So, as I mentioned on Monday, I’ve been doing some serious Craftsy binging as a result of a crazy $10/all you can watch month of October. So much so, that I even started to feel guilty that I was watching too much . . . but then I got an email from Craftsy reminding me that I only had 11 days left of my open month, and that I should eat up. So, there you have it – more Craftsy!
As part of strategy to get the most out of my $10 (and believe me, I’ve definitely gotten the most of my $10), I decided to watch the classes that were not on my wish list, but classes I woudn’t have thought to buy – and for the purposes of this yarn alongy post, I’m just going to talk about the knitting classes.
First I dove into Cut Your Knitting, Strand and Steek with Confidence. Now, I’ve cut my knitting several times, but the last time I cut a steek, it went horribly awry, and I ended up having to cut an extra inch out of the cardigan to straighten up the I don’t know how it got so crooked cut I made. Huh, maybe I’m not the clever knitter that I thought I was. After that bad experience, I developed a little post traumatic knit disorder about cutting my knits, and when I finished Kate Davis Bliathin well over a year ago, I put it away to cut another day. And, that day came after watching Strand and Steek. I immediately turned off the Craftsy and pulled out my burried cardigan -thinking, it’s now or never.
The class covers three different ways to secure your stitches before cutting – sewing with a sewing machine, and two different crochet methods – a slip stitch crochet method, and a single crochet method. I opted for the single crochet method.
Success! At this point it was 10:30 p.m., and the common sense knitter in me said, it’s late, cut tomorrow. The devil knitter on my shoulder said, no! it’s now or never! Get the scissors! So, I did:
Ta da! Easy peasy! I sighed with relief, and undertook the rest of the finishing the next day.
Stranded and Steeked then goes over three methods of finishing the steek, including sewing decorative tape over the folded back edge, securing the edge with an overcast stitch, or tacking it down with a blanket stitch. Kate Davies, however, provides her own method of securing your steek, which she calls the sandwich. So, I went with her method, figuring she’s the expert.
For the sandwich method, you pick up stitches on both sides of the work, first the front, then the back. You knit 6 or so rows, and then, when the fabric has grown over the crocheted edge, you knit the two flaps together, sandwiching the cut inside. This took a long time, and I’m not sure it was worth it. The stitches are definitely secure, and the edge is very neat, but it seems a little bulky, since there are now three layers of fabric – the two pieces of “bread” and the steek filling. If the edge had been folded back and sewn, there only would have been two layers. But, it’s a bulky sweater (Bartlett Worsted yarn), so it’s all good.
And, here it is:
There’s that bulk I was talking about – and the icord bind off. Kate Davies loves her icord. The entire cardigan is bound of with applied icord. I definitely had a repetitive wrist injury (I was just stiff and sore) after finishing it.
Because the sweater is so heavy, it took forever to dry. But, once it was, I bought some nice wood buttons, and I’m ready to sew them on.
But, um, where did they go? I have misplaced the buttons I just bought, darn it! I’m sure they’re going to turn up. Right? They’re just in the house somewhere. Yes, they are.
Anyway, Steeked and Stranded definitely put me back on the cutting horse. I have to admit, I didn’t watch the colorwork section – I know how to read color charts, and how to knit with multiple colors and get a nice fabric. And that doesn’t mean I’m doing it the “right’ way, I’m doing it my way, and I’m happy with my way. I know that there are faster ways, but I’m ok with my pace. In fact, there are a few classes on Craftsy about knitting faster – one on continental knitting (I pick and throw) and one on Portuguese knitting – but you know what, I don’t need to knit faster. It’s not a race. I’m not test knitting for anyone anymore, and I’m not on any kind of deadline. I don’t need to knit faster, it’s all good.
So, once I finished my project, it was back to the binge. Here’s a run down of the other knitting classes I slurped up:
Design Your Own Cowl. In this class, Laura Nelkin explains how to design cowls that are knit flat, cowls that are knit in the round, and moebius’s. I have to say, this class is filled with generosity – she not only does she provide the math for you for every type of cowl you want to knit, she provides templates for creating a pattern, so that you can use her math with your creative idea, and sell your own patterns. If you’re interested in design, and what goes into creating your own pattern, this class is for you. This class lead me to two other classes – Moebius Knitting with Cat Bordhi and Getting Gauge, Perfect Knit Fabric Every Time.
First, Moebius Knitting. I really had no idea that moebius knitting had its own cast on. I thought, it you put a twist in kntting in the round, you had a moebius. I am wrong, as Cat explains. In Moebius knitting, you learn, and visual understand the construction of moebius, the moebius cast on, and applying moebius construction to not only cowls and scarves, but baskets. The biggest a ha moment however, came when Cat was demonstrating how to bind off a continuous edge on a cowl, so you don’t get that nubby thing when you pull the yarn through the last loop. She reveals that that method is really a crochet thing, not knitting, and to finish knitting, it’s no more complicated than pulling open the last stitch, and pulling it tight – because only your working yarn is actually moving – and you can pull it into a knot with the last stitch. Voila! It was really a miracle like moment. Anyway, I am totally motivated to design my own moebius now, and I’m definitely going to watch the moebius cast on part of this class again before I lose my access to the class at the end of the month.
To further supplement and reinforce what I learned in Design Your Own Cowl, I took Getting Gauge. This class was just ok. There are a bunch of little projects designed to show you what a pattern looks like in different weight yarns, different size needles, etc. to give a visual demonstration of gaugue. This, to me, is a waste of yarn. The only section of the class that I really had a lot of takeaway from was the actual lessons on measuring gauge, which included two different methods and accompanying worksheets. So, I got what I needed from the class to help me overcome my magical/wishful thinking getting gauge nonmethods, and get the right size fabric.
Sticking with the design classes, I then took Amy Singer’s Plug & Play, Custom Scarves and Shawls. So, I didn’t like this class, and I can’t really put my finger on why. Amy Singer is the editor of Knitty, and I really respect how’s she’s managed to stay afloat with a free online publication in the age of Ravelry. I just didn’t like it – I don’t know, maybe her snarkiness that I didn’t find funny. I watched the whole class though, and there are valuable lessons in the material, and I think, based on the class, I could pretty easily use her plug and play method to something make a straight scarf, but that’s about it.
I followed Amy Singer with Stephen West’s Shawlscapes. First, I have to say, I’m not sure what they were aiming for in this class. It’s kind of a how to class, it’s kind of a technique class, but at the end, it’s really a showcase class. What I mean is this – it was a showplace for Stephen West’s shawls, a little insight into how he designs, and a geometry based analysis on how his elongated triangle shapes grow. I came out of the class with a new respect for his work. Before the class, I just thought his stuff was frankly ugly. After the class, I thought, you know what – you be you dude. You’re dragging knitting into modernity, and you’re stuff is unique, and special, and not for everyone, but its fun, surprisingly thoughtful, and knit with love an excitement.
Next up Knitting on the Bias. If math is not your thing, this class isn’t for you. So, it wasn’t for me – mind numbing math right out of the get. Onward.
Then, Custom Knit Yoke Sweaters. Eh. The teacher is a disciple (assistant) of Meg Swanson, and everything is Amy says this, or Elizabeth (Zimmerman) says that. It’s an ok class. You can definitely design and knit a yoke sweater by the end. But, you could also save your money, and read Elizabeth Zimmerman as well.
Slipstich Colorwork, Mosaics and Beyond. I took this class after Shawlscapes because almost all of Stephen West’s shawls incorporate slip stitches, and he never really explains how they work. This class was simply a survey of different slipstich patterns, and I think I finished the class because I didn’t want to admit that I struggled with the instructor’s thick accent. Faina Goberstein teaches the class, and I am a big fan of her designs. But, it was hard . . . and I felt like a really bad person.
I finished up my knitting class binge with Wee Ones Seamless Knitted Toys. I watched over a half hour of it, and Susan Anderson hadn’t stopped talking about herself yet, so I turned it off.
And, that’s where I am. Currently, I’m watching some embroidery classes, and before my 11 days are up, I’m going to hit up the crochet. I also watched a few of the photography classes, but since I was a member of Scott Selby’s site for a good two years, these classes were so similar, they were repetitive. So, free form crochet, here I come! Also, I know there are two classes starting on Monday that I’m going to have to squeeze in before the end of the week, and my $10 is up – Sew Sweetness has a handbag class, and Maureen Cracknell has a quilt as you go class – definite must takes! Hope I can squeeze them both in under the gun!
And, what am I reading – that would be a big nothing – I have Craftsy coming out of my eyeballs, and I will resume my regularly scheduled nonprogramming in November!