Wednesday, September 28, 2016

ancient history....

I am decompressing from the pressures of getting that book ready and out - I feel like I don't even want to see a knitting machine for a while. Thanks to everyone for your support!
I'm doing a bit of sewing and my latest binge-watch is the BBC production of Shetland. It is a detective/murder mystery (my favourite), set in Scotland. It takes a bit of listening to, for that Scottish dialect, but I'm enjoying it. The most recent episode that I've watched takes place on Fair Isle which is a tiny island off Northern Scotland, between Shetland and the Orkney Islands. And I keep saying to myself (there's nobody else here to tell) 'I've been there!'. The scenery is spectacular - it is known as a bird sanctuary and as the home of fairisle knitting.
Way back, in 1991, I went on a tour called 'The Wool and Wonders of Scotland', sponsored by the Rowan Yarn company. It was a fabulous 2-week trip-of-a-lifetime where we toured by bus, boat and helicopter from Aberdeen to Stornaway and Lerwick, ending in Edinburgh. There was a ton of history, everything was defined by how long ago Bonnie Prince Charlie did whatever. We had a day with local spinners and weavers; a fashion show by a designer who produced cable knits for the Japanese market; a trip to the tartan-maker to the Queen; visited crofts/homes where Harris Tweed was made; had several trips to wool brokers where we saw wool being processed from the sheep's back to the finished skein and every step along the way; the Callanish Stones (so much better than Stonehenge!), a half day at the Glenfiddich Distillery and a lot more. There was something for everyone and the highlight for me was a helicopter ride to Fair Isle for a couple of hours.
In the community centre I found a group of machine knitters using Studio/Sliver Reed punch card machines  to knit fairisle sweaters for sale. I was the only machine knitter on the tour ( all the rest were hand knitters with a couple of husbands thrown in for good measure) so I hung out there for most of the afternoon, talking with them and figuring out what they were doing. They had a machine with a ribber attached that one lady was making the 'welts' (what they called the ribs for waistbands and cuffs) and removing them on waste yarn and then they had about 4 other punch card machines set up to do the fairisle blanks of body and sleeves. I was amazed at the huge, long punchcard they had - I didn't know then that it was available on a roll so you could have a 200 row fairisle design without having to reset the punchcard every so often. Someone had to hand graft the welt to the blanks and do the seaming. I showed them how to rehang the welts directly to the punchcard machine to knit the fairisle right off that and eliminate the grafting step - they were absolutely amazed! I was a hero for a few minutes and the hand knitters looked at me with new respect after hearing that I was able to help out the Fair Isle knitters!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

OMG!!! it's ready!!!

the book is done! and you can go to and put it in your cart and get it by Sep 23rd!! wow! once I finally finished proofreading and fixing little boo-boos, it didn't take long! I'm so excited!!!!(big sigh!!)

The HandBook For Manual Machine Knitters

List Price: $29.95
Detailed descriptions of techniques and methods for use on manual, non-patterning single bed knitting machines and frames. Cast-ons, cast-offs, increasing, decreasing, shortrow shaping, patterning, lace, tuck, slip fairisle...Examples of where, when and why to use and why not. Instructions and charts for many hand selected stitch patterns and bands, trims and edges all done on the knitting machine, no hand knitting or crochet skills required.

About the author:

Mary Anne Oger, machine knitting designer and instructor, is well-known for her classic, wearable designs and her knack for adding common sense and humour to machine knitting. She is adept in textures and great finishing techniques which can be used by all machine knitters, any gauge, all machines. With many seminar and workshop credits all over North America, her teaching skills are undisputed. As editor/publisher of 'KNITWORDS' magazine for 13 years from 1997 to 2010, Mary Anne set high industry standards for quality work in machine knitting. She makes her home in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada and can be reached through her website at where you can find her machine knitting blog 'Needles to Say...', providing hints, tips, patterns and inspiration for all machine knitters.

Publication Date:
Sep 18 2016 ISBN/EAN13: 1537755161 / 9781537755168

Page Count:120 Trim Size:8" x 10" Language: English  Printed: Black and White

Monday, September 19, 2016

panda success...

just to prove that I did get that panda sweater done! and Rhiana loves it! wow, she is growing  faster than bamboo! the sleeves are only just exactly right, good thing I didn't opt for the too-short version!  ;-)

I used the semi-jacquard technique to make the larger, single panda face on the patch pouch pocket ( say that a few times!) and then sewed it to the front of the pullover - admittedly, the pocket should have been a little smaller overall but she didn't notice and she was so proud to be part of the design process!