Memories of The Knit and Crochet Show San Diego—Part Two

Photo of view from hotel room

As I mentioned in this post, I attended The Knit and Crochet Show in San Diego last month. Here is the view from my hotel room. Not bad!

This post will describe the classes I took, which were all first rate. Warning: while they were intensely interesting to take, they didn’t produce much that was interesting to look at. Still in full-on Master Knitter mode, I signed up for a lot of technique classes that required smooth, light-colored, worsted weight yarn (in short, exactly the same yarn that is used for most of the program). However, I will show you what I learned:

The mini sleeve from Margaret Fisher's set-in sleeve class.
The mini sleeve from Margaret Fisher’s set-in sleeve class.

I took 2 excellent classes with Margaret Fisher. For “Demystifying Set-in Sleeves,” we pre-knit two finished pieces that simulated mini front and back pieces that formed an armhole when sewed together, and a partial sleeve. You can see in the photo the line formed when I blocked the sleeve while on a stitch holder. During class we used two methods to calculate the height of the sleeve and that rate of decreases that would be required to fit into the little armhole. One of the methods used the Pythagorean Theorem. Huzzah! A practical use for geometry! I had heard of this method before, and was relieved to find that it made sense to me. The other method, which used a ruler, was preferred by others in the class.

Photo of inside of mini sleeve
The inside of the mini-sleeve. We used a contrasting thread to sew the seams.

Once we had calculated the needed rows and rate of decrease, we knit the sleeve head and then sewed it into the armhole. We used a contrasting thread to do the seaming. As you can see, one of Margaret’s tips is to sew each side with a different piece of yarn, working from the underarm up to the shoulder seam. If you need to make adjustments, they are easier to make and less visible. I am happy to report that my sleeve fit perfectly and no adjustments were needed. Yay!

Photo of zipper application.
Front of zipper. We only had time to sew in one side during class.
Photo of back of zipper application
The back side of the zipper. My stitching could be a bit neater!

The other class I took from Margaret was called “Zip, Button, Tie: Creative Closures.” Again, a great class. We brought two swatches that simulated the two fronts of a cardigan, and sewed in a very short zipper. In order to save class time, we only sewed one side, which is helpful because we can see how the pinning is done on the side that wasn’t sewn. I probably could have done a bit neater job of sewing if I had had a little more time, but I was pretty happy with the result. We also knitted various types of buttons and tie closures. Some people had brought crazy yarns that made really interesting stuff. Sadly, I only brought my white wool so my photos aren’t that interesting.

Photos of knitted buttons.
Buttons formed by working over a ring and a wooden bead.

I took two classes with Gwen Bortner, but there was no knitting produced because one was about the business side of the knitting industry and the other was a collection of what Gwen calls “knitting hacks,” which are tips and tricks to help improve, speed up or simplify knitting. The class included a full color booklet full of photos and clear descriptions, which will be handy for future reference.

Photo of yarn bits
Not much to show from Patty’s class.

The class I took with Patty Lyons was called “Improve Your Knitting Technique.” I hesitated to sign up for this because it was labeled as a beginner class, but then my brain said, “Hey! It’s Patty Lyons!”

What sets her classes apart is that she has a deep understanding of all knitting methods and styles that she has obtained from years of careful observation. She explains not only how to create a stitch, but also why creating it that way may get a better result for you, depending on your knitting style. Plus she has such a wealth of funny stories about teaching people to knit that I could listen to her all day. In fact, I mostly listened and didn’t really knit anything. The photo shows what I had done by the the end of class.

Photo of short row sampler swatch
Right side of the short row sampler from Suzanne’s class. I haven’t blocked this, so it looks a bit rough.

My very last class was called “The Long Version of Short Rows” with Suzanne Bryan. What an amazing class! We covered so much in such a short time that my head was buzzing a bit by the end. During class we knit this lovely sampler where we made short rows using the turn only, wrap and turn, wrap and turn with concealed wrap, turn and yarnover, Japanese turn (with pin), and German turn methods in stockinette, reverse stockinette and garter stitch fabrics. Whew!

Photo of wrong side of short row sampler swatch
Wrong side of short row sampler. Notice the pin used to create the Japanese short row is still attached.

If you are ever lucky enough to get the chance to take classes from any of these excellent teachers, be sure to do it! You won’t be sorry.