I took my first knitting class a couple of weeks ago, and now I basically want to take all the classes. I attended a sweater class taught by Ann Budd (of the "Knitter's Handy Book of...." series) at Wild Haven here in Milwaukee, and I loved it. This week I got an email from Joann's about a free Craftsy class, and I snapped up - and actually watched part of! - the drafting class by Jacee Boggs Faulkner that I've heard about over and over again. (That's drafting for spinning, not architectural drafting!) Now this morning I read Susan B Anderson's latest post, and I am SO tempted by her double feature class at the Knitcircus retreat this fall in Madison, Wisconsin. I'm on a self-imposed spending freeze right now....but it's only $120 to take in a whole day of classes from a teacher who I think is a pretty big deal.....Decisions, decisions.
I was lucky enough to have dinner the night after the Ann Budd class with a yarn rep, Ann's event coordinator, the owner and other teachers at Wild Haven, and Ann herself. The rep, Kim Lui, had an interesting question to pose to the group. She was wondering how you go about creating an engaging yarn shop that keeps people coming back again and again, and how classes can be a part of that. I feel a little silly even considering myself a "teacher" because I've taught all of one class. My second session was cancelled. We aren't sure if it's summer thing - maybe people aren't up for learning to knit as the weather warms up? - or if it was an over-saturation thing, as maybe monthly 101 sessions are too frequent...in any case, it was a really interesting discussion. I have a lot of ideas, but am a little unsure how to implement them...especially since it isn't MY shop. I mean, I like it there, but I don't run the place! Oh well, we will re-evaluate this fall, and for now I'm happy to take all the knitting time for myself!
I didn't manage to finish my sample sweater in class, but am nearly finished with it now. Having that in person demonstration, I'm finding, was invaluable. I went to pick up the underarm stitches on the sleeve, and it was a breeze compared to some of my past attempts. (also Ann commented on my instagram post - a brush with knit celebrity!)
I find the same thing when I manage to make it to knitting group - I can learn so much by watching someone demonstrate a technique. I've mentioned before that I'm mostly self-taught, and I'm surprising myself with how much I like in-person learning. Maybe it's an evolution, or a season in life where I just don't have the time to search down multiple tutorials online. The act of paying for a class and getting my butt in the chair and getting as much out of that time as I can....it's resonating with me right now.
I'm hopeful that I'll finish the sweater this weekend. I actually knit the whole body, but had a little brain glitch, as we modified the sizing to get a lot accomplished in class. Basically my stitch count works for 6-12 months....but the length chart I was following was for a child size! I've more or less knit a sweater dress that will go down to the knees. I have finished the sleeves, and will rip the body back to a more typical length. Fingers crossed for few mistakes. I tested about 3 bind off's on the first sleeve, before landing on the sewn bind off, which Ann recommended in the first place. Last night I bound off the second sleeve first with a too tight i-cord bind off. I ripped it back and did a lovely, looser i-cord bind off. And yet....the cuff still wasn't as stretchy as....or matching....the first one....how can that be? Oh yeah self....you landed on a SEWN BIND OFF. Sigh....rip back again, complete sewn bind off, put self to bed.