Thursday, August 30, 2012

Sock Class

It's been forever since I posted but I've had nothing to show you. I have plenty of things on the needles but nothing completed (the story of my life!). I did finish a pair of socks for my friend Libby but forgot to take a picture before I gave them to her.

On Monday night I taught the last in a series of four sock knitting classes at Cock-A-Doodle Quilts. This is the second time I was asked to do this and I had six brave victims students this time around.

For this class I wrote my own pattern, going into more detail than is usually provided in sock patterns that presume you already have some knowledge of sock construction. It's a basic top down sock, knit on double-pointed needles. As this was the first time I've ever written a knitting pattern, there were a few bugs and a few places where some more details were needed. A big thank you to my students for their patience and their help in making it better.

Liz got her first sock finished at the last class and modeled it for us:

Linda finished one too but I didn't get a picture. Everyone else was on the home stretch. We'll see about getting together again in a couple of weeks for a final sock fashion show.

It's quite satisfying to make your own hand knitted socks (they make great gifts too!) and it's not as difficult as you might think. Try it! You'll like it!!

If you'd like a copy of my pattern, please leave me a message in the comment section or send me an email at quilt dot stitch at gmail dot com (replacing the word dot with . and at with @)

And now back to one of the two shawls I am currently working on ... or the socks ... or the sweater ...


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Another shawl completed!

Clarus, the second shawl in my "Mastering Lace Shawls" course is completed and in record time. I started in on April 28 - the day the yarn was purchased at the Knitters Frolic in Toronto - and it was completed and off the needles on June 8. It would have been sooner but I had a couple of issues near the end. I blocked it last weekend and gave it to its new owner, my best friend Jackie.

This shawl was made from a fabulous fingering weight 100% merino wool yarn from Indiodragonfly, an amazing indie dyer located in Haliburton, Ontario. To say they these folks have a wicked sense of humour would be an understatement. Completely insane (but in a good way!) would be more like it. Check them out and see the names of their yarn colourways and you will know what I mean. Their yarns are amazing and I will definitely be buying more.

The yarn I used is called "Hootenanny - Well It's Chock Full of Hoot, Just a Little Bit of Nanny", a beautiful semi-solid teal colour. Unfortunately, the colour in the photo just doesn't do it justice. And the puppy pads that I put down on the top of my bed to wet block the shawl are detracting from the elegance as well.

I'm planning to do this pattern again, but this time in a lace weight yarn. I've never knit with anything that fine so it will be a challenge. I wanted to start it right away but discovered that, of all the needles I own, I don't have any 3.5 mm circulars so one had to be ordered. It should be here soon.

In other knitting, I've been working on a couple of pairs of socks for my friend Libby. One pair is almost done, the second pair underway. Pictures will follow when they are done.

I've been asked to teach knitting in a child care centre one afternoon a week during July and August. I love teaching kids to knit. I've worked with some of these children (6 and 7 years old) before and they are very excited that I will be there all summer. I'm excited too!

And now, back to the sock knitting ...

Happy Knitting!

Monday, April 30, 2012

I've been MIA

I'm back!!

I apologize for neglecting my blog for so long. I hadn’t realized just how long until a friend pointed it out to me a couple of weeks ago. I’ve been pretty busy the last couple of months with various projects, including some knitting.

One of the things that I was thrilled to do was teach a beginner sock knitting class at Cock-A-Doodle Quilts. As anyone who knows me already knows, I’ve almost aways got socks on my needles and carry my little sock knitting pouch with me everywhere I go. They are a perfect take-along project for those times when you have a few minutes. It’s surprising how much you can get done with just 5 or 10 minutes here and there.

Many of my friends and the customers at Cock-A-Doodle Quilts would see me working on my socks from time to time. The most frequent comment was “Oh, I’d love to knit socks but they are so hard!” "But they are NOT," I would explain. "There are a couple of slightly tricky parts, but once you learn how, you will see that it’s not that difficult at all."

This is how my sock knitting class was born. Jo-Ann (the owner of Cock-A-Doodle Quilts) agreed to bring in some fun, affordable, self-striping sock yarn and some lovely birch double-pointed knitting needles and we were good to go. Five people signed up for the 4 week class. Each week we worked on one part of the sock and at the end of the classes, two of my students had their first sock completed, with the others well on their way.

Here's Cathie's first sock that she finished on the last night of classes. She finished the second one on her own and has just completed yet another pair for her daughter. Now she's collecting sock yarn like a mad woman and is going to have quite a hand knitted sock wardrobe by next winter! Well done Cathie!

Here’s Linda’s first sock. She, too, finished her second one soon after the last class. Good job Linda!

And here’s Beth's first sock, finished about a week after the end of the classes. Beth was a brand new knitter having done only simple scarves before launching into socks. She and her Mom came to the class and Beth finished BEFORE her Mom. She was very proud of her accomplishment, as was I. I hear she’s working away on sock #2. YAY Beth!!

I'm planning to teach this class again in the Fall. Also coming in the Fall, I’m planning to teach an introduction to lace knitting    another thing that seems to terrify knitters and really shouldn't! I’m working on the sample now, a lovely lace scarf using a beautiful silky bamboo yarn from Dye-Version in Mississauga. Stay tuned for further details.

And speaking of lace, here’s a picture of my Skywalker shawl that I just completed. I took an online class – Mastering Lace Knitting – at LauraNelkin is an amazing teacher and designer.

Although nothing beats a hands-on class, that’s not always possible. I highly recommend the Craftsy platform for classes. They offer something in just about every type of creative outlet you can imagine. Each course offers complete video tutorials as well as written materials for you to print. Once you purchase the course, it is available to you forever. You can go back and look at it at any time, at your convenience. (Just to clarify, I don’t work for Craftsy. I’m just a fan.)

I currently have two pairs of socks on needles and am just starting the second shawl – Clarus – in my Craftsy class. I’m making this one as a gift for my best friend. We picked out the yarn together at the Knitters Frolic this past weekend. I didn't want to tell her what I was making but she wore me down! She knows it will be a shawl but has no idea what it will look like (unless, of course, she reads this!)

So in addition to teaching some quilting classes, doing some freelance administrative work for a few people, teaching knitting to the kids at a local daycare and just life in general, I’ve been keeping busy.

I'm going to try my best to post more often. I've been compiling some useful links recently and will post them soon.

Until next time ...
Keep on stitching!!