Saturday, October 17, 2009

This Time Last Year

Since I've been lazy lately about taking pictures of the things I'm working on, I decided to show you something I finished last year about this time.

Our neighbor, a.k.a. The Insane Gardener, has a deep love for all things Halloween. She likes the scary, ghoulish stuff, none of the cutesy things...So of course I had to find something to stitch for her. I came across this lady designed by Mirabilia and thought it fit The Insane Gardener perfectly. I used the recommended fabric, but took some liberties with the pattern itself. For instance, I took the owl on her shoulder out of it completely, as well as changed a couple of the swirls at the bottom of the picture.

I wanted to frame this piece, but didn't have much funds...I also knew that The Insane Gardener preferred the look of large that added to the dilemma. I got very lucky and stumbled across this frame at Hobby Lobby (complete with mats and wood inlay) for half off! I was able to lace it myself and I think it turned out quite nice (if I do say so myself!).

When I gave it to her, she was speechless - which is just perfect :)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Knitting Class..

I know you are all waiting with baited breath to hear how my first knitting class went at the local library. Well, I'm here to assure you, it was everything I had hoped for and more!

There were 8 of us in the knitting class (the crochet class was full - at least 15 people!). We had 3 teachers with us, one of them VERY experienced ;) All of them great.

The evening started out a bit chaotic (as every class does, probably), but we eventually found a technique that worked and soon we were off. All of the students came to class with different skills or needs and the teachers were great about accomodating all our wants/needs with grace. We had students who were rank beginners to those that had knit extensively many years ago and wanted a refresher. We even had a man in the class!

The first thing I learned was how to cast on stiches by knitting. I had been taught how to do the loop method of casting on and doing it with knitting makes a much nicer beginning row! So, once I picked up the technique, I helped the women on either side of me learn it, too. Then, I knitted a couple of rows for a base (because that's the only thing I came to the class knowing how to do), then asked one of the teachers to show me how to purl. Well, it was definitely awkward at first! I felt like I was trying to knit left-handed. But, after doing 2 or 3 rows of purl, it started to get a bit more familiar. Then I tried a couple rows of knit 1, purl 1. That was certainly adding more wrinkles to the old brain! LOL But, I actually had a couple rows of stockinette stitch! Whoa!

So, then I asked one of the teachers to explain to me how to reload the work on your needle if you need to take it off for one reason or another (i.e. dropped stitches - but none of us do that!). She happily took my work and pulled the needle out - didn't even bat an eyelash! So, she started to show me how to load it back on, and as it was a knit 1, purl 1 row, she was loading stitches one way for this stitch, then a different way for the next stitch...back and forth, and I was lost as to how she could possibly know how to do this. So, she handed me back my work and told me to work the next row. And, quietly informed me that she had purposely done a couple wrong and for me to find them. Um....right.

So, of I go, knit 1, purl 1....clickity clack, clickity clack....the teacher watching over my shoulder. And suddenly, I hit this stitch that just wasn't right. Can I explain what the problem was? No, not really, other than the right-hand needle didn't slide into it like it should have. The teacher quickly explained that she had loaded that stitch backwards and showed me how to take it off and turn it around ("be careful not to lose the stitch!" she cautioned). After doing that, I moved on...clickity clack, clickity clack....til I found the next backwards stitch. I fixed that one, too, to her great praise. And then I noticed this long string between the next 2 stitches. When I mentioned that it didn't look right, she beamed at me and told me she had purposely skipped that stitch to see if I would find the "dropped" stitch. Heh. She then showed me how to pick that stitch back up (not quite sure if I can do that again yet...might have to practice that later)...

Anyways, as much as that last paragraph makes it sound like I'm trying to praise myself, what I'm really trying to say is that I really appreciate the techniques these teachers were using to teach us. I really took to the method.

We didn't pick a pattern this week, it was more of a time to get a feel for where everyone's skills were at and to get the students comfortable holding 2 needles at once again. So, next week we're supposed to bring in a pattern that we might like to try and the teachers will give us the pointers we need to tackle it. I've got an afghan pattern that I really really want to try, but it's the most complicated cable pattern I've ever seen, so I know it's out of my skill range right now. So, I'm on the hunt for a cable scarf pattern that I can work with for this class to get the skills I need. I do plan to take this afghan pattern to class with me next week, though, to show the teachers where I'm aiming. And to see the looks on their faces :)