Is there a pattern or skill that you don’t yet feel ready to tackle but which you hope to (or think you can only dream of) tackling in the future, near or distant? Is there a skill or project that makes your mind boggle at the sheer time, dedication and mastery of the craft?
In 12 days, I will be in Atlanta, Georgia, for Stitches South. From Thursday afternoon on April 14 through Sunday morning on April 17, I will be sitting in various classes with other yarn fiends, learning new techniques, making new friends, and generally having a good old time. Class schedule as follows:
Thursday 1:00-4:30 PM — Left Can Be Right For You: Learn the basics of controlling your yarn with your left hand. We’ll start with Continental knitting and purling, then take a trip around the world to survey knitting styles and innovations that make purling (and knitting) with the yarn in the left hand more efficient. Students will learn and try Norwegian purl, Eastern Combined knitting, and Portuguese Knitting.
I’ve watched people knit Continental style and it fascinates me. Because I was a crocheter before I was a knitter, I think this style of knitting would suit me better and maybe be less tiring on my hands.
Friday 8:30-11:30 AM — Joy of Finishing: Learn the joy of sleek shoulder lines, invisible seams, picking up the perfect number of stitches without counting, beautiful buttonholes, ‘shortening’ sleeves, taming sleeveless armholes, and other finishing touches. If it is worth knitting, it is worth finishing beautifully.
Being a self-taught knitter, my finishing skills are, shall we say, less than stellar. Oh, I can sew a seam with mattress stitch but the finer points elude me. This class had homework swatches to make ahead of time and bring to class.
Friday 1:30-4:30 PM — Fearless Fair Isle: Stranded Fair Isle style colorwork is a classic technique that belongs in every knitter’s repertoire. Experiment with 1-handed and 2-handed methods to see which is more comfortable for you. Learn simple tricks for keeping your tension even. See why certain color combinations sing while others fall flat. You’ll leave with the beginning of a hat, or a finished headband.
Colorwork — Fair Isle in particular — intimidates the hell out of me. See this sweater?
I covet it. And it involves the two techniques that scare me silly. Fair Isle, of course, and steeks. It’s so gorgeous, though, that I must conquer my fear and master them. This year I’ll tackle Fair Isle. Next year, I’ll take on steeks. And perhaps the year after that, I’ll knit this sweater.
Saturday, 8:30-11:30 AM — Cut and Paste: Does the very thought of Kitchener Stitch make you queasy? Get over it! Practice grafting a variety of stitch patterns, then apply what you’ve learned to an elegant hem and a flawless seam. Discover ways to modify your knitting: Sleeves too long? Wish you’d started with garter stitch instead of ribbing? Hate the colors in that band of Fair Isle? Cut out the bad and graft in the good.
Kitchener stitch doesn’t bother me, but the idea of deliberately cutting my knitting does. Here’s another class intended to help me get over this particular trepidation. And perhaps provide a springboard to that other deliberate type of cutting, steeks. More homework swatches here:
Saturday 1:30-4:30 PM — Double Dare: You’ll do a double-take when you see what you can do with double knitting, double colors, and double hands! Learn how to create a 2-sided fabric with 2 colors using both hands. After you master stockinette stitch you will continue on, learning several different stitch patterns.
I’ve never tried double-knitting but like the idea a lot.
Sunday 8:30-11:30 AM — Intro to Entrelac: Entrelac knitting creates a fabric with a wonderful basketweave or quilted appearance. Create an Entrelac sampler as you learn all the steps of this fascinating and useful technique.
I love the appearance of entrelac but can’t quite get the hang of it simply reading the instructions. I’m generally a visual, hands-on learner rather than an abstract theoretical learner. So I jumped at the chance for a hands-on workshop.
Six new skills or techniques will soon be added to my repertoire. I can hardly wait!
See other blog entries on this topic here.