Thursday, July 26, 2007

Knitting Classes

In the last week, I took two knitting classes. First, a Continental Knitting ("picking" rather than "throwing") class at one of my favorite local yarn shops, Acorn Street Shop. Once I got the hang of it, I really liked knitting this way (so efficient! so easy to switch from knit to purl! puts the left-hand to work, giving my right a break!). I'm pretty pleased with how the swatch I knit in class looks - the tension is mostly nice and even, although the ribbing looks pretty bad:

Despite my fondness for the above swatch, I have been a little too scared to try picking with any of my works in progress because I'm afraid my tension may be very different than what I've already knit. Perhaps I can pull out the blanket square that I put aside several weeks back and give that a try. Hmm, or start a new square altogether.

There were only three of us in the class and we progressed so quickly that we were able to try some two-color knitting by the end of the class. I'd never knit with more than one color in a row before - dang, I'm going to want to try Fair Isle now.

Then, I took a morning off work on a lovely sunny Seattle summer day, and took the ferry to Bainbridge Island to take a class at Churchmouse Yarns and Teas. What a fabulous yarn shop! It's fairly large with big windows in front, cozy places to knit, an excellent selection of yarn, and serves and sells tea. Although my commute there was about two hours (drove to work, parked, bus to the ferry, ferry across the Sound, walked up to the shop), I am so in love with the place that I'm sure I'll be back. (I think that they will host tea parties - perhaps for my birthday?) I got there a little early and they let me in to fondle and purchase yarn before the class started.

Handmaiden Sea Silk yarn (70% Silk, 30% Seacell) yarn, which I think is fingering weight? The skeins above are in what I think is the "Lily Pond" colorway, but it wasn't labeled, so I'm not sure.

I've been wanting to knit with Sea Silk yarn for some time, and the opportunity finally arose: a class on how to knit the Tuscany Shawl. Although I'm in the middle of a lace project right now, I'd never knit a triangular shawl before, and since the designer herself, Amy R. Singer, was teaching, I jumped on the opportunity. Amy was quite friendly and fun in person and taught us lots of cool tricks to make the knitting easier - shortcuts so that we wouldn't need the pattern, a way to rip back without things falling all apart (I've already tried this one), and my favorite: a way to loosen then tighten the decreases so that the stitches lay flat. Very cool trick!

The first twenty rows or so of the shawl, which I knit in the class.

Unfortunately, my counts are off right now, and I think I'm going to have to rip back some more...


tiennie said...

I love stranded knitting b/c you get to pick and throw! Beautiful yarn!

Kent said...

What a wonderful day & class...

It made me jealous :)

Alice said...

Wow, that seasilk is Gorgeous! Sounds like you had a nice day... I'm scared to try Continental knitting myself :)

Kristine said...

Your shawl beginnings are gorgeous. Truly. the yarn is amazing and the pattern beautiful. I can't wait to see the project evolve.