Friday, March 02, 2007

Part 2: The classes

One of the major reasons I go to Stitches is for the classes. Don't get me wrong, the market place is awesome, but most of what I bought I could of ordered on line. The classes, you can't get anywhere. Many of the instructors are famous authors. I have many of their books in my library. They are my role models.
So, anyway, I signed up for a full weekend of classes.

Friday: Superb seams and Advanced finishing with Margaret Fisher.
Within the first 5 minutes I felt that I got my money's worth. I've avoided knitting garments that needed seaming, because I was never confident I was doing it right. I didn't want to invest all of that time knitting, seam it, and be disappointed with the end result.
In superb seams we learned all of the seaming techniques, plus some tricks in how to pin the garment together, and how to ease effectively.

Advanced finishing, built on the superb seam class. We learned short rows for shoulders, various selvedge stitches and cast on techniques. I learned the knitted cast on, tubular cast on and bind off and various ways to graft seams.

Sat I took the fully fashioned and fabulous class form Melissa Leapman.
This class focused on full fashioned shaping and incorporating shaping into the design of the garment. Another great class. Melissa had a lot of her sweaters from some of her books to demonstrate the techniques we worked on. It's great to see the whole picture in a finished garment.

My second class was Basic Intarsia, from Nancy Wiseman. Her finishing techniques book was one of the first books I bought when I started knitting. All I can say is, I'm no longer afraid of Intarsia and I know how to do the Intarsia twist so as not to get holes.

On the last day, I took troublesome armholes from Judy Pascale. This class was FULL of great tips on adjusting patterns to get your sleeves to fit perfectly. We learned how to change your pattern and knit your sleeve from the cap down. This involves an "interesting" algebraic(sp?) formula to set up the appropriate decreases. This may be a technique to try next year.

Lastly I took Tricks and tips from Lily Chin. Yes, Lily Chin. We had such a blast. She's great! I can't tell you how many great tips she shared with us. Some include, knitting on buttons, adding beads without pre-stranding, and a whole list of others.

The plus side to taking these classes are the little tips you learn that aren't in books. Off hand comments the instructor makes that are great little helps to make your garment nicer.

One theme that was echoed by ALL of the instructors was to knit a full gauge swatch. Yea, every pattern says to do it, but I have resisted. I always knit a mini swatch, you know 3 or 4 rows, to "confirm" that the needle I thought will work does.
Well after stitches, I've decided to turn over a new leaf. Not only will I take the time to knit a swatch, I will wash and block it as well.

Part 3: The results

I'm officially a SWATCHER.
2 swatches for my next project, CPH, in Cascade 220 and Artyarns supermerino for Wicked.


Wanda said...

That's great that you had such positive experiences with your classes @Stitches. Especially all the finishing and garment design, sounds wonderful.

Liz K. said...

Yay for swatching! Really! I mean, it is knitting, after all!

I am jealous of all you learned at Stitches and hope you will share some of your newfound wisdom with us!