Tuesday, July 12, 2016

July 2016 - Club challenge and Guess-the-Gadget

The Machine Knitting Guild held it's AGM in Lincoln. There will be a full write-up in a special edition of 'Beyond the gatepegs', and a write-up in the next Guild newsletter.

The charity table was creaking under the weight of magazines that had been brought in to share. Flicking through the magazines was like a walk through fashion history for the last 30 years. It was interesting to see the staple items that continue to be popular, regardless of the current fashion trends, particularly the classic simple cardigan. With our weather, it is always useful to have on-hand!

In contrast to the recent damp weather, it was a bright pleasant evening for the last meeting of the club year. The club takes a break for summer, and resumes with a new club year of events in September.

Show and tell

Sandra had made a pink cardigan with Swarovski buttons, designed by Ann Brown.

and also a pink jumper for the Guild knitting challenge.

Jane hand-knit a gorgeous multi-coloured cardigan for a 6-12 months old.

Liz had machine-knit a red/black book bag, a wall hanging, and a lacy white cotton top, that had also been entered into the Guild challenge.

Club Challenge

The club challenge for the year was to follow the provided pattern for a child's cardigan, that had the number of rows, stitches, and decreases, but no yarn, edging, trimming or tension was specified.

There were 8 entries, and the range was fascinating. Although the basic shape was the same, the cardigans varied wildly in size, colour, and finish.

The cardigans were laid out on a table with a number assigned to each cardigan. The members then voted on which cardigan was their favourite. The winner was Sandra.


Jean brought along a metal object that looked a little like a hair comb. 

Liz brought along a green bakelite darning mushroom. It says on the base "Always darn with Glista Yarn" on the base, and was made in England. The domed top can be removed, revealing threads and a tube. The tube contains darning needs, but also pushes into the lid to create the darning mushroom.

Another club member brought along a Topstitcher kit, that can be used to create embellishments on a knitted fabric. Smaller versions are also available that can be used on woven fabrics.

This last item is a hole puncher for creating knitting patterns for punch-card knitting machines. It is very easy to use, but you need to keep your concentration whilst using it!

Next year

The next club year will begin on the first Tuesday of September. If you have any ideas for speakers, activities or challenges, please contact one of the committee members.

Sunday, July 03, 2016

July has arrived

Where's the summer?  It's July and almost time for our meeting and we are still wearing woollies, and dare not leave the house without a raincoat or umbrella.  

Our next meeting will be on Tuesday 5th July, 8pm!

This month sees the end of our annual knitting challenge.  Please bring along what you've made, preferably hidden in a bag.  I will then lay all the garments out on the table and everyone can choose their favourite.  It would be lovely to see that lots of people have taken part this year.

We will also be looking at "knitting paraphernalia".  Unusual knitting related items; machines, accessories, stitch gauges, anything knitting related that is a bit out of the ordinary.  It could be something you've made, or something you've inherited or maybe something you've got but don't know what it is or how to use it.

I hope to see lots of you there.

Please note: there is no meeting in August.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

June 2016 - Talk by Linda Newington "Fair Isle to Scare Isle"

There are two knitting shows next month. The Stitching, Sewing and Hobbycrafts Show is on at the NEC, Birmingham, from the 1st to the 3rd of July. Fibre East is the 30th and 31st of July, in Ampthill, Bedfordshire.

Show and Tell

Janet and Sandra have been hand-knitting a collection of baby clothes to donate to the Farnborough Sands Charity in the baby unit at Frimley Hospital. Sandra had also knit a child's brown striped pullover. Tannis was working on a colourful brioche stitch shawl. Liz had completed more felt balls from the February meeting, and had made them into a necklace to donate to The Royal Marsden fundraising shop.


Our speaker this month was Linda Newington, who is the Head of Library and Archive Collections for Art and Design at the Winchester School of Art Library, University of Southampton. Linda presented a personal and thought-provoking presentation entitled "Fair Isle to Scare Isle" which promoted some interesting discussions and tangents. Linda supplemented the presentation with part of her personal collection of Fair Isle gloves and mittens, which the club members were eager to look through and discuss.

Fair Isle is a very small island between the Orkney Isles and the Shetland Isles, known for both knitting and ship wrecks. Evidence has been found of human habitation going back 5,000 years. There is no hard evidence of the origins of the famous Fair Isle knitting patterns and colour combinations, and it is of continuing interest to both academic historians and new fashion students.

Fair Isle resources

Book - A Shetland Knitter's Notebook by Mary Smith
Book - Shetland Textiles: 800 BC to the present by Sarah Laurenson
Book - Handwork Edited by Anne Sinclair
The Fair Isle website
Spangle Fish - Fair Isle yarns website
Mati Ventrillion - Fair Isle knitter website
Shetland Wool Week website (24th September to 2nd October 2016)

Linda also discussed the 'In The Loop' conferences, and the digital resources made available by the University of Southampton. Here are some links to some of the other resources mentioned during the evening.

Knitting Reference Library website
Online digital copies of some of the knitting reference library books and patterns website
In The Loop conferences website

Saturday, June 04, 2016

June meeting coming soon

Our June meeting is on Tuesday – 7th June, 8pm as usual.

We have a speaker this month.  Linda Newington, (Head of Library and Archive Collections for Art and Design at the Winchester School of Art Library, University of Southampton) is coming to talk to us about “In the Loop”, a conference for knitters held at various locations throughout the UK.  Linda will also be telling us about her current research "From Fair-Isle to Scare-Isle".  It will include a slide show so if the lights are off don’t think we aren’t there!

Linda came to talk a couple of years ago now.  Her previous talk was well received and extremely informative.  So much so that we completely forgot to take photos! 

Don’t forget to bring items of recent knitting to show.  I’m sure we’ll make time for that, and the usual cup of tea or coffee!

Hope lots of you make it.  

(And if you can't - don't forget our knitting challenge ends next month!)

Sunday, May 08, 2016

May 2016 - Lucet and hairpin lace

The lighter evenings helped encourage a good turn-out.

Reminder that next month we have a guest speaker, Ms Linda Newington, the Head Librarian within Winchester School of Art at the University of Southampton. Linda will be discussing the 'In The Loop' conferences.

Also a reminder that the pattern for this year's club creative challenge has been emailed out to all our members. Please bring along your cardigan at the July meeting, or if you can't make it, please give to Liz (in a bag, so as to hide who made it) before then.

Show and Tell

A very colourful green dress had been hand-knit following a 1970's pattern for a sweater, but due to sizing issues, resulted in being a dress. Fabulous range of colour, and lots of details.

There is a bit of a blanket theme this month. Janet had been de-stashing by crocheting some lap blankets.

Carol hand-knit a plain white garter stitch blanket, and Rita hand-knit a pink blanket for a baby's car seat.


Several people brought along lucets that they had purchased at shows, but very few had seen the light-of-day since. There were two main designs. One is a plastic lucet with a fork-style of design with a handle, that is produced by Ziggy who runs The Lucet Company. The other design is a wooden curved shape made by Flights of Fancy.

Lucets create a cord, similar to an i-cord/4-pin dolly cord, but on 2 prongs rather than 4. There are YouTube videos demonstrating how to use a lucet. The following photo shows was can be achieved in a couple of hours, experimenting with 2 different colours and tensions.

Hairpin Lace

Specific looms can be purchased for making hairpin lace, but they can also be made from two strips of wood with holes in them, and a pair of knitting needles. The important factors are that the two vertical poles must be parallel, and the top horizontal must be removable. There are various instructions on the internet on how to make looms, and to make lace. Here are a couple of examples:

How to make a hairpin lace loom using 2 knitting needles (Instructables)
How to hairpin lace (Youtube)

Sunday, May 01, 2016

What's happening in May?

It’s our May meeting on Tuesday (3rd May). 

On the programme for this meeting is “Hairpin Lace and Lucet”. 

Hairpin lace can be made on a knitting machine or on a special loom.  Here’s a couple of links to tutorials: http://bynumber19.com/2011/08/28/hairpin-lace-crochet-tutorial/   and http://www.lilirious.com/hairpin-lace-part-1/ There will be a knitting machine available to demonstrate how to knit it on the machine.

Here’s a bit of information about the Lucet: http://www.thelucet.co.uk/index.htm.  There is lots of other information on the web, and some videos too so try doing a search for more information.

So if you have either of these gadgets at home and don’t know how to use them bring them along and we will show you how.  If you do know how to use them then bring them along and show others!

Don’t forget to bring items you’ve completed recently for show at tell too.

See you on Tuesday, 8pm as usual.

Monday, April 11, 2016

April 2016 - Fiona Morris discusses eco and new fibre yarns

The evening started with an animated discussion about the venue, followed by a review of the up-coming shows and events.

The club is planning another Saturday knit-in during the summer. There was a sign-up sheet on the front desk. If you are interested, please email one of the committee members with your Saturday availability over the summer.

Craft4Crafters has taken over the Shepton Mallett show at the Bath and West Showground, which takes place on the 21st-23rd April, 2016.

Show and Tell

Vee had hand-knit a beautiful green cardigan from a Sirdar pattern, using  multiple threads of machine knitting yarn. The pattern makes interesting use of shaping and texture.

Sandra has hand-knit several white baby blankets and cardigans for the neonatal unit at the local Hospital. Christine has also knit some yellow baby blankets, cardigans, bootees, gloves and a hat.

Jane was working on a pair of pink hand-knit socks, and brought along a pair of size 13 socks for her son, made from a multi-colour Sparkle Ducks yarn.

Janet had hand-knit a pair of puppy baby bootees, and a pair of strawberry baby bootees.

Challenges reminder

Reminder that the deadline for submissions for the annual Guild of Machine Knitters challenge is the 5th May, 2016. Also a reminder about the club challenge, which is to knit a pattern using your own choice of yarn/pattern/finishing. Liz will email a reminder copy of the pattern.

Eco and new fibre yarns talk by Fiona Morris

Fiona gave a fascinating talk about the range and variety of eco-friendly and alternative fibre yarns that yarn manufacturers have tried over the years. Some of them have been around much longer that you might think, and some didn't last very long at all.

For each yarn type Fiona described, she provided a pile of knitted samples and garments that were handed around the room, so we each got to feel what each fibre felt like, and we were able to compare the weights, feel, and characteristics.

The fibres included bamboo, soy-bean, corn fibre, milk-fibre, cotton and kapok, sea sell (sea weed), organic cotton, hemp, linen, ramie (chinese nettle), banana fibre, sugar cane, and even kevlar!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

It's almost April - Spring must be here soon!

It's almost April - and time for another meeting!  Have you noticed how the days are already getting longer?  Let's hope we don't get too many April showers - things are still very soggy in my garden.

But enough of that - We have a speaker for our April meeting.  Fiona Morris is visiting to talk about New Fibres and Eco-Friendly yarns.  I am sure she has lots to show and tell us.    We will find time for some show and tell as we all like to see what others have knitted in the past few weeks.

Look forward to seeing you there - Tuesday 5th April, 8pm start as usual.

Monday, March 07, 2016

March 2016 - multi-pronged transfer demo

The meeting on the 1st March included a demonstration of multi-prong transfer tools, Guild renewal and a lively Show-and-Tell.

The Machine Knitting Guild provides additional benefits to knitting clubs who have 10 or more Guild members that join/renew at the same time. Guild members received their renewal slips in the most recent Guild magazine, and brought them along to the meeting. The benefits include a discount on the membership fee, and public liability insurance.

Liz ran through some of the up-coming knitting events in the area.

  • Machine Knitting Live is at Bournemouth on Saturday 5th March.
  • The Spring Knitting and Stitching Show at Olympia is the 3-6 March.
  • The Creative Crafts Show is a 4 day event being held from 23rd April to the 26th April 2015 at the Royal Bath & West Showground in South Somerset (Shepton Mallet).
  • Stitch and Craft is at the Three Counties Showground (Malvern) 10-11 April.
  • Fibre East is at Ampthill (near Bedford) 30-31 July.

There were a lot of people at the Make It show in Farnborough last weekend, but there weren't many knitting stands. There were a lot of card making stands, which were very popular. The bead and yarn stands were less busy.

A member brought in an article from Designer Knitting magazine entitled "A light touch" about Knitted Knockers. Knitted Knockers are special handmade breast prosthesis for women who have undergone mastectomies or other procedures to the breast. There is a group who are trying to provide them to anyone who needs them. Please see their website for more details, including free patterns and yarn details  - www.knittedknockers.org

For those who enjoy knitting for charity, there is a 'knitting for charity' group on Ravelry that lists all the different charity knitting projects.

Several twiddlemuffs were made on the Guild stand at Unravel. It is a productive way of using up odds and ends of yarn. Here is a link to a page with a pattern.

Check with your local hospital to find out their current knitting requests.

Frimley Park Hospital need 24" square blankets at the moment. See the Bliss website for prem baby patterns - http://www.bliss.org.uk/knit-for-premature-babies. Please only use white cotton or acrylic.

Show and tell

Vee had knit a pair of brown multi-colour sock flat on 2 needles, and a green cardigan from yarn from sales table made on machine.

Carol - hand-knit white jackets for frimley hospital, and a blanket. Blue and white stripped jacket for great niece. 12-18 months.

Pink socks from sock knitting machine.

Liz then presented a demonstration of using the adjustable 7 prong transfer tool on the knitting machine, and other alternative transfer tools.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

March is almost here

Our March meeting is coming up fast - in fact it is on Tuesday as that is the start of the month - yes Tuesday 1st March!  Where did January and February go??  Even the extra day for the leap year hasn't made it seem any longer!!

As well as the usual chatter, and show and tell, I will bring a machine along and demonstrate some of the things you can do with a 7-prong transfer tool.  Standard gauge machine of course, as they never made the adjustable transfer tool for any other gauge machine.

Bring work in progress too if you like to keep your hands busy.

Guild of Machine Knitters members please bring your subscription renewals with you.

See you on Tuesday, 8 pm as usual.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

February 2016 - Felted wool balls

There was a good turn-out for the February hands-on meeting, despite the wet cold weather. After the Christmas quiet, the knitting and crafting shows start with abundance in February.

Unravel is taking place at The Malting in Farnham from Friday 19th to Sunday 21st February.

Knit & Stitch It is taking place at FIVE in Farnborough from Friday 26th to Saturday 27th February.

Machine Knitting Live is a one day event taking place at Bournemouth School for Girls in Bournemouth on Saturday 5th March.

Reminder that subs for members of the Guild of Machine Knitters are due next month. The renewal form will be included in the next Guild magazine, which has just gone to the printers.

The club received a lovely letter from The Royal Marsden, thanking us for the donations.

Our creative club members have been very busy over the last couple of months, and there was a wide variety of items brought along for the show and tell.

Carol made a green and white striped child's cardigan, and a pink/mauve child's cardigan.

Mandy knit a sparkly green scarf from 4 ply yarn on her knitting machine. The pattern is by Knit-1 in Brighton, and uses short-rows (hold) to create the 3D structure.

Julia created two chunky cowls. The first is knit from knitted i-cord.

The second is knit using colourful chunky yarn.

This blanket is knitted from one continuous 10 stitch wide pattern, using short rows to turn each corner.

The hands-on session was making felt balls from scraps and ends of wool yarn. There were varying levels of success! It isn't always easy to tell which yarn scraps are pure wool, and which are treated wool. The treated wool doesn't felt, but instead shreds or doesn't change structure at all. Some tried shaking the wool inside the plastic egg from inside a Kinder Egg (good excuse for a chocolate treat!), and others tried rolling the yarn between their hands.

Monday, January 25, 2016

February 2016 meeting

Is it too late to say Happy New Year?  I hope not!

Our first meeting of 2016 is coming up quickly.  It's Tuesday 2nd February.  It's a "play" evening as we will be using scraps of yarn to make felt balls.  Yes - any odd scraps of yarn that will felt can be used to make felt balls for decorative use, like the bits you trim off when you've sewn the yarn ends in.

There are two ways of making the felt balls, one is to roll them between your hands, and the other is to put them into a plastic "egg" and shake.  You'll need a bit of water and some soap or detergent too.

So I hope you'll come along and join in.  Of course if you pefer you can bring a work in progress and join in with the chatter too.  And don't forget to bring completed projects for show and tell.

Tuesday 2nd February is the date, 8 pm is the time.  See you there.

Sent to the Marsden

Here's a couple of photos of the lovely items we sent to the Friends of The Royal Marsden Hospital, Sutton Branch at the beginning of December.

As you can see, it isn't easy taking a photo (or two) of the things when laid out on 6 ft tables and we used three of them to have enough space to lay everything out.  (Note to self: must think of a better layout for December 2016!)

A few days after the items were taken to the Hospital we received a lovely thank you letter.

Thanks to everyone who brought something along.  I know the things we send are appreciated.