On Saturday, I’m
teaching Spinning Super Stretchy Wools.
I love love LOVE stretchy wools. And I love teaching this workshop.
On Sunday, I’m
teaching a new workshop, Matching Yarn
to Project & Project to Yarn. Here is the workshop description:
Which yarn should I buy for this sweater
(shawl, socks, hat, afghan)? What would be a good knitting project for the yarn
I just bought? Which yarn would be a good substitute for the yarn recommended
in this pattern? We will address these questions as well as details about yarn properties
(fiber content, yarn structure, softness, elasticity, strength, smoothness,
sheen, drape, durability, wrinkle), how to read yarn labels, selection of
stitch pattern and project structure, gauge, needle selection, and
care/cleaning of your knitted projects. All this information will help you find
the most suitable yarns for making the most suitable projects.
For one of the
workshops I taught on my previous trip to The Soo, I went swatch crazy. I ended
up knitting 53 swatches
just for that workshop. It was a wonderful experience. I got all kinds of new
ideas. I came to appreciate some stitch patterns that I’d previously overlooked.
These 53 swatches sparked intense fiber creativity that continues to influence
my knit designs.
happened again. To prepare for next weekend’s knitting workshop, I started
knitting swatches. Oh, what fun! What bliss!
For the first
series of swatches, I used three skeins of Cascade 220. This is a basic worsted weight wool yarn. I wanted to knit swatches to
demonstrate the effect that needle size has on knitted fabrics. So, I knitted a
bunch of swatches in garter stitch (knit every row).
All swatches were
30 stitches wide and 59 rows high, not counting cast on and bind off.
I ended up
knitting 12 swatches, each on different size needles (all Addi Turbo): US 2 (2.75mm), US 3 (3.25mm), US 4
(3.50mm), US 5 (3.75mm), US 6 (4.00mm), US 7 (4.50mm), US 8 (5.00mm), US 9
(5.50mm), US 10 (6.00mm), US 10 ½ (6.50mm), US 11 (8.00mm), and US 15
This may sound
like a monotonous task, but I found it intellectually stimulating. Of course I
am well aware that needle size influences stitch and row gauge. But the actual
knitting made many other things clear to me. There were changes in fabric
elasticity, fabric drape, and stitch-to-row ratio. I could see potential design
value in each and every swatch.
I encourage you
to knit a similar series of swatches. Even if you are a longtime, highly skilled
knitter, I think you will learn something new in the knitting of such a simple series
I knitted other
swatches too. I ended up knitting 21 swatches for next weekend. I am so excited
to share them in the workshop.
And I’m so
excited to be travelling north in January.
I finished knitting
the merino/silk “Curvy Corner Shawl”. But I haven’t written the pattern yet.
I designed and
knitted a cardigan from some Briar Rose Fibers yarn. I’m mostly pleased with
the design – especially the collar – but I’ll redesign the sleeves if I knit
this one again.
I knitted 10
pairs of socks, all of my own design. I do plan to write up patterns for at
least three of them.
I designed and knitted
a linen tunic and wore it at my 40th High School reunion. The
reunion was a blast and the sweater was a hit. I also wore it at the Wisconsin
Sheep & Wool Festival and got several requests for the pattern. So, I may
have to write that one up as well.
I re-knitted a
charming wool vest. Not my design. From commercial yarn, not handspun.
I tried my hand
at a few “firsts”:
I wove an inkle
band with some handspun wool, recently published in PLY Magazine and pictured
above. I’d woven bands before, but never with wool, and never with my handspun
I hooked my
first rug. With handspun yarns. And it’ll be published in Spin-Off Magazine in
the 2015 Spring issue.
I travelled far
and wide to teach spinning and knitting: Alaska, Ohio, Minnesota, Wisconsin, New
Jersey, and of course Michigan.
There will not
be a resolution list for 2015. But I do plan to continue writing, spinning,
knitting, designing, weaving, rug hooking, teaching. And trying something new.
And enjoying every single minute of it.