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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Workshop Focus - Purlescence

I'm really excited to be back at Purlescence to teach some workshops this year. Since the last time I was there, they've moved to a new location just outside Newbury in Berkshire (they're close to the M4).

I'm kicking off my 2017 Workshop Programme with two workshops at Purlescence on 21 and 22 January. There are still spaces on both workshops. 

The stitch pattern in the centre of the Maxine shawl from my book, 
Beaded Lace Knitting, is a Shetland lace pattern.

On 21 January, I'm teaching a brand new class for 2017 - Shetland Lace Knitting. Whether you're a lace knitter or not, you'll probably know that Shetland is famous for it's delicate lace shawls. Originally local women would spin very, very fine yarn from the finest local fleeces then knit delicate shawls. The finer and more intricate the shawls were, the more money they were worth. Lots of trading ships came past Shetland and the local women would sell these fine shawls to traders coming through.

There are some stitch patterns that are specific to Shetland and in this class, you'll learn how to knit some of those stitch patterns. If you're brave enough, you'll get a chance to knit a lace pattern with lace stitches on both right and wrong side rows. But if you find the thought of that too scary, don't worry, there will be easier stitch patterns you can work on too. We'll also look at shawl shapes and some basic lace knitting skills like reading charts. 

A delicate lace swatch using Shetland lace patterns.

If you've knitted lace before, this class will enhance and develop your lace knitting skills but if you're new to lace knitting, this class will get you off to a great start. I've developed materials to fit a variety of skill levels. All you need is to be confident in basic knitting skills.

You get more details and book your workshop here (choose from the drop down menu).

On 22 January, I'll be teaching my Fair Isle and Steeking workshop. In the morning you'll knit a fair isle tube while practicing stranded colour work techniques such as holding one colour in each hand, getting the floats the correct tension, how to avoid long floats, how to knit in the round using the magic loop technique or double pointed needles, and how to read a fair isle chart. So that you can knit with one colour in each hand, I'll spend a few minutes teaching you how to knit continental (just the knit stitch).

When you knit a fair isle sweater it's common to knit the whole sweater in the round, then cut holes for the sleeves or cut down the front of a sweater to turn it into a cardigan. This is very common practice in Norway in particular. It sounds scary but it's really not. You can also use steeking techniques to make a sweater smaller and I'll show you how in next Monday's Mini Tip Tutorial.

A steeked Norwegian sweater knitted by my Mum when my daughters were little.

In the afternoon, we'll re-enforce the steek using crochet (don't worry if you haven't crocheted before, this is easy) and then cut it. We'll then pick up stitches and knit an edging that completely covers the cut edge and work an i-cord cast off.

You don't need any previous fair isle knitting skills to take this class but if you have done some fair isle knitting before and want to learn about steeking, I'm sure you'll learn some new stuff in the fair isle part of the class too.

You can see more details about this class and book here (choose from the drop down menu).

If you've got any questions about these classes, do ask in the comments.

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