I'm hitting the ground running in April! I'm teaching five classes at my LYS, The Craft Studio in Grand Junction, Colorado. Here's the line-up:
April 11 & 14 Beginning Rigid Heddle Weaving
Get started weaving on a rigid heddle loom! We'll make a table runner (or scarf, as I'm wearing it). In the first session, we'll talk about how to warp the loom and get started weaving. In the second session, we'll talk about finishing techniques and how to make your project shine. If you don't have your own rigid heddle loom, The Craft Studio will have a few available to borrow.
April 13, 25, & 27 Learn to Spin on a Spinning Wheel
This class will help you get familiar with your spinning wheel and get you started on your way to creating your very own yarn. We'll play with a variety of fibers and begin a spinner's project notebook. Each session is a separate class, but students are welcome to attend as many times as they'd like. If you don't have your own spinning wheel, The Craft Studio will have a few available to borrow.
April 30 Take the EEK! out of Steek!
Most knitters would never dream of cutting their knitting, but that's exactly what a steek does. This class will discuss traditional methods for steeking as well as more modern methods that let you use a steek in even more ways. We’ll get some hands-on practice with cutting our knitting and practice securing the cut edges so they don’t unravel.
Want to come join me for one of these classes? Give Lesly at The Craft Studio a call!
Adventures in Sweater Construction
I love my modified Stopover sweater ... and I loved knitting it so much that I promptly bought several sweater quantities of lopi yarn. Naturally, life intervened and more lopi sweaters weren't knit, until now.
Not content with most of the other options out there, I decided to go wild. This sweater is knit from the top-down, with a v-neck instead of the traditional round neck of a lopi sweater (and most other yoked sweaters, for that matter).
The inspiration came from Ragga Eiríksdóttir's Craftsy class, Top-Down Icelandic Sweaters. The punchline is really just that you start at the top of the sweater instead of the bottom, which gives you more flexibility (I think) on things like body and sleeve length. It's a great class, because Ragga is wonderful, and it's always interesting to see how other knitters work out design problems.
But if there's one thing I hate about cardigans, it's cardigans with straight fronts instead of v-necks. The corners always flop against my neck and make me nuts. My last attempt at fudging a v-neck with the Stopover didn't go quite as planned, so I knew this one had to be a real v-neck. I used my gauge on the Stopover as a starting point, and a mashup of Ann Budd's Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters and things I remember from Elizabeth Zimmerman to do the shaping.
For the v-neck, I basically increased on both edges on every other row. Next time I'd do it once every three rows instead, but what I ended up with works perfectly well.
The sweater is steeked, which seems to be my M.O. these days because, less purling! Then I picked up stitches and made a pretty standard button/neck band. I like having odd numbers of buttons generally, and eagle eyes will notice seven buttons in the pictures above. But that top button just seemed too high up, so I snipped it off after the photos were taken. That means there's an extra buttonhole without a button, but that's a minor detail I can happily live with, especially since the yarn is so hairy it's hard to see the buttonholes!
I improvised the colorwork pattern, which is really a starting point for what I had in mind. Next time!
I did end up having to add length to the sleeves because when I tried the sweater on for sleeve length, I forgot to bend my elbow (like you do when looking at a watch). I found myself tugging at the sleeves, meaning they were too short. Luckily, with the top-down construction, adding length was super simple - just undo the cast-off, knit some more, and it's done!
All in all, this was a fun - and quick! - project. When you usually work on size 4 needles or smaller, size 9 makes for a speedy knit!
How to Use a Diz and WPI Tool
You might remember my excitement at the beginning of the year when we started making dizzes. Well, I've finally gotten my hands on some hand combs, so I can show you just how they work!
In addition to the adorable little sheep, there is now an alpaca diz as well as the traditional oval diz. All three work in the same way, and have a WPI tool built right in. This post explains more about a WPI tool and how to use the measurements you get from it.
All of a sudden, it's windy here. I guess March is truly coming in like a lion here. And February just whooshed by too, with glorious springlike weather that was equal parts scary (climate change is real!) and wonderful to play in.
Somehow, I managed to not be in this space at all, but that didn't mean there wasn't anything happening on my needles or on my loom. Whoops.
The most fun of all was the reprise of the Bang Out a Sweater knitalong - this time with worsted weight wool and rows of colorwork that had three colors at a time AND purls. Craziness.
Besides changing the color palette of the sweater, I more or less knit the pattern exactly as written - a rarity for me, since I see patterns more as, um, suggestions.
The changes I did make are what makes handknits so wonderful, because they're customized to one's own body and fit preferences. I knit a size smaller than I "should" have based on the pattern recommendations. The pattern was designed to have tons and tons of positive ease, and I figured I could do with a slouchy sweater but not so much a tent-blanket-thing. After blocking, I have a comfortable level of positive ease, but not too much, making me one happy camper. And, as I usually do, I shortened the body and the sleeves just a tad. And, for an extra touch of luxury, all edges are done in tubular cast-on/bind-off. Because it's pretty.
Can you spot the difference in these sleeves? On the left is the colorwork pattern as I originally envisioned it, but as I was knitting, I felt like the colors on the bottom were getting mired down. So on the second sleeve, I played with a different color combination, moving the darker colors to the center of the motif. Then I spent a day or two staring at them, deciding which one I liked better. All that was left to do was unravel the one I didn't like, and proceed with the sleeves.
The result is a sweater that some people on Instagram have called dark and moody, but I just think it's cozy and comfortable and I hope the March winds keep the weather cool enough so I can wear it all the time.
A side effect of knitting a size smaller than I'd planned is all the leftover yarn. Besides almost full skeins of each of the colors used in the motifs, I had two whole skeins of the dark brown. I used it to play with weft-faced weaving, naturally jumping into the deep end with flamepoint. I did go a bit cross-eyed trying to figure it out, with four different shuttles in play at a time, but I'm loving the effect. Perhaps a purse to go with my cozy sweater?
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