January Class Schedule

Update 12/22/2017: After a request from my November sock class students, I’ve rearranged the class schedule a bit.  They hijacked the Vanilla Sock class and required that I  move it to Wednesday.  Okay, maybe it was more of a polite request, but I couldn’t say no.  There have also been a couple of minor tweaks to look at and the addition of a Bring Your Own Project evening. 

A new year is knocking at the door and after a month off from a full class schedule it’s time to get 2018 off to a strong start. Winter is just really getting going here in Northeast Georgia so the focus this month is to keep warm, by either making warm things to wear, or avoiding the cold by staying in to knit.

All classes and knitalongs will be at Yarn Rhapsody in Gainesville, GA. You can sign up by calling 770-536-3130, or by dropping in. All yarn, supplies, and patterns should be purchased through the shop.

Beginning this month, I am rolling out monthly mini-courses featuring techniques that can be learned quickly and are commonly used in other projects. These are great for beginners or refreshers for the more experienced.

Cast On/Bind Off Mini-Course:  In an hour and half, you’ll learn three basic cast ons and three different bind offs that can be applied to future projects.  All you need is a bit of worsted weight yarn and size 7 or 8 needles.  This mini-course will be offered twice this month, so choose the day that best fits your schedule.
You will be learning a crochet cast on with a standard bind off, a cable cast on with an i-cord bind off, and a German twisted cast on with a stretchy bind off.
Dates: Saturday, January 6 – 10:30am – Noon
Saturday, January 20 – 10:30am – Noon
Price: $30
Skill Level: Rookie

Crochet: In the Beginning – Mini Course: If you’ve never picked up a crochet hook and don’t know where to start, this is for you.  I’ll cover beginning chains, single crochet, and double crochet in one hour, opening the door to some of your first projects.  Bring worsted weight yarn and a size G or H hook. Much like the knitting mini course choose the date that best fits your schedule.
Dates: Saturday, January 13 – 10:30am – 11:30am
Saturday, January January 27 – 10:30am – 11:30am
Price: $20
Skill Level: 
 Rookie

Bring Your Own Project Night: If you’ve had a project that you’re a little nervous about a certain section, need encouragement from other knitters, or just need an excuse to get away from the house for an hour mid-week this is for you.  You are welcome to bring any project to work on  in a *knitalong* style environment.  I will be there to help you through the little things.
Dates: Wednesday, January 17, 31 and February 14 – 6:00pm – 7:00pm
Price: $30
Skill Level: 
All Welcome!

Pieces of EightFingerless gloves are one of the world’s best inventions.  Your hands stay toasty but you can still use your fingers to poke at your smartphone. Ha! The unique construction of the Pieces of Eight Mitts will be a fun challenge for experienced knitters.   You will need to be familiar with basic increases and decreases, stitch pickup, knitting in the round, and grafting.  This *Knitalong* will be three sessions.  You will need 220-yards of fingering weight yarn (self striping or variegated yarns are recommended) and size 2.5 or 3 needles.  You will need double pointed needles AND circulars with at least a 16″ cable.
Dates: Saturday, January 6, 20 and February 3 – Noon – 1:00pm
Price: $30
Skill Level: 
Virtuoso

CopenhagenI’m going to admit that I’ve been eyeballing this pattern since it was released, and saw a finished one attending SAFF a little while back.  The photos available through Ravelry do not do this one justice.  Copenhagen Calling is a beautiful cowl featuring two color stranded knitting and lace.  This *Knitalong* will be three sessions.  Knowledge of stranded color work, and basic lace work is needed. You will need 275-yards of color 1 and 360-yards of color 2 and size 6 and 7 circular needles with 32″ cables.
Dates: Saturday, January 6, 20 and February 3 – 2:00pm – 3:00pm
Price: $30
Skill Level: 
Apprentice

Vanilla SocksYou have asked, and I’m delivering.  In a follow up to November’s toe-up sock class, it’s time to do a cuff-down sock. These Vanilla Socks will fit that bill.  All you need is a ball of sock yarn and size 1.5 or 2 needles.  This would be a great opportunity to learn how to use Double Pointed Needles but if you are more comfortable with magic loop, the choice is yours.  This *Class* will be three sessions.
Dates: Wednesday , January 10, 24 and February 7 -6:00pm-7:00pm
Price: $60
Skill Level: 
Beginner

Steel TealIt’s time for a big, beautiful, juicy, lace project.  This one is knit in DK, which means it’s a great piece to wear through the winter and into spring.  Steel Teal features cable and lace work  in a large Faroese shaped shawl. This *Knitalong* will be six sessions.  You will need 900 yards of DK weight yarn, and size 6 needles with at least a 32″ cable.
Dates: Saturday, January 6, 13, 20 – February 3, 10, 17 – 4:00pm – 5:00pm
Price: $60
Skill Level: 
Virtuoso 

FavorkiIf you’re going to wear a hat it should be one that looks amazing.  The Favorki Hat is a beautiful combination of cables with a bit of slouch.  You will need 241-yards of worsted weight yarn, and size 4 and 6 needles with 16″ cables.  This *Knitalong* will be three sessions.
Dates: Saturday, January 6, 20, and February 3 – 3:00pm – 4:00pm
Price: $30
Skill Level: 
Apprentice

Little KindessThere are days that seem a little rough.  It’s time to spread a smile by knitting up and gifting a Little Kindness Monster for a friend, or maybe a random stranger.  This little guy uses up a bit of fingering weight yarn, and size 3 needles.  He’s a simple little guy and a good choice for a first knitted toy or just fun for those that have knitted a few critters.  This *Knitalong* will be three sessions.
Dates: Saturday, January 13, 27 and February 10 – Noon – 1:00pm
Price: $30
Skill Level: 
Apprentice

And last but not least, there’s one more offering for January…

Reyna3_small2Reyna is a fantastic one ball and done project that will use that skein of hand dyed, crazy colored, or variegated fingering weight yarn and size 4 needles with at least a 32″ cable.  This *Knitalong* will be three sessions.
Dates: Saturday, January 13, 27 and February 10 – 2:00pm – 3:00pm
Price: $30
Skill Level: 
Apprentice

There’s a little bit of everyone this month, and as always I look forward to seeing you in class or working away in a knitalong.

As a quick reminder:
Knitalongs: Are offerings in which you knit at your own pace and have knowledge of all or most of the techniques used in the project.  I’ll be there to help you out if you get stuck at any point.

Classes: Are offerings where you will learn specific techniques to complete a project and will recieve dedicated attention and a helping hand to get you through if needed.

Side Note: I mentioned in my last post that I have a bit in store for 2018.  There’s somethings bubbling behind the scenes and that includes everything from more informative blog posts, interviews, reviews, and I’m getting on the knit design horse for real (I’m calling him Bucky). If you enjoy this blog, consider becoming a Patron!  Your patronage will provide funds needed for hosting fees, supplies, travel expenses to fiber related events, and other needs.  With patronage this blog will begin to grow and evolve into the fiber arts related education and entertainment site I’ve envisioned it to be.  Become a patron by visiting my spot at Patreon.  You can become a Patron with as little as $1 a month, and any amount is deeply appreciated.  

Blocking: A Necessary Evil

You’ve finally cast off a project that has taken ages to complete. You hold it up, and it looks, well, kinda blah. It sorta looks like the photos from the pattern but, it isn’t, quite right, even though you followed the pattern to the letter.

Well…

That’s where blocking comes in.

It’s like making gauge swatches and weaving in ends, no one really enjoys it, but if you want your handiwork to look amazing it just has to be done. So what is blocking? Blocking uses moisture to align all your stitches correctly, and the case of lace knitting, opens up all of those yarn overs.

I’ve had a small pile of finished work that need to be blocked, and an older piece that needed to be re-blocked after some cleaning (coffee soaks into wool pretty quickly, just saying). So I thought it was a good time do do a little tutorial on wet blocking. Yes, folks there are several ways to block but wet blocking seems to be the most universal.

First things first, you need to find a large, flat space away from the family pets and small children. In my case, I use my bedroom floor and shut the door. You can block on carpet, cardboard boxes, I’ve used my own bed to block large pieces, but the easiest thing is to pick up a few of those puzzle piece children’s play mats. You’ll be pinning your knit work, so the play mat surface holds pins well and since they are plastic, moisture won’t bother it at all.

For wet blocking you will need to soak your finished project. So grab an appropriate sized bowl, fill it with water, and a bit of specialty detergent. I prefer Soak, it smells great and it seems to get things a little cleaner. Eucalan has it’s own benefits but surprisingly I’m not a huge fan of the smell of wet wool and Eucalan seems to amplify that smell. These detergents condition the fibers and gently clean while soaking your project. There are a few other options out there, so find whatever you like the most. Just look for detergents that don’t require rinsing. Okay, so why are we getting everything wet? Natural fibers can stretch quite a bit more while wet, and as the fibers dry while in a stretched state, they will lock into that position. After drowning everything for about 15 minutes you’re ready for the next step.

After your items have finished their bath, it’s time to start getting them dry. You’ll need to squeeze all the water you can out of your work by hand. Whatever you do, DON’T WRING IT. Wringing can do some irreparable damage, so squeeze, squeeze, and squeeze some more. To get out additional water, lay your project flat on a towel, roll it up and either stand or kneel on it. Your project should feel damp to the touch when you’re finished.

Now to the fun part. Besides your flat surface you’re going to need quilting or T-pins at a minimum to pin your project into the its final shape. If you’re an avid knitter, one of the best investments you can make is in blocking wires. These are just simple metal wires that you can weave into the flat edges of your work to guarantee a straight line on your finished projects. For this tutorial I’m using both quilting pins and wires. My wires have taken a beating over the years and have gotten bent here and there when I was first learning how to do this myself. I was bad for over stretching on yarn weights that were a little too heavy for the wires. They still work fine. I’ve used three wires to define the flat edges of this cowl, and used pins to shape the points at the top edge. I only needed to stretch this project enough to open up all the lace work. In some projects, blocking will require you to stretch to certain dimensions or shapes. This cowl is actually the project that is being re-blocked after the coffee incident. Re-blocking does need to happen from time time after an item has been cleaned, or if an item looses its shape over time and use.

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There are also another handy tool out there for larger pieces. Knit Blockers are several pins mounted into a flat plastic handle. They let you cover a large area quickly and evenly, used with wires, they are a time saver as well.

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Now that everything is blocked out the way I want it. What’s next? Nothing. Well for a while anyway. You just go find something else to do for a few hours, because these projects will need to be bone dry before you do anything else. You can speed things up a bit by blocking in a warm room with good airflow. Good airflow = big ol’ box fan. Don’t go overboard and try to use a hair dryer or a space heater to speed things up, bad things could happen, like shrinkage. Once everything is good and dry, remove your pins, pull out your wires, and you should see significant improvement in how your project looks. With lace, the improvement can be downright dramatic. Weave in your ends and call it a day. Your item is ready to go!

November Classes

It’s time for class signups again! So what’s in the works for November? A bigger project that is always in demand this time of year and some smaller ones that you can crank out and bind off before Thanksgiving. All classes will be held at Yarn Rhapsody in Gainesville, GA, you can sign up by calling 770-536-3130 or as soon as its available I’ll post a link for online sign up through paypal. All yarn, patterns, and supplies should be purchased at Yarn Rhapsody.

First things first, Christmas Stockings, one of the most requested holiday gifts a knitter will be asked this time of year. Never made one? Don’t worry I’ll get you through this one. This is a 3 session Apprentice Level Class. Sessions will be held November 4, 18, & December 2 at 10:30am and ending at 11:30am. Price $60.

You should be confident with most basic stitch techniques, cast on, bind off, knit, purl, basic shaping (decreases).

You will learn stranded color work techniques and afterthought heel techniques.

Homework: Choose your colors and chart choices from the pattern before session 1.

Bring to class: Size 7 – 16” circular needles and your chosen yarns

Session 1. Begin leg, learning stranding techniques for color work.

Session 2. Learn how to put live stitches on hold and continue working.

Session 3. Learn how to pick up stitches on hold and finish heel.

There’s a bajillion of beanie patterns out there, but you’re on mission for something specific, something one of a kind, something…Just. For. You. Why not Design Your Own Beanie? This is a 2 session Apprentice Level Class, with two separate offerings. Price $40

Set 1: Wednesday, November 1 & 15 at 6:00pm and ending at 7:00pm.

Set 2: Saturday, November 4 & 18 at noon and ending at 1:00pm

(Please note, the set dates are not interchangeable, you’ll either be committing to Wednesday only sessions, or Saturday only sessions)

Basic hat construction knowledge and stranded color work knowledge would be helpful but not necessary.

Homework: Turn on your imagination and think about what you would like to design

Bring to class: Markers or color pencils. Size 6&7 – 16” circular needles and your color choices in Worsted weight yarns

Session 1. You will learn how to lay out a stranded color work design for your own hat, and a few pointers on how to make your knitting life easier once you cast on your completed design.

Session 2. Trouble shooting, and finishing.

Nothing says snuggly warm like a good cowl, but it’s Georgia, so snuggly warm usually means lighter weight yarns and some lace work so that good feeling doesn’t evolve into smothering hot. The Daylight Savings Cowl is a good fit! This pattern features Japanese lace motifs (Scared of charts? No worries there are written directions too.) and is designed to make the most of a small gradient kit or ombré yarn. Personally I think it would look just as wonderful in a solid or a slightly speckled. All you need is 400 yards of a fingering weight yarn you are in love with. This is a 3 session Apprentice Level Knitalong (I’ll help you along if you hit a sticking point while you work at your own pace). Sessions will be November 4, 11 & 18 at 1:30pm and ending at 2:30pm. Price $30

Bring with you: Size 5 – 24” circular knitting needles and 400 yards of fingering weight yarn

Sessions 1-3: Knit at your own pace (Knowledge of basic lace work needed)

And for the last offering of the month, meet the Beeswax Scarf! This is a bold pattern knitted in worsted weight yarns, so it’ll work up fast and would be a great gift for anyone, male or female. This is a 3 session Apprentice Level Knitalong. Sessions will be November 4, 11 & 18 at 3:00pm and ending at 4:00pm. Price $30.

Bring with you: Size 7 needles (straights or a shorter circular will work) and at least 600 yards of worsted weight yarn. This pattern has several size options from a standard scarf, wide scarf, or a wrap. Yarn requirements increase accordingly.

Session 1-3: Knit at your own pace (Knowledge of basic lace work needed)

So there it is! Some solid knit work waiting for you to pick up and cast on.  I hope to see you soon.

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.

 

 

June Classes and KALs

Summer is here and it’s a matter of time before all of us Georgia folk are hiding in the shade or the comfort of our air conditioning.  Why not check out a few classes this summer and up your knitting skill level while it’s a bit toasty out.

All classes will be hosted at Yarn Rhapsody at 475 Dawsonville Hwy, Suite C, Gainesville, GA.  Please sign up at least 48 hours before classes/KALs/CALs begin by phone (770-536-3130), 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.

knitangleKnitangle Shawl $60
A stunning conversation piece and quite possibly the ultimate knitting sampler, Knitangle is a gorgeous shawl. Designed for intermediate students, you will make bobbles (and learn a fantastic shortcut), twist cables, make lace, and even have a few short rows. Don’t be intimidated! This one is a challenge but a fun one.
Class Dates: June 3, 17, 24; 11am – 12pm
Skill Level Needed: Intermediate

Hitchhiker Scarf $60CIMG7865
Are you a newbie knitter looking for your first challenge? This one is just for you. Hitchhiker is a surprisingly flexible patter, nearly any yarn will work and you can stop short or make it as long as you like, all while you work on garter stitch, increases, and bind-offs.
Class Dates: June 14, 21, 28; 6pm – 7pm
Skill Level Needed: Beginner

mochimochilandMochi Mochi Land KAL $15
You’ve seen these tiny knit creatures popping up all over the place. Now you can make your own! You can choose your “critters” from the kits available on our wall and get a helping hand thorugh the tiny knitting process.
KAL Dates: June 3, 17, 24; 2:30pm-3:30pm
Skill Level Needed: Adventurous Beginner/Intermediate

limonade shawlLimonade Shawl KAL $15
It’s summer! This open lace shawl is a great accessory to your summer wardrobe, and it’s a quick knit. This one is suitable to someone wanting to attempt lace for the first time.
KAL Dates: June 3, 17, 24; 3:30-4:30pm
Skill Level Needed: Adventurous Beginner/Intermediate

 

A Whole Lot of Knitting Going On

It’s May, and holy cow is my dance card is full for the month.

I might as well move into my local yarn store!  Actually, people probably already think I live there. That’s okay, the bulky yarn section is full of soft squishy pillow like skeins that are good to snuggle with at night.

I made a post last month featuring classes that begin this weekend.  You can find that here.  One more has been added to the schedule after a demand from a few folks to offer another session out of Barbara Benson’s latest publication, after seeing the sample at her trunk show and book signing.

img_0992Beginning May 10th, Barbara’s Lacy Pinstripe Cowlette is a go! Oh, and guess what? It’s a weekday offering.

This one will run three consecutive weeks from 5:30-6:30pm at Yarn Rhapsody, in Gainesville, Georgia.  The fee is $60, and you will have to purchase Barbara’s book, Mosaic and Lace Knits, for the pattern, this one could not be featured as an individual pattern purchase on Ravelry.  Please contact Yarn Rhapsody at least 48 hours before the first session to get signed up.

Coffee and Wool now has a dedicated Facebook page too.  There’s a love/hate relationship with that site but it is a good centralized spot to land all things Coffee and Wool.  So if you woud like to give that a follow, the link is here. 

So besides classes and social media updates, what else is going on?
I escaped Georgia for the weekend, to attend a weekend long bachelorette party at Disney World.  Translation, I didn’t get any knitting done this weekend, but hey, ummmm Disney with friends.  The wedding associated with this bachelorette party is at the end of the month.  You know I love this friend dearly when I don a dress and heels to see her walk down the aisle.

Spring festivals are popping up left and right, so when I’m not teaching on the weekends, there will be some sneaking off to those. The Georgia Renaissance Faire is in full swing, that pilgrimage needs to be made.

And then there is a lot of watering the garden.  My little patch of dirt has taken off, to the point it may need it’s own state of the garden post.  I managed to make the first baby green salad of the year last night for dinner.  Growing my own food makes my soul happy.

So that’s it, things are a bit busy, but in a good way.