“Take it bird by bird.” If I were ever, ever going to get a tattoo, that would be my first choice. It’s advice the author Anne Lamott’s father gave to her 10 year-old brother. The boy couldn’t put off any longer writing a book report on birds that he’d had 3 months to write, and it was due the next day. “Just take it bird by bird.” But then I’d probably worry about whether or not to include the author’s name and copyright, what font would look best, which bird to include in the design… so I suppose I’d have to settle for a tat reading, “Done is better than perfect.” Advice my husband gives me all the time.
I admit it. I’ve been stalling on this blog, waiting for a golden morning when I would sit down in front of my laptop, having mastered WordPress in my sleep, and could insert Jared Flood-worthy photos between paragraphs that would send the Yarn Harlot herself into a swoon. Since there’s as much chance of that happening as my looking up tattoo parlors in the Yellow Pages, may I share the January/February/March Gosh Yarn It! Class Schedule with you?
First up, Knitting 101. This class is offered every Wednesday morning from 11:00 a.m. to noon, every Thursday evening from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. It’s free, and it’s for anyone who wants to become a knitter. Spend an hour with me or Jill, learning how to cast-on and make the knit and purl stitches. If there’s time, we’ll throw in a good bind-off, too. You can attend Knitting 101 as often as you like. On Thursdays, our evening Stitch & Spin (more about that later) starts at 6:00 p.m., and if you stay to keep practicing you’ll have a cheering section.
Ah, Cia. Not the cloak and dagger C.I.A., but the Cia Cardigan, a Louet pattern made with their heavenly KidLin yarn. Our sample in sunset orange has been daily admired and cooed over. Carolyn Kern will lead this class for adventurous beginner/intermediate knitters and brings 40 years of sweater-knitting experience (did she learn to knit as a toddler?) to covering sweater-making basics, from sizing to seaming. She has some great modifications in mind, too, for simplifying construction of the lace and stockinette sections. Pre-class homework is to make a swatch to gauge. The four Saturday sessions will be Jan. 15, 10:00-11:30 a.m.; Feb. 5, 10:00-11:00 a.m.; Feb. 26, 10:00-11:00 a.m.; and Mar. 19, 10:00-11:00 a.m. ($75)
Marcia Farrell is eager to show knitters why they should know how to crochet, too. Crochet 101 will teach the chain stitch and single crochet while demonstrating how knitting and crochet are complementary techniques that produce very different but equally beautiful results. One Saturday afternoon, Jan. 15, 1:00-2:30 p.m. ($25).
Fair Isle Bag: An Introduction to Stranded Knitting, with Carolyn Kern, will add color to your knitting and give both your hands a great workout. The class project is Carolyn’s original tote bag design, and she suggests that students practice holding their yarn with their “other” hand before class. Both the Continental and English/American styles will be taught, but fear not, Fair Isle can be done with one hand, too. Two Saturday morning sessions, Jan. 22, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. and Jan. 29, 10:00-11:00 a.m. ($60)
Knitting Socks Top Down on Double Pointed Needles (DPNs). I’m teaching this one and am an unrepentant DPN fan. For centuries socks have been made this way, and it’s still the best way to understand “sock anatomy.” While knitting a single miniature practice sock you’ll learn to turn a heel, pick up gusset stitches, and graft a toe closed with the Kitchener stitch. One Saturday afternoon, Jan. 22, 1:00-4:00 p.m. ($45)
Crochet 102 is for all new crocheters, eager to start making and wearing their own creations. Marcia Farrell will help you take your skills to the next level, creating a scarf with the shell stitch that shows off the beauty and speed of crochet. She’ll cover reading and following crochet patterns and show how different yarns can produce dramatically different results. One Saturday afternoon, Jan. 29, 1:00-2:30 p.m. ($25)
Knitting Lace for the First Time is an introduction to the delightfully addictive world of lace knitting, with yours truly. You’ll learn basic increase and decrease stitches, chart reading, how to “read” your knitting to catch little mistakes before they grow, and how to add beads to your stitches, an option with the “English Mesh Lace Scarf” pattern. One Saturday afternoon, Feb. 5, 1:00-3:00 p.m. ($30) Note: This class is currently filled, but we’ll be happy to add your name to an alternate list for the February class or as a pre-registration for the next session.
What’s the latest, hottest knitting technique right now? Entrelac, a way to produce a textured, basketweave fabric by picking up stitches and knitting in different directions. Using self-shading Noro yarn, Carolyn Kern will introduce this fascinating method in her Entrelac Scarf class. One Saturday session, Feb. 12, 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. ($45)
The Swirls Hat is a little bit funky and a lot of fun for knitters who’ve done Fair Isle before. If you’ve already taken Carolyn Kern’s Fair Isle Bag class, you’re ready for this. Start by knitting in the round, add a dash of stranded color work, throw in the braid pattern stitch, top it off with a very cool little tassel, and you’ll have a hat you’ll wear right into spring because you can. Two Wednesday evening sessions, Feb. 16 and Feb. 23, 5:30-7:00 p.m. ($45)
Join me in making a warm wrap-around Cabled Cowl that is knit flat out of a soft bulky weight yarn such as Misti Alpaca Chunky. Along the way you’ll learn the provisional crochet cast-on, how to make really big cables, and how to graft live stitches on your needles with the Kitchener stitch, a skill that comes in very handy One Saturday afternoon session, Feb. 12, 1:30-3:30 p.m. ($30)
You knit. You purl. But are you making the most of these two stitches? The Knit & Purl Sampler Scarf/Afghan will get you exploring several different knit/purl patterns, either by making a scarf or squares for an afghan following an original pattern created by teacher Felicia Ryan. Three Saturday afternoon sessions, Feb. 19, 12:00-1:00 p.m.; Feb. 26, 12:00-1:00 p.m.; and Mar. 5, 12:00-12:30 p.m. ($45)
Once you go toe-up, you may never go back. While knitting a single miniature practice sock in Knitting Socks Toe Up on 2 Circular Needles, we’ll cover a near-perfect variation of Judy Becker’s Magic Cast-On and how to knit socks that can be tried on every step of the way for a perfect fit. One Saturday afternoon session, Mar. 5, 1:00-4:00 p.m. ($45) Note: This class is currently filled, but we’ll be happy to add your name to an alternate list for the March class or as a pre-registration for the next session.
Designed as a skill-builder and technique-oriented, rather than project-oriented, the Lace Sampler Workshop will show you how to tame even those “difficult” lace patterns you’ve been admiring. Felicia Ryan will help you master increases, decreases, chart-reading, and the nupp, an Estonian bobble stitch that people think is difficult – but not for you! One Saturday session, Mar. 12, 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. ($50)
Got Gauge? Without it, your knitting is at best unpredictable, and at worst, unsuccessful, and who wants that? Get your stitch/row gauge and you’ll know exactly what you’re going to end up with before you even begin. Felicia Ryan knows her gauge, and she’s waiting to introduce yours to you! One Saturday morning session, Mar. 26, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. ($30)
So there you have it. More classes are already in the works. They may yet be slipped into this calendar or may pop up for the first time in April/May/June. Some classes will be repeated throughout the year, including Knitting Lace for the First Time, Socks Top Down, and Socks Toe Up. For complete information on all the classes, including skill levels, supplies, and homework (if any), dash off an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll send you the detailed schedule.
If you’ve read this far, you deserve a treat: come and join a stitching circle at one of our Stitch & Spins, Thursdays, 6:00-8:00 p.m. and Saturdays, 1:00-3:00 p.m. Bring whatever you’d like a couple of hours to work on, surrounded by fellow yarn-lovers, with coffee and tea close at hand and cookies not far away.
Blog writer’s block: so over.