Midwest Machine Knitters Collaborative (MMKC)

We’re holding an event open to all machine knitters : MMKC Founders’ Fest Seminar with MaryAnne Oger, Sandee Cherry and Carole Wurst demonstrating The date is Saturday and Sunday, 25th and 26th July 2015 at the Textile Center of Minnesota, 3000 University Avenue SE, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55414 USA. For Registration and additional information those interested can go to our website: http://www.midwestmachineknitters.org/events/foundersfest/ or contact us at mmkc.mn@gmail.com.

MMKC was founded by Dee Kupka, Jane Niemi and Maria Ann Youngs : kicking off our organization in December 2011. Our focus is to provide fun, interest, appreciation, education, inspiration, and camaraderie in the art of machine knitting. Many thanks! Dee Kupta

If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it – change the way you think about it.
Mary Engelbreit

Spring fashion car Boot-ique fair coming to Plymouth

Each car boot will aim to offer consumers a unique experience in styling, demos, new spring collections and collaborations. From exclusive vintage pieces to making your own bath bomb, the event will be truly one-of-a-kind. Joining the Drake Circus retailers will be Plymouth College of Art, who will be showcasing items from their #livemake campaign and demonstrating the art of dress-making from the boot of a Mini! St Luke’s Hospice will also use one of the cars to sell stylish vintage pieces. The charity Car Boot promises to be packed with some hidden gems.
Greg Lumley, Centre Director, Drake Circus said: “We are passionate about bringing the very best shopping and exciting experiences to Plymouth. We are really looking forward to the car Boot-ique event in our centre and the unique interactive fashion experience it will offer.”
Nicola Critchley Head of Business Development and Retail Operations St Luke’s Hospice said: ““You can pick up some really beautiful items in our charity shops and we are delighted at this opportunity on Wednesday 27th May to showcase pieces which will compliment up-to-the-minute high street fashions in such an unique way.”
Adam Crawford Manager Lush said: ““This is a fantastic opportunity to be creative with our product and give customers an unforgettable experience. We will be teaching customers how to make their very own personalised bath bombs out of a car boot which we know will be a super fun activity! We are really looking forward to seeing the creative ideas that the other stores have come up with put into action.”
Drake Circus will also be offering lucky customers the chance to win a £200 Drake Circus gift card each day simply enter via Facebook Twitter or Instagram for your chance to win. For more details please visit www.drakecircus.com

Boot-ique retailers schedule
Wednesday 27th May
Next – occasion wear; Primark – festival; Lush – make your own bath bomb; Ann Summers – swimwear; Plymouth College of Art – live dress-making demos; St Luke’s – vintage gems
Thursday 28th May Oasis – V&A collaboration; Next – occasion wear; Primark – festival; Lush – make your own bath bomb; Plymouth College of Art – live dress-making demos; Ann Summers – swimwear
Friday 29th May Top Shop & Top Man – vintage styling and make-overs; Satori – HD brows and nail art; Oasis – V&A collaboration; Next – occasion wear; Primark -festival; Plymouth College of Art – live dress-making demos
Saturday 30th May Fat Face – day trip and holiday wardrobe; Top Shop & Top Man – vintage styling and make-overs; Primark – festival; Next – occasion wear; Satori – HD brows and nail art; Plymouth College of Art – live dress-making demos

Drake Circus has over 70 of the UK’s top brand names including Marks and Spencer Primark Mothercare Next Superdry and Topshop. The shopping centre is located in the centre of Plymouth and is easily accessible by car with over 1 200 parking spaces and by public transport. Drake Circus is open daily 9.00 am to 6.00 pm; Thursday 9.00 am to 8.00 pm; Sunday 10.30 am to 4.30 pm. Drake Circus is home to Shopmobility which provide powered scooters and manual wheelchairs if required during visits. For further information visit www.drakecircus.com or find on Twitter @drakecircusplym or Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Drake-Circus-Shopping-Centre

Diamonds and Oak

Feeling fortunate to have everything they need, they asked those who would like to give them a gift to donate money towards the Framework Knitters Museum. They’ve both been linked to the textile industry throughout their careers and are now Trustees at the Museum. After starting a knitwear business, Audrey went on to advise larger women on what suited them, launched Pretty Big magazine, hosted fashion shows at Harrods and House of Fraser stores and had her own weekly show on QVC.

Andrew has also had a distinguished career in textiles. He’s a Chartered Textile Technologist, Fellow of the Textile Institute, a Chartered Colour Chemist, a Fellow of the Society of Dyers & Colourists and a Livery Member of the Worshipful Company of Framework Knitters. They’re both still working on the Museum’s behalf and Museum Manager Paul Baker said, “It is inspiring to have people such as Andrew and Audrey involved in the museum and I know everyone is eternally grateful for the work they do and especially for this amazing act of generosity”. For more information about the Framework Knitters Museum including opening times visit www.frameworkknittersmuseum.org.uk

Calling Northumberland

It’s a big county and I would have expected that there would be a few people interested in machine knitting. I know that there’s a club South of the Tyne but are there any North of the Tyne? Best wishes, Peter Robinson
We know from our subscribers that a number of you knit in that part of the country so if you organise a club, or get together to knit ‘n’ natter, then please let us know and we’ll spread the word.

Spring Clean

Brushing After every garment piece brush the tension discs and behind the tension plate. Brush the needle beds, channels and colour changer. We hear many complaints about back bed pushers but none about front pushers, so we suspect this main trouble lies in the back pusher channels. Bring the pushers out and brush the channel while you hold it open and again when it’s closed. Return the pushers and brush again. Remove front lock and brushes. Remove any fluff. Make sure you push the brushes back home then replace the lock.
Oiling Oil the back pushers, back needle butts, back lock channel, front lock channel, front pushers, racking handle, screw and sliding part of the colour changer. Don’t oil the front bed needles, as oil from them can seep into the reading channel and get onto the brushes. If the colour changer is not oiled, you could have trouble with it sticking and, consequently, not have a clean changeover. Put a little oil on the tension wires to avoid rusting. There’s no need to oil the locks, because sufficient oil will work through from the lock channels.
Surgical spirit With a cotton bud dipped in surgical spirit, wipe along the front reading channel till it’s clean and then do the back channel. As long as the tension is right and the cones are placed properly you should have no more trouble with yarn pulling tight, sticking pushers, Error 200 or Error 207, rough racking, or back colour change-over.
After every garment In addition to the above, remove the back lock and give it a good brush. Vacuum both the needle beds. Tighten screws on the front lock. If you’re one of the people afraid to use the motor drive, do use it a little without the locks to make sure you keep it in a good state for when you have the courage to use it.
Once a year Give your machine a real spring clean annually or more often if you knit as a business. Remove all pushers and needles, soaking them in surgical spirit and oil. The mix is 1 ml of Bellodor oil to 20 ml of surgical spirit. Now is also the time to wipe the locks with the oil and spirit mixture and then with oil except for the electronic sensor, which is in front of the brushes. Give the empty needle channels a good clean with a vacuum cleaner and then scrub with an old toothbrush dipped in the spirit and oil mixture. Finally replace the dry and clean needles and pushers. Remember to put old newspaper on the floor under the beds and then do a little knitting in waste yarn : just in case!

Fair Isle Knitting

From Alice When knitting in Fair Isle or pattern, make two backs. Run off the neck and shoulder stitches on cotton waste yarn. Steam press the edges then run across the edge of the knitting with a small straight stitch on your sewing machine. Take off the waste at the same time. Stretch the knitting a bit, as you sew. Mark and zigzag the neckline on both back and front. Overlock the edges of shoulder seams if you wish. Pin shoulder seams together, matching pattern if possible and sew across on the slant. Turn back the triangle flaps on the inside and slipstitch them down. This make a very neat seam and the flaps form a small shoulder pad.


From Alice Don’t, unless you want it for other sewing needs. All you truly need is a coloured thread tacked to the neck shape and a zigzag machine stitch. I zigzag with a wide stitch, then zigzag on top with a narrow stitch. It never runs, but is a pig if you need to unpick it. (Smile!)

Competition News

The Knitting and Crochet Guild Archive is an amazing resource with knitted and crocheted samples going back to the 1830s, as well as a huge collection of pattern leaflets and every kind of knitting needle and crochet hook you can imagine. Yarn Stories believe this is an historic collection (arguably larger than the Victoria and Albert Museum) and one that should be treasured. So they’ve come up with a very special design competition for knitters and crocheters from all around the world to enter.

They’ve gathered together a selection of inspirational images of items in the archive on Pinterest. They’d like you to design a 15 cm blanket square in DK yarn, inspired by the archive, which can be created in either knit or crochet.

The competition is now open and closes on 5th June. A judging panel including Debbie Abrahams, Jane Crowfoot and Angharad Thomas from the KCG archive, as well as members of the Yarn Stories team, will choose 10 finalists by the middle of June. Then Yarn Stories will throw open the judging to knitters and crocheters all over the world to vote for their favourite square during July and August. The overall winner, announced on 4th September, will receive £100 of Yarn Stories yarn and each finalist will receive two balls of the Yarn Stories yarn of their choice.

All the finalists’ squares will be put together into a blanket pattern that will be available on the Yarn Stories website, with 50% of the revenue going towards the continued protection and support of the archive. The finished blanket will be at The Knitting & Stitching show in October for you to see. You don’t have to be a guild member to take part, but it’s an organisation Yarn Stories highly recommends you join.

Amanda Crawford, Head Designer at Yarn Stories says: “I have been lucky enough to visit the Knitting & Crochet Guild Archive and it is such an amazing collection. We wanted to do something to support this vital piece of history for knitters and crocheters everywhere. Our competition is a fantastic project and we are very proud to be able to help the archive.”

Entries for the Yarn Stories competition should be sent by email to information@yarnstories.com or posted to:-

Yarn Stories/KCG competition
Spa Mill
New Street
West Yorkshire HD7 5BB

Free Craft Day

The free craft day will run from 11.00 am to 4.00 pm and will be held in the museum chapel. Patterns will be available for experienced knitters, whilst the museum’s hand-knitting machines will enable everyone else to easily create stunning woollen flowers. Felt activities will also be available for smaller children and for those who would like to make two pieces, they can take one home. Refreshments will be available to buy in the chapel and normal admission charges apply if you wish to visit the rest of the museum.

Paul Baker, museum manager, said “When we were invited to get involved with the National Woollen Woods project we jumped at the chance. We can’t wait to see Rushcliffe Park decorated with knitted and crocheted flora and fauna and love the fact that many will have been made by our visitors”.

Woollen Woods is a national initiative organised by Voluntary Arts Week. The aim is to bring outdoor spaces alive with woodland-themed textile artwork in support of the Campaign for Wool. When Eden Arts originally created the concept in 2013 it was just displayed in Cumbrian National Trust Properties. However it has now grown to cover five sites across the UK including Rushcliffe Country Park Nottinghamshire. The outdoor exhibition will be on display from 15th to 24th May 2015. For more information on the project visit www.voluntaryartsweek.org/woollen-woods and for more information on the Campaign for Wool visit www.campaignforwool.org.

The Framework Knitters Museum is the ideal place to create items for this project. Situated in a historic knitters yard it is the only working textile museum in the county. The museum re-launched last year after a £100 000 redevelopment and holds regular special events throughout the year. For information on the museum including admission prices and opening times visit www.frameworkknittersmuseum.org.uk.

Hard times

We were very sad to close our doors, but it was always the same faces who attended every time and there simply were not enough members to pay the costs to hire the hall. I have to ask you to take us off your list of clubs in North Wales. I buy every issue of the magazine and enjoy it, so please continue the good work; we don’t want the same thing to happen to you. Many thanks and best wishes, Ria Bell