My New Class, Knitting Clinic

I am teaching again! Yay! I had my first class yesterday at Unwind, The Knitting Clinic. This is a class that knitters can come to if they have dropped stitches, need coaching on a pattern or need some help with a technique they are not familiar with. I had a little of each just in the first class. One person needed help on how to do m1r and m1l. To be honest, I usually need to look it up whenever I come across this technique.

Here is a great video explaining how to do this kind of increase. She gives a little mnemonic to help remember which way to insert the needle for the right increase. I think I just might remember it now!

 

Coda

Coda Pattern by Olga Buraya-Kefelian

Coda Front

Back of the Coda sweater by Olga Buraya-Kefelian

Coda Back

The second knitter had a lovely pattern, Coda by Olga Buraya-Kefelian. She had the whole thing knitted up to the “arch” on the back panel. This calls for short rows.

Karen is a very  accomplished knitter, and obviously not afraid to take on a complicated pattern. The pattern for Coda is some 15 pages! That really wasn’t the problem though. You have to read this pattern very carefully. At the point beginning the arch, you work a short row while working one of the charts. The chart is 16 stitches across and the short row is after the 12th stitch. So if you’re not paying attention you’ll omit this minor detail and knit the whole chart. After we figured out what the problem was, the thing Karen wished the author would have done is to create another chart for that section. It probably would alleviate hair tearing and tears for a lot of knitters!

Ribbit, Ribbit

My other student had a lovely sweater, also with a VERY complicated pattern. But as another very accomplished knitter, she was following the pattern just fine. I did tell her that I would probably highlight every direction in my size, but she was doing ok. The problem she had was the beautiful yarn she was using. It was a very fine cotton, thick and thin. This made it very hard to see her stitches. I think her needle size was 4, maybe 5. So yeah, small stitches. Where the thin part of the yarn crossed a thick part It was really difficult to see whether the stitch was knit or purl. it looks a lot like this Sirdar Beachcomber. I wonder if it was! Sirdar Beachcomber In any case, I could not see where the mistake was.

When I come across something like this in my own knitting I almost start over. Not quite though, and it can be pretty scary for a lot of knitters. Rather than frogging the whole piece to the point of the mistake (that we couldn’t see!) I took the knitting out of only the portion that was giving us fits. I took it down to the start of the ribbed increase section. Somewhere along the way the knits and purls were no longer in their proper columns. This section also had yarn overs so with the yarn it was sometimes unclear if a yo existed or not. I had to take out about 15 rows. Luckily my student wasn’t afraid of me doing that, in fact she was grateful that by the end that she could happily continue her knitting. This took most of the class and I probably should have let her do the re-knitting. Oh well, live and learn! It did get quite tight at some points and I had to go back and loosen up the stitches.

I ain’t scared of no ladders! I wish I could show you how I did it. Someday I’ll make a video showing how I correct a section of lace this way. Some instructors have you put a needle through the row after the mistake, but if you’ve got a pattern like oriel lace, it can be very hard to see which row is which. Believe me, I had lots of frogging down on this one! (That was before I learned to use a life line.. ahem.)

When you put the knitting back on the needles, sometimes you have improperly mounted stitches. Instead of flipping them around and wasting more time, I knit them through the back loop. Insert the needle into the stitch purlwise to the back and knit the stitch from the back leg. Here is a still from Annie Modesitt’s video on how to knit Combination style to show the orientation of the stitch and the placement of the right needle.

Combo KnittingI learned combination knitting from Annie Modesitt and have never turned back. It is faster for me and I get a better stockinette product. In fact, I even knit lace (if it’s not in the round) this way. I can even orient my stitches properly for a left leaning decrease (SSK) and a right leaning decrease (k2tog) by using a combination of western and combination purling. But that’s for another day…

 

12 Steps to Improve Your Knitting Skills

It’s getting hot here in southern California. What an awesome time to work on an afghan! Seriously, the cool thing about this afghan is that it will not heat up your lap as you knit. It is knit in 12 squares and pieced together at the end. I will be teaching a class on the Building Blocks Afghan starting on May 12 at Unwind Yarn. You can sign up at the Unwind website.

We will work on one square per week. Whether you are an adventurous beginner or more experienced, your skills will improve every week. Online videos are also available for help in between.

So keep cool and come join the fun!  At the end you will have a lovely sampler blanket and amaze your friends with your awesome knitting skills. Put 6 squares together for an heirloom baby blanket. Hey, a two for one class!