Weekend of Workshops in North Georgia, part 1

Throwback Thursday!

Last Fall I had the privilege of teaching to an amazing bunch of knitters in the Atlanta area. The North Georgia Knitting Guild invited me to come teach Mosaic knitting, Intarsia, indigo dyeing and the techniques used to knit the Charleston Indigo Scarf.

It was an intense weekend of teaching, punctuated with great food at local restaurants and some very special times with friends. 

Here are some scenes from the Mosaic and Scarf classes...

  Look at all that intense concentration!

Look at all that intense concentration!

  Amy shows off her Mosaic panel. And her Bulldog scarf... #gameday

Amy shows off her Mosaic panel. And her Bulldog scarf... #gameday

  The  Burgeon Mosaic Bag  in progress.

The Burgeon Mosaic Bag in progress.

  Sandy shows off not only her Mosaic, but also her Indigo-dyed blouse from the workshop the day before. #talented

Sandy shows off not only her Mosaic, but also her Indigo-dyed blouse from the workshop the day before. #talented

  For the  Charleston Indigo Scarf  class, we first knit a swatch to master the techniques.

For the Charleston Indigo Scarf class, we first knit a swatch to master the techniques.

  I admit I'm partial to mother/daughter knitting teams. Cindy and Amanda are so sweet, and if you ever need any fabulous stitch markers, Amanda's got you covered:  Manda's Markers

I admit I'm partial to mother/daughter knitting teams. Cindy and Amanda are so sweet, and if you ever need any fabulous stitch markers, Amanda's got you covered: Manda's Markers

  A completed  Reversible Cable Wrap , begun at the 2016 Knit Inn. Love it!

A completed Reversible Cable Wrap, begun at the 2016 Knit Inn. Love it!

  Carole shows off the striped look in the Reversible Cable. Great idea!

Carole shows off the striped look in the Reversible Cable. Great idea!

  Love the tonal qualities of this one. The lighter color really makes the cable pattern pop, too!

Love the tonal qualities of this one. The lighter color really makes the cable pattern pop, too!

Stay tuned for part 2 of this weekend--the Indigo Dyeing and Intarsia classes!

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Swirls and Stripes Mosaic Bag (Free Pattern Friday!)

  Swirls and Stripes bag prototype.

Swirls and Stripes bag prototype.

Once upon a time, I learned about Mosaic knitting, a way to include color in your work that doesn't involve nearly the skill or training that Intarsia or Fair Isle do. I liked how it looked, how it knit up fairly quickly and was fun to do (always a plus!). So, me being me, I wrote a pattern to showcase this technique so I could have the pleasure of teaching Mosaic to other knitters.

This is the story of that pattern.

  Tamara, wearing the Tamara Wrap. Pattern by Melissa Leapman.

Tamara, wearing the Tamara Wrap. Pattern by Melissa Leapman.

The first prototype of the Swirls and Stripes bag was knit with KnitPicks Wool of the Andes. I made the bag small to accommodate the yarn-on-hand, leftovers from the enormous undertaking that was the Tamara Wrap (a pattern by Melissa Leapman, not actually named for yours truly, but...). 

I taught this Mosaic bag pattern a few times, always thinking in the back of my head I would one day try to pitch it to KnitPicks and never getting around to it. 

Last year, as I was emailing Red Heart about a project they had asked me to do, I thought I'd just ask and see if they could put my bag pattern to use as well. And they said YES! 

Being a smart bunch at Red Heart, they asked me to adjust the pattern so it would be more of a tote--you know, a useable bag! Also, I love the colors they chose for it. So very striking! 

The pattern was made available this week on the Red Heart website and I hope you'll download your own free copy and give it a try. Be sure to let me know what you think--I love seeing finished products of my patterns! Here's a link to the pattern page on Ravelry, where you can show off how yours turns out. You can also post in our KnitOasis Ravelry group!

  Swirls and Stripes Bag as published by Red Heart. The roomy size makes it a great tote!

Swirls and Stripes Bag as published by Red Heart. The roomy size makes it a great tote!

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New Years Update and Charity Knitting for 2017

Happy New Year!

I hope this January finds you all in good health and able to do a lot of knitting! I wanted to give you a quick update on what's been going on here at KnitOasis HQ over the last couple of months as well as announce this year's charity focus.

Thanks to what I'm calling "that wind and rain event" (the rest of you might know it as Hurricane Matthew) we had to move out AGAIN while repairs were made to flood damaged portions of HQ. It wasn't as bad as LAST year, but still. Ugh. Needless to say, we are really hoping we are all finished with natural disasters here for a while! 

We have managed to put everything back together again and even as I type this, our favorite handyman is here to touch up a few things that the sheetrock contractors should have fixed but since they were so nightmarishly horrendous we had to send them away early before they could do any more damage (but that's a whole other story--live and learn!). And YES, the county we live in has been addressing the drainage issues that have contributed to our flooding, thanks be to God.

Because of being displaced during the Fall months again, I have now missed the mailing deadline 2 years in a row for the Red Scarf Project. Isn't that horrible? I mean, honestly. After designing patterns for it and promoting it, the least you'd think I could manage is sticking the things in the mail. This just gives me the proper motivation to make the Red Scarf Project my charity focus for 2017, which is where YOU come in!

I would love to be able send a great big box of scarves to Foster Care to Success this Fall and I will need your help to do it! 

Here are my goals for this year's charity knitting focus:

  1. Bring attention to the Red Scarf Project.
  2. Design a new pattern.
  3. Find all the scarves that people have given me that should have been mailed already. (!)
  4. Encourage all my knitting friends (YOU!) to knit at least one scarf for the Project in time to be mailed September 20, 2017.
  5. MAIL THEM ALL BY SEPTEMBER 20, 2017!!

Here are the patterns already available as free downloads. (For techniques you'll need for Take the Trolley, there are some tutorials here.)

Red Scarves.jpg

Pictured clockwise from top left: 1) Take the Trolley, 2) Brickworks, 3) Thousand Mile Journey, 4) Altimeter

So how about it? Who's ready to help me knit some red scarves?

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Tips for Beginner Knitters

Once upon a time I was a beginning knitter. It surprises some people when they find out it was only 11 years ago that I learned to knit. I've been messing about with crafts of some kind my entire life, but knitting only arrived on the scene in 2005. It took me awhile to get the hang of it. I have spoken before of my first scarf. It took a lot longer than I expected but it was the beginning of the journey and sometimes that first step is a LuLu.

Once upon a time, too, I wrote a blog post about what to do once you've gotten started on your own knitting journey. I thought about that post this week as I was preparing for this Saturday's Beginning Knit + Purl class. I'm super excited about this class I was thinking that I wanted to do everything I could to make sure it's a good experience for my students. That's when I realized I've never really written about what to do when you decide to take up knitting...

Tips for Beginner Knitters

Are you a total rookie, thinking of learning to knit? Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your efforts.

1. Take a class. Of course you know I would say this. I believe so strongly in the importance of learning from someone who can look at what you're doing and catch your mistakes (or your lack thereof) and keep you going in the right direction, that I put my beliefs in action and teach as much as I can.  If you can't find a class, ask for a private lesson.

2. Learn from a reputable source. This applies to both your use of an instructor as well as any online learning you might seek out. Let's face it--anyone can put out a Youtube about any topic, whether or not they are trained to teach or even know what they are doing. Look for a site you can trust. The ones I always recommend are KnittingHelp.com and the tutorials over on the KnitPicks website. Red Heart yarns is now adding some instructional videos featuring the very likable Marly Bird, as well. When it comes to instructors, anyone who understands the basics of knitting could very well show you how it's done. However...I once tried to teach Fair Isle knitting to a woman older than me who had been doing basic knitting for 40 years--INCORRECTLY. Her grandmother had taught her and somewhere along the way, not sure if it was Granny's fault, but this sweet woman was knitting every single stitch through the back loop. This ought not to be, my friends. To this day I worry about that knitter and how twisty all of her projects are turning out. So, please, for me, make sure you learn it the correct way!

3. Start small. Sure, there are some of you who will tackle a lopi sweater right off the bat (like my lovely knitting friend Christina),  but if you start small--a scarf, a washcloth, a bookmark--you can learn all the basics (cast on, knit, bind off) quickly and hopefully without too much trouble.

4. Choose your tools wisely. Never bring a dark color to my Beginning Knit class. Please know that I have walked that path and nothing good can come of it. My first socks were a dark navy and I couldn't see WHAT I was doing. It was crazy. Knit with something bright so you can easily see your stitches. Needles matter as well. If you have a hard time holding on to the needles, then you will have an unnecessarily difficult time knitting with them. Choose smooth, light-weight, strong needles like bamboo. Bamboo is an excellent choice for beginners because the stitches won't accidentally slide off your needles as much as with metal needles. Plastic needles are just kind of weird, in my opinion. Too much drag on your yarn can be just as bad as too little.

5. Be prepared to practice. Knitting has lately come into the spotlight as a "slow" craft. Well, yeah, it IS. Part of this is that it takes practice when you first get started. Not many people pick it up and are Master Knitters within the first year. If you're used to being able to conquer things quickly, here is your chance to step outside your box and conquer something slowly, after much practice. Believe me when I say, I understand and it's totally worth it!

6. Don't go it alone. Find a group of knitters you can hang out with and learn from. Naturally I have a certain group in mind. If you don't live here, ask around where you are and find out where the knitters congregate. Don't be afraid to admit you're new to it all. The encouragement you receive on your kntting journey will be worth the effort it takes to find your tribe

7. Ask questions. Start now. Have any questions on starting your knitting education? Ask away! knitoasis at gmail dot com

 

 

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