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Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Workshops at Spin A Yarn

One of the favourite things about my job - apart from all the knitting and crocheting - is teaching. I really enjoy teaching knitters new skills and seeing their joy as they master something new. There are many reasons why knitters book a knitting workshops. Some do it mainly for social reasons. They get to spend the day in a lovely yarn shop chatting with fellow knitters and learn something new at the same time. Others book classes because they want to improve their knitting skills. Whatever your reason or even if you've never tried a class before, why not book one this autumn?

I'm teaching in several shops this autumn and I'm teaching more workshops than ever before. Most of them, but not all, are in the South West. But if you'd like me to teach in your area, why not pop in to your local yarn shop and suggest they contact me to ask for details. I'm happy to travel anywhere. 

Today I'll tell you about my classes at Spin A Yarn which is a fab and very popular yarn shop located in Bovey Tracey in Devon. To book any of  these classes contact the shop.

Does your hands ever get cold? Mine do. I wear fingerless gloves a lot in the winter. They're perfect for driving, shopping, knitting and crocheting as your fingertips are still free to get money out of your purse, grip the steering wheel in your car and hold the knitting needles or crocet hook. There are so many great fingerless glove, gloves and mittens patterns around. In this class I'll teach you how to knit in the round on double pointed needles and how to knit fingerless gloves, mittens and regular gloves. You'll learn how to increase for the thumb gusset, how to add an afterthought thumb, how to shape the top of a mitten and how to knit the fingers. Many people stick to fingerless gloves because they're nervous about knitting the fingers but it's not as scary as it looks. I'll guide you through all of it in my Mittens & Gloves class on 6th September. 

One of my most popular workshops is Easy Lace Knitting  This class will teach you everything you need to know to get started with lace knitting or to take your lace knitting a step further if you've already done some very, very basic lace knitting. You'll learn how to read and knit from lace charts and how to work the different increases and decreases that make up the lace patterns. You may have noticed that I love adding beads to my lace knitting and I'll show you the easy way to do this. One of the main struggles knitters have with lace knitting is keeping their place in the pattern and correcting mistakes. I'll show you how to make that easier by using stitch markers and lifelines. We'll also look at how to keep the pattern correct while shaping for example an armhole or neckline.

Do you love knitting from charts? Or do you hate charts? I overheard so many knitters at Fibre East who announced they hated charts while looking at my patterns. Most of my patterns do come with written instructions as well as charts but I am a big fan of charts. In my lace knitting classes I teach knitters to knit from charts and now i have a Chart Magic class too. In this class you'll learn to read and interpret lots of different types of charts and symbols. You'll get to practice knitting from lace charts, cable charts, fair isle charts and more. After this class you'll be confident enough to tackle any charts a pattern throws at you. This class is suitable for all knitters of all abilities and you'll be able to practice from charts using stitch patterns you're comfortable with. I'm teaching Chart Magic on 15th October at Spin A Yarn.


 I've knitted the continental way all my life. Before I moved to the UK I thought all knitters knitted like me. I have gotten in trouble in the past when I've suggested that continental knitting is faster and more efficient than English knitting but I do believe its true. Ofcourse when you first start learning a new technique you're going to be slower. But with regular practice you'll pick up speed quickly. The worlds fastest knitter is a continental knitter. In this class you'll also learn the Norwegian purl which I think is the best way to purl as the yarn is kept at the back at all times, making combined knit/purl stitch patterns like moss stitch and ribs, much easier and quicker. I'm teaching two dates at Spin A Yarn and one date is already full, so hurry up if you want to join this one.

Have you ever tried knitting short rows? Joyce at Spin A Yarn tells me that it's a question they get all the time: How to do short rows? So I'll show you how. We'll look at different ways of working short rows and why you will want to use them such as shaping shoulders, bust shaping and many other things such as making a frilly edge, like on my Flamenca shawl:
Lately I've been using short rows a lot for shaping tow down sleeve caps on several sweaters.

Socks are always popular and very addictive. There are lots of ways you can knit socks. My Basic Socks class shows you how to knit socks from the top down and i'm teaching it at Spin A Yarn on 10th September. You'll learn how to knit socks using double pointed needles which are not as scary as they look. You'll knit a mini sock learning everything you need to knit a full size sock including heel flap, heel turn, toe and grafting.
You can also knit socks from the toe up. The advange of this technique is that as you knit the foot first, you don't have to worry about running out of yarn on the second sock. Knitting from the top down means you'll have to guess how much yarn to reserve for the feet of you socks. If you have big feet like me you may run out on the second socks which i have done and that's not fun.

In my Toe Up sock class you'll learn how to knit socks using the magic loop technique on circular needles, how to do a closed cast on for the toe, how to shape the toe and gusset, the heel turn and heel flap and the sewn cast off. If you're brave you can have a go at knitting two socks at a time. Again, you'll practice all these skills on a mini sock. I'm teaching this class on Friday 11 October at Spin A Yarn. 
My two most popular designs are the Mar Menor shawl and Daisy shawl. Both shawls feature interesting drop stitch patterns and beads.  Mar Menor has an interesting shape which is easy to wear and an interesting crossed stitch pattern. I'll teach you how to knit the dropped and crossed stitches, how to add beads to the beaded picot cat off and how to shape the shawl. In the afternoon you'll get to cast on for your own Mar Menor shawl. This shawl is a bit favourite at Spin A Yarn and several of the staff have knitted their own in Botany Lace. I'm teaching the Mar Menor class on 12th November.
In the Daisy class I'll show you how to shape this crescent shaped shawl which comes in two sizes. You'll also learn how to work the interesting Daisy stitch and how to add beads. In the afternoon you'll be starting your own Daisy shawl. The class is on 19th November.
When you attend a workshop at Spin A Yarn you get a delicious lunch and refreshements included. You also get a discount which you can use for up to a month after the workshop. They have a big workshop programme with several other teachers too, so if you're not on their mailing list, do get in touch with them and get yourself on the mailing list. They mail out workshop schedules twice a year.

Will i see you at Spin A Yarn this atumn? 
Which class are you taking?

Later this week, I'll blog about my classes at Social Fabric in Totnes and Coastal Yarn in Bude.

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