Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Saturday and Sunday at Stitches Midwest 2013

I'm so far behind in my blogging and things are getting busier and busier! I want to finish my Stitches experience and also go back to finish up my trip to Germany. First I'll do Stitches Midwest 2013.

Our third day we were signed up for two classes fromMyra Wood. The first class wasn't that good because we had several people in the class who didn't have the basic knitting skills needed for the class.  The Short Rows class started off on a bad foot, because there was no video projector in the room and when it finally arrived, Myra didn't have the cable she needed to connect it. She was extremely composed and taught as if nothing at all was wrong, but when the other side of the room started asking less than brilliant questions, we quickly fell behind. (Evidently they were having problems with passing a stitch from one needle to the other.)

Anyway, I can't sing the praises of this particular class, but I don't think it was Myra's fault. (One might argue that a teacher needs to have a class under control, but having been in those kinds of situations - I have to sympathize and say that it can be really hard to balance bothersome students with the needs of the other students and it is not always easy to figure out the right way to handle things.)

We had originally signed up for this one, since we had not made it into the Swing Knitting class. Myra had many things planned for us, but we got through only the basic wrap and turn short row. Myra had lots of samples for us to drool over. So we did get some great ideas from the class (which for me is the main thing), but it would have been nice to have more time to execute them

Since we took both the Swing class and Myra's short row class, I thought I would explain the difference. Swing knitting is based on a specific way of doing German short rows (where you use a so-called "double stitch") For German short rows you always have a trough between your unusual short-row shapes called a furrow (basically a section of stockinette) and the shape is done in garter.

Swing knitting has a system involving a sequence of numbers (called a melody or stanza) in the Swing version and a method of setting dark and light markers allows you to be sure you don't pucker your fabric.

 Myra's more general short row class basically taught the wrap and turn method with her variation. Myra counts the edge rows to be sure you are even at the end (although I worry a little about making the middle rows even with the edges - but with a little laying flat of the work you can probably keep that pretty straight.

We got two side wedges done, but I did not manage to do the bubble yet for my sample. Myra's method allows for more play in the stitch patterns (although we were also encouraged to experiment in the Swing class  only this would be called using German short rows and not Swing Knitting.)

Our afternoon class with Myra was how to modify the Pi shawl (by Elizabeth Zimmermann) for crazy lace.  

This class is pretty straight forward. It covers EZ's formula and walked us through some deviations (like more than circular shawls and half Pi shawls.) Here are some of the samples we got to see in class.

Of course Saturday evening is Student fashion show and banquet evening. I have been a little short on cash this year, so we opted not to do either Fashion show, but I always try to find Lily Chin to see what fabulous costume she will come up with (always entirely knit). This year she was adorable as a girl scout.

I also check in with my friend Roberta, who almost always wins an editor's choice prize. This year was no exception. She designed a stunning jacket with slits in the sleeves and a beautiful black lace dress.

The jacket, she is quick to point out looks marvelous over jeans, (but also I think has) real elegance over her black dress. The beauty of both of these pieces is lost in the unimaginative photography, alas.

Here is the dress by itself.

Sunday was the long awaited Swing Class.  The teacher Brigitte Elliott is very sweet and I learned a lot form this class.  Swing knitting is very regimented and so there is a short row class for every student. Myra's for the very independent minded and Brigitte's for those that like to have clear directions and knit along definite principles. I suppose my favorite short row class would be Gwen Bortner's that we took last year, because we got to experiment with a whole variety of short row techniques and decide which we liked the best.

Brigitte was very generous and provided us with yarn and needles - but of course that meant a predesigned piece that we would be knitting.  I was provided with the materials for this scarf above, but switched my white yarn for red (which I think caused some concern later when two of the colors left over were not the "matched set". (I'm just such a trouble maker!) I don't have a picture of my swatch yet, but will post it when I get the shot out of the camera.  Here are some examples of creative ways to use this approach.

This shawl was one of the most impressive pieces we saw.  Very subtle and pretty!

Brigitte showed us slides of some of the kinds of things that can be done with this technique.

 While the furrows may be changed, you can see that garter is pretty central to the Swing method for the shapes.

Originally the technique was used for landscape imagery. This uses an extremely long transition variegated yarn.

This was a pillow taht Brigitte brought to show us.

Unfortunately I didn't get a good shot of Brigitte, but here she is showing us a shawl.

 As you can see, even with all the rules, the technique is pretty versatile.

Because it was Sunday and several people wanted to leave early, we had the bulk of our learning in the morning class and we sat and knitted in the afternoon class. For this reason I think that maybe a 6 hour class was unnecessary, but nonetheless, I am very glad we were able to get into the class and that I now understand the nature of the technique.  I have a bunch of new ideas for projects and am rearin' to go!

No comments: