Many machine knitting clubs have dwindled away to only a few members, or even shut down, as older members had health and transportation problems, and new knitters struggled to learn these amazing machines, which aren't quite like anything else you operate and take a little time to learn.
The San Diego Machine Knitting Guild, which is bigger than your average club, has a number of impressive programs going on that are a tremendous boost to the craft in their community. While your little club, or my little club, might not be able to carry out all these great ideas, maybe one or two of these would really work for you.
1. Like most thriving clubs, they have officers, bylaws and meetings. At some point, you just can't be the Lone Ranger and keep a club going.
2. Also like most thriving clubs, they have a good, central meeting place. In their case it's a public meeting facility, but other clubs use churches and library meeting rooms. Here in our area, when we needed a new meeting place, we were pleasantly surprised that we DID have options once we made some phone calls.
3. They demonstrate at their local fair for a couple weeks every year. This is a big job, but they've been doing this a while and have it down cold, with a notebook of patterns that are easy enough to make with people watching, a schedule to divide the work, and an all-around can-do approach. Not only do they recruit new knitters at the fair, some of the people enjoy working the fair more than any other club activity.
4. Two members staff an adult extension classroom program with a weekly morning and weekly evening class that accommodates both beginners and more advanced knitters. If some talented person in your guild is interested in doing this, it can't hurt to check with local colleges.
5. One club member "redistributes" machines - that is, she picks up machines, ribbers, stands and accessories from members who are upgrading, downsizing, or just not knitting any more and she gets them into new homes. She sells some items and gives others away, according to the situation.
6. They are lucky enough to have a couple of members in the business who procure tools and accessories as needed.
7. They are also very fortunate to have a couple of guys who do repairs.
8. The club's charity coordinator collects and distributes items for their chosen charities.
9. Several of them enter items in the fair each year.
10. The club absolutely welcomes and assists beginners.
The San Diego club doesn't do a lot of "knit ins," but they do regular seminars and have demonstrations at each meeting.