December Update

Dear Readers

As you’ll read on Page 10, Doug Bristow’s funeral has taken place and my sadness at his passing has been replaced by many happy memories. A year or two after I first published the magazine, Doug and Brenda opened Heathercraft Knitting Machine Centre and their shop has been running for over 35 years. At that time, machine knitting was one of the most popular crafts. There were a huge number of small shows and large exhibitions up and down the country. Anyone selling anything to do with machine knitting loaded up their vehicle and set off for a day trip or a five-day marathon.

In those heady days, exhibitors soon got to know one another. I was in a small group that included Nick at Uppingham Yarns, John at B Hague & Co, Chris at Riverside Yarns and designer Jan Wright. Doug and Brenda brought up an ‘honourable rear’, as timekeeping was never their forte! After setting up the day before the show, we’d all stay in a Premier Inn (or similar!) and enjoy an evening meal together. It was one such time when the five of us learned that Doug and Brenda had met at a flying club. It was the end of the 60s and Doug would take her on trips when she got her pilot’s licence in 1971. Love blossomed… as they say! The couple were married in September 1973, so were able to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary just before Doug’s passing in October. As their older son Alan said at the funeral, Doug was: “Curious, eclectic, gregarious and intelligent. He was full of mirth, quips and silliness. He was also patient, persistent and always responsible”. Alan describes perfectly the man I knew.

Doug’s funeral was one of those rare events, conducted by someone who actually knew him. For the first time I’ve seen, the coffin remained in view until the very end of the service, not enclosed in faded curtains and lowered on squeaking apparatus crying out for a drop of oil. Everyone was of an age to remember the comedy song written by Eric Idle for Monty Python. Courtesy of the Order of Service, there were all the words. The vicar whistled and joined in the chorus. Toes tapped, hips swayed with the beat and everyone smiled as they sang:-

If life seems jolly rotten

There’s something you’ve forgotten

And that’s to laugh and smile and dance and sing

When you’re feeling in the dumps

Don’t be silly chumps

Just purse your lips and whistle, that’s the thing


Always look on the bright side of life

Always look on the right side of life

The video recording of the service is on Heathercraft’s website ( Brenda tells me she’ll leave it there for a little longer. It’s also her intention to keep the shop open. This lovely man fixed our machines and sorted out our wonky attachments. He found genuine sponge bars, needles and spares for Heathercraft, as well as many other shops in the country. He was also the best-ever dad and husband and a great friend to all those who really knew him. You have our love and support, Brenda, as we send our sincere condolences to you, Alan and Peter, your worldwide family and many friends. Rest in peace, Doug; you were one in a million.

NEXT ISSUE February 2024

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On sale Thursday 11th January

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All the hints and tips for success

I spoke to Joan Fielding-Browne recently and she’s a fabulous offer for you, running right up to Christmas week. I’m not sure all of you know that she has masses of stock in her shop at Galashiels, as well as online. It includes machine cones from King Cole, Woolcraft and Robin, as well as knitting and sewing machines, tables, cabinets and accessories. She has gift packs, knitting patterns and everything for tapestry, crochet and embroidery. Her special promotions cover all crafts and change each week up to Christmas. Visit or, if you’d like to talk to Joan personally, give her a call on 01896-850734.

Reader offers are coming in thick and fast right now, including price reductions on cones for MKM readers and Club Leaders from The Wool Cabin until the January issue goes on sale in December. You can call the order hotline on 07854-121067 or email but make sure you put The Wool Cabin in the subject box. Personal shoppers are always welcome and you’ll find full details on Page 28.

The Knitting Fairy will look after all your crafting and gift needs, The Wool Cabin has yarn bargains and Anne Baker has the perfect Karabee pattern for a mermaid snuggly. It’s quickly knitted with Card 1 on chunky machines. Anne has made one for my little grand-daughter to snuggle up in and it’s gorgeous. There have been hand-knitting versions around for a while, but this is the only one I’ve seen for machine knitting. The pattern has been so popular that Anne has had to add teen and adult sizes. As Sally-Ann would say, it’s ‘bang on trend’ and everything I’ve mentioned is available by post. Order now and all that remains is to settle down to some festive knitting!

January 2017
Subscription copies sent out
Thursday 1st December
On sale
Thursday 8th December
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December 2016
Subscription copies sent out
Thursday 3rd November
On sale
Thursday 10th November

Hello Anne
Do you have a running order for this year’s show at Bournemouth on Saturday 5th March as I am driving and don’t want to miss anything?
Best wishes Mary

Hi Mary
We open at 10.00 am and the cafeteria is already buzzing because they serve hot bacon rolls which none of us can resist!

Ann Brown is our Guest Speaker and her talk will start around 11.00 to 11.30 am to allow those travelling from a long distance to arrive. Members of Carbery Machine Knitting Club and Ringwood Machine Knitting Club will present a combined Fashion Show at about 2.00 to 2.30 pm. Again we need to leave sufficient time for everyone to have lunch which can sometimes be tricky if the school canteen is busy. Demonstrations will take place throughout the day in many of the classrooms. The cafeteria closes around 3.15 to 3.30 and we close at 4.00 pm.

We look forward to seeing you and it promises to be a great day Anne

Mary Lowe
2016-02-18 20:55:19
Dear Anne
I am so sad to hear of the passing of Joan Lafferty I have read her articles for many a year as I have been a machine knitter since the late 60s. She often made me smile and gave so many easy to understand hints and tips.
Thanks for continuing to produce a great magazine without which many of us would be lost.
Best wishes
2016-02-18 20:51:41
Dear Anne
So sorry to hear you have lost another friend and colleague with the death of Alice Wilmshurst. She worked tirelessly over the years and her Machine Knitting Journals have been such an inspiration to machine knitters all over the world. I still read through my collection of PKMJ every so often and enjoy all the hints tips and encouragement that Alice put together.
Kind regards
Sue P
2016-08-12 07:30:46

Changes to shopping cart

You won’t notice anything different when you’re using Trading Post – the changes are required because Paypal is changing its services. We’ve tested it as much as we can, but given how many different machines you all use, there are sometimes things that we can’t anticipate, so we’d really appreciate it if you could let us know straight away if you have any problems.


Packed full of Spring patterns

Now I must pay tribute to three friends of machine knitting who have passed away. Many of you will remember Doris Coutts as a founder member of the Sandown Club on the Isle of Wight and a regular contributor to both To & Fro and MKM. Her knowledge of machine knitting was immense. A founder member of Perth Knitting Club has also died. Peggy Rourke was an Area Representative for the Scottish Machine Knitters and she will be hugely missed. Finally, we remember Eileen Langford, Treasurer of the Guild of Machine Knitters, who has also died. Eileen played an important role in the Guild and, together with Peggy and Doris, they will all be greatly missed. We send our sincere condolences to members of their families, as well as their many friends.

Tony Bennett is coming over to the UK later this year and he’ll stop off at Metropolitan to open this year’s Dream Week on 2nd September. He’ll then return a couple of weeks later on 16th September for a week of hand’s-on tuition. Last year Tony was awarded WA Wool Designer of the Year and he’s lectured to fashion and textile design students at Perth’s Western Australian Central Institute of Technology. He’s run Dormani Designs for almost 20 years and gives talks about machine knitting as well as fashion trends. He also runs workshops for machine knitters. He’s travelled extensively in Australia and across to New Zealand, sharing his creativity, flair and expertise with many machine knitters. He fits in regular Down Under reports for us and it will be a pleasure to meet him in September.
Inevitably places are limited, so please book as soon as you can to avoid disappointment.

My other news is that Carol Hocknell and I have made a diary date to repeat our very successful At Home at Metropolitan. The date is 6th October 2013 from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm and again places are strictly limited. As last time, we’ll arrange demonstrations throughout the day, provide a Ploughman’s Lunch and Cream Tea and we’ll print further details as they develop. Having accepted the kind invitation to teach at Dream Week in September, help to run our At Home in October and keep the flag flying for Alan Hunt’s Nottingham Show on 14th April, my year is filling up fast. Until next month, happy knitting!

April 2013

Subscription copies sent out
Thursday 7th March
On sale
Thursday 14th March
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Lots of advice and inspiration

I’ve been to Italy before, but never to Florence and I very much looked forward to my week away. It’s a glorious time of year, but unfortunately the sun had shone from clear blue skies the week before. It drizzled when we arrived, poured down all week and I threw my umbrella in the bin at the airport as it collapsed for the last time. In the anticipated sight-seeing trek to visit the museums and churches, I spotted something amazing. The windows of almost every fashion shop in the city centre were filled with knitwear. If it hadn’t been so wet I could have jotted down hundreds of ideas, all of which had been machine-knitted in the first place. There was layer upon layer of fine knitting teamed with chunky tops and knitted scarves were everywhere. It was truly a machine knitter’s paradise.

When I got back, I looked at a number of boutiques selling knitwear on the Internet and was frankly staggered at the prices some folk are prepared to pay. It made me realise even more the huge potential our machines have to offer. I don’t think I’ve spent so long looking at women’s knitted fashion since I was at college and it might not have attracted my attention so much if the weather had been kinder. Taking shelter from the rain became essential and, after all, there’s a limit to the number of frescos and paintings of the Madonna and Child any one person can take in! All of us stick to the well-trodden path of patterns and styles we know, because they’re familiar old friends that won’t let us down. Nevertheless, it costs nothing to go window shopping and we don’t need to go as far afield as Italy because our own High Streets are filled with knitting. Perhaps the exercise to walk off the seasonal excess may also fill us with lots of fresh ideas for some inspirational knitting?

We probably need to avoid the January sales but, when the windows fill with the new season’s knitting, we can glean lots of ideas. Sally-Ann sets us on the right path each month with her up-to-date trends and colours, so we’ve no excuse. Let the New Year be filled with resolutions that we’ll all make a list of ‘must knits’ for 2013 : and knit them! Now all that remains is to send my very best wishes and sincere hopes for a happy and peaceful New Year, filled with good health and good fortune for us all.

February 2013

Subscription copies sent out
Thursday 3rd January
On sale
Thursday 10th January
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All the latest looks

From talking to you I know that those returning to the craft or who haven’t knitted for a while often need help, but where do you turn? Electronic machines are lovely and many knitters would like to try one or look at up-to-date accessories without the pressure of having to buy, so I decided to organise a get-together.

My idea was to invite machine knitters, who would like help and guidance, to an event – but outside of a ‘selling’ environment. As I don’t have suitable premises, I chatted with Carol Hocknell at Metropolitan to see if we could host a joint venture at her shop. It’s in a convenient location in the centre of the country and hosts a number of workshops throughout the year as well as Dream Week. The good news is that our first At Home will take place on 7th October. Opening on the Sunday exclusively for this special event, we’ll bring together some well-known names and enjoy a relaxed camaraderie.

Full details are on page 00 and you’ll notice that numbers will be strictly limited. This is to allow sufficient time and space to chat personally to everyone and enjoy individual demonstrations or join in a small group. Entry is therefore by pre-booking only and you won’t be able to buy a ticket at the door. It’s not a knitting exhibition and the shop will only be open for knitters taking part in our At Home. Metropolitan is one of the largest machine knitting shops in the country, so we’ll have all the machines, accessories and yarn at our disposal. If you wish, you can knit yourself to get the feel of a machine or accessory you’ve not used for a while.

I’ve listened to many of you who are unhappy to be excluded from many machine knitting events because you’ve other commitments on Saturday, so I’ve chosen a Sunday for our first At Home. We’ll welcome you with tea or coffee and biscuits then prepare lunch whilst you’re browsing and chatting, looking and learning. At the end of the day, we’ll all enjoy a cream tea before setting off home. Weeks of preparation still lie ahead, but Carol and I are sure we can give you a very special day out, which you’ll always remember. If you only dream of using your machine and accessories to their full capability, then make a date to unlock your potential and please join us on 7th October.

October 2012

Subscription copies sent out
Thursday 6th September
On sale
Thursday 13th September
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Is it possible to download copies of your magazines online rather than order physical copies?
2012-07-23 16:43:49
Hi Heather

Thanks for writing and we don’t have an electronic version of the magazine. However it can now be found on EBSCOhost databases.

Best wishes Anne

2012-07-23 16:46:45
Hi Anne
I recently bought a Passap Duomatic 80 knitting machine and have been having terrible trouble getting it to knit. It will do the first row but then the needles jam on the return or it doesn’t knit properly. Yes I have used the rack correctly so any advice would be appreciated to save my sanity.
Kind regards Lynn
2012-10-20 14:37:05
Hi Lynn

Sorry to hear you are experiencing problems. Are you trying a full needle rib racking cast on?

When starting with a racking cast on don’t set the stitch size too low. The following is a guide for the stitch sizes I use for three thicknesses of yarn often used on the Duomatic:-

4 ply coned yarn: s.s 4/4
3 ply coned yarn: s.s 3.2/3.2
2.30’s coned yarn: s.s 2.3/2.3

When using 2/30’s or similar fine yarn tighten the tension unit on the yarn mast.

If you use hand knitting yarns; which is not recommended; you will probably have to use a bigger stitch size as they have a tighter twist.

Use Orange Strippers and make sure you rack a complete turn after the initial row so that the needles are not opposite one another.
Make sure the locks are set to N/N and leave the stitch size as it is.
Watch the end needles to make sure they knit properly or the stitches may bunch up at the ends of the knitting and cause a jam. After a few rows this should not be a problem.

Hope this helps solve your problem.

Kind regards

Sue P
2012-09-03 14:15:09

A number of surprises

First to arrive was Jo Newton, who has a dilemma and I’ve offered to help. A reader called to ask her to design a crinoline lady motif, but the telephone number she gave doesn’t work and Jo can’t get in touch with her. If the mystery reader would call Jo on 01476-563111, her special design is waiting.

Celia Ford said hello from Manor House Knitting Club and they’re very proud of their new website at Jean Conduit stopped by from Mapperley KMC to show me a hair band she’d made for the Fashion Show and she’s given me the pattern to share with you in Dear Anne on Page 13. Maureen Sanders wondered if I’d be interested in some of her designs for future issues. Many readers will remember her as Maureen Coxon and she made a very valid point that older knitters also want to look smart, but there’s a dearth of suitable patterns. Her ideas are practical, yet inspiring and I hope we can set the wheels in motion to bring some of them to you. Jean Ryder, former Editor of Machine Knitting News asked me to say hello to all those who remember her.

Mary Hawkins represented Ruddington Framework Knitters’ Museum and asked me to let you know that anyone visiting the museum during opening hours can have a free ‘ten minute twirl’ on the circular knitting machines and take the resulting scarf length home. You can also book for a comprehensive lesson on all aspects of Griswold machines and other makes. The lesson lasts for five hours (with breaks!) and will be tailored to your requirements, in return for a donation to the museum. Tuition is individual or you can bring a friend and knowledge of flatbed knitting machines is not necessary. Just visit the museum’s website at or phone 0115-984 6914 for details.

Finally, my biggest surprise of the day was to see John Blakeman again. He wrote many articles for us, led the slick demonstration team for Brother machines and his knowledge is extensive. After a break of many years, John has returned to machine knitting and I hope he’ll keep in touch. It would be lovely to have him back in the fold once more. The day was studded with more of our machine knitting gems including Iris Bishop, Elaine Cater and Nina Niklin so Nottingham has left me with many happy memories.

July 2012

Subscription copies sent out
Thursday 7th June
On sale Thursday 14th June
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Reserve a copy : see page 61

Was the Nottingham show advertised? Can you tell me if any other knitting shows are going to be arranged this year and if so where?

Thank you Karen

2012-07-04 17:59:09

Spring knitting

It’s been a strange month in the South East and we’ve seen temperatures plummeting to minus eleven one morning and soaring to twelve degrees by lunchtime the next day. I’ve never been more thankful for all the knitted clothes in my wardrobe, because I’ve certainly needed to add an extra layer to keep warm. My first choice is always a warm gilet Jane Woodward designed for us in Cashmere for the August 2009 issue. It always reminds me that yarns such as Lamb’s Wool, Cashmere, Alpaca and Mohair keep animals warm and they do the same for us, too. They may be more expensive than man-made fibres, but usually only small quantities are needed and it can be well worth some occasional self-indulgence.

If you live within travelling distance of Nottingham then please turn to Page 6, where we’ve 20 free tickets to give away for the show on 15th April. We’ll have the usual Lucky Dip, so please send in a self-addressed and stamped envelope as soon as you can. Don’t forget to mark the top left hand corner of both envelopes with ‘Nottingham’ and I hope you’re one of our winners. Guest speakers this year are Sue Booth 11.00 am, Iris Bishop at 1.30 pm and Erica Thomson at 2.30 pm. The lectures cost an extra £1 each and numbers are limited, so book in advance. There’s more information about the show and contact details on Page 33.

Carol Hocknell tells me that a few places still remain for this year’s Dream Week from 3rd to 7th September. It’s probably the annual highlight event in the machine knitting calendar and visitors flock to Cheshire from all over the world. There are some wonderful tutors this year including Iris Bishop and Bill King and I’m always very pleased to be asked to join in the fun. If you’d like more information about Dream Week then give Carol a call now on 01270-628414.

Finally, let me remind you that March has five Thursdays so you’ll have to wait just a bit longer for your May magazine. It will be mailed out to subscribers on Thursday 5th April and it’s officially on sale on Thursday 12th April. By then Easter will have come and gone, I’ll be heading for the Nottingham Show and I hope to see as many of you who can join us. Until then happy knitting.

April 2012
Subscription copies sent out
Thursday 1st March
On sale Thursday 8th March
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Reserve a copy : see page 61

Dear Anne
Thank you for a really good magazine. I have knitted the baby cardigan from Carole Nixon on my Pfaff Duo 80 using 2/30s yarn. Setting the front bed pushers 2 up 2 down front lock BX< and back bed N and using the tensions as pattern. It knitted up beautifully. The pattern for the boy's slipover in 4 ply is also on my agenda. I haven't done much knitting lately and feel I'm getting rusty. Having accumulated so much yarn I thought I really must get cracking and explore the potential of my machine!
I’m also going to knit up some of the patterns from the copies of PKMJ that Alice Wilmshurst published. Thank you both for the inspiration to get knitting again.
Kind regards to all at MKM.
Sue P
2011-12-01 20:25:40
It’s a great post I love to read and I agree with your thinking. Please share more information such as this. Thanks.
2011-12-01 20:25:40
Dear Anne
Thank you for a really good magazine. I’ve knitted the baby cardigan from Carole Nixon on my Pfaff Duo 80 using 2/30s yarn. Setting the front bed pushers 2 up 2 down front lock BX< and back bed N and using the tensions as pattern. It knitted up beautifully. The pattern for the boy's slipover in 4-ply is also on my agenda. I haven't done much knitting lately and feel I'm getting rusty. Having accumulated so much yarn I thought I really must get cracking and explore the potential of my machine! I'm also going to knit up some of the patterns from the copies of PKMJ that Alice Wilmshurst published. Thank you both for the inspiration to get knitting again. Kind regards to all at MKM.
2011-12-01 20:25:40
On re-reading my comment I have realized that the front lock setting should be AX for tuck stitch; BX is for slip stitch!
I knitted a slipover and swiss darned a car from one of the Harmony books across the front. It looked really good.
At the moment I am knitting the Maggie Andrews cardigan from the December 2008 issue of the magazine on my Toyota 901 using Amber 4 ply at T 6.1. My tension is slightly different than that in the magazine so I am knitting a smaller size.
I found that reducing the tension for the weaving made the knitting stretch into a point each end so I left the setting on MT and it looks a lot neater. So far I have knitted the back starting with an e-wrap cast on and picking up the loops for the second side. I cast off the stitches for the armhole but removed the side seam stitches on WY ready to join the back and front on the machine. I’m hoping to finish the knitting next week.
Regards Sue.
Sue P
2011-12-02 18:25:57
Hello there

I would just like to make a comment on the January 2012 magazine. If this is what we have to look forward to in the New Year – then bring it on is what I say!

This is the first time that I have actually sat for a good hour or more reading MKM. I don’t mean to be critical but some of the patterns in the past leave a lot to be desired. I know the aim is to attract young knitters – but baggy drop-shouldered jumpers with holes in here and there and no real neckline (just a curled edge) are really not the way to go in my opinion.

I know that as an Editor it must be extremely hard to constantly find good patterns for the magazine but I would rather see one really good design than three bad ones.

I am so happy to see that patterns are starting to creep back into the magazine that have fitted sleeve heads and good patterning on them. Long may it last is what I say. For me to sit and read the magazine for over an hour shows just how good it was this month. Normally I look through it sigh and put it with the other mags from previous months. This month you really did capture my imagination and I feel that I really do have to hold up my hands and say a big thank you.

I have had a your magazine for so many years that I can’t remember when I first took out the subscription and there is no way that I would stop. It takes a lot to make me sit and write but I just felt that this month I really had to.

One final thought; with the cold weather nearly upon us and fuel bills rising is there any chance of one month there being patterns for heavy curtains door stops long skirts bed spreads rugs bottle covers blankets – anything that will keep the home warm and snug and help fight the fuel bills. I know you have to plan in advance but thought maybe it might be possible.

Kind regards Hilary

2011-12-07 21:11:49
I moved house eight years ago and I’ve just started to machine knit again. I don’t know of any other machine knitters in my area and would love to discuss topics with like-minded people. It would be lovely to share knitting experiences with someone else and I wonder if there’s anyone out there or does anyone know of any clubs?
Ever hopeful Sheila
Sheila C
2012-01-20 17:47:44
Thank you for a really good magazine.
2012-03-05 15:51:24