes make an ideal substitute if you can’t find the proper snaps for a punchcard. Best wishes, Joan

Kill or cure?

Kill or cure

Hello Anne

Happy New Year to you and thank you for yet another year of a great magazines. I’m in New Zealand and have been a regular purchaser of your magazine for many, many years and it never fails to surprise me with new patterns or advice. I order it through our local bookshop so it’s several months behind when I get it – and more so with the Covid freight. I’ve been looking through back issues and was interested in the Block Buster item on Page 13 of September 2022 on Ironing, Pressing and Steam Pressing. Personally, I’m still nervous with the iron on my knitting, be it wool or a man-made fibre. I felt this article spelled it out well. I’ve ‘killed’ several items over the years with too much ironing and think this would be very helpful to newer knitters. Kind regards, Lorraine

Basic skills

Hi Anne

I’m new to machine knitting and wonder if you could suggest where I could go that might give me answers to all the silly questions I sometimes need to ask. It feels as if everyone except me is an expert, so I often feel embarrassed about not knowing some of the basics. I’d be very grateful for any help and thank you in advance. Best wishes, Mary

Thanks for asking Mary and for those of you who don’t know, Jane Harrisson has a machine knitter’s treasure chest of resources. It includes masses of useful links, free patterns and stitch patterns together with punchcards and electronic diagrams. There’s a huge section on troubleshooting tips for machine knitters and Jane has also included the Punchcard sets and Mylar sheets for all the major brands, to help knitters who have unwittingly bought second-hand machines without them. Needles of Steel is also your first stop for information about Circular Sock Machines. The site is an invaluable resource for all CSM owners and offers free patterns, manuals, techniques, vendors and videos. There really is far too much to list here that’s of special interest for every machine knitter. So, make it one of your jobs to visit Jane’s site at www.needles of steel.org.uk and we know you won’t be disappointed!

Wax works

Dear Anne

I was reading my MKM for a few minutes and as I opened it, the first page that came in view was the one with ‘always wax double knit yarn’ on it. This is something I’ve been doing ever since I started using a machine in 1969. Back then wool winders were as good as those sold today, but they did tell you to wax the yarn. Over the years it’s become a part of my practice and I often buy 3-ply and 4-ply yarns in 100 gram balls. This yarn, whether wool or acrylic, hasn’t been waxed for machine use so I automatically wax everything I buy before using, unless it’s on a cone. For knitting baby clothes and children’s outfits, I find the 100 gram balls come in plenty of lovely colours. In fact, I do have quite a few orders for children’s clothes! I’m just waiting for some building work to be finished inside the house, so I can get on with my knitting. Best wishes, June

Losing it

Hi Anne

I’m a self-taught knitter with a Brother 881 and always get in a muddle decreasing across the row. I always seem to have too many decreases left to do at one end. Is there a sure-fire way to get them even? Yours hopefully, Sheila

You’re in luck with this method, Sheila, because you’ve a lace carriage. If the instructions say ‘decreasing seven stitches evenly’, go across the row and push seven needles slightly forward but still in working position. Fiddle about a bit until you’re happy they’re evenly spaced, then push the seven needles to ‘D’ position. Now take the lace carriage across and the stitches will transfer to their adjacent needles. Push the empty needles back to ‘A’ position. You’ve now decreased your seven stitches. Knit several rows with waste yarn and release from the machine. Next push the reduced number of needles to ‘B’ position. Holding the wrong side towards you, fold the waste knitting back towards the machine. Pick up the stitches and place them in the hooks of the needles, including both loops when you reach the transferred stitches. The waste yarn is easily unravelled and your decreased stitches are evenly spaced across the work.

Float on

Dear Anne

I design a lot of my own punchcards and on my chunky machine, six-stitch floats are a bit long for a neat finish on the back of my work. Worse still are those even longer floats, which are sometimes unavoidable. There’s a limit to how many ‘odd dots’ I can put in here and there without spoiling the effect, so do you have any ideas? Many thanks and Happy New Year to one and all. Best wishes, Maggie

Thanks for asking Maggie and the usual thing we do is pick up the loops. After knitting the row that creates the long floats, use a single transfer tool to lift the middle of the float onto the needle above it. Push the appropriate needle forward, but not too far out of working position. Place the long loop in the open hook along with the newly-formed stitch, then push the needle back in line. If the float falls in a similar place on subsequent rows, don’t use the same needle each time. Move to an adjacent needle left or right so the loops are staggered and this will give a smoother result. Simply knit across the next row in the usual way. You should find that the long loops are safely caught up and their length is effectively halved. Using chunky weight yarn and a Fair Isle pattern, it’s almost undetectable from the front. As it’s done as you go along, there’s not much extra work. If there aren’t too many rows with long floats, you can always mark the punchcard so you’ll know when to stop.

Chase a rainbow

Dear Anne

As I’m fortunate enough to own a freestanding linker, I do a lot of stitch-to-stitch joining when making up garments. I’ve always found it easiest to work using a nylon cord for the first row of waste knitting, so I bought two of the multi-coloured packs to make sure I don’t run out. Last May, our daughter presented us with twin grandsons, so I’d lots of little garments to make. I found that I was constantly tripping over the ends of the ravel cords. So I cut both yellow cords into quarters, the pink cords into thirds and the green cords into half, leaving the blue and white cords full length. This gives me lots of versatility and I can easily identify the length by the colour. Yours sincerely, Judith

Card trick

Dear Anne Since my husband died I’ve had to cut back, so I’ve been saving birthday and Christmas cards to make my own gift tags. I know some punches will cut straight through, but others need a small hole pierced with a pin before they’ll do the job. I tie them on with a bit of fancy Lurex yarn. I keep the punch sharp by simply punching holes in fine sandpaper. As Joan Lafferty would say: “The oldies are always the best”! I’ve many fond memories of her and love her articles in the magazine. Sincerely, Joyce in Horsham, not far from where Joan lived

Drop shot

Dear Anne

The other day I’d just come to the very last row of a fairly complicated Fair Isle when the lot dropped off the machine! As we all know, hooking it all back pulls on the stitches so I held the knitting carefully. I threaded a bodkin (wool needle) with nylon cord and carefully eased it through each stitch, before hooking it all back on the machine. It worked really well, as the nylon cord slid smoothly through the stitches without pulling. It’s definitely an idea to put in the memory bank. Best wishes, Claudia in Epson