Chill out

Hello Anne

I hope this email finds you fit and well and thank you for the mention in the March edition of MKM. It’s brilliant of you and thanks also for the article on full needle ribs. I’m as indecisive as ever and know I’ll just have to try to do them. In the meantime, I’ve been asked to knit some mittens for children. It’s many years since I’ve done mittens and I can’t fully remember how the thumb was done. All the patterns now seem to be for hand knitting so is there any way you could help me again, please? Keep up the good work and many, many thanks, Marilyn

We surprised ourselves, Marilyn at just how long ago we may have published a straightforward pattern for children’s mittens, so here’s a stash box knit. Knit them on any standard gauge machine with a ribber or work ribs in mock rib. You’ll need an oddment of 3-ply wool or fine 4-ply plus safety pins and stitch holders. The tension is fairly tight, to keep the child’s hands nice and warm.

Measurements Length 16 [17.5, 19] cm, 6½ [7, 7½] in.

Tension 30 stitches and 44 rows to 10 cm, 4 in measured over stocking stitch with tension dial around 5.

RIGHT MITTEN With carriage at right and using MY, cast on 36 [40, 44] sts at centre of machine in 1×1 rib. K 5 tubular rows. Carriage is at right. Set machine for 1×1 rib knitting. Set RC at 000. Using MT-3/MT-3, K 24 rows. Transfer sts for st st. Set RC at 000. Using MT, K 2 rows. Shape sides by inc 1 st (2 sts in) at each end on next and every foll 4th row until there are 44 [48, 52] sts. K 3 rows. K 1 row extra for Left Mitten *.

** Thumb opening Using a length of WY, K 7 [8, 9] sts at extreme left as for a buttonhole. K 20 [24, 28] rows. Shape top Push 22 [24, 26] Ns at left to HP. Cont on rem sts. When shaping in HP, always take yarn round first inside N in HP to prevent a hole forming and push 1 N at opposite end to carriage to HP on next 10 [12, 14] rows. Break off yarn. Push Ns to HP. With carriage at left, push 22 [24, 26] Ns at left from HP to UWP. Push 1 N at opposite end to carriage to HP on next 10 [12, 14] rows. Break off yarn. Push all Ns from HP to UWP. K 1 row. Slip sts onto 2 stitch holders and graft. THUMB Place 7 [8, 9] st loops from thumb opening on 2 safety pins. Push 15 [17, 19] Ns to WP. With P side facing, replace sts from safety pins on to 7 [8, 9] Ns at each edge and pick up 1 st at centre. Using MY, K 18 [20, 22] rows. Break off yarn, leaving long end. Thread end through sts, release from machine, draw up sts and secure **.

LEFT MITTEN Work as for Right Mitten to * noting alteration in number of rows worked, then from ** to ** reversing shaping by reading right for left. Join side and thumb seams. Press.

Test strip

Dear Anne

I am in need of sponge strips for the sponge bars on my Toyota KS901 machine, plus Toyota KR506 ribber. Could it cause problems (size-wise) for my machines if I buy a different well-known or cheaper brand, or could the foam be unsuitable? As I wanted three, the cheaper ones look tempting but may be penny-wise, pound foolish. Would it therefore be best to purchase branded Toyota? I am at a loss what to do, as it is the first purchase for my machines so I would appreciate any advice you can offer. I managed to collect a lot of MKM from long ago and I love reading them, especially the tips and I am very keen to start knitting! Thank you, Marjorie

Thanks for writing Marjorie and Toyota machines are seriously obsolete, so there are no original branded Toyota sponge bars for sale. However, you can buy replacement needle retaining bars which will also fit Toyota or Brother machines from Uppingham Yarns and they’ll do the job for you. Call Uppingham on 01572-823747, write to them at 30 North Street East, Uppingham, Rutland LE15 9QL and you’ll find details of sponge bars at www.wools.co.uk

July 2021 update

Dear Readers

I’ve spoken to many of you this month and there’s been lots of activity, but not much of it has involved sitting at a machine. It seems that knitting rooms are being turned back into bedrooms along with gardens and conservatories rearranged, to welcome family members not seen for a very long time. Everyone is really looking forward to meeting up again, but we usually give up our knitting rooms at Christmas, not in the summer! Right now, a lot of unused and unwanted tools and equipment needs a new home and most of us are reluctant to simply throw it away.

It’s a while since I mentioned them, so let me remind you about TWAM, short for Tools With A Mission. It’s a Christian charity that collects unwanted tools and equipment. Items are refurbished and sorted into kits that, today, go to five countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. They work in close partnership with local grassroots organisations. To get someone started, a knitting machine kit will include a machine, a bag of yarn, patterns, useful items and accessories. Similarly, a sewing machine kit will include either a manual, electric or treadle machine plus cottons, needles, zips, buttons and other haberdashery. There’s a constant need for things we no longer need that others would find incredibly useful. Why send tools not money? Simply because you’ve to keep sending money, but one tool kit can provide work and a sustainable livelihood for life.

TWAM has a national network of volunteer collectors, who will either pick tools up from you or act as a drop off point. There’s also an ongoing need for tools from gardens, garages and workshops plus computers and IT equipment. The list is comprehensive so visit the website to see what’s needed, find your nearest volunteer collector or refurbishment centre. The head office is at 2 Bailey Close, Hadleigh Road Industrial Estate, Ipswich, Suffolk IP2 0UD. They’re open Monday to Friday from 9.00 am to 4.30 pm but with Covid restrictions in place, you must ring first. Their number is 01473-210220 or email post@twam.uk Instead of a trip to the tip, make TWAM your first port of call and help others to help themselves. Until next time, enjoy the sun when you see it, or be washed away by the rain as I am right now!

NEXT ISSUE

September 2021

Subscription copies sent out Thursday 5th August

On sale Thursday 12th August

Ask your newsagent to reserve a copy now!

August 2021 (Issue 283) with an Alison Dupernex Designer Special

Our full-colour August 2021 issue has a quick and easy summer top on the cover, in a new blend of 4-ply Bamboo and Cotton. We’ve our usual mix of designs and we always tell you how to knit all our patterns on standard gauge machines. This month, Designer Special shines the spotlight on Alison Dupernex and her great stash-buster design uses three shades of 4-ply cone ends. We’ve a quick and easy top for Passap machines, as well as showing you lots of ways to change the neckline on a Passap design. Iris Rowe knits the final animals to fill her Noah’s Ark. Susan Guagliumi has free downloads for everything you need for machine knitting and Nina Miklin’s cashmere yarn offer comes to an end. We take a comprehensive look at setting up and checking the alignment of a ribber and Sally Butcher shows Silver Reed and Knitmaster knitters how to knit Diana Sullivan’s Enchanted Edgings, specific to Brother machines. If any of your knits are looking tame, Sally-Ann Carroll has some great animal prints for you to roar into the autumn and we’re all asking how Bill King has made only selected needles rack across a row. There’s always lots of help and advice in Dear Anne plus news, reviews and club details for lots of ideas and inspiration.

Outworkers needed urgently


Editor Anne writes:-

I’ve been speaking to a knitwear designer who desperately needs some outworkers based in the UK. Until recently she had a wonderful small team of domestic machine knitters, but last year three of them retired after many years of happy knitting and a fourth is unable to knit at present, whilst recovering from a major illness.

She’d very much like to keep her business going, which she loves and adores. She arranges for work to be collected by a courier every couple of weeks or so and uses the same company to deliver yarn.

She has a large order to complete for the end of August and another for September, so there’s lots of urgent knitting to be done.

The shapes are plain and simple stocking stitch, or have a small amount of Fair Isle pattern. A standard gauge machine with patterning facility is a good start.

If you think you’d like to help, please email me with your name and address plus a phone number. I’ll pass on every response and the designer will contact you personally. You can then discuss everything in detail and hopefully, we can all rally round.

As a reminder, my email address is mail@machineknittingmonthly.net and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

June 2021 update

Dear Readers

It’s been a good month, as news begins to trickle through that clubs are planning to meet up again. The lockdown isn’t over, but we’re starting to see light shining at the end of a long dark tunnel. We’ve begun to add changes to our Clubs Directory, but it’s going to be a few months before the list will be anything like up-to-date. As soon as you’ve any news, do please let me know and I’ll update everything as quickly as I can.

 Last month’s Dream Machine feature has brought lots of response, as many of you want to knit a baby’s shawl. I’ve included one for Silver Reed, Brother and Toyota machines and you’ll find it in Dear Anne on Page 12. The centre square isn’t the problem, it’s how to shape the mitres at the corners of the border. There’s not much coned 3-ply white acrylic to be had these days, but Uppingham Yarns has a high bulk 1-ply acrylic in Optic White. It’s ideal for a baby’s shawl, as the yarn is soft and machine washable. This 1-ply 2/28 Nm yarn, also known as 2/30s, was previously on big 1265 gram cones and the 17,710 metres went a long way! We can now buy it on 250 or 500 gram cones. It’s been tried, tested and well-loved by machine knitters for years, so you can’t go wrong. Knit two strands together for a 3-ply thickness and three strands will make a lovely 4-ply fabric. There’s a huge colour range and you’ll find details on the website at www.wools.co.uk or call 01572-823747.

One of our two Designer Special patterns this month is from Beverley Ward, known to us all as the designer and name behind In-Ex. Beverley and I have been friends since the heady four-day Nationwide Shows. I remember visitors flocking to her stand for her latest patterns and one design in particular was a firm favourite. You’ll find it on Page 31 and I can guarantee that those of you who bought a Shadow Pleated Steaming Kit will be rummaging in your knitting room to dig it out. Sadly they’re no longer available, but using it will give Beverley’s lovely top a superb finish. I can’t thank her enough for sharing it with us and do catch up with her at www.etsy.com/uk/shop/BeverleyWardDesigns

My final thank you this month is to our own, wonderful Bill King. He’s stretched his imagination and extended his iconic Gold Star top to give a longer, more draped silhouette. Tie it in any number of ways, or leave it to fall into graceful points. His design is on Page 41 and if you thought you knew how to knit cables, I guarantee that Bill’s Masterclass feature on Page 56 will open your eyes a little wider. With clubs starting up again, there’s growing confidence that our freedom to meet and mingle is set to return, so let’s all smile and knit happy!

NEXT ISSUEAugust 2021

Subscription copies sent out Thursday 1st July

On sale Thursday 8th July

Ask your newsagent to reserve a copy or order a subscription now

July 2021 (Issue 282) with designs by Bill King and Beverley Ward, the name behind In-Ex

Our full-colour July 2021 issue has an easy summer top on the cover, with all the colours of the rainbow in just one ball. We’ve our usual mix of designs and we always tell you how to knit all our patterns on standard gauge machines. This month, Designer Special shines the spotlight on two of our top designers with their original designs for standard gauge machines. We’ve a new Bill King design, as well as a sideways-knitted shadow-pleated top from Beverley Ward, the name behind In-Ex. We’ve a quick and easy top for Passap machines and Iris Rowe has knitted more animals to fill her Noah’s Ark. Susan Guagliumi has free downloads for everything you need for machine knitting and Nina Miklin has a great yarn offer. We take a comprehensive look at the Brother KA-8300 transfer carriage and Joan Lafferty bends the rules with some personal techniques that worked for her. Sally-Ann Carroll has some great summer looks for anyone who can get away, or stay at home for a break. If you thought you knew how to knit cables, I guarantee that Bill King will open your eyes a little wider!There’s always lots of help and advice in Dear Anne plus news, reviews and club details for lots of ideas and inspiration.

July 2021 new subscriptions

This is July 2021 and our latest issue

NEW SUBSCRIPTION If you’d like a monthly subscription to the magazine, no money will be taken with your order and it will start next month with the August 2021 magazine, to be mailed out to subscribers on Thursday 1st July. If you’d like to start with this July magazine, please buy it as a back issue.

Get Stitching!

Fabric transformation of Llangollen Bridge

The world-renowned Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod (LIME) is calling out for people to help transform the landmark Llangollen Bridge into a giant work of art to launch this year’s festival.

The Eisteddfod has commissioned internationally renowned artist Luke Jerram to create the new artwork. He plans to wrap the 60 metre-long bridge in a giant patchwork reflecting the crafts and cultures of Wales alongside the festival’s participating nations. Whilst the festival will mainly be held online this year, organisers hope the eye-catching Festival Bridge will also attract people to visit the town this summer.

Held in Llangollen every summer since 1947, the Eisteddfod is a truly international cultural festival with a world-class diverse programme that celebrates a message of international peace and friendship through singing, dancing and performance.

Luke Jerram’s new bridge artwork will connect and extend the Eisteddfod’s creativity out from the field where it is normally held each year into the town, transforming and animating Llangollen for the whole world to see.

The festival is offering anyone, from local residents in the area and fans of the Eisteddfod to the friends and families of people participating, the chance to get involved.  They are asking for 1m x 1m fabric squares which will be stitched together into a giant patchwork and hung over the bridge. Ideally the patches should be bold in design, so the image stands out when seen from a distance.

People are asked to submit their patchwork by 30 June 2021 and to visit https://international-eisteddfod.co.uk/ for details, information and terms and conditions.

Creating an ever-changing artwork, depending on the angle, light and weather conditions, the bridge will become an incredible sight to view and visit and a powerful symbol connecting this year’s online festival with its physical roots. Even the water below it will be transformed with the reflections and colours from the bridge.

Usually attracting over 4,000 performers from around the world and 35,000 visitors to Llangollen, this year’s unique celebration of global peace and harmony will be largely held online in July 2021, with the main programme being presented over the weekend of the 9th to 11th July.

In keeping with the Eisteddfod’s tradition of celebrating of the broadest possible range of musical genres from classical, opera and choral, to jazz, soul and rock, this year’s online programme will continue to share the message of peace and connect with existing and new audiences in preparation for its physical return in 2022.

May 2021 update

Dear Readers

It won’t be long before you read the sad news on Page 9 that David Hilton has died. He survived Phyllis for just six months and I’d spoken to him recently, so the news was as much of a shock to me as it had been to members of his family. Whilst we all thought that Phyllis and David sat for much of their time in front of knitting machines, they actually spent lots of evenings doing jigsaw puzzles. David also loved playing cards, especially at Christmas or when they enjoyed a family Sunday lunch. At the last Bournemouth Show, David came to see me on the Friday evening. He’d phoned earlier in the week and I arranged for the huge number of garments Phyllis and David had made over all the years to be donated to Julia’s House children’s hospice. Their designs were then used to raise funds to provide support for families caring for children with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions. Even then his health wasn’t good, but he made several taxi journeys to bring in all the beautifully kept garments.

David cared for Phyllis at home until his amputation meant she had to be moved into a care home with vascular dementia. Although they spoke on the phone, his health problems and Covid-19 restrictions meant that they were unable to see each other again before she died. It was a truly sad ending for a devoted couple and I’m pleased to have spent the time I did chatting to him. One thing never revealed is their generous financial support for the Bournemouth Show. Even when they no longer came as exhibitors, they’d pop in for a few minutes with a contribution in a ‘plain brown envelope’, but specifically asked that it wasn’t made public. Now they’ve both passed, I’d like to record my personal thanks for their unwavering support and may they together rest in peace.

There’s one other important thing to mention this month and it’s the very special offer you’ll find on Page 23. Nina Miklin has slashed the price of her Cesari and Maestro cashmere blends to just £42 for any 350 gram cone. There are assorted colours and qualities in the offer and she’s also including free postage and a free PDF pattern for you to download. While stocks last, it’s a great opportunity to buy a cone of beautiful yarn at such a low price. There are also unwelcome big price rises in the pipeline for many of the yarns sold by suppliers who support the magazine. They’ll no doubt start to come through at the end of May, so don’t be caught out by waiting too long to stock up.

Finally, I’d like to pass on my sincere thanks to all the contributors who have helped me to put this issue together. With summer on the horizon, hopefully better days are ahead for us all so, until next month, knit happy.

NEXT ISSUE – July 2021

Subscription copies sent out Thursday 3rd June

On sale Thursday 10th June

Ask your newsagent to reserve a copy or order a subscription now