Spring - It's just around the corner (I think!)
Posted on February 16 2018
The first snowdrops have just appeared in the garden and the days are getting longer. So, despite this week's snow flurries, I am kidding myself that spring is just around the corner and I have started to knit some designs in Erika Knight's Studio Linen ready for our Spring/Summer photographic shoot.
Monday was our first 'Learn to Knit' workshop tutored by Rowan's Melanie Boocock and it was a really fun day. I had given my sister and pregnant niece a place each at the workshop as part of a belated Christmas present. They both joined in enthusiastically with my sister knitting until midnight finishing off and Eleanor completing her knitting the next morning. Here is a picture of their finished fingerless mitts in Rowan's Brushed Fleece.
They must have enjoyed themselves because they have both stocked up with some Debbie Bliss Cashmerino, for a garter stitch blanket, and Eco Baby for a little cardigan, before travelling back south. It was lovely to witness the transformation in someone who was slightly nervous of attending the class to the same person looking forward to knitting a cowl to match her gloves and wanting to knit something for a new baby. I hope their enthusiasm continues as their skills develop with their new projects.
The thinking behind our 'Workshops' is that you have the opportunity to pick up a new skill whilst enjoying a fun, relaxed day out. The cost of the workshop includes lunch and I tested various recipes before finding this delicious, easy-to-make 'Carrot and Ginger soup'. Our next workshop is on March 5th and it is a 'Learn to Crochet' workshop. Crochet has become increasingly popular over the last couple of years and Melanie will be teaching the basics in her relaxed, motivating style. If you are interested in expanding your creative repertoire then please come along and join us!
I often say to people that knitting is very easy because most patterns are based on the two stitches of 'knit' and 'purl'. Once you can cast on, have the 2 stitch repertoire and are able to cast off, then you have a fantastic supply of knitting projects open to you. There are clearly other skills to develop but these can come later as your confidence grows and somewhere on the web there will be the solution to almost any knitting difficulty you may encounter.
Talking about the endless possibilities of knitting, I purchased the fabulous book 'Knitting outside the Box' by Bristol Ivy and published by Pom Pom Press. It is one of those books that I want to study carefully to fully understand her thinking process. The quality of the publication, photography and designs is outstanding - it would make a perfect gift for a knitter.
Other books well worth looking at are by Alison Ellen 'Knitting: Colour Structure and Design' and 'Knitting: Stitch-led Design' - both are available on our website. I came across her work when I joined the 'Knitting and Crochet Guild' and, as she was listed as a designer member, I googled her and immediately loved her designs. Her approach to knitting was, as far as I was concerned, a completely different one. I purchased her books and made up the cardigan shown below. Instead of knitting from the top up or from the top down, the cardigan is made up of squares knitted individually and then picked up along the edge to create another square leaving you with minimum sewing at the end of the project. I really love it and more of her work is on my list to knit at some time - I just need more hours in the day. I subsequently attended one of her courses last March at West Dean College - the most amazing place with a fantastic schedule of courses to suit every taste. If I lived nearer I would be spending all my time and money there!
Alison's designs are mostly made in 4 ply so our own beautiful No.2 Lambswool is a perfect choice. One of the ladies I met on last year's course came up to Harrogate for the annual Knitting & Stitching Show in November. We met for dinner and then she came round to the studio to choose some wool for her next Alison Ellen project. Last week she kindly sent me these images of her completed waistcoat based on one of Alison's designs but with her own twists. My own colour palette tends to be fairly muted but Cairney's knitting is vibrant and she always looks amazing in her knitwear much of which she designs herself. As a talented photographer she has an amazing eye for colour which is clearly shown in her work.
In the meantime, I will keep thinking of the warmer weather that will be arriving in the next couple of months and continue to enjoy making my new season's knits......