Friday, September 21, 2012

Yarn-y Goodness

So yes, I have been getting up early to knit in the woods and then practice yoga (not in the woods, though).  And yes, I have been taking long bike rides with my fella, and eating delicious local cheeses and drinking Washington wines, and taking pictures on the beach.  

But, in all my other moments, I've been working!  (I have no children, you see.)  I was thrilled last week to get this amazing Hazel Knits Divine in the mail for a super secret project, especially since it was the first package I've received in Canada.  Its arrival gave me confidence that the post does work!  Not to mention that it was then my job to knit with it non-stop until the project was finished because I was on a deadline.  

Another major project I've had on my plate has been planning for my Knit Fit class, which I'm getting more and more excited about.  I've mentioned this several times, but never talked in depth about it.  The class is called, "The Elements of Hand Knitting Design"  and the official description is:

Take your knitting to the next level by designing your own projects. Learn how to choose stitch patterns, fiber, and yarn for any design and practice the basic procedure for making it happen. Plan a scarf or wrap design in class using the skills you learn.

When I was invited to submit a class proposal for Knit Fit, I had a whole range of class ideas and couldn't settle on one for the longest time.  Then somebody asked me what I get most excited about in knitting.  Without a pause, I said, "yarn!"  So that's what this class is really about.  But it isn't just about me being in love with yarn or fawning over wool.  It's about all the considerations that go into choosing yarn for a project.  Of course you start with the obvious things like color, weight and fiber, but what about plies, stitch definition, and drape?   Even seemingly simple choices like the weight and fiber used for a project have a whole range of consequences that might not be immediately apparent.  And then you get into stitch pattern as well, which interacts in a beautiful but somewhat complicated way with yarn choice.  This class is about how to take everything into consideration and achieve the result you're looking for, whether you just want to substitute yarn or modify an existing pattern, or create something completely original from scratch.  It's about the conversation that a knitter needs to have with herself throughout the process.

I want students to have hands-on experience of how yarn and stitch pattern choice impact knitted fabric, so I've been knitting swatches.  This is a stack of the swatches I've been knitting, and I'm definitely not finished yet.  

This process has been really fun and rewarding.  I do this all the time for individual designs, but in order to standardize what students will be looking at (and touching!), all of the swatches are 40 stitches by 40 rows.  It's amazing how different that looks in all the yarns and stitch patterns that I've made the swatches out of.  It's all information that I know in my brain, but it's such fun to experience it so immediately.  

So after all that fiber ranting, if you've been curious about yarn and stitch choice and are ready to create some designs for yourself, I encourage you to sign up for the class.  And if you have any particular questions you'd like me to address, please comment below!  I'd love to have input from knitters.

Here's a little basket of inspiration.  I set it up by color so I could look at it and get excited.  It's working.

What's inspiring you?

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