I was introduced to machine knitting in 1978 when I began a job selling sewing machines. The shop in Birmingham, UK sold knitting machines as well and I knew nothing about them at all. I quickly learnt to demonstrate them and became hooked!
In 1983, a friend and I started a knitting club which ran until 1997, until my friend moved to live on a narrowboat and I moved 50 miles away to Nottingham.
In 1987 started my own business designing, making and selling exclusive garments for individual customers. Every month I would take whatever garments I was working on to show the knitting club members. Everyone wanted to know how I got such a professional finish on my garments so I decided that the best way to teach them was to invite small groups to my home and have workshops on pressing and finishing. These were very successful and I soon realised that machine knitters needed something in print giving them detailed information on that subject. That's when I decided to write my book "Pressing Matters" which I published myself in early 1991. Around the same time, I met my husband Nigel. Since then, I have been invited to do talks and demonstrations at knitting clubs, which I continue to do. I sold out of all 5100 copies a few years ago.
I sold my 830 and 910 machines to buy a Brother 950i. I used to demonstrate Toyota knitting machines at knitting exhibitions and was given a Toyota 950 machine and ribber, which I still have. I also have an old pink Passap Duomatic, which I use for ribbed garments, a Brother 120 chunky, and a Brother 860 punchcard machine which I take to knitting clubs.
I rescued a Brother 710 destined for the tip which I usually take out to demonstrations as it is much lighter and smaller than the punchcard machine .
I also have an Electric Woolwinder (British made) and a Hague linker (manufactured in Nottingham) for making up.
In 1993, I moved from Birmingham and Nigel and I bought a Victorian house in Nottingham, Nigel's home city. We're slowly renovating it when we have time. We built some open shelves in one of our spare rooms for all my yarn. I've arranged it all by colour, like a big rainbow round the room. There are 4 shelves so I have dark shades on one shelf, bright shades on the next, then pastel shades and then dull/muted shades. Whilst it was really easy to find any colour I wanted, I realised that I should have organised it by yarn type which is how it is these days.
My Yarn Stash - is now organised by yarn type rather than colour -
though it did look very appealing!
I have been a dressmaker longer than a machine knitter and probably do an equal amount of each, often combining the two crafts. I also give talks and demonstrations on ideas for using sewing machines and overlockers for machine knitters. I have also written "Sewing Sampler" which is a machine knitter's guide to new and exciting decorative ideas using your sewing machine.
To bring you up to date, I began knitting with wire on my knitting machine over 20 years ago and in recent years it has become my main medium to use on my machine. I have 5 wire jewellery patterns which are made using wire and I love to experiment with new ideas.
I am a member of The Knitting and Crochet Guild in the UK and in 2020 I was asked to make a video about knitting with wire on knitting machines.
This is on my YouTube Channel - www.youtube.com/@EricaThomson
My other interests include - Origami, silversmithing and jewellery making, ply split braiding, knotting, digital photography (using Photoshop Elements), gardening (particularly ferns), cooking, breadmaking (by machine), DIY, machine embroidery, creative overlocking, real ale, and cats.
I am also a member of The British Origami Society, The Braid Society, Gathering Threads Textiles and Fibres in Notts (where I look after the website), The Hardy Plant Society, The Nottingham Hardy Plant Society, The British Pteridological Society and a life member of CAMRA