Thursday, April 15, 2021

Newsletter No 14 - Sent 30 March 2021

Hi Everyone 

It’s been a busy month for me personally so again it will be a shorter Newsletter—apologies. 

With things beginning to open again I got to thinking that maybe, just maybe, we might be able to meet in person in September, even if we have to wear masks.  I’ll be contacting the school after Easter to see if we can at least book a room provisionally. I’ll also begin to think about a programme too, so if you have any suggestions then please let me know.  I did think however that the first couple of meetings at least might be knit and natter as I am sure we have lots to chat about!  We will try and keep it to knitting, crochet and yarn related subjects if possible, otherwise we’ll need more than just a couple of evenings!

Socks (part 2)

How are you getting on with your socks? Have you started yet, or just got things ready to have a go.  Where do you start?

Toe up, cuff down or TAAT?

Ok toe up, and cuff down are self explanatory, but I hear many of you asking what TAAT is.  Two At A Time!  Some people lose interest when it comes to knitting the second sock, or they want them to be finished together, so they prefer to knit both at the same time.  It also means that both socks should be exactly the same size.  Back to Winwick Mum for a TAAT tutorial, or again look on YouTube. 

What are the advantages of toe up? For a start there wouldn’t be a seam at the toe to chaff.  Another advantage is that the cast off can be worked very loosely which might be important to you if, for example, you have a high instep.  If you’re working toe up there are a number of different ways of casting on. Take a look at this method demonstrated by A Sockmatician

This next video from Very Pink Knits shows a different method of starting a toe up sock, and also combines it with magic loop and TAAT knitting.  This video is almost an hour long so you might want to watch it in stages. And of course if you do watch this other similar suggestions will be there so watch others for different ways of doing the same thing.

Cuff  down is just as the name says.  Knit from the open edge where you put your foot into the sock, down past the heel and to the toe where you cast off or kitchener stitch to close.  If you’re not keen on the cast on methods for toe up, then this could be the way to go. With care, you can try on as you knit too.  I also use this method if I’m not sure I will have enough yarn to complete the whole pair of socks as the cuffs, heel and toe can be knitted in a different sock yarn, especially now you can get plain colours to complement your chosen yarn. You could also weigh your yarn so you can use half for each sock and complete in a contrasting colour.  The change of colour would be inside our shoe so nobody would see it! 

Personally I need to use a size or two larger needle to cast on so that the cuff stretches enough to get it past my heel.  If you don’t get the cast on loose enough it isn’t as easy to unpick and remake it as if you’d knitted toe up.

 I have also heard of people starting at the heel and knitting up and down from there, but I need to explore that a bit more as it’s not something I’ve tried.  Another method is sideways which again I haven’t tried yet.  Look around the web and you’ll find all sorts of variations.

Types of heel: 

There are more different ways to work a heel than you would ever think possible.  The Curls and Q website is a good place to start. (They also have a page for toes  with suggestions for both toe up and cuff down methods.) There are links to a number of sock patterns too including at least one for split toe socks for those that wear flip-flops. The Knitting Geek website has some good pictures which may explain the differences between the various styles of heel.

If all those options are a bit daunting for you, then take a look at the Chilly Dog site

One sock I have knitted with an afterthought heel and matching toe is a mini cable spiral sock  It’s a free download pattern on Ravelry.  I have used this pattern a number of times with and without the pattern on it.  There are plenty of other afterthought patterns on Ravelry which can be accessed easily by searching in the patterns section for sock and afterthought heel.

If you’re knitting socks for a growing child you could consider knitting a tube sock.  That’s one without a heel, so measure from toe over the heel and up the leg/calf.  As the child’s feet grow the sock lowers the leg becomes shorter. 

Socks can of course be knitted on a knitting machine as well as by hand, either flat or in the round.  These days I tend to knit in the round starting and finishing on waste yarn and adding a marker row for where the heel is to come. Then finish the sock by hand.  I’ll look back through the Newsletters and see if I’ve given any instructions for this before, and if not I’ll include it next time.

Let me know if you have any questions about or have any problems when knitting socks and I’ll try and answer them next time.

My Stay and Home and Keep Busy List/Chart 

Well, this month I’ve only managed a little hand knitting and no crochet or machine knitting.  But I have done a lot of sorting out, and not all of it from here.  My papercrafts stash has gone up by at least 50%.  The box of papercrafts surplus to requirements and requiring rehoming has also been filled to overflowing too. I’m not talking a small box either, but what is often described as a large moving box! I also have far more knitting needles than I will ever need, so if anyone knows someone who would like craft or needles do get in touch.  

The little knitting that I have done has been to start a new project, but does use yarn from the stash.  It’s a  cardigan, size 6-9 months, in white DK acrylic.  I get on fine on the straight bits whilst I’m watching the TV, but the raglan shaping also includes a bit of pattern.  Whilst it is simple I do need to concentrate and count both rows and stitches, especially when it comes to knitting the second front and reversing the shaping! The scarf that I started last month is turning out a lot wider and chunkier than it looked in the picture, but I will continue with it for a while and instead of being a scarf it may end up as a cushion cover!  I found one cushion pad left in my stash that should be just the right size! 

I’m still looking out for a charity or other suitable fund raiser that would like to be the recipient of the things that I and others knit.  The one that I offered them to some time ago would gladly receive the money but we would have to sell them ourselves.  Others require specific items, but I like to knit what is calling out me and to try different techniques. I believe many of you also like to knit what you want and with yarns you have.  I’m running out of space to keep what I’ve made so far so hopefully will find somewhere soon.

Browsing the World Wide Web

Karen kindly sent me a link to a site she found and I think many of you will find it interesting.  The website is called Arnall-Culliford Knitwear and they have a Confident Knitting section with plenty of patterns and tutorials.  They have video tutorials for many of the techniques in their patterns, and the one that caught Karen's eye was for a folded hem.  This is a technique many machine knitters use but not quite so many hand knitters.  However you knit your hem it can flick out.  This video tutorial and the accompanying pattern is one of the best methods of preventing this.  Karen has started knitting a pair of mittens and said that the method of increasing for the thumb is interesting so I’ll have to look to see if there is a video of that too.

Naturally having watched the video tutorial I had to look to see what else they had.  The stretch cast off video shows a method I haven’t seen before, but I will definitely be giving it a go.

Marriner Yarns look to be introducing more yarns and colours to their range. They also have yarn on cones. They have free delivery for orders over £25 and a standard delivery rate of £2.95.

Do you have a knitting friend that you want to send a gift to?  Look no further than The Hebridean Tea Store. They have a range of Tea and Knit gift boxes.

Some exhibitors are hoping that the shows will be able to go ahead in the Autumn, but none seem to be offering tickets yet.  It could be that ticket numbers are limited or have other conditions applied, so do check carefully if you plan to go to one.  Even a year on my various stashes show no sign of being reduced, so either I haven’t been as busy as I thought or the stash was larger than I thought!


Don’t forget to give your knitting machine a bit of a spring clean, especially if you haven’t  used it for a while.  Removal of fluff and a bit of fresh oil will make it sing!

Show and Tell

From emails received I know some of you have been busy knitting and crocheting away, but for various reasons you’ve been unable to send photographs.  I shall look forward to seeing the various items, or photos of them, when we can all meet again in person.

I think I received an email from Roz almost as soon as the last Newsletter when out. She attached photos of her latest knits.  The blue cardigan is repurposed (pulled back and reknitted) yarn.  It’s a hand knit.  The white cardigan was knitted on her Brother knitting machine using a garter carriage.  And the two pairs of socks were hand knitted but Roz said they are a bit too thick. 

Roz has also made a wall hanging on her Brother machine as she wanted something bright and cheerful.  The pattern was from a magazine called Worldwide Machine Knitting from January 1980.


Gaynor has told me that she has started thinking about knitting and crochet and has an idea of something she would like to make.  She added  “I have decided it will have to be a pattern I make up myself and I hope the picture I have in my mind will come through my knitting needles when I decide to start.  (I really enjoyed the evening we had together in St Johns Hall constructing our own patterns and this has given me the courage to go on to make quite a few of my own knitting patterns since. Thank you Liz for the encouragement.) The pattern will probably be a combination of both crochet and knitting to get the effect I am after.  I also need to have a look in my knitting book of techniques too as I need to learn a different cast on method for this.  I like a challenge.  Watch this space. 


I have also received this photograph from Nina. Her latest creation is actually lilac in colour rather than the blue shown.  Nina has used her standard go to knit radar pattern.  The yarn is Uppinghams 4ply boucle type.  Nina says it’s nothing clever but she needed a jumper in this colour.


Carole sent me four pictures of things she has finished recently. She said: The yarn for this first cardigan is King Cole Cherish. I think it knitted quite nicely. I did not try to match the sleeve; it just happened. The yarn is a bit thicker than say Stylecraft so I needed a second ball for the bands (size 6 months).


This next cardigan is made in Stylecraft Merry-Go-Round. Knitted as usual on 1 needle with the sleeves attached at the armhole


These crochet squares came back from Spain so I just had to join them a hotch potch of yarns.


Peter had been asking for a new cardigan. I think the last one is about 30 years old but still going strong The yarn is Stylecraft Batik. I think it's a bit boring but he likes it and it is comfortable.


No photos from me this time.  I have been doing a bit of knitting, but by the end of the day my energy has all gone.  Maybe next time.

Until we meet again



Keep Calm

and carry on

Knitting or Crocheting!


Hands, Face, Space


Keep Active, Stay Positive - We will meet again


Friday, March 05, 2021

Newsletter no 13 - sent 25 February 2021

 Hi Everyone 

Well, nobody contacted me so nothing on the Zoom front.  You must be all hoping that we can meet in person soon!  Or perhaps you’re fed up with zoom and similar meetings.  I’ve my fingers crossed that we can do so by September, especially hearing recently that they hope everyone will be vaccinated by the end of August.  In the mean time we all need to do our “bit” and have patience. 

This newsletter is going to be much shorter than usual.  Family matters have taken over recently and will continue to do so for a few weeks yet. Don’t worry—I’m fine;  and I don’t have covid or anything else.  I just need to concentrate on other things for a little while.  The researched content this time are things I’d found before my world turned upside down and the rest is stuff that was almost ready.  So if anyone would be able to send a contribution for me to include next time that would be lovely.  It doesn’t have to be long, just something you found interesting and think others might.

Browsing the World Wide Web

Before everything kicked off I saw a link to twined knitting which looks like something different to try.  It gives a firmer, thicker and less elastic stitch than stocking stitch, so I can see uses for it.  I thought at first it looked a bit like card 1 slip stitch on a knitting machine, but until I actually try it and compare I can’t be sure.

I know some people don’t like ordering yarn on line, and getting to a yarn shop to choose some can be difficult so what about having a yarn vending machine?


Sorry, this will have to wait till next time too.

My Stay and Home and Keep Busy List/Chart

It’s been a strange month here, and I haven’t been able to settle to much as I’ve been waiting for the phone to ring, making phone calls and also having long chats with  a friend over Facetime but this is not the time or place to go into that!

One good thing is that I have had my first vaccination and only a sore arm to show for it, so that cheered me up. I hope a lot of you have now been vaccinated to and that we all get our second jab on time.

Naturally I’ve been keeping up with my card making, and trying to rationalize and tidy the papercraft supplies too. The problem is what to do with the things you decide to let go of. With restrictions easing it may become easier to destash all crafts, not just papercrafts.

I have finally washed and blocked the cashmere scarves and shawl that got a mention last month, and I knitted another one, just plain stocking stitch this time with a couple of stripes. All are pictured in the show and tell.  Since I took this picture I’ve emptied a few more cones. 

When I bought my weaving loom I thought I’d be using up miles of my stash of yarn, but if anything it uses less than knitting. The simple scarf to the left weighs in at less than 60g. I do need to give it another wash as I don’t think all the oil is out yet. Weaving seems to need a bit more washing than knitting.  Did I say it’s cashmere??

 I have so much yarn on cones, lambswool, pure wool and some unknown as well as acrylic crepe and goodness knows what else. I really must knit and weave more of it, or perhaps it's time to find a new home for some.

Show and Tell

A few of you have written/sent messages to say that your crafting has ground to a halt and that you have no incentive to craft, no motivation to do anything not even tidy up after a recent project.  Maybe seeing the snowdrops, crocuses and narcissus growing in the garden, and the sun coming out more often will change that. It does mean that I have very little this time for the show and tell.

Nina messaged to say that she had finally finished knitting her cardigan! It was challenging being almost black with lighting conditions we've had lately. Knitted in King Cole Angora Look 4ply acrylic. She used her favourite sideways knitted radar pattern. Purl side used as right side with stocking stitch bands.  

Nina has also knitted this jumper.  She used Foxstones Monte Carlo 100% acrylic 4ply yarn and one of her favourite Knit Radar patterns for this sideways knitted jumper from an Ann Kent idea. Well done Nina


My knitted offerings this month are the finally finished scarves and a wrap, plus a couple of pairs of fingerless mittens.  All knitted in the oddments of cashmere.  Three of the scarves and the wrap in the separate picture below got a mention in the last Newsletter.  They have now been washed and blocked.  The darker scarf with stripes has been knitted this month.  None of them are perfect, but the are warm and someone I am sure will love them.  I think I will keep the wrap by my chair for when it gets a bit cool in the evening and I need a bit of extra warmth.


Take care everyone.  It should be business as usual next time!


And finally:


Until we meet again


 Keep Calm

and carry on

Knitting or Crocheting!


Hands, Face, Space


Keep Active, Stay Positive - We will meet again


Saturday, January 30, 2021

Newsletter No 12 - send 27 January 2021

 Hi Everyone 

I would normally wish you a Happy New Year now, but maybe that’s not appropriate at the moment. I will instead send you all best wishes for 2021 and hope that it is a healthy one for you and better than 2020.

I’ve got my fingers tightly crossed and hope that we will be able to meet up in 2021 but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it’s not the Autumn before we can safely do so indoors, if then. It may not seem like it now, but there is always hope that we can meet outdoors in larger numbers before we can meet indoors, especially as the year progresses towards warmer, dryer weather. I’ll continue to watch for announcements and have a few ideas of where we could meet out doors when the time comes.

It was lovely to see a few of you are our December Zoom meeting. Maybe we could arrange another one sometime. It might well need to be a limited time meeting as I can’t promise we have someone who has a suitable paid for account that allows for longer meetings and who is willing to host. To keep things easy I would suggest that any on line meeting should be on the same day and time that we would normally meet in person (i.e. first Tuesday of the month at 8 pm). But first things first - if you can host a meeting please get in touch in the usual way. If you would like to join in a zoom meeting also please get in touch in the usual way.

Some branches of the Knitting and Crochet Guild are holding virtual meetings.  Many of them welcome others from outside their area. Details such as days and times are on the KCG website as well as who to contact for the codes for the meetings.


I recently had an exchange of messages with one of our members about wool for socks, and whether or not it should include nylon/polyester/polyamide or similar for better wear and why/why not? I thought this is a subject worth exploring further and it lead on to other sock related matters. 

Sock yarn—with or without nylon?

Why wear wool socks? An article in Business Insider is helpful. Ok they are talking about commercial wool socks rather than the ones but it’s relevant information. A blog on the Nicharry website asks which material is best, polyester, cotton, wool or bamboo. (I didn’t even look at the prices!) There are other sites too if you want to delve further and search. Just these two sites alone have answered another question I was going to look into i.e. what about other fibres? 

I found the Winwick Mum website that had reviewed no-nylon sock yarns to see how they compared with commercially produced sock yarns containing nylon. The yarns reviewed are produced within the UK. There is another website called Wovember that also discusses pure wool (without nylon) for socks. The yarns that get a mention may not be current but the basic information is valid.

Those of you who are interested in looking for commercially produced sock yarn could look at The Sock Yarn Shop. They are UK based and offer an extensive range of sock yarns, including some which are 6ply and 8ply so ideal for someone who wants a thicker pair of socks for wearing inside walking boots or wellingtons. They have a range of wool mixes too, including some with either Yak, alpaca or silk. Of course these yarns aren’t just for socks, you can knit almost anything out of them! 

I’ve been wearing hand knitted socks since around 2009. All pairs have been knitted in commercially available sock yarn, mostly wool with nylon, but I have knitted a few pairs in a yarn by Wendy called Happy (now discontinued) which is bamboo as well as others in a stretch acrylic and cotton yarn who’s name is lost with the ball band! I can comfortably wear the wool socks all year round, but the other fibres are not warm enough when it is cold. I’m still wearing the original pair I knitted from Regia sock yarn but one or two pairs have gone through under the heel. The rest are all wearing well. Knowing roughly what I paid for them, I would say that the cheaper it is the less likely it is to last. Look out for the more expensive yarns when they are on offer and you will get a bargain. Having said that, Drops yarns are not expensive and wear well! They can be found at the Wool Warehouse along with other sock yarns.

You may remember that last year I knitted a couple of pairs of socks from yarn from my stash that wasn’t sock yarn (see Newsletters 2 and 3 for pictures and yarn info). Naughty me did not do a tension swatch as I’ve knitted so many pairs now I thought it would be ok. I’ve tried these socks on and whilst the length is ok, the width of the foot and leg is not. It’s far too wide and the socks fall off. Perhaps they would make better bed socks than daytime ones. It basically comes down to the yarns not having any give in them and also no negative ease.

DPN’s or circulars?

Assuming you don’t want seams in your socks and that you will be therefore be knitting in the round your options are double pointed needles (DPN’s) or circular needles.

The DPN’s can be any length and material, but I find that shorter ones are better.  There are some with bends in them which some people find nice to use. I find spreading the stitches over four needles (with a 5th to knit with) easier when it comes to shaping for heel and toe, but some people have the stitches on three needles, using a 4th to knit with. If you’ve not used DPN’s before then I suggest you look at a few YouTube videos like this one from Sapphiresnpurls or a web tutorial such as Sheep and Stitch. You’ll need to scroll down to find that one!

With circulars there are a couple of choices. Really short (9”) ones or really long ones. Some people find the really short ones cramp their hands. I find them ok so long as I don’t sit and knit for hours and regularly stop and stretch my fingers. I hold it differently to other knitting, much more delicately with finger tips rather than with my whole hand. If using long circular needles you’ll need them much longer than you think as you’ll be using a technique called magic loop as the number of stitches needed for socks won’t stretch round much more than 9” circulars. Winwick Mum has a blog about choice of needles. 

Not heard of, or tried, magic loop then see the TinCanKnits blog and also put the words into a YouTube to find plenty of videos. 

But before I finish, I’ll quickly say a bit about patterns for socks. You’ll be spoilt for choice with l00’s of free patterns on the internet as well as paid for ones. Start with something simple, just plain stocking stitch with a ribbed cuff perhaps so you get to understand the shaping and processes required. Then you can move on to more intricate patterns. There is no need to pattern under the foot; it probably wouldn’t be very comfortable or wear as well as plain stocking stitch.

Whilst I’m on about patterns, I wondered if there were any crochet sock patterns. I went first to Ravelry and did a pattern search there. Wow, spoilt for choice! I wonder how comfortable they are to wear. Do they stretch like a knitted pair? Perhaps something else to try! 

Next time I’ll give you a few options when it comes to the actual knitting of the sock; things like Toe up, cuff down or TAAT and also the type of heel to knit. I’ll also try and mention knitting socks on your knitting machine.

 My Stay and Home and Keep Busy List/Chart

I’ve changed it a bit as I wanted it to be more visual rather than just a list on a piece of paper. By the end of the last year I wasn’t finding my list particularly inspiring or encouraging which is what it was supposed to be. I got the idea for this version from one of the websites I visited where they called it “knitting bingo”. You make a grid and put a goal into each square. The items in the grid don’t have to be worked in any order or on any timescale. You can even work on two or more at the same time. You can also add more at any time, but you can’t delete any, only cross them off or put a tick against them as you achieve. And of course you could include any craft, not just knitting and crochet. At the end of my ideas chart I put some websites relevant to the various square so I could easily find them and didn’t need to hunt them out. I don’t see why you couldn’t also include something you want to do around the home or garden too! Search for knitting bingo for other ideas.

 The first thing I did was to look through my stash of yarn to see if there was anything that jumped out shouting “use me”. I found some (naturally!). I next decided  what could it be used for and, having done so, it went into a box on my chart or rather one for each yarn! I also looked at some of my bookmarked websites. They’d caught my eye because it was a technique or pattern I wanted to try. So into boxes they went too. The chart was filling up but I can add more boxes at any time. I added a few pictures too purely to make it look more “inviting” and to help me remember. I’m sure by now you get the idea! This is just part of my chart including a couple of things that I’ve ticked off so far.


You’ll see some of the cashmere wraps and scarves in the show and tell. They still need washing and blocking but I don’t want to hold this Newsletter up until it has been done. They each ticked one box and some ticked two boxes. The first is obvious, but the second was the one for using two or more cones for one object. My cashmere is lots of part cones, with some of them being the same colour and dye lot and some having less than 50g on them. I used two for the wrap so I could tick that box too!

The WIP tick is for a sewing project. It’s made using the Devoré fabric that I’ve mentioned in the past. I cut into it shortly after Issue 11 was circulated and by the time of our zoom meeting I had made a scarf from the offcut as a test to see how the fabric behaved when finishing the edges on my overlocker. I also beaded a bit of a fringe to add a little weight so that it hung nicely.

Within a few days I’d also finished the edges on the wrap, but I wanted to put a button and loop in the side seams to keep them together and to stop it flapping around too much especially if worn on a windy day. I found the buttons, sorted a loop from a black elastic mini hair band and then everything ground to a halt! There it sat, looking at me for about 6 weeks; a work in progress awaiting completion! I didn’t even put it away out of sight. There was no excuse; no reason not to finish it, and so the other morning I took the plunge, sewed on the button and loop and within half an hour it was finished! My husband was around so you’ve got a photo of me wearing it. Hopefully it will look better when I’m all dressed up to go somewhere nice. We can only dream right now!

I’ve also continued “playing” with tablet weaving. This time it was on my rigid heddle knitters loom. There was definitely more room than on my Inklette, but I need to devote more time to perfecting the technique. It requires concentration as you turn the tablets every time you pass the shuttle. If it was always in the same direction it might be easier (except that the threads would be all twisted around each other by the time you’d gone very far) but most patterns are so many turns forward and so many turns back. It needs practice to get more muscle memory so actions become automatic. I have been using acrylic crepe yarns such as Bonnies Sable Crepe and Bramwell Artistic. I have plenty of both so I’ll keep practicing!

Browsing the World Wide Web

Comments I read on an online group lead me to the Knitty website and a discussion about z and s twist yarns and why it makes a difference when knitted as stocking stitch.

The Modern Daily Knitting website writes about how our knitting style affects gauge and fabric. You pick when knitting continental style and throw when knitting English style.

Looking for something a bit different to knit for a child? Are they the sort of kid that likes wierd/gruesome things? How about a flat rat bookmark? (Scroll down the page to find the pattern.)

If that’s a bit small, then perhaps big knitting will appeal. Take a look at this 60 sec video. The link popped up in by Facebook feed.

Did you know that for the past 20 years there has been a Pantone colour of the year?  I didn’t but apparently there has. See what they have chosen for 2021 and what they are for previous years on the Pantone website.

Socks for Paramedics is a Facebook group. It’s a non profit initiative set up to provide pairs of hand knitted socks for Paramedics during the current pandemic as a way to say thank you. Donations are forwarded by them to Ambulance stations around the country, usually in batches of 10 pairs. The socks are much appreciated. It’s often the larger sizes that are most needed (sizes 9/10/11). If you can, please include the size, fibre and wash instructions with them, and maybe a personal note of appreciation too.

The Crafts Council has stories (perhaps better described as articles) on their website including one published in December 2020 entitled How crafting helps me manage my mental health. One of the people quoted is Lorna Hamilton Brown. If you’re interested generally in crafts and arts have a look around the site.

Knitting, it’s therapeutic benefits and our mental health has also been written about in Vogue.

I also spotted a yarn supplier I’ve not heard of before. Based at Sawbridgeworth in Hertfordshire, Yarnland offer free delivery on orders over £25.00

If you’re looking for locally grown yarn, then take a look at The Little Grey Sheep Co. They are based just down the road in Well, near Hook. You may have come across them before as they have exhibited at Unravel, Farnham when exhibitions were allowed!

I’ve had a quick look at some of the exhibition websites. Many of them are either cancelled or have gone “virtual” so it doesn’t look as if we will be able to visit any of them before the summer at the earliest. I’ll keep checking and let you know when there is anything to report.

Sally has also sent some links you may be interested to see/read. The first is about a research paper by Dr. Mariana Popescu in 2018 who used a Brother KH-970 with ribber to create a knitted fabric former for concrete structures. 2019 research upgraded to using industrial knitting machine. It may sound boring and probably would be if you read the actual paper, but watch the YouTube video. It gets more intriguing as it goes along and by the end it’s fascinating and takes knitting to a whole new level especially if you are interested in “green” issues too! If this has caught your interest I have a link to more information about Mariana and also to her research paper.

CW+ is the official charity of the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. They are looking for volunteer knitters for their #ScarfUp project. You can read more about it on the charity website.

You may have missed it, but it’s not too late to view the BBC programme Inside the Factory episode about socks. It can be found on iPlayer. If watching it on your TV  it’s Series 6, Episode 2.

The Museum of Army Flying are looking for knitted and crocheted helicopters for their heroic helicopter project. Closing date is 28th February so there is still time for you to help if you would like to.

It’s not our local area, but I did spot this on one of the Facebook groups and thought you might like to see it. It’s a report on ITV East Anglia so hopefully it will still be there.

Show and Tell

Not really a show item, but it is a tell! Gaynor emailed to say that she is presently helping her sister declutter by FaceTime and phone and has found a podcast which she felt may help her and thought it might help some members of the knitting club too. We all have so much wool and sewing bits that tends to sneak up on us and maybe needs looking at in a different way. The podcast is called Declutter and Organise your sewing space. Gaynor’s sister is finding it really useful and helpful with the ideas they have and does not feel she is the only one decluttering either! The podcast can also be found as an Apple podcast.

Gaynor included a photo of crochet tree decoration that she had made.

Nina also emailed to say that she hasn’t been knitting for a few weeks as she decided it was time to get her room sorted. She’s found some things she’d forgotten about so hopefully she will get to the knitting soon. Nina said that the room is looking much better now and she’s finally got her LK150 out of it’s box where it’s been since she last used it as a knitting weekend. So it’s had a good clean along with her other machine and everything is ready to be used.

Ros has sent me a three photos. The first two are of her knitting; one hand knit and one machine knit hat plus a scarf and a mat knitted using slip stitch. 

Ros also weaves so her third photo is of a bright and cheerful table runner and mats that she made for Christmas.

Sally messaged to say her two week holiday over Christmas seems a distant memory already as she is back at work and it’s busy as usual.

For Christmas she was given a 4kg ball of "mahoosive" yarn. Sally said “It's horrible stuff to knit with, as the lack of twist means it keeps shedding everywhere! I used a couple of lengths of plastic pipe that we have left over from a DIY project, and my other-half commented that it looked like I was rowing a boat rather than knitting. It took 3 x 1hr sessions to finish the blanket, which I've boxed up to give back to the gifter next Christmas.” Did you take any photos of the finished blanket, Sally? I’m sure we’d all like to see it.

Sally concluded by saying “I am determined to finish more projects for me this year, so I've started by dusting off the knit-leader (which I keep meaning to get around to learning how to use) and I've started a cardigan. I'm still working my way through a stash of Duo Magic in a cream/aran colour. I think the "magic" is that the cone just keeps on going and going and going!”


Lastly—my knitting efforts. A machine knit wrap and three scarves knitted in cashmere and awaiting washing and blocking plus a hand knitted scarf that’s been a WIP for a while now. Knitted from a free Stylecraft pattern and using an unknown 4ply yarn instead of the one specified in the pattern. It’s garter stitch with a picot edge that’s worked as you go so when you’ve finished there are just two ends to sew in. It’s taken a while so I can tick off finishing a WIP on my chart!


I look forward to receiving photos of your knits and crochet for our next Newsletter.


And finally:


  Until we meet again



Keep Calm

and carry on

Knitting or Crocheting!


Hands, Face, Space


Keep Active, Stay Positive - We will meet again


Thursday, December 03, 2020

Newsletter No 11 - send 25 November 2020

 Hi Everyone 

Greetings, one and all. I’m still here and as healthy as ever and trust you are too!  One good thing about staying away from everyone is that I haven’t had a cold in ages.  Maybe I shouldn’t say that as it is rather tempting fate!   I do miss seeing my daughter and grandchildren but we would rather see each other virtually than not at all, ever. The risks are too great with the virus in schools and elsewhere, especially as we are doing more for one of our aging parents.  Stay safe, and don’t take risks, no matter how much you may miss others. 

But on to more cheerful things!

We’ve now had to cancel nine meetings. I have my fingers tightly crossed that meetings can resume at some stage next year, and it would be nice to think things could start to get back to a new normal by the time Spring and the lighter evenings come around.  I never dreamt restrictions would go on for this long so starting the Newsletter as a way of communicating right at the beginning a good move.  Hopefully you are still finding them interesting.  Sally has sent us some links this time so look out for them later on.  If you’ve spotted something that might interest others please do share.

We will be having a Christmas Zoom meeting on 1st December.  If you haven’t yet contacted me to say you’d like to join in then please be quick.  I will be sending out the joining information to those taking part a couple of days before the meeting. Watch out for that email and check spam filters if you don’t appear to have received it.  I know we all like to chat about everything, but there should be one “rule” for our meeting - talk should be predominantly relevant to knitting, crochet, things we’ve made and related crafts! Don’t forget we can’t all talk at once either which is why it is important to stay “on topic” as they say.  Sally and I did think about having a quiz, but I guess you’ve all done plenty of those in the last few months!  So instead we’ll just let things take a natural course and have a few ideas up our sleeves just in case we run out of things to talk about - as if!!  Feel free to wear a Christmas hat; decorations are also  allowed and as  nobody will be driving anywhere after the meeting you could have your favourite tipple and nibbles to hand as well.

 Recycling / Repurposing

Are you someone who turns their wardrobe out frequently because they get bored with their clothes, or do you wear things until they almost fall off you?  Perhaps you are someone who fluctuates in size and therefore has a range of sizes.  I must admit to having favourites that I wear time and again.

I recently visited the Reknit Revolution website.  The Reknit Revolution is a project by Amy Twigger Holroyd, a designer, maker and researcher who encourages us to use our knitting skills to rework the knitted garments we have in our wardrobes rather than just bin things.  We might send garments that are in a good condition to a charity shop or similar, but what do you do with things that are damaged or marked? Visit the website a suggestion chart and for ideas for doing a makeover on a garment in your wardrobe.  Some of these suggestions would work as a way to adapt a favourite garment so that it can continue to be worn.  It doesn’t have to be something you knitted yourself; it would also work on a commercially produced garment. Some of these ideas could also extend the wearability of childrens garments.  This could be especially important as the world’s resources are not going to last for ever, plus manmade fibres can be hard to recycle and will take many years to degrade naturally.

 à Hand knitters—do you have problems picking up dropped stitches?  Try using a latch needle like the ones that machine knitters use or a crochet hook. They’re not expensive and it make things easier.


à When knitting socks I can find that the cast on is too tight so when finished I can’t get the socks on.  I’ve tried using a larger needle size just for the cast on, and working as loosely as I can but that can look uneven.  A friend recommended I try a Norwegian cast on so I looked it up on YouTube.  Definitely going to try it on the next pair I cast on that’s cuff down.

à If you're storing your yarn in boxes and don’t want to keep opening them to see what is inside then number each box. As you put the yarn into the box wind off a length of it and make a record of what it is, how much there is and which box it is in.  Whether you record in a book, or use a card index system you will know exactly what you have, and more importantly where it is.  You could also include other information like dye lot number, where you bought it and how much it cost.  Don’t forget to keep the record up to date by crossing out or removing the relevant card when you take yarn out and use some or all of it.  

à Machine Knitters - If you are in the habit of wearing a bracelet, or watch with a safety chain, cover it with a sports wrist band (or knit one) so that it doesn’t catch in the needle bed.

à If your tension square won’t stay uncurled for measuring, lay a sheet of coarse sand paper on the table sandy side up, and gently uncurl the swatch onto it, pressing it gently onto the sandpaper as you do so. Make sure that you don’t stretch the swatch. It should then stay uncurled long enough for you to measure accurately.

à It’s been a while since I linked to any information on copyright which is always a touchy subject.  The Government information was last updated in 2015 and will change on 1st January 2021 as we leave the EU.   Here’s a  link to the Government website that leads on to other pages including copyright information for knitters and sewers. 

Browsing the World Wide Web

More about how the way you knit affects your tension and the look of the fabric can be found  on the Modern Daily Knitting website. Explore the site further to find out more about  whether our tension changes or the swatch lies. Lots of other hints and tips in the How To section of this interesting American website.

I remember how much interest was shown when Joyce Meader visited the club and showed us some of her collection of military and historic knitted items. I came across a website about someone in America who has a similar interest in history -Threadwinder.  One page that caught my attention was a collection of lyrics of WW1 songs, many of them rather tongue in cheek, which were written about the “comforts made for the soldiers and sailors.  Sister Susie does seem to have come in for quite a bit of comment.  The lyrics to many of the songs from an age when sheet music was available can be found on the website too.   

Not sure if I’ve linked to this before, but for those interested in old knitting patterns, take a look at the Antique Pattern Library.

Have you ever wanted to gain a recognised qualification in hand knitting or crochet?  The School of Stitched Textiles, based in Lancashire, offer City & Guilds accredited craft courses including hand knitting and crochet, completed by distance learning/home study/online.

What do you buy for the knitter who has everything?  Take a look at the selection of hampers available from The Knitting Gift Shop . They also have a lovely range of  items for knitters including stitch markers, yarn bowls and a yarn server.  Based in the North Pennines, they source many items locally. 

I found some interesting simple hand manipulated three-stitch patterns on Susan Guagliumi’s website.   I’m sure hand knitters will be able to follow this and work most of  the patterns too.  It’s mainly down to which direction you transfer the stitches!

Lots of free ideas and downloads on the Hobbycraft website for a handmade Christmas.  Many are suitable for children too.

Knitting History Forum

Sally joined in with the Knitting History Forum virtual Conference and AGM recently.  This is the first year that the entire event has been online and enabled delegates and speakers from around the world to join in.  Time zones didn’t seem to matter!

Rox Knits (Roxanne Richardson shared the extensive learning opportunities from knitting a 1920’s knitting pattern.  You can catch up on her experiences by watching this video and also reading her posts on Ravelry.  Roxanne has also worked on a 1904 Edwardian Sweater and posted about that too.  Explore her pages to find information and links to downloads of these and other vintage patterns

Kirk Dunn is a self-taught knitter who loves colour and knits everything from the very simple to the blow-your-mind (taken from his website) .  He is a textile artist, has knitted stained glass windows,  and is interested in code hidden in knitting. He is also an actor and writer.  He’s also knitted a covid mask.  His website is well worth exploring.

Marleen Laag shared that the company EE Exclusives made a knitting wall handing for the King, which had a lot of media coverage.

Gillian Vogelsand-Eastwood shared a link to the  Textile Research Centre, Leiden, Netherlands.  This is a site that’s well worth spending time visiting and perhaps an actual visit too once we can travel freely.

Annemor Sundbo, Norway, has a small hand knitting museum.  The majority of the site is not in English, but look along the menu and you’ll find a section that is. Don’t ignore the other pages as there are some beautiful pictures, or you could perhaps use a translation app to find out more.

Some members of the forum are also members of the Knitting and Crochet Guild.  They were reminded that there are free patterns that can be downloaded from the members area of the KCG website once you have signed it.

Thank you Sally, these all look really interesting

Our Christmas Tree

Here's the pictures of the decorations I was sent for our for our Christmas tree.  Not many, but at least the tree isn't bear.


Not many decorations on our Christmas tree!

Design for the bauble from 55 Christmas Balls to Knit by Arne & Carlos

My Stay and Home and Keep Busy List

Some things I had intended to do have remained just that—intentions.  The divoré type fabric I mentioned last time is still in one piece!  Maybe I’ll look at that soon but there is no urgency at the moment.  I have done a bit of research and have more of an idea about size.  I’m also planning to do a bit of shaping so it sits better on me, and also make it easier to run round the edges with the overlocker. There will probably be a strip of fabric left over which could be suitable for a scarf. If there is I will be looking for, or making, some fringing for it.

I’ve also had a go at tablet (card) weaving.  I’d heard a lot about it, and read the suggestion to make your own cards.  We had some laminated paper that was no longer required so I made them out of that.  As the warp needed to be held taught I decided to use my inklette which meant I needed small tablets.  I found a simple pattern, threaded (warped)  up, and followed the instructions to turn the cards 4 times forward and 4 back whilst passing the shuttle back and forth for the weft.  I must admit I wasn’t overly impressed at first as all I could see was a vague pattern, but as I moved the band further on I saw the other side of it and that was so much nicer.  

Encouraged I continued and a few hours later I completed the band.  Now what am I going to do with it?

 I have also finished the band to go round the hat I crocheted earlier in the year. It looks so much better than the one I put on originally.  The colours are much more summery and the hat looks more complete.  So I’m now all ready for good weather!

I have been knitting too.  A few decorations for our virtual tree and also using a ribbon yarn from my stash.  I completed one cowl shawl (see Show and Tell) and started on a second one.  I started increasing both sides every alternate row and then decided I wanted it to be wider and not as deep as the first one, so added a central increase after about 10 rows of increasing at the edges only. I’d soon  completed it but was so surprised at the shape when it came off the needles.  Needless to say it has now been undone and reknitted with increases centre and edges right from the start.

So that’s the majority of my crafting this month.

Show and Tell

Gaynor contacted me almost as soon as the Newsletter came out asking if she could share the information about the poppies with her church knitting group.  They got their knitting needles out almost straight away and knitted poppies for family and friends.  Gaynor sent me pictures of the ones she knitted and crocheted.  The four together were hung in her window. 
Great work Gaynor and thanks for asking.

Carole said: T
his cardigan has been sometime in the making. I ran out of yarn during the last lockdown and then got sidetracked.  The yarn is The WI Soft and Silky 4 ply from Hobbycraft and is knitted in double moss stitch with lace panel.


Janet said: Finished the blanket and gave it away to the old people's home.  Finished a long waistcoat - interesting construction but it caught on everything, sat very badly over the shoulders and I frogged it before I could forget how I had sewn it together.

I have crocheted what seems like a zillion little blocks for a new blanket but cannot be bothered to sew it up at the moment.  To many ends!   Maybe doing a few every evening would be the way to go.

Thought I would get some more wool for another blanket project but discovered that the locusts had had the lot at Hobbycraft last Wednesday (the day before the lockdown) and the shelves were even more bare of wool than of toilet roll.  So I have dug out a large cone of chenille that I acquired for a fiver some time ago and am trying to work out how far it will go and what tension/needles I should be using (no information on the cone).   I shall look forward to seeing it.

Karen has been knitting and weaving recently.  I couldn’t resist  including the picture of the weaving, just because it includes a teddy!

Karen has also knitted a pair of socks. Yarns are both from West Yorkshire Spinners.

The third picture from Karen is of two scarves, one finished and one still a WIP.  Both are knitted with cashmere from her stash and probably around 40 years old!  They are knitted in two pieces, starting from the ends and grafted in the middle.  The inspiration came from a book called Something New to Learn about Lace.

And finally, my shawl cowl.  Knitted in a ribbon yarn from my stash and based on a pattern called Dream Catcher Scarf.

Don’t forget to take photos of your knitted gifts before you wrap them.  We can show after Christmas so as not to spoil any surprisesOur next Newsletter will be sent around the end of January 2021.

 And finally:

 Seasons Greetings

Merry Christmas

Happy New Year

May 2021 be a good one with opportunities to knit, crochet and craft!


Until we meet again



Keep Calm

and carry on

Knitting or Crocheting!


Hands, Face, Space


Keep Active, Stay Positive - We will meet again