Saturday, June 2, 2012

Handmade: Day 1

First up, Willie accompanied me to a lecture about the history of knitting: "Proud Knitters: A History of Communities of Strangers". It was really fascinating! I didn't know people used to write in to magazines and answer each other's crafting questions, much like we now do online. Or that paper shortages during the war affected how detailed patterns in magazines instructions could be - that explains the extreme brevity of many older patterns, which are so hard for us to figure out today. We're used to being given much more detail!

After the lecture, Willie headed out to a family lunch and I went to the 'knit lounge' to hang out before my afternoon class. I tried out some GIANT knitting needles, which were rather hard on one's arms (bloody cool though)...

I had brought a knitting project to work on, but I noticed no-one was spinning, so I decided to get out my spindle and represent. ;) I got a few curious folks watching and asking questions, and one little boy tested my fibre for softness by rubbing it on his nose (eww). The Holland Road Yarn Co folks had lots of yarn and fibre and needles and things for sale, and I fell in love with this merino spinning fibre:

I'm a sucker for pretty colours.

My afternoon class was over in the town hall, so some of us trooped over there together. I'm glad I booked early for "Two-Handed Stranded Knitting", because it sold out. It was definitely worth seeing the technique in person rather that from a book, because it was a bit tricky to get my head around. We started making our little bags by knitting 'normally', and then learned to knit with our other hand. In my case this meant holding the yarn in my left hand and scooping it off my left index finger to make each stitch.

Once we'd mostly got the hang of that, the teacher (Morag of Vintage Purls) showed us how to alternate stitches with the two strands of yarn held in one-in-each-hand. It actually wasn't too awkward after the practice I'd had knitting with my left hand, although I was knitting tighter than usual. After the alternating stripes, we started on a charted picture of two birds, learning how to secure the long floats at the back as we went. I didn't get very far on the birds, but it'll be good to keep practising so I don't forget what I've learned.

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