Monthly Archives: November 2007

Stitches East Part 3

On Friday I had signed up for an all-day class (6 hours in total) on Seamless Argyle Socks with Suzann Thompson.

Argyle Sock Class

This was such a clever technique, I am incredibly impressed. Suzann had figured out a method of knitting argyle patterns in the round without seams by taking apart commercially made socks to see how they were constructed and then experimenting with ways to adapt this to hand knitting. You use a method similar to entrelac to knit each coloured diamond individually, and then knit the next diamond onto the previous one, using a method similar to that used when working short rows to eliminate the gap between the diamonds. A great fun class, and the brain certainly got a good work-out!

I loved all the different colours and yarns that different people had used.

Argyle SocksArgyle Socks

And here is mine:

Argyle SockArgyle Sock

I am so proud that I was the only one to finish their sock in the class 🙂

Friday evening was the fashion show and dinner, the items from the fashion show were provided by the people who had stands in the market. A great idea since it meant you could have a proper look at how a garment would hang and an opportunity to see things that I had missed in the market. I was very organised and made notes on my program about which stands I needed to go back to.

On Saturday morning my class was It’s Not Over ‘Til It’s Finished with Edie Eckman. We covered what aspects of finishing you needed to plan for before you even start knitting, along with some tips for during knitting, and blocking, seaming, and picking up stitches. A lot of these were things I already knew a bit about but it is always interesting to hear new opinions, and to have your existing thoughts confirmed.

Finishing Sample

The swatch looks a little wonky partially because part of Edie’s method is to have us try things and discover for ourselves whether a certain approach works or not. You certainly remember it! I also liked her attitude that there is rarely ever one correct way to do something, and that you need to experiment with what will work best for each particular situation. For instance, for a neckline whether you work the decreases on the edge stitch or a couple of stitches in from the edge. If you work them right on the edge it can make an untidy edge which is sometimes more difficult to pick up from. However working the decreases a couple of stitches in from the edge, although it makes the edge stitches neater and easier to pick up from can also make them tighter, and can mean that you can’t get the garment over your head.

All in all a very practical and useful class.

On Saturday afternoon it was back to Maureen Mason-Jamieson for her class called Short Row Savvy.

We tried out 3 different methods of short rows, and worked them from both the knit side and the purl side of stocking stitch fabric.

Short Rows

My sample was knitted from left to right of the photo above (I did try rotating it so the cast on was at the bottom, but because of the angle I took the photo at, it looked weird). The stripes were used so that I could easily tell where I swapped method.

From left to right we have: YO (yarn-over), two methods of wraps, and Japanese short rows, each worked on the knit side, followed by the same sequence worked on the purl side. I added in the second wrap method since I usually work my wraps the other way around to the way Maureen described in the instructions, and I wanted to make a direct comparison. Maureen’s method involves bringing the yarn to the other side of the work, slipping the stitch, moving the yarn back again and then slipping the stitch back. I slip the stitch first and then move the yarn, slip back and then move the yarn back. I reckon my method is slightly neater, but then I am biased 🙂

This was the first time I had tried the yarn-over method so it was interesting to add that to my repertoire of techniques. My favourite method of all is the Japanese method, I think this is the most unobtrusive method I have tried so far. I am still experimenting with different ways to use this with socks. At the moment I am still using the safety-net of safety pins but think that with a bit more practice I should be able to dispense with the safety pins, which will make the whole operation a bit more portable.

On Saturday evening there was the student banquet, where those who wanted to could show off their creations. I volunteered to show off my Patchwork Sweater. I always forget when I volunteer for these things quite how nervous I get when it actually comes to standing up in front of people. I hadn’t put enough info on the information sheet (next time I will know better), and I’m afraid I was totally inane when Rick (Rick Mondragon, editor of Knitters magazine) asked me questions. Here is a photo of me and Rick:

Rick and Heather

Luckily you can’t hear me 🙂 or see me shaking. One of these years I will learn that I am not a born performer.

The rest of the banquet was very enjoyable, the food was good, and we met the lovely Debbie Radtke from Fiber Trends (she who designed the felted hedgehog), who sat at our table. At the end of the meal they handed out gifts for everyone, which had been donated by the Stitches sponsors. Paul chose a kit with Kaffe Fassett sock yarn, and I chose a bag from Skacel.

Regia Sock YarnSkacel

The Skacel bag included yarn, a pattern booklet and an Addi circular needle. The needle is unusual because they were made as a mistake and so aren’t commercially available. It has the sharp point of an Addi lace needle, but the finish of an Addi Turbo. I am looking forward to trying it out.

I think we did very well :-) 

Details of my last day at Stitches, and of what I bought at the market will follow soon.