Sunday, June 03, 2012


This morning I dumped my suitcase contents on the bed and unpacked, somewhere along the way I snagged a knit shawl (Deciduous) on a zipper. Ouch ...and bother ... and other words, there is a snag in my lace knitting. A ten centimeter loop of yarn that is not where it should be. Intellectually I know I can fix this, after all the yarn can be carefully teased and tugged and pulled back into the knit until the stitches are where they were. I know this - but I'm avoiding it, I think I need a to work up to this one. Any tricks and hints welcomed with an open mind.

Also on the needles and growing is my classic grey cardigan, growing so much that I'm almost ready to split for the sleeves and body! The rate of progress surprises me, but I have had quite a bit of time to knit this as my take away project for this weekend. I think I need to work an inch more then divide for the body and arms ... after that I feel it will continue to grow.
I was presenting at Handmade 2012, taking three sessions, and loved it. The attendees were all keen and interested - which is something I like about an environment where the participants have chosen to be there. The beginners all went away half way through there projects, being able to cast on and cast off and knit, and having done all of these things four different times. I have a sneaky learn to knit project that has them make button holes using a cast off and cast on when they are only 9 rows from the start. Newbies at both sessions even managed to weave their ends in, another important skill for the new knitter. We had all the usual incidents, dropped stitches, yarn overs where they were not intended, split stitches, and choices of yarn and needles that made for sticky knitting. As a class we talked about how as a beginner you are not in a great position to make the best choices about yarn and materials - and that if it was still very awkward after a while - maybe try a different size needle, or type of yarn or way of knitting. We talked, or I mentioned that as a more accomplished anything you are able to knowingly choose materials and tools that are tricky and do well with them, and that they would all be in that position sooner than they thought. Amazingly after the first hour there were several newbies who wanted to frog their knitting back a few rows and make it better! This was after they had worked their fourth cast on and realized their casting on skills had improved to the point they wanted to rework the original cast on so it was neater. All in two hours, I don't think I was so motivated in my first two hours of knitting!

In the more advanced session there was a great bunch of knitters who totally accepted that I was going to let them explore at least 8 different methods of adding beads to knitting, and that I expected them to think about which method they would use where. Most seemed to like the appearance of methods that used a hook device to place a bead over a stitch, found the methods where the bead was already threaded on the yarn much easier to work. I even told them about Fleegles latest play with guitar strings --- and provided two strings to play with. We cut them into shorter lengths and compared the guitar technique to using super-floss and crochet hooks. Again the knitters were amazing in that they totally accepted that there was no right answer, and that the class was more exploratory - guided by me. One even started playing with placing her beads in eyelets created by yarn overs and K2togs! Above are the tools we used, mini-crochet hooks, vintage ones in teeny tiny sizes, and OralB Super floss which is useful to have in a beading kit. The super floss is commonly mentioned online in regards to beading, but here in New Zealand is not so easy to find. I do like the squishy bit near the end that is perfect for parking beads on.  I trekked off  to visit two supermarkets, and three chemists before I resorted to phoning around to locate some close to home. A well stocked Chemist will likely have it or be able to order it in for you ... I'm still tracking down a similar but different product - floss threaders.

And here is the quick project of the week, called Bookcase and it goes with the article I have just submitted to Entangled. I meet up with Genny the editor and driver of the Entangled at Handmade and was reminded of how passionate she is about promoting and supporting crafters at a level way beyond the how-to-make- a-decorated-thingy level. My  article is all about how making a record of your making can liberate you and enable more making. I just have to finish it up and provide the final images, I've been waiting for some nice diffused light to make the photos with.

Take care - hope your long weekend goes well if you are in a country that celebrates the Queens Birthday - if not - welcome to the week!

1 comment:

Knitting Linguist said...

Your workshops sound like so much fun! Now I'm intrigued by the eight ways to add beads to one's knitting - I think I've only ever done two or three (this seems to call for some experimenting over the summer). You have also reminded me that I must go renew my subscription to Entangled!