Ring in the new

Posted on

Dear Readers

Many of you will know that I’ve been friends with Hilary at Busy Bee for most of the time she ran the business with her mum, Barbara. Life has dealt Hilary and her family more than its fair share of knocks and we’ve seen our children grow up together. You can imagine, therefore, Hilary sharing her joy with me that Laura is now married to Liam. Laura looked amazing, the sun shone and everyone shared their joy. The last dance was The Proclaimers ‘500 miles’, by which time Laura was in flip flops and they danced their hearts out. All through the day guests turned up, everyone got on and the happiness was just infectious. They had two wedding cakes – a stack of pork pies and a mountain of cheese, to get the party going! I’ve included some photos in Dear Anne this month and it’s so good to share this special time in their lives. As Hilary said: “We’re the proudest parents ever”. The photos were taken by ER Photography and you’ll find them at www.erphotography.co.uk

I’m now going to pass on the sad news, for anyone interested, that we may lose the Guild of Machine Knitters in the very near future. To give you the facts, I’ll reproduce here part of the letter from Chairman Liz Holness which was published in the November 2018 issue of the Guild Newsletter and she writes:

“I was reading a magazine recently (Third Age Matters) and a headline jumped out at me. It said: “Our capital is our volunteers” and that equally applies to the Guild. It doesn’t matter how much money we have in the bank, if there are no volunteers we are nothing. So, here we are again, one year on and probably in a worse position than this time last year. The lack of volunteers to help us by doing anything at all is still causing problems and in six short months we’ll not have a Chairman, Vice Chairman or Treasurer. The Secretary and Membership Secretary simply can’t manage on their own. Through lack of volunteers we’ve already withdrawn from all exhibitions with effect from the end of October and we haven’t been able to implement many of the changes we’d planned. It’s so sad and disappointing that all the efforts of members over the last 20 years are being allowed to fall by the wayside and the Guild to just fade away. We always assumed that there would be others following in our footsteps and taking up the mantle, but it’s just not happening.

“When I took over as Chairman in 2010, I never dreamt that we would be in this position and I never thought I would have to write such a negative and gloomy message to you all. Please think seriously about the future of the Guild and let us know what you think we should do, because one thing is certain… we can’t go on as we are! One thing is fairly obvious. If we don’t hear from any of you, we’ll sadly need to turn our attention to what needs to be done to close down the Guild”.

If you can help in any way, do please call me and between us, we may be able to offer the Guild a lifeline. So, with much ahead of us, all that remains is to wish you a very happy New Year, which is filled with good health and contentment throughout 2019. Until next time, my compliments of the season to you all.

NEXT ISSUE

February 2019

Subscription copies sent out Thursday 3rd January

On sale Thursday 10th January

Ask your newsagent to reserve a copy now or order a subscription from us.

January 2019 – Issue 252

Posted on

We ring in the new with a perfect top for party time on the cover. There’s a sleeveless version and they’d both look great as summer knits. We also include instructions for converting all our patterns for knitting on standard gauge machine​s​. We’ve Anne Baker’s mermaid ‘fishtail’ pattern in small and large sizes to fit all mums and girls, a snuggle bag for babies, lots of chunky knits and meercat mischief with a toy pattern for these cute critters. Sally-Ann Carroll adds a pop of colour to our knitted wardrobe to cheer up cold winter days and Bill King looks at the rack and release technique to knit some fabulous fabrics. We the second of a new 3-part series about using the garter bar for far more than simply turning work. We also have a wonderful story about a reader who has overcome huge hurdles in her life, to become a happy machine knitter. We always ​include news, books and fashion plus special reader prices in our Book Review.

January 2019 – Issue 252

Posted on

This is January 2019 and our current issue.

New subscription If you chose a new subscription, it will start with the February 2019 magazine – to be mailed out to subscribers on Thursday 3rd January.

Subscription bundle If you chose a subscription bundle, it will start with our January 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 February 2019 issue goes out to subscribers on Thursday 3rd January.

December 2018 – Issue 251

Posted on

This is December 2018.

New subscription If you chose a new subscription, it will start with the February 2019 magazine – to be mailed out to subscribers on Thursday 3rd January.

Subscription bundle If you chose a subscription bundle, it will start with our January 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 February 2019 issue goes out to subscribers on Thursday 3rd January.

Dingbats* Earth Series notebooks, green, vegan and fully recyclable

Posted on

Handmade with luxurious paper and attention to detail

 

  

Dingbats* is an eco-friendly notebook brand offering a range of hand crafted notebooks, utilising the knowledge gained from being in the paper trade since 1800.

Dingbats* Earth series notebooks are handmade using only degradable, vegan and recyclable products. It’s the first notebook brand to be issued with vegan certification along with FSC certification as to the origin of the paper used. The Earth Collection highlights three of the planets most fragile ecosystems, The Serengeti, The Great Barrier Reef and Yasuni National Park. Inside each notebook is an in depth infographic on each ecosystem. The notebook covers are PU faux leather (100%) vegan and inside you’ll find two bookmarks, 184 numbered non-perforated pages, 16 micro-perforated pages, 3 index pages, 2 key pages, future log, expandable pocket, elastic closure and last but not least, a  pen holder. Page tabs are a new concept introduced by Dingbats* and inside each Earth Series notebook there’s a guide explaining how to get the most out of it.

Dingbats*Earth Series A5+ Notebooks, £17.95 from Dingbats* Notebooks www.dingbats-notebooks.com

Follow Dingbats Notebooks Facebook Twitter Pinterest Instagram

Winter wonderland

Posted on

Dear Readers

Those of you who know me well (and there are a lot of you!) will chuckle when this magazine arrives. I find it so hard to work on the Christmas issue. We started the patterns way back in the heatwave and the January issue is well on the way. February has to be printed before Christmas to go out on time in the New Year and I’m heading towards our 33rd birthday issue before a mince pie has been made. You’d think I’d had sufficient practice by now!

Thinking about the seasons coming and going brought up a very interesting observation, both during and after our Bournemouth show at the beginning of October. Many visitors came with quite different needs and expectations. In March, everyone has finished packing away the evidence of festivities and machines are reinstated in their familiar places. A lot of clubs don’t meet in December and only just get going in January, so Bournemouth can be the first outing of the year. Having had quite a long break since making last-minute knits, visitors have often ‘lost touch’ with their knitting. They come in March to be inspired and look for ideas to help them start knitting again. Following the long and hot summer break, our Bournemouth visitors in October knew exactly what they wanted to knit and came to buy yarn, patterns and accessories. Anne Croucher spent a while in her Knitting Clinic showing one knitter how to make Christmas Stockings and there was lots of yarn for sale to get her going. When visitors leave, they often thank me for the show and hope I’ll do another the following year. This time, though, they added: “Any chance we can have it in October again?”. Machine Knitting LIVE! has always been organised by machine knitters for machine knitters, so if you’ve a strong opinion about having the Bournemouth Show in March or October, please get in touch as soon as you can.

You’ll see there’s a good selection of patterns this month for mid-gauge and chunky machines. Please don’t throw your hands up in despair if you only use a standard gauge model and like the style, but wish it had been in four ply. For anyone who doesn’t use a charting device, there’s a conversion factor given with each pattern, for both stitches and rows. Multiply the stitches and rows given for your size in the pattern by these numbers and, with a few minor adjustments, you’ll replicate the blocking diagram shapes. Have a trial run and do it just once, perhaps with a baby cardigan or something small. The garment can go in a charity box and you’ll then have the confidence to discover how easy it is to do. With six weeks to go before the ‘big day’, all that remains is for us to fit in a bit of festive knitting before we’re needed in the kitchen!

NEXT ISSUE

January 2019

Subscription copies sent out

Thursday 6th December

On sale

Thursday 13th December

Ask your newsagent to

Reserve a copy – see page 61

 

 

The Silver Standard

Posted on

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!

NEXT ISSUE

November 2018

Subscription copies sent out

Thursday 4th October

On sale

Thursday 11th October

Ask your newsagent to

Reserve a copy – see page 61

 

 

More hints and tips

Posted on

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

Posted on

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!