Reading your knitting

This week in the newsletter, I encourage you to take the Reading Your Knitting class this weekend.  It is so empowering to truly understand not only what happens to your fabric, but why.  I am big into the why of things.  As a little girl, I always hated that ubiquitous adult rejoinder, “Because I said so!”  As if I wasn’t smart enough for the reason.  If a kid is smart enough to argue with you, she is smart enough to deserve an honest explanation.  Most knitting patterns don’t have room to explain the why of every direction, but assume a certain level of confidence.  As a new knitter, I followed patterns exactly as they were written – I didn’t know any better.  Good patterns helped develop my arsenal of effective techniques, and poor patterns showed me what not to do – after it was too late, of course.  What a painful and frustrating way to learn!  How I wish there had been a resource like Sally Melville’s The Knit Stitch and The Purl Stitch when I was learning.  I love Sally’s approach to knitting – she always tells you why!  Her books are a perfect marriage of pattern, teaching, and resource.  She gives you a terrific pattern, shows you all the techniques you’ll need to follow it, and explains how each thing you’re doing affects the outcome.

In our classes we use the same approach.  We focus on teaching you the skills you need, but also on why certain things are done certain ways.  This approach allows you to extrapolate and apply what you learn to a variety of situations.  We want to give you the confidence to decide that “Because I said so,”  is simply not a good enough reason, and the power to choose the path you like for the results you want.

Sound intriguing?  Here are the details about the class in La Plata and Leonardtown.  Hope to see you there.

Bedouin Bag

Zipping along on my Bedouin Bag-it’s such an easy and relaxing knit. Worked a 13 round repeat last night so I’m nearly half finished.

So many people have fallen for this fantastic project that I have to order more handles! It’s not too late to get on board-if you’d like to get started come by the shop this week and choose your color of Shepherd’s Wool and we’ll order you one of Jul’s gorgeous handles. You can have it by the end of the week!

I cannot wait to finish mine-in fact, I’ve already picked a color for my next one. Since you can move the handles from bag to bag, I think I need a whole wardrobe of bags!!!

Reading your Knitting

What does it mean to be able to read your knitting, and why is it important?  Reading your knitting is the ability to look at a piece of knitted fabric and determine exactly what happened on the needles to produce that fabric.  This is an important skill for lots of reasons.  How many times have you been in the middle of a project, put it down, and then wondered where in the devil you were in the pattern?  Have you ever been watching a movie and forgotten to advance your row counter and wondered how many rows you’d worked since that last decrease?   Then there’s all that looking at what you’ve done, knowing you’ve made a mistake, and wondering what it was you did and how to fix it.  Honestly, how can you fix a mistake if you don’t even know what you’ve done wrong! 

Maybe you never make mistakes and you never stop without writing down exactly where you are in the pattern.  Good for you.  But let’s say you changed your pattern slightly on the back to better fit you.  Of course, you meticulously wrote down every change you made so that you’d know just what to do on the front.  But what if you’re knitting one afternoon, and your knitting BFF spills her coffeeonto your paper and destroys your notes.  How will you ever figure out what you did?  Well, if you knew how to read your knitting, you’d know exactly what you did on the back and could easily duplicate it. 

In our Reading your Knitting class, you’ll learn how to look at your knitting and see and understand what you have done – right or wrong.  If you can see what you’ve done correctly, then you can easily repeat it for the other side of your jacket, the second sleeve, or the next time you make that garment.  If you have made a mistake, it’s essential that you be able to identify exactly what the problem is before you can correct it! 

This class will help you answer these and many other questions we all have when we look at our knitting:

1.    How many rows have I knitted
2.    Am I supposed to knit or purl this next stitch/row
3.    How many increases/decreases did I do?
4.    Where did I make my increase/decrease?
5.    What kind of increase/decrease did I use here?
6.    How many rows are there between my increases/decreases?
7.    Why is there a hole in my knitting? – Is that a dropped stitch?
8.    Why does this stitch look so long and loose?
9.    Why are these stitches twisted?
10.   How many stitches have I bound off?
11.   and my favorite – This looks really wonky – what did I do?

When you’ve completed this class, you will truly understand your knitted fabric, and you will be able to answer all of those questions listed above.  Additionally, you’ll be able to un-knit correctly stitch by stitch or rip back several rows and still getting your stitches safely back on the needle.

Saturday, February 2nd in La Plata and Sunday, February 10th in Leonardtown 12-3.  Call the shop to register.  

Intarsia lace scarf

Finally received my second shipment of the fab new book Knit Noro Accessories.  There are so many cool patterns in this book – I love them all.  One of our fav’s is the Intarsia Lace Scarf, which Sandy has been working up in Silk Garden.    
The pattern calls for just one skein of Silk Garden divided into three sections, but this approach makes a really small scarf.   We think it would look much better three times longer, so Sandy’s pulled three skeins of Silk Garden.  You can choose three different colors, or three skeins of the same color and just start them in different places.  Either way, it’s a gorgeous project.  See…

We’ll be offering a class on this for those of you who have never worked intarsia or lace – join us.

Friday’s Felting Fun

In this week’s newsletter I mentioned that Sandy would be teaching a class on felting.  The pattern is for a basic bag knit in the round on circular needles.  Many of you may already be familiar with this design, The Booga Bag.  It has more than 3500 projects on Ravelry! 

It’s a wonderful introduction to felting, as well as to knitting in the round.  Because the fabric felts into perfect evenness, it’s a terrific project for beginning knitters.  It’s also a good pattern for when you just need some mindless knitting to go with your wine on Wednesday nights!

The pattern is free, but copyright laws prohibit me from distributing the pattern.  Just go to the require that each individual user print the pattern for herself (or himself).  So, here’s where you can get the pattern – just click on the “visit pattern website” link. 

Bring or buy at class a 16″ or 24″ circular needle size 10 or 10.5.  The smaller needle will produce a smaller bag as shown above; the larger needle makes a larger one, like the sample in La Plata.  Both are darling. See you Friday at 10:30!