Classes, classes

I realized, while trolling through my brain for something to blog about that is not "picture of knitting that is indistinguishable from previous picture of knitting" that I hadn't ever posted details about the classes I took at the iKnit Weekender.

Class the First: Fair Isle knitting, taught by Biggan Ryd-Dups. This was a good overview of fair isle techniques, which I was already familiar with, but was worth it for the fact that I finally figured out how to hold two yarns in my left hand.

Let me back up: I learned to knit English style (throwing, yarn in right hand), but about four years ago, I decided I needed to learn how to knit Continental (yarn in left hand, faster then throwing). To do this, I knit an entire short sleeved sweater Continental style. In cotton. Needless to say, tension issues doomed the garment to un-wearability from the beginning, but I did learn to hold the yarn in my left hand (I ended up as a combination knitter, not a Continental, but that's neither here nor there). When I started my Olympics project, I was intrigued by the idea of two yarns in one hand, particularly on the rows with three colors, but I couldn't quite get the hang of it. Frustration ensued.

You know how sometimes you try to figure something out and you bang your head against a wall trying to get it and nothing works? And then you see someone doing it and the lightbulb goes on? Yeah, that was me with the one handed Fair Isle. All I needed to do was watch Biggan do it for two minutes and I was set. Or sorted, as they say on this side of the pond. So now I'm looking forward to my next Fair Isle project so I can try it out.

Class the Second: From Square to Eternity, with Pat Ashford and Steve Plummer. I signed up for this one with absolutely no idea what it was going to be about. The course description was suitably vague, but said something about designing, so I figured what the heck?

Turns out that Pat and Steve are math teachers who have used knitting to teach math to students all over the UK. They gave a slide show of their creations, and we did a bit of knitting of different geometrical shapes that were then all combined together at the end. It was really interesting, and they things they've created are gorgeous! Some of the ones they talked about are here, and they've got a bunch of toys that I'm dying to make for some geeky kids.

Class the Third: Estonian Lace Knitting with The Dutch Knitters. I don't know where to begin with this class, it was that good. We started with some history of Estonian lace knitting and traditional shawl construction. Carla and Hilly brought a pile of shawls to show off different construction styles and shapes. I learned that traditional Estonian shawls are always rectangular, and the borders are always knit in two pieces and then attached to the center panel. We knit tiny little sampler shawls with gorgeously thin Wensleydale yarn. I learned that "nupp" is pronounced so that it rhymes with "soup". I left with big plans to get myself a whack-load of 1600 ypp lace yarn and spend the next year working on my own Estonian shawl. I was foiled by the lack of yarn with that particular grist at the Marketplace, but it's still simmering in the back of my mind. Of course, that project will also involve investment in the appropriate reference materials.

All in all, I really enjoyed my first knitting event. It was way less crowded then I had expected, but people seemed to think that a lot of people went to Knit Nation instead of waiting for the Weekender, so it wasn't so crowded. I'm planning to hit Knit Nation next summer, but that doesn't mean there won't be a return visit to the Weekender too!