The Silver Standard

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Dear Readers

I had the most heart-warming conversation recently with Norman Whitfield. Many of you will remember his beautiful Passap knitting in MKM, including his ever-popular polo insert and necklines. He called to tell me that his grand-daughter, Nicole, has started a small craft business. It’s based online, with a presence on Facebook and Etsy. With help from grandpa and mum, Norman’s daughter Susan, Nicole has designed some dummy clips, knitted on his Passap E6000. She’s called her business Bairn Designs and you can read more on Page 9.

The family collaboration started some months ago, after Nicole had a dream. Norman has machine knitted for as long as Nicole can remember and, as a youngster, she sat on his knee helping to push and pull the locks. Over the years, they’ve worked on a number of small projects together, so Nicole spent a while wondering if her dream might come true. She always loved learning from her grandpa so, after months of them trying different stitch sizes and yarn weights, they’ve come up with the product in Newsline and there are lots of lovely colours. Most of all, Nicole has enjoyed spending time with her grandparents, popping over for lunch and to develop the product. I’m also sure Norman and his wife loved seeing their grand-daughter and great grandchildren, too! It’s a lovely family story and shows how our craft is truly being passed down through the generations.

Since my last letter, I’ve visited Silver Viscount in their new premises and, my goodness, the company has grown beyond all my expectations. Anyone thinking machine knitting has died should take a look at their stocks of knitting machines and accessories. There’s rack after rack piled top to bottom from floor to a very high ceiling. The pristine new boxes of sewing and knitting machines and every spare part imaginable are waiting to be dispatched. Long may they continue to distribute genuine and original Silver Reed knitting machines, accessories and parts. We all need to support Silver, to make sure our beloved craft remains sustainable for generations to come. One final thing to remind you is that whilst stocks last, Forsell Pure Wool is on sale with a staggering reduction of 50% on all cones, plus shipping at cost, of course. There’s 4-ply hand-wash at £5.31 for 500g and Slalom Aran at £8.43 for 1000g. Superwash 2-ply is £3.17 for 250g, 3-ply is £4.34 for 350g, 4-ply is £6.28 for 500g and DK is £7.66 for 500g. Call Jackie or Rosie now on 01933-311888 for full details and, most definitely, knit happy!


November 2018

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Thursday 4th October

On sale

Thursday 11th October

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Reserve a copy – see page 61



More hints and tips

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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


Handy Hints

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Shot at dawn

Dear Anne

I’ll be shot for sending you this, but I’d like to remind the youngsters that right from the start, MKM has always been there for all of us knitters. I so miss the hints Joan Lafferty tucked away in her articles so you might like to find a bit of room in the magazine for a few of these ‘oldies’. It’ll remind all of us that there’s nothing new under the sun. I know we’ve to move with the times and we need the youngsters in the spotlight. But many of us have had MKM since the very first issue and I’d like to think we’ve helped to keep it all going, so the young ones have MKM now. Thank you Anne and please keep our magazine going. Yours sincerely, Ivis

Handy hints

  • Should you punch the wrong square, fill the hole in with one of the little discs and secure it back and front with a tiny piece of Sellotape. Make sure though that you don’t cover one of the holes you need either side of it.
  • When putting a single motif on a card leave at least two blank rows before punching the final joining rows, or don’t even bother with the joining rows. The plain rows let you know when you’ve finished the motif, but it can often be shorter than the 36 rows you need for joining the card.
  • When joining up a card you’ve punched for the first time, note where the clips are inserted and put a mark on the edge of the card. Then you’ll know where to put them next time.
  • We all know that cards are marked in squares rather than oblongs, so when designing we can use normal graph paper, rather than the stitch-related kind. But if you’re trying to copy a design from a Japanese card to the Passap, be careful! Passap cards rotate once every two rows, but Japanese cards rotate every row. In Bird’s-eye Fair Isle the pattern is squashed a bit, but even so you still need to remove some rows from a Japanese pattern for the design come out the right length.
  • If you’ve a Japanese punch as well as one for the Passap, use it to punch the outer holes of pattern on a Passap card. It’s easier on your hand than a heavy Passap punch. Japanese punches aren’t long enough to reach the centre of a Passap card, so you still need to use a Passap punch for the centre.
  • If holes are not punched cleanly or are hard to cut, the punch may be getting blunt, so roughen it with some medium sandpaper. It won’t need much, so try it out on an off-cut of card until it becomes sharp again.
  • Finally, don’t forget to empty the little box of bits! When it gets full, it can be hard to get off and then it pings open all of a sudden. Empty the box into a small paper bag, otherwise the bits will go everywhere. If they get on the carpet the Hoover doesn’t want to know and you’ll be picking the odd few up for weeks to come!

Essential autumn knitting

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Dear Readers

I’ve lots of news to pass on, so I’ll start with a request for you to knit for charity. You’ll read in Clubline that the Scottish Machine Knitters have linked up with a charity which needs some trauma teddies, so let’s do what we can to help. When you’re making them, do remember that the teddies don’t have to be perfect specimens. A few years ago, we sent out a batch to help war stricken children and when the shipment arrived, one small girl pounced on a teddy. She knew it had been made especially for her, as one leg was shorter than the other and she’d lost part of one of her legs treading on a land mine. These teddies can do so much to help and full details are on Page 10.

I’ve been in touch with David Hampson at The Wool Cabin and his doctors have told him it’s vital that he takes a compulsory break from work. David has asked me to thank all the customers who travelled for miles to see him at Glossop Market and at Chorley Market. Trading at both outlets will be suspended from the end of November until sometime in February 2019. David would like me to thank you for your support and he looks forward to seeing you all again next year. We wish David a full and lasting recovery. In the meantime, you can continue to visit his son Jason at The Wool Cabin in Chesterfield and mail order will still be available.

I spoke recently to my long-standing friend, Yvonne Knapman, who tells me that Heather’s Hair is to close. We wrote about this thoroughly worthwhile charity back in 2015. It helps people with hair loss due to chemotherapy treatment or illness. The driving force behind it is Mrs Iva-Mary Cripps and she now has to retire and move North to be closer to her family. It means the end of the little local team in Devon, who have been making the individual hairpieces. There are still some stocks and a hope that someone may take on the commitment so, before it’s too late, do visit

Finally, our thoughts must now turn to another of my long-standing friends, Sue Castro. I have to pass on the very sad news that her husband, Ion, died peacefully at St Michael’s Hospice on 30th August 2018, aged 69 years, after a short but devastating illness. After the huge burden Sue has had to bear for so many years, she now needs time and space to try to get her life back on track. Please cancel any of her club visits you may have in your diary and I know you’ll all join me in sending our sincere condolences to Sue and their children. Come back to us when you can Sue and you’re in all our thoughts and prayers.



December 2018

Subscription copies sent out Thursday 1st November

On sale Thursday 8th November

Ask your newsagent to reserve a copy now



November 2018 – Issue 250

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This is November 2018 and our current issue.

New subscription If you chose a new subscription, it will start with the December 2018 magazine – to be mailed out to subscribers on Thursday 1st November.

Subscription bundle If you chose a subscription bundle, it will start with the current issue, our November magazine and we’ll send you a copy straight away. Your magazine will then be mailed direct from the printer on the first Thursday of each month and the December 2018 issue goes out to subscribers on Thursday 1st November.

Bournemouth Show – 6th October

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Anne Croucher
26 September at 21:54
I hope that anyone who can come along to the knitting exhibition, Machine Knitting LIVE! in Bournemouth on the 6th of next month is making plans to spend the day amongst like minded enthusiasts. It had to be postponed at the beginning of March this year, due to the dreadful weather, so we have had to wait for our ‘fix’ of spares and yarn. I am just hoping that nothing else happens to disrupt proceedings, and that I can set up the usual demos at the end of the corridor.

Machine Knitting LIVE! Bournemouth is on Saturday 6th October

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Bournemouth School for Girls will welcome us all to Machine Knitting LIVE! next week. You’ll remember that we had to cancel the show at the beginning of March, when much of the country was covered in snow and ice. So many missed this great event and we’re delighted that our much-loved show will take place on Saturday 6th October 2018.

Bournemouth School for Girls in Castle Gate Close, Castle Lane West, Bournemouth BH8 9UJ and the show opens from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm. The school is on the A3060 (Castle Lane West) and once you reach Castlepoint Shopping Centre on the right, continue straight. First left is East Way, then take the next left turn into Castle Gate Close. Everything is on one level so disabled access is easy. If you want to bring a non-knitting friend, Castlepoint is a good dropping off point for shopping and free parking.

Our exhibitors include Andee Knits bringing her shop to the show. She’ll have machines and accessories, books and patterns, spares and yarn. Anne Croucher is our machine expert and she’ll hold a Knit Clinic to help with any problems. Arnold Bennett is our button man and B Hague & Co Ltd bring all their linkers, twisters, winders and accessories. Bill King will have his machine and lots of samples to show you what to do and how to do many of his Masterclass techniques. David and Jason Hampson bring The Wool Cabin to the show with not-to-be-missed bargains on packs of quality yarns at knock-down prices. Designers Elaine Cater and Nina Miklin will bring their designs, books and patterns. The Guild of Machine Knitters will be there, as well as Wendy Piper and her Knits ‘n’ Bits selection of used machines and accessories at bargain prices. Nick Traylen will bring a huge selection of coned and balled yarn from Uppingham Yarns and Anne will have Machine Knitting Monthly current magazines, back issues, binders and Anjo Patterns.

We’ve displays and demonstrations from four knitting clubs – Carbery in Christchurch, Fleet in Hampshire, Middlesex and Ringwood with some wonderful ideas to inspire you.

Guest Speaker at 11.00 am is Fiona Morris, talking for the first time about her life in knitting and we’ve a Combined Fashion Show in the early afternoon compered by Carbery’s Joy Hopkins.

The School Canteen opens all day with hot and cold meals, snacks and drinks.

Do come and join us and tickets are available on the door.