What a good Sunday I had. Other than having to get up much earlier than I typically function well, it went great.
Morning with Melissa Leapman was “Fully Fashioned and Fabulous” which really showed how excellent a designer she is. The pieces we constructed using increases and decreases for interest and shaping, were absolutely brilliant. Now, it was far too much purling for my attention span… and since I’m not used to this sort of knitting (textures with knit and purl combinations), I did not get as far as other knitters who do it all the time. Just the same, I learned some very interesting concepts that will surely pay off in time.
I don’t knit sweaters much, but we learned a few tricks for really making a cohesive design between pattern stitch (lace or cables or rib) in the body of a garment, and splitting the neckline for a v-neck. Gorgeous, brilliant stuff. How will I use it? I’m not sure yet, since I can’t imagine right now designing a sweater with that much texture. Or for that matter, any sweater other than for my own consumption.
However, I’m designing a tea cosy right now. I am splitting for the openings for teapot spout and handle in the same way I did for my wristwarmer pattern. However, I could instead substitute one of these patterns with a “v-neck” split where the spout is. It would be gorgeous! I’m sure this will not be my first tea cosy, so the possibility is definitely there. And I could stand to do cables or lace on something as small as a tea cosy, too.
The afternoon class, however, was all I wanted it to be and more. It’s funny, because it was about crocheted shawls, or so the class description said. I don’t know if I’ll ever crochet a shawl (I don’t like lace, don’t like the look of double crochet, and I was a teen in the 1970s so a lot of crochet looks outdated to my eyes). However, I really, really, really wanted to understand crocheting and how to follow a crochet pattern.
Crochet is one of many tools available to those of us who love yarn. It makes excellent no-curl edgings, is dense and unstretchy most of the time (great for home decor and bags/purses) and I have already used a simple slip stitch edge called Bosnian Crochet for a few rounds to finish a Turkish-inspired pair of socks. I like how it’s easy to sort of change gears in the middle of a crocheted item, so it’s easy to fly by the seat of your pants. I made up a crocheted beret once, in single crochet, and darned if it didn’t fit way better than most berets I’ve knit. Even though theoretically I’m not a crocheter!
After the class, I still have to really think at the beginning and end of a row. For example, the first of three mini-shawls we made, I increased by 3 stitches in about 7 rows and that all happened at the edges of the swatch. But hey! I kept up with the class, I did all three projects, I learned to double-crochet (before, I could only remember by heart how to slip stitch and how to single-crochet) and how to follow patterns! You heard me right… now I know to follow crochet patterns!
I asked a LOT of questions but I got from the class what I wanted to get out of the class. After at least two sessions trying to learn crochet from teachers, and two sessions trying to learn out of books, I finally can do this. I do have to think, but that’s the nature of a new skill. I’m in business now!
Melissa is a really good teacher. She’s mellow, she has a sense of humor, she explains well, she re-explains if necessary (using different words… an important thing for a teacher to do) and she is a good cheerleader. I really enjoyed my day. Even in the morning, purling 32 stitches in a row!
Photos: 1) Cable with neckline divided with rolled stockinette edge. 2) Lace with neckline divided with K1P1K1 rib. 3) Shawl sample 1 with only some of the fringe we could add. I love this fabric. She calls it seed stitch, and it is a combination of single crochet and chain stitches. It lays really flat, would make a great rug or placemat. Perhaps a good purse/bag, as well. You can’t see through it, it’s not lacy and there is no double-crochet (I just do not like the texture of double crochet, I can’t help it). This is the one where I accidentally increased by 3 stitches, so it is not exactly rectangular but it still lays flat.
4) Shawl sample with double crochet and chains, and a lovely edging with picots that I like a lot. I wonder what I could do with that edging on a knitted item? Hmmm…. 5) Shawl sample, more double crochets and chains. Edging is a ruffle. One side has a single layer of crochet in the ruffle, and the other side of the sample has yet another layer of stitches at the edge of the ruffle to make it even more ruffly. Definitely not me, but I learned from it.
I used Classic Elite Montera from my stash for the first four projects… some boring beige I was going to overdye with turquoise, and green leftovers from the super-warm stole I made for my friend Elizabeth in Vermont. I love the yarn, it’s 50 Llama/50 Wool and it’s a single-ply worsted weight. I love single ply yarns, especially fat ones. You are right if you think beige looks wrong for ColorJoy Lynn… as I said, it was destined to be teal very soon. I am very protective of my stash and hate to “waste” any “good” yarn on a class sample I’ll want to keep for reference. This worked out well.
The last sample was some Lion Brand Fisherman Wool I dyed with Wiltons cake frosting dyes over a year ago. I dyed it still in the skein, one end spring green and one end turquoise. It looks just great in this sample, I think. After all, doesn’t a double-crocheted shawl beg to be multicolored?