We had a fascinating talk from Francis Lewis on how to make polymer buttons. There are four brands she uses: Fio, Sculpey, Premo and Kato and each come in a block, which Francis then cuts into slices, before laying them together and rolling them like pastry.
She then uses a pasta machine to assist the rolling. Different colours can be blended at this stage. She repeats folding and rolling until the correct thickness is achieved. Then she rolls them up as evenly as possible making sure there are no air bubbles. This gives you a cane which you then roll to the length you require.
You can the carefully take a number of these canes and mold them together to form a triangle. Then taking several if these triangle slices you can form the button you require.
Francis uses a dedicated convection oven to bake the clay as it does have an unfortunate smell while baking.
Remember to put the holes in your button before baking.
We enjoyed a very interesting talk given by Knitwear Designer Marianne Henio, who shared with us her knitting history and how she has developed her skills over the years to become a designer of knitting patterns and how she comes to create a new design.
Marianne’s love of knitting was very evident. She had brought a selection of her sample garments, some of which were from her recent Winter Collection, and she talked us through the design features and what had influenced/inspired her in creating those particular garments.
One of Marrianne’s garments
Marianne with some of her garments
Pat gave a very interesting demonstration on cut and sew necklines – using a sewing machine along the edge to be cut and then joining the neckline to the garment on a linker.
Pat demonstrating cut n’ sew
We also had a Show and Tell session at the start of the meeting, which included many lovely items:
- Nora had made a baby dress with smocked yoke.
- Joan had made a cardigan with contrast buttons and contrast pink trim.
- Joan also brought along the patchwork quilt she had completed, with its matching bag.
- Mavis modelled her textured waistcoat.
- Mandi had made a circular effect jacket from a Zandra Rhodes pattern.
Mandi’s jacket, Mavis’s waistcoat and Nora’s baby dress
We were also challenged to make knitted hats for sailors by October and to make some knitted squares for a knitted Christmas tree for a community project in Tilehurst.
Diana Hannah, who has been working for John Lewis for 17 years, visited us in March to tell us about her life at John Lewis. Her Grandma first taught her how to knit and she hasn’t stopped since.
John Lewis offers lessons or a drop-in clinic for all knitters, new, improving or experienced. Many come along to learn how to knit, buy wool, sort out problems or have the confidence to finish a garment. They run a ‘Knit & Knatter’ on the last Thursday of the month between 3-5, just call in the store to find out more.
Some tips Diana gave us are:
- Look and read your knitting to spot mistakes
- When casting off, lay the knitting down and you can calculate the amount of thread needed
- Read the ball band
- Knit half the garment, weigh it, then you can tell if you have enough yarn to complete the garment
Some interesting facts about Diana:
- She was a judge at the Newbury Show for 3 years
- Knitted a cushion for the 150 years of John Lewis, which was used in a ‘Guess the number of stitches’
- make her own soap
- makes all her own socks
Diana and one of her creations
A few notices
Unravel – Farnham 19-21st Feb. Uppingham will be visiting so if there is anything you need and can’t get there, give Nick a ring and ask Philip to pick it up for you. Although mainly hand knitting there is usually some good quality and unusual yarns available.
Liz will be attending Bournemouth 5th March, so if you have anything for the competition she’s happy to take it down for you.
Ways to Join Knitting
One of our favourite speakers visited to show us a number of different ways to join knitting.
Mattress, grafting and back stitch are the most common way of joining your knitting and instructions for this can be found in books and online everywhere. Back stitch is not as neat as mattress stitch, which gives a smoother finish. Whereas grating when done correcting will give you an invisible seam as you are effectively making a row of knitting. Just be careful not to pull the thread too tight.
Liz also demonstrated a number of fancy joins which make a feature of your garment. Some are made on the machine and some off. These include:
herringbone, faggotting, icord, hairpin lace, latch tool, crochet, cable, eyelets, shoe lace up and many more.