September Classes and Knitalongs

It feels like I just posted a class schedule for August a few days ago. This year has done nothing but move at high-speed!

The less than scientific experiment for alternating weeks for classes has been a success, so I’ll continue offering sessions on alternating weeks allowing class participants to have more time to work on projects between sessions.

In other news, I’m changing up my skill level terms. I’ll admit they’ve been a little vague, so I’ve taken the advice that I learned from an old friend and have reverted to the KISS Principle. Good ole, keep it simple, stupid to the rescue! The new terms are:

Rookie: You picked up needles and yarn recently, know knit and purl, and you’re ready to add more skills to that knitting toolbox.

Apprentice: You’re confident with knit, purl, basic increases/decreases, and have likely begun adventuring into knitting in the round, and have began creating shapes other than long scarf like rectangles.

Virtuoso: You’re confident in your abilities and are looking for challenges, unique projects, and new tricks. There isn’t much out there that you would shy away from trying as long as you were in love with the pattern teasing you on Ravelry.

Genius: You are a knitting master, nothing stops you, not even a bad pattern. You’re looking for a challenge, continuing to master skills, and love projects with very complex construction and stitch work.

All classes will be held at Yarn Rhapsody in Gainesville, GA. Please call 770-536-3130 or drop in to reserve your spot at least 48 hours before classes begin and purchase patterns and materials.

So what’s up for September?

Well first, I can announce that you can still sign up for any nine sessions of Building with Lace knitalong by Michelle “Knit Purl” Hunter for $45, as long as the book is still available for purchase at Yarn Rhapsody. There’s already been one round of books sold, and round two just arrived. Weekday sessions will be offered Wednesdays, 6pm-7pm beginning September 6 and carrying on through Wednesday, October 25th. Weekend sessions will continue on Saturdays, Noon-1pm until October 14th.

Skill level: All skill levels – this is truly a skill building knitalong, the book, associated videos, and the support of the rest of the knitalong participants will get you through if you’re a beginner, and teach you a few more tricks even if you’re a knitting expert.

There are also two more knitalongs featuring Michelle Hunter’s patterns for September.

img_0084-1Hat season starts up towards the end of October in the south, mid-September virtually anywhere else, so it’s time to start WIPing some up. Corkscrew Hat by Michelle Hunter, uses an interesting, yet easy to grasp two color technique that creates an almost braided appearance and unisex design. This pattern is also available in three sizes, baby, child, and adult.

Offering Type: Knitalong
Skill Level: Rookie/Apprentice
Techniques Used: Knitting in the Round, Multiple Colors, Shaping
Price: $30
Dates: 10:30am – 11:30am, Saturdays, Sept. 16, 30, Oct. 14

img_0085Oh wait, glove and mitten season is coming up too! The second of Michelle’s patterns this month is the Reciprocation Fingerless Gloves. These fingerless gloves will keep your hands warm and your fingers free for chilly weather knitting.

Offering Type: Knitalong
Skill Level: Rookie/Apprentice
Techniques Used: German twisted cast on, special design stitches, stitch pickup, thumb gussets
Price: $30
Dates: 10:30am – 11:30am, Saturdays, Sept. 23, Oct. 7, 21

September for me means, cooler weather, hints of gold and red appearing on the landscape, and the fact that we’re just that much closer to HALLOWEEN. It’s time to start working on some spookier projects.

img_0089First up, these Spider Socks are going to be a blast. I’ve already started on my pair, I couldn’t wait! These will look great in a solid, or subtly variegated yarn, you want your handiwork to show through on these.

Offering Type: Class
Skill Level: Apprentice/Virtuoso
Techniques Used: Top down construction, heel flap & gusset construction, mock cables, cable stitches, special design stitches
Price: $60
Dates: 1:30pm – 2:30pm, Saturdays, Sept. 16, 30, Oct. 14

img_0088Counting Crows fits the bill for chilly, late October evenings with a few secrets hidden inside. These are a great challenge for someone wanting to increase their color work skills.

Offering Type: Class
Skill Level: Apprentice/Virtuoso
Techniques Used: Knitting in the round, color work and chart reading, shaping, stitch pickup, thumb gussets and finger construction
Price: $60
Dates: 1:30pm – 2:30pm, Saturdays, Sept. 23, Oct. 7, 21

And now for something completely different….

This particular pattern has been sitting in my queue for months waiting for the right time to bring it out.

img_2345Inspired by the Mesoamerican deity Kukulkan this scarf/shawl is striking. This is certainly one of those projects that will having people asking “where did you get that” and then it’s up to you how you spill the beans about being an accomplished knitter. The unique shape and construction of this project, as well as the use of gradient sets should keep anyone motivated to finish this project before the fall chill really sets in.

Offering Type: Class
Skill Level: Apprentice/Virtuoso
Techniques: Color changes, short rows, stitch pickup, cast on mid-project, shaping
Price: $60
Dates: 3:30pm – 4:30pm, Saturdays, Sept. 23, Oct. 7, 21

And as always, I’m available for private instruction for those wanting to start knitting or need a refresher after a bit of time away from knitting, all you have to do is contact me and work out dates and times.

Oh Hey There….

I've seriously neglected this little corner of the blogosphere for a bit.

I think most of us start blogs with solid intentions of posting often, but in all honesty it doesn't appear that many of us put fingers to keyboard often enough. I have difficulty in sharing bits and pieces of my life with strangers at times, and as much as I love knitting, it's hard to write about consistently.

After all look how many blogs and vlogs are dedicated to the fiber arts that do a much better job than I ever could, but I certainly intended this site on being much more than a class listing and review site.

Maybe its time to crack the shell a bit and share some personal bits.

It's no secret that I have a love/hate relationship with social media. It's been closer to hate/hate this year. There was a previous post on the topic earlier this year. At that point I had logged out of a few places until the burn of the Trump inauguration settled down on both sides of the political fence. The rapid fire back and forth of certain sites was maddening. It never really settled down, I've just grown to ignore more and more of it, or better yet have found that liberal use of the unfollow, unfriend, and block buttons can be liberating.

But here I am again. Frustrated.

It's not hard to figure out why. Just watch the news.

It's times like these when it seems like the entire country is whipped into a frenzy that I want nothing more than to draw the shades and pull a blanket over my head for a few weeks. That isn't an option though. No matter what happens, life has to keep moving forward. Unfortunately, it's also hard to share how I really feel about such polarizing topics. We (as in the general population) have lost the ability to listen to differing opinions and speak with civility. Instead of conversation we viciously attack each other. All I know to do is to keep being who I am, helping those I can, being a sounding board for those that need it, and a sanctuary for anyone that needs to escape the noise.

I'm more than happy to meet anyone at the local coffee house with a ball of yarn and a couple of sticks to participate in a bit of escapism, no hot button issues, just a bit of caffeine and peace.

August Classes, KALs & CALs

Planning for August totally snuck up on me.  The full-time gig is deep into its summer busy spell and I’m honestly not sure what day it is most of the time without calendar apps throwing alerts at me daily.  When I’m not working, I’m still working by knitting up or crocheting projects. Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.  Right?  I’m trying something new for participants.  In the past we’ve done three sessions (for most things) in three consecutive weeks.  This month, we’re going to try three sessions on alternating weeks, giving students five weeks to finish a project instead of three.  Everyone is busy and some of the projects we tackle are intimidating on such a short timeline.

There’s a mixed bag of projects coming up.  Winter is coming.  (Ha! Successful Game of Thrones Reference) The holidays are coming too, it’s time to get to work on those gifts and some of these projects may make a great one for the knit-worthy people in your life.  All classes, KALs & CALs will be at Yarn Rhapsody in Gainesville, GA.  Please sign up at least 48 hours before classes/KALs/CALs begin, by phone at 770-563-3130, or in person.  A link to register through PayPal will be posted here as soon as it becomes available.  This will guarantee your spot.  Space is limited.  Yarn and patterns for each offering must be purchased at Yarn Rhapsody.

By popular demand I’m leading a knitalong for Building with Lace by Michelle “Knit Purl” Hunter.  This is Michelle’s third publication featuring patterns that build skills along the way.  By the end of this KAL you’ll have an amazing lace shawl featuring nine different lace patterns.  It’s a sizable and beautiful piece of work.  This KAL has a couple of options.  You have a choice of how many sessions you would like to attend, the full KAL is 18 sessions for $80, or you’re welcome to attend 9 for $45. You will be required to purchase the book for this KAL.

Session Dates: August 12, 19, 26 – September 2, 6, 9, 13, 16, 20, 23, 27, 30 – October 4, 7, 11, 14, 18, 25

Saturday Session Times:Noon – 1pm Wednesday Session Times: 6pm – 7pm

Skill Level: Adventurous Beginner (really, this can be your first lace knitting these books are designed to be fully educational)

Are you looking for a unique crochet shawl? Well, here you go.  Hotel of Bees is an interesting and subtly complex piece that will keep you on your toes.  Featuring overlay, open, and filet crochet techniques with a modern twist this isn’t your grandmother’s shawl.  (No I’m not trying to insult the grandmothers out there.  I know a lot of them and they are great people).  Because of the complexity of pattern this one is a class offering.

Class Cost: $60

Session Dates: August 5, 19 – September 2 from 1:30pm – 2:30pm

Skill Level: Intermediate – Advanced

Fall in Georgia is one of those odd in between times where a heavy shawl is way to warm but something lightweight is perfect.  Reverse Psychology is perfect for fall and early winter here in the south.  It begins on the bias and has a wonderful abstract shape with several partial bind offs.   The pattern features beadwork but can easily be done without.

KAL Cost: $30

Session Dates: August 5, 19 – September 2 from 3pm-4pm

Skill Level: Intermediate

Gainesville seems to be just as obsessed with elephants as it is chickens.  For you out-of-towners that don’t get that joke, Gainesville, GA is considered the chicken capital of the world.  We don’t have a town Christmas tree lighting event, we have a giant light up chicken.  Anyway….I digress.  Loxodonta & Elephas the African Flower Elephants can be your next stuffed animal friends.  Crocheted and then joined in multiple pieces these guys can be made using any yarn weight creating tiny elephants to giant ones.  The color possiblities are endless here.

Class Cost: $60

Session Dates: August 12, 26 – September 9 from 1pm-2pm

Skill Level: Intermediate

And bringing up the back of the line, because slow and steady wins the race, there’s Sheldon the Turtle.  This is a cute one for the little ones, or for us big ones that just like having a stuffy here and there.  Sheldon has a removable shell, so if you’re so inclined you can make different colors and patterns for any occasion.

KAL Cost: $30

Session Dates: August 12, 26 – September 9 from 2:30pm – 3:30pm

Skill Level: Intermediate

There it is, an action packed offerings schedule!  Keep in mind, if you don’t feel like you are ready for a group class I do offer individualized instruction for $40 per 1 hour session.  I hope to see you all in class…or KAL….or CAL in August.

Nerdy Knitting Tools: Knit Companion

All of us crafty folk have had it happen, we’ve printed our patterns, broke out our favorite methods of keeping track of rows such as highlighters and post-it notes and have gotten to work.  Days, weeks, maybe months into the project something happens to that piece of paper, the pattern itself disappears, or the post-it you’ve been using as a tracker falls off.  You’re lost!

Okay, maybe it’s not the end of the world, you figure it out and keep going but managing piles of paper can be a real pain in the ass, especially if you’re as guilty as I am for working multiple projects at the same time. I teach, make shop samples for my LYS and make stuff for myself completely unrelated to the first two types of projects, it’s not unusual for me to have 4-8 projects going at once.  I’m trying to reign that in a bit, 8 is a bit much right now but I’ve gotten behind on things. 

Recently, I found myself able to replace my ancient iPad with the latest and greatest (Verizon has some awesome deals once in a while) and rediscovered Knit Companion.

Knit Companion is a pattern management app that has come a long way since I tried it out several years ago when it was in its infancy.  So what does this thing do? Knit Companion (KC) allows you to import patterns from both Ravelry, KC Designs (they have partnered with several designers) and your own PDF patterns from a personal Dropbox into the app.  From there KC gives you a ton of options as to how you’re going to manage that pattern.

img_0041-1At the simplest of set ups you import a pattern, select the pages you need, and it goes straight into the user interface.  From there you can flip between pages through a drop down option at the top of the app, have a moving marker bar to keep track of your place on the page, and have several counters available at the right side of the app.
Then you can get into beefier features with a bit of work on your end to set up the pattern as you like.  KC is an extremely powerful tool if you take the time to work with it.  It’s not entirely intuitive but KC has quite a few tutorials and a user guide available on their website.

img_0040-1If you have a love for complex patterns that include a bajillion charts and page after page of instruction you’ll appreciate the advanced features.  KC can be programmed to track charts with the press of a button. The example here is just a quick one I set up for a shawl I’m designing (much more on that little project later).  I have yet to unlock all the features for myself, there is a feature called Magic Markers that will read your charts and highlight special/repeated switches for you when you set up.

Ultimately you can take a pattern, load it in so that you have access to flip through pages using the top drop down bar.  Counters can be renamed on the right hand side to track repeats, stitches, whatever else that may need counting.  The pull up from the bottom can be programmed to include keys or special instructions for charts.  Then there are options to add notes, highlight specific places within the pattern, and the best part is, once you set up the project it will auto save your every move until you delete it from the app. Switching between multiple projects doesn’t phase it.  My knitting bag has lost what feels like 15 pounds of paper, post-it notes, highlighter tape, and markers.

Since my introduction to KC as a iOS only app, they now have an Android version too.  The app itself is free, but it will limit you to KC only patterns and tie your hands on a lot of awesome features.  A 1 year subscription that unlocks all features is $12.99.  Yeah, yeah, I hear some of you groaning, but with the abilities of this app it’s worth it for an avid knitter or crocheter. If you are doing a project or two a year I could understand passing on it.

Give it a shot!  Look at the tutorials and the user guide, you’ll be amazed at what this little thing can do, and keep an eye out on the class schedules at your local yarn shop, there are a few out there that will offer classes on how to use all the features of this app to your advantage.

July Classes and Knit-Alongs

Summer is practically here, and Christmas is only five months away! Take a bit of stress off of your holiday planning and begin working on gifts and decorations.  It’s not all about early holiday planning though, there’s a few other things mixed in.

All classes will be at Yarn Rhapsody in Gainesville, GA.  Please sign up at least 48 hours before classes/KALs/CALs begin, by phone at 770-563-3130, or in person. This will guarantee your spot!  Space is limited.  Yarn and patterns for each offering must be purchased at Yarn Rhapsody.  It’s okay if you want to bring stash yarn, you’ll have to add $30 to the original class/KAL/CAL fee.

Knitting Classes

ElijahElijah the Elephant – 6-7pm, July 12, 19 & 26 – $60
An adorable elephant toy knit without seams on double pointed needles. Elijah was designed to be round and cuddly but still easy for little hands to grasp. He knits up quickly.  Elijah would make a wonderful gift for any kid – or adult.  Skill Level: Advanced Beginner, Intermediate

Reyna – Noon-1pm, July 15, 22 & 29 – $60Reyna2
Can’t figure out what to knit with that single skein of sock yarn in a variegated colorway that you’ve been eyeballing at Yarn Rhapsody. Here’s the answer! One skein of fingering weight yarn is enough to complete a shawl. Skill Level: Adventurous Beginner

Knit-Alongs

MinistockingsHoliday Mini-Stockings – 1:30-2:30pm, July 15, 22 & 29 – $30
Looking for a unique set of handmade holiday ornaments?  Mini-stockings can fill that niche.  Make one for every member of the family, or give to friends.  You can certainly make a tree full between now and Christmas if you wanted to.  Skill Level: Advanced Beginner

Blue BirdHoliday Blue Birds & Gingerbread Men – 3-4pm, July 15, 22 & 29 – $40 – yarn kit included
These fun little toys make excellent stocking stuffers or additions to wreaths and holiday displays.  Both patterns use little yarn and work up quickly, so yarn is included with this KAL.  Skill Level: Advanced Beginner

Pacificus by Laura NelkinPacificus Top – 10:30-11:30am – July 22 & 29, August 5, 12, 19, 26 – $60
We may be kicking into gear for holiday knitting this month, but there’s still plenty of summer weather left.  Constructed in one piece, it’s perfect for a KAL spread over six weeks.  You’ll be more than prepared for those last hot, summer, evenings.

 

Classes Vs. KALs: What’s the Difference Anyway?

snake knittingWhat’s the difference between a class and a knitalong (KAL)?  This question has come up a lot in my knitting life lately since I began offering both options since beginning to teach group classes earlier this year.

A knitting class is easy to define.  Classes are situations where students will be learning specific knitting techniques, styles, or working through a complex pattern with the assistance of a hands-on teacher.  There’s several ways classes can be taught.  Some lead participants through a pattern row by row, step by step, others encourage a go-at-your-own-pace situation and will come to you as you reach a certain point and give individualized instruction.  In both scenarios you’ll have a certain amount of homework to try to complete before the next session.  I’m a fan of option two, with my own classes, I’ve seen a range of skill levels within the same class and feel that if I taught a row by row style class a more advanced student will inevitably get bored and shank me with a needle.  I don’t need any extra holes in my body at this point.

Knitalongs are a different beast.  KALs are group meetings where multiple participants will sign up to work on the same project togther, and if need be, help each other.   KALs are an opportunity to work through a project you know is within your skill level but you may be a little nervous about, or just a project you think is awesome and would like to work along with peers.  KALs typically do not offer the benefit of the dedicated teacher from a knitting class, in fact the KAL leader is most likely going to be sitting at the table working on their own version of the KAL project with you.

Hopefully that clears some things up.

 

 

The Great Knitting Update

It’s been an exciting week, knitting wise, and May was a nutty month period, I’m hoping June will bring a bit of breathing room.  Alas, I think it’ll be another case of no rest for the wicked.

I finally got off my butt and uploaded that pattern I’ve talked about a million times on this blog to Ravelry, and then crazy things happened.  It hit the Top 20 within 8 hours and the number one spot by Tuesday morning.  But knitting fame is fleeting and it’s backing down the list as other great projects climb the ranks.  You can download the beastie here.

After that pattern hit the top spot and I’m still a little awestruck that it did, I’ve already started work on the follow up.  I’m going a different route this time, it will be a long asymmetrical wrap in two colors, featuring mosaic motifs and inspired by the lace patterns of the Oomingmak knitters of Alaska.  The yarn is already on the needles and three pages in my infamous Moleskine are filled with notes with several pages to go before I can actually start typing it up.  I’m keeping the skill level in the range of adventurous beginner, mosaic is very easy to learn, but it’ll be helpful to have a little lace experience under the belt.

Square Web PromoSo that’s knitting life in a very small nutshell.  I’ve still got multiple projects on needles all in various stages of completion.  I may declare June no cast on month so I can catch up on things, but we’ll see how that goes.  World Wide Knit in Public Day is June 10th, if you’re near Gainesville, GA you should come.  June knitting classes begin this weekend.     July classes are mostly planned, I just need to work out dates and times.  I’ve got blog drafts in progress illustrating actual techniques coming up soon.

Personal life….well….work and knitting has consumed most of my time lately.  I’m okay with that.  Severus developed a bad urinary tract infection shortly after his pet guinea pig, Peanut Butter, passed on.  The vet said it was likely brought on by stress with the changes in the house, plus my neighborhood has had a severe problem with feral cats this spring, and several males were marking the house.  Sev is very territorial and  doesn’t react well to cats walking through the yard let alone marking his house.  He’s an indoor only cat, but he knows when and where the wild ones are passing through.  A lot of medication, fluids, and several calming remedies later he’s improved and is acting like himself again. Lucius, still thinks he’s a dog. Goober.

I watched one of my closest friends get married last weekend, and of course she looked absolutely amazing, and I’ve never seen a wedding so tailored to a couple before.  Everything from A to Z was tailored to fit their personalities.