Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Teaching an Old Dog

My Jamieson and Smith Shetland yarn stash
So, what do you think? Can you teach an old experienced knitter a new trick?

Yep. Definitely, and I proved it by taking an online course about knitting a Fair Isle vest. Not only did I come away inspired to create my own project, but I also gained a couple of new tools to add to my skills treasure box inside my head. And because I had the sound turned up on my computer, Jonesy also got to learn more about knitting as I watched the videos! See? I can share nicely.

Craftsy's Fair Isle Vest Stranded and Steeked is a complete package of videos, class materials to print and the vest pattern taught by instructor Mary Jane Mucklestone. Knitters "in-the-know" will recognize Mary Jane's name because of her new book "200 Fair Isle Motifs: A Knitter's Directory". I purchased this book last summer and have already spent quite a few hours swooning over the color photos. Bonus: By clicking on the special class link above you can get this class at a 50% discount from the nice folks at Craftsy. 

Mystery Slippers - Yes, actual knitting
In the very first of the ten video lessons, Yarn and Color, I learned a great way to EASILY evaluate how the different colors of your yarn will play together in a stranded knitting pattern. Mary Jane shows how she knits a long I-cord piece with all the potential color players and then takes it outside in the natural light. There you can coil it, fold it, whatever to make the colors rest against each other to see if they "pop" or blend into each other. I love this idea!!! [Note: #1 added to skill treasure box.] Of course she emphasizes the importance of swatching...not just that...she shares how much she just loves to knit swatches.

What else did I learn? How about reversing the direction of the leans of your decrease stitches along the neck and armhole edges? Mary Jane says it keeps the colors more in pattern. I've always struggled with which color to use for a decrease to avert a glaring color glob (that's a technical term) so I'll have to try out this trick [Note: #2 added to skill treasure box].

Steeking - CUTTING - your knitting work scares so many knitters (who go running screaming from the building with their hair on fire at the very idea.) Mary Jan happily reinforces (or not!) and cuts her knitting, making it look like child's play. I did pick up a new way for me to work the crocheted version of reinforcement which I will have to try on my vest project [Note: #3 added to skill treasure box]. I've crocheted steeks before on my projects, but have to acknowledge that there was room for improvement.

Nettie's new slippers for cold(?) winter nights
Oh dear, that's 3 new things this old dog learned already. But wait...there's one more! I have always picked up the horizontal strand between the stitches when picking up for the neck edges and armholes. But, Mary Jane shows how she simply uses the holes between rows to stab through and pick up a loop of yarn. Whoa! That's a new one for me and yes, that makes #4 new trick to add to my skill treasure box. I sure learned a lot from this class even though I have knit, designed, and taught Fair Isle knitting myself!

So now you know how I've spent a chunk of my time this past week. Have you signed up for Crafty yet? This was my 3rd class thru Craftsy and I have two more in my account just waiting for me. And it's not just knitting! Craftsy has courses in sewing, jewelry, paper crafts, weaving, cake decorating and much more. What fun!

Actual Knitting accomplished: Nettie, one of our kitchen workers here at Mario's Marina told me that her feet get cold at night in her house. We have had very cool temperatures - like in the low 60's. Folks who live in the tropics find these temps to be quite uncomfortable. So, I whipped up a pair of my Mystery Slippers for Nettie using some Caron Simply Soft yarn. Here's a link to my free pattern:

Download FREE Mystery Slippers Pattern now

Cruising Notes: We're leaving for Belize in a couple of days. No, not with the big boat yet. We're enjoying the cool weather here. But we have to renew our tourist visas again. This time we're going to go to Placentia in Belize which is one of the places we'll hang out when cruising. It will take a local launcha boat, 2 different public vans (overfilled by double with passengers), a water taxi, a chicken bus, and a "hokey-pokey" small water taxi to get us to Placentia from here in the Rio Dulce. Lots of Go-See-Doing!!

Thanks for your nice comment on my blog! I am just perusing your lovely blog over lunch here in my office. I love sailing, but although I don't want to be far from the ocean, I don't think I could live on a boat full time! Where would our sheepie girls hang out?

Also, thank you for offering your Mystery Slippers pattern. I love them! I am definitely putting them at the top of my knitting list!
I am shocked that there was something you could learn about knitting! You are my knitting hero, and I assume you know all. :-) I just bought the download for the baby socks from your sidebar (again). I had the pattern once on my old laptop, but lost it when it crashed. Oh well. I'd like to make socks for my new grandson (4 months old) and my granddaughter (3 years old), so I am wondering how to make this pattern bigger. Do you have a formula for doing that, or a bigger child's sock pattern? Thanks. cekfraun at aol dot com
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?