Saturday, February 15, 2014

Knitting Class

One of my goals for 2014 was to take a knitting class so I can advance beyond the basic garter stitch and scarf making. Since winter is my favorite time to knit, I decided to sign up for a 4-week class that met for two hours on Thursday nights starting in mid-January. I'm amazed at how much I learned in a total of only 8 hours! 

Below are my two practice swatches. The first photo shows four different patterns. At the bottom is the basic garter stitch (knit every row). The next one up is the stockinette stitch (knit one row, purl one row). Next is a 2x2 rib (knit two stitches, purl two stitches), and finally, at the top, is seed stitch, which looks prettier in person.


The next swatch shows the beginnings of a cable knit, which uses a special cable needle inserted every so often and creates the raised portion of the cable. I still cannot wrap my mind around how this actually works, and for someone who likes to understand how things work, this is frustrating. As I'm knitting, I find myself asking, "Who came up with this in the first place?" Do you ever wonder about things like that?


In addition to these great patterns, I also learned eyelet, which is how you create a hole or space in your work. Lacy knit garments are made using eyelet. On the practical side, I learned how to follow a pattern, how to increase and decrease (necessary when making a garment) and how to "unknit," or backtrack to a mistake in order to fix it. I also learned how to use a crochet hook to correct a dropped stitch -- very important. Now I'm ready to start a new project that will allow me to practice all that I've learned!

Do you knit, or do you want to learn how to knit? If so, I highly recommend it. Knitting is fun, challenging and good for you. How is it good for you? Well, I'm told that knitting requires one to use both sides of the brain, so it's a great way to keep one's mind active and healthy. And the results are so rewarding. What could be better than to give a handmade scarf to a friend for her birthday or a knitted baby blanket to an expectant mother. If you're thinking of learning to knit, do it now -- don't wait! Check out my Knitting board on Pinterest for some inspiration.

7 comments:

  1. That knitting class is certainly food for thought. I've wanted to knit since I was a teenager. I tried it on two different occasions and just couldn't get it. I do crochet and have done that since I was a teenager and find it much easier than knitting. I finally learned to knit a simple dishcloth by watching YouTube videos. I just decided that if nothing else, I was going to learn to make knitted dishcloths! I stuck with it until I got it. I was thrilled and have made several. I might even be able to make a scarf one of these days! The only stitch I know is the basic garter stitch, so taking a class may be just the ticket to move me past the dishcloths.

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    1. Hi Jeannine,
      The garter stitch was all I knew for years. I can't believe how simple the purl stitch is, and then all patterns can be created with different combinations of knit and purl. I knit using the Continental method, whereas the teacher of the class I took uses the English method. So I was the only one in class doing Continental, but it didn't matter. I hope you take a class so you can expand your knitting horizons. The key is to take it one step at a time. Good luck!
      Claudia

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    2. I believe (this from a new knitter who knows very little about styles) that I'm also doing continental style. That's how it was taught on the YouTube video I learned from. Not sure what's so unusual about it, but it works for me. Thanks for the encouragement.

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  2. I am happy that you got so much out of your course. You're well on your way now! YouTube is an amazing resource, and for the beginning knitter, so is knittinghelp.com. You have by now figured out that by knitting continental, you're probably in the minority on this side of the pond. Knittinghelp,com shows you techniques using both methods, so it's like having your own personal continental tutor.

    And if you're not on Ravelry, what are you waiting for?

    Probably the single most important piece of advice I can give a beginning knitter is to keep a "can-do" attitude. Don't look at a single piece and tell yourself you can't do it, because you probably can.

    Knitting is also incredibly forgiving. While ripping out a project you've fallen out of love with hurts, it's just wool. Wind it up and give it another go with a different project. Nothing's lost, which appeals to my practical nature.

    So knit on, Claudia, knit on. Can't wait to see what your next project will be!

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    1. Thank you, I love your enthusiasm!! Thanks also for the website tip. I am on Ravelry and it's great! Right now I am finishing a basic scarf (garter stitch) I had started before taking the class. I'm itching to do something in a rib knit or seed stitch, or even cable! I can't wait to start a new project, and I'm afraid I'm going to forget what I've learned. But the teacher will be offering a First Project course, so I'll probably be signing up for that. Thanks again for your encouragement!
      Claudia

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  3. I used to knit a lot! My Mother was a very very good knitter (and fabulous needlepoint too!) and my sister is now a four star knitter. I had knit a few sweaters both for myself and before my baby was born. Ah yes, when I had more time! Now, well, I haven't knit in years. I've done some simple long scarves that were so popular: with the airy kind of many-strand in one, bright colors? Do you know what i mean? No matter, they were easy peasy. And yes, I've thought about getting back into it. My huge problem is when I make a mistake and how to correct it! That alone will keep me from taking it up again. But maybe with a course, or a group (like a reading group?) I could go back to it. I do just love love the colors and textures and that cable is fabulous! My sister would think nothing of doing that…She flies to Japan twice a year, as their son lives there, so she says knitting has saved her every time.
    Good luck Claudia and we all await images of your work!

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    1. Thanks, Libby. I encourage you to get back into knitting. Take a few classes and you'll be right back in the swing of it. Plus, you'll learn how to correct mistakes, so don't let that hold you back. If you have a good knitting store nearby, they probably have knitting workshops, and groups that meet to knit together. Knitters are a "tight-knit" group (forgive the pun) and are most happy to help each other out when problems occur. Let me know if you get back into it! And yes, I'll be sure to keep you posted as I branch out with new projects.
      Claudia

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