Middlesex Machine Knitters Club

Our club meets once a month on the second Wednesday of the month except in December from 1.30 to 3.30 pm. We are located in the Hounslow Community Association Hall in Montague Road, Hounslow,  TW3  1JY, England.

We welcome all knitters who use a knitting machine or are thinking of buying one. Even if you live too far to attend, please sign up to our blog to see what we are up to and perhaps join in our club challenges.

March Meeting

 Sadly our March meeting was the last one to be held before the 'stay at home' orders from the government. We had about half of our members brave the Coronavirus outbreak, and thankfully all of them did not pick it up when they journeyed to Hounslow for the meeting.  We continue to meet via WhatsApp and perhaps we will be using Zoom in the future.  In the meantime, I will be posting some design ideas on my Facebook page  Elaine Cater's Designs.

The Coronavirus knitted by Vivienne

February Meeting

    

Our February Meeting was a game of two halves. Elaine was sadly absent owing to family commitments, but Janice E stepped in to keep the Club running for the day.

The first half involved our annual February Bring and Buy Sale. Normally we bring yarns from our stashes which we aren’t likely use ourselves, and swap it for something more to our taste. There’s usually the odd knitting book or magazine too. This month we had the mother lode. A local Knitting Club at Pinner has closed down. They very kindly offered their library of books and magazines to MMK through Nita, a mutual member. Vivienne drove over to South Ruislip to collect them, after a little tussle with postcodes, and everything was loaded into her car boot, neatly stacked in boxes and carrier bags.

On the day of the meeting all the boxes were transported upstairs, mainly by Ronnie, and deposited onto the table. We had an interesting half hour going through them all. Most of the club Members already had copies of a number of the books but everyone found something to their liking and the pile diminished somewhat. The yarn was popular too.

Once the excitement of the Bring and Buy was over, we all settled down around the table where Jenny M had set up her overlocker. It was an awesome looking piece of equipment.
Jenny had brought an incomplete jumper which she blithely cut up into various sized pieces to demonstrate how the overlocker can be used to edge cut fabric neatly, and how edges can be securely joined together.
She showed us how the fabric is cut as it is sewn to give a firm very neat finished edge.
We all had a go at using the overlocker to sew odd pieces together. Jenny was very aware of health and safety, making sure that each of us was mindful of the very sharp cutting edge on the guide. No one wanted an inadvertent closely manicured finger nail!

It was interesting to see the uses and possibilities of this machine. Cut and sew, if not exactly a doddle, was certainly much more effective than using zig zag on a domestic sewing machine.
We all thanked Jenny for bringing the overlocker along and giving us such a comprehensive demonstration. Vivienne claimed the leftover fabric on a waste not want not basis, as she needed to construct a knitted rat – but that’s another story! 

January Meeting

We no longer meet in December as everyone seemed to be too busy to come to our meeting.  We had been busy over the Christmas  period with our knitting.  We discussed our reworking projects that we hope to have finished by our March meeting.  Sandra brought along a cotton blanket that she had made using a bias edging.  We had tried it out at our August meeting  and she was very pleased that it had kept the edges from rolling in.   Marion wore a cardigan that she had made while attending a course given by Tony Bennet, a knitwear designer from Australia.  I brought along Unicorn mittens that I had made on my mid- gauge machine.  The original pattern was written for hand knitters and I  found that translating a hand knit pattern for the machine is not as easy as I thought it would be.  Please click on the button below to read the full story.
A Cautionary Tale

November Meeting

Our club welcomed Fiona Morris who gave us a talk on surface decoration on knitwear. She brought many beautiful samples, both machine and hand knitted that showed a wide range of techniques. The sample shown here combines lace, cables and yarn threaded through the cables.  Some of us were particularly interested in methods of dying knitted garment and surface felting. While the idea of trying to do dying at a club meeting would be impractical, we may try Surface felting at a meeting in the Spring. We also welcomed 3 members of local Knitting and Crochet Guild.   Here are a few photos of her samples. 

October Meeting

We looked at simple ways to achieve plaids by leaving needlesleft in non working position to create a vertical 'gully'.  Then an embroidered chain stitch created the vertical lines of the plaid.  The sample shown here combines intarsia with the embroidery to make this striking sample.  For the instructions of how this was done and more samples, please press the More button.

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September Meeting

 In September we started to look at  sideways knitting on the machine. Using this technique allows the knitter to create pieces of knitting that are broader than using all 200 needles for the usual ‘bottom to top’  construction of a garment. It also allows the knitter to create designs that turn horizontal patterns into vertical ones. We looked at examples from 3 very interesting books, The Rowan/Brother Designer Knitting Book, Super Machine Knits, and Knitting Reimagined.  Some of the designs can be seen by clicking the More button below.   All these books are available from Amazon.co.uk

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August Meeting

Last month our club, Middlesex Machine Knitters, explored ways to keep the knitted edges of scarves, etc from rolling in from the sides. We tried a method used by Diana Sullivan where needles 2,3, and 4 from the edge are moved out so that there are 2 stitches on the edge needle and the empty needle four is filled by picking up the heel from needle 5 every second row of knitting. This creates a bias edge.


We then tried moving the stitches every 4th row so reducing the time it takes to create the bias edge. It still worked, but there was more of a tendency for the sample to roll.


The third sample shows the same technique, but this time I did not fill the empty needle 4. I only left the needle in working position which created a lace edging.


With the 4th sample, I pushed needles 1 and 3 at each edge to hold position and set the carriage to hold and knitted 1 row. I set it back to knit all the stitches and knitted 1 row. I continued these 2 rows to create a tuck stitch edging.





The last 2 samples were done by wrapping an extra length of yarn around the end needles. The instructions were from Brenda Bell that I discovered about 7 years ago. It involves setting the carriage to hold throughout, but after each row you use the extra length of yarn to knit those stitches back to working position.

Start with the edge needle closest to the carriage out in hold position and the second needle from the opposite edge to hold position.

Knit one row. Use the extra yarn to knit those stitches back to B/working position and push the end needle closest to the carriage to hold position and the second needle at the opposite end to hold position.


 

Continue to knit those hold position needles back to working position and push the other needles out for each row. Sample 5 shows the wrapped stitches in a contrasting yarn and Sample 6 shows the wrapping done with same yarn.  

July Meeting

As the weather has turned so hot and we didn't want to think about knitting in woolly yarns, we looked at ways to produce lacy fabrics without a lace carriage.  Leaving needles out of working position manually, or while using the tuck setting on the machine, produced many interesting fabrics.  

We experimented with Card I by Kate Armitage.  (Card 1 is the basic card that comes with most standard gauge machines).  It's a bird's eye pattern.  To see some of the samples knitted with it, press the more button below.

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June Meeting

We have been putting together a collection of hand and machine knitted toys to donate to the playgroup that meets downstairs in the hall.  They have occasionally moved the children out of the hall so that we can meet there if our room has been double booked.  Saroj, the playgroup leader, came up to receive the toys and thank us for our efforts. The ethnic glove puppets were an instant success with the children.  

We tried out methods of cut and sew necklines and hope that some of our members will take the plunge and try knitting them.   I encouraged members to watch the YouTube video.  I demonstrated the technique at the club. 

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