Tuesday, July 24, 2007

New Classes!

Well, as I mentioned last week, the new Kiwi newsletter and class schedule comes out any day now, and I thought I would give you an overview of some of our upcoming classes. Since I already know what my classes are to be, I'll start talking about those. I am hoping to hear from Marianne about her upcoming classes before I finish this post, and if so, I'll slot that info in here as well. Next week I'll talk about additional classes with our other wonderful teachers that are also coming up on the new schedule.

There are a variety of reasons why each teacher chooses the classes that they want to teach in any quarter. I know for myself, they usually reflect the ideas that I am inspired by at the moment that Lynn asks for a new class list! When I am choosing a new project for myself to work on, I always look for something that is going to challenge me and teach me something new about my craft. I firmly believe that you can't wait until you already know how to do something before you try it, the best way to learn a new technique or process is to dive in with both feet. If you have heard me get up on my soap-box about this issue, then you already know that I maintain that it isn't having a wide range of techniques or countless years of knitting under your belt that makes a great knitter, but rather a fearlessness to try something new, to take a risk. I encourage you all to live that ideal in your projects.

I continue to be fascinated by the felting process, and love all the incredible new books coming out this summer. For myself, because I always have a pretty strong idea of exactly what I want, I am much more likely to design my own bag pattern using my ideas than to look for one that fits my vision of what I want now. So to help those who love felting as much as I do, and who want to break out of the simple routine and explore color and texture, I have a series of Tech Classes on various felted stitch techniques coming up. Felting: Color is about incorporating Fair Isle and Mosaic techniques into your felted pieces to bring more color into your life. Felting: Texture will explore adding dimension to your pieces using various textural knitting techniques. Felting: Lace explores the beautiful delicacy of lace in a felted medium. For each of these classes, we will be working swatches during the class for you to felt at home using your preferred techniques. Information on machine felting will also be available if you are relatively new to the process, or just looking for some pointers. In Felting Embellishments I will show you various ways to embellish finished felted projects, using a number of techniques and found objects including buttons and beads, embroidery and felted pieces.

I have three Project Classes that use a variety of these techniques: a Shibori Scarf that is knitted with feltable lace-weight yarn and then transformed with texture using objects tied into the fabric during the felting process. My White Queen's Bag that uses a cabling pattern to add dimension to the bag, and a Mitred Square Felted Bag that uses color to explore the wonderful color patterns that occur with this technique. Any one of these classes is easily accessible to comfortable knitters who are new to either Shibori, cabling or mitred squares.

Because I love to make garments, I have included three sweater projects: My May's Summer Jacket pattern, a side-to-side project that you have seen on the mannequin in the front room for the past several weeks. This project uses a variety of yarns of different textures and weights in easy stitch patterns to create color and movement in the fabric. A great project if you have been wanting to explore the side-to-side construction technique. The Baby Surprise Jacket comes from the brilliant mind of Elizabeth Zimmerman. It is great fun to knit up this amorphous blob and with a quick twist, turn it into a wonderful little jacket! And because that is so much fun, why shouldn't we try the Adult Surprise Jacket? Both of these are great ways to incorporate color into your knitting.

For those of you who are dyed-in-the-wool sock fiends, I have found a great new technique for sock heels called the Sherman Heel. This short-row heel uses techniques that avoid holes and makes a very neat, clean heel that requires no gussets! I promise you, once you have done a Sherman Heel, you'll never want to work another 'flap and turn' heel again. And the concept is very easy to translate into any stitch count.

Finally, because I am enjoying the exploration of color in my projects, I am designing a Fair Isle Wrist Warmer pattern using sock yarns. Many of you enjoyed my two wrist warmer patterns from last winter, the Winter Woodlands and the Sweetheart wrist warmers. This time we will take these fun, fast & portable projects just a step further and use a really easy method for creating Fair Isle patterning.

I also want to remind you that I am available to teach these and classes on any other subject as private lessons if scheduled class times don't work for you, or if you have a project that you need help tackling. And I am available as Knit Doctor every Friday morning from 10 - 12, and this is a free service to you.

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