Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, Day two (2KCBWDAY2)

Today's theme:

Look back over your last year of projects and compare where you are in terms of skill and knowledge of your craft to this time last year. Have you learned any new skills or forms of knitting/crochet (can you crochet cable stitches now where you didn’t even know such things existed last year? Have you recently put a foot in the tiled world of entrelac? Had you even picked up a pair of needles or crochet hook this time last year?

Well; I think I learned a lot over the last year; but you wouldn't necessarily know it from my projects. I think that's because I have such a long list of projects that new techniques find it difficult to sneak in under the wire all that quickly - my project list is like trying to stop a supertanker in its tracks...


I took a series of excellent classes at Knit Camp last year. Many things have been said about this event - and most of the stories about the organisation are true, particularly the more extreme ones - but the standard of tuition was impeccable. I want to finish my little Roositud sampler, do more double knitting (and we have a chap at knitting group who does double knitting all the time so I know where I can go for help) and after two years promising myself I'll steek, I still haven't done it, but this year...

One thing I have tried to put into practice this year is knitting things which fit. Joan McGowan Michael's class was a bit of an eye-opener, and proof that yes, I am actually an extremely awkward shape (and regardless of what I weigh, realistically always will be)! So I've tried to make things which don't swamp me. That means that I'm currently rather self-conscious about anything I've knitted recently because it feels a bit more fitted than I'm used to, but that certainly works better for work-wear. (I have no decent pics of either of these projects though, as taking photos with the self-timer really doesn't work; maybe when my parents visit in a couple of weeks I'll be able to get Dad to take some).

Lanthir Lamath

Another wonderful learning experience this year was knitting the Lanthir Lamath hooded scarf (Ravelry link; commercial pattern still in preparation) along with Ann Kingstone, a wonderful designer I met at KnitCamp. One of the (many) interesting things about Ann is that she's a true left-handed knitter (as opposed to me, a left-hander who knits); she does everything the leftie way round. And fascinatingly, she has a right-handed twin who's able to do demo videos the rightie way round. But that does lead to a difference in terminology in her patterns - Ann will talk about the active or passive needle rather than the left or right one - and that in turn really trips an "aha!" switch in leading to a different way of thinking about making a fabric. It's little things like that...

There were also several lovely technical twists in this pattern - a centred double increase which you have to watch the video several times to master, and then shortly after becomes almost second nature, and which matches the centred double decrease which I love; a different way of making short rows neat; some wonderful twisted cabling. And all in a lovely, friendly, supportive knitalong group.


Small technical things - I think I've nailed the M1R/M1L/M1K/M1P increases thing so I don't get holes. This has been a problem for ages, so I'm glad to have sorted that out...

And although I say it in the linked post - managing to cast on 42 stitches in a long-tail cast-on and not spend the whole 3 hours of Nancy Bush's class doing so made me tearful with joy (thankfully not in the actual class; afterwards while contemplating the sheer beauty of my garish little sachet...)

Often I learn new techniques by teaching others, but I haven't done any formal teaching this year; need to push myself a bit further without that prompt, maybe. The technical thing I do really want to learn next is brioche - Nancy Marchant's brilliant book shouldn't be allowed to languish on the shelves any longer.


Mary deB said...

All I can say now is, I need a hooded scarf!

Ann Kingstone said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed the Lanthir Lamath KAL Liz. I had great fun with it and love hearing how much others loved it too. The fact that folk feel they learned lots of new things and enjoyed doing so is particularly gratifying!

Warm regards,
Ann :0)