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Sales Consultant and Trainer with great results and 30 years experience.  Very effective.  A little eccentric. Usually happy.
Showing posts with label Knitting class. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Knitting class. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Making Mittens Class

I will be teaching my class, Making Mittens a few times this year at various festivals and conferences, and wanted to tell you a little more about it.

This class focuses on letting knitters design their own mittens from the yarn they want to use.  Particularly with handcrafted yarn, there is often not a pattern for the exact item one wants to knit.  This class covers basic mittens construction, techniques, and how to design a mitten from a gauge swatch made from any yarn.  This is a vital skill for any spinner who wants to supply patterns to their customer, and to any knitter who doesn't want to be bound by the patterns they can find.  Students will leave class with 3 patterns from me, and one pattern of their own that they have started in class.  They will have the skill to design or modify mittens to work with their choice of yarn.  A class packet including notes and patterns will be provided.  There are no supplies to purchase.  Materials to bring are published in each festival and conference brochure.

I still have several dates open this summer and fall.  If you'd like me to come and speak or teach at your event, I'd be happy to talk to you.  If you're taking my class already, I can't wait to meet you!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Updates du Jour

Here's what I've been up to:

As busy beavers go, I haven't been slacking.  I've been working on the mitten book project diligently, teaching classes, writing the shop newsletter, darning my daughters worn out mittens, finishing my other daughter's mittens, publishing the first Fund Raising Pattern, designing the Freebie for Friday...  I'd like to express a heartfelt beaver "dam".

I've recently purchased and started using Intwined Studio design software.  I adore it!  It makes the process exponentially faster, largely due to the feature of chart-document mirroring.  If I type knitting symbols into a chart, the instructions are updated automatically!  If I write instructions, the chart is updated.  What a time saver.  Line by line instructions that match the chart just magically appear.  I do check and edit for clarity, and have been super-pleased with the results.

I'm organizing a couple of classes I will be teaching this season at fiber fairs and knitting conferences.  Each host organization likes to have their own spin recognized: organic fiber, hand crafted, technique, advocacy, charity, etc.  I LOVE THIS!  It makes my relationship with knitting a much richer experience.  That said, it also takes quite a bit of time to design class packets for each specific focus.  There are more than enough hours of typing in my life already!  The good news is I'm becoming a much faster typist.

On the design front, I've been on a kids' mitten design streak, and having a ball.  Cars, toys and ice cream, Oh MY!  I would really like to have a life in which the designs I create for children make sense in my wardrobe.  Not today.  Today it's very adult - editing, medical appointment, fiber fair letter, knitting conference meeting...  Maybe tomorrow. ;)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Wool Dispute

The Mr. Mittens are finished, and within moments of finishing them, the Mr. put them on and walked out to work.  He then left them in his car, and so I have no pic to show you.   I will nab them back for photos, I promise.  They came out nicely, and very warm. 

Then I cast on the Guinan Hat (see Ravelry pattern of the same name) to make for a class I'm teaching soon about basic knitting in the round.  It's an easy pattern for a cute and very un-fussy hat.  Unfortunately, it's in wool, like the last several projects in a row, and with my allergy to wool my hands are really beginning to rebel.  Hives and redness abound.  They're threatening strike action, and I'm doing my best to negotiate with the union.

Why make things in wool at all? you may ask.  Well, the purposes of having classes are to sell yarn, and increase the skills of the students.  The bread and butter of Karma Knitting (my LYS) is definitely wool, as it is for most of the students.  As such, I feel obligated to show the students how the pattern will behave in the fiber they will likely use for the project.  If it's a project I'll keep for myself, I'll make it in a non-wool fiber.  If it's a summer pattern, ditto.  But for most of my classes, I teach in the fiber called for in the pattern. 

Update:  Whatever the next couple of classes are, I'll be knitting them in non-wool.  Strike arbitration has made me promise to take a one month leave from wool.  I've caved to the hands' demands, not for higher pay or more vacation days, but for a hive-free workplace.  It's the least I can do.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Minis, Homework, and Future Projects

I had a knitting class to teach today.  It was a sock class.  I decided to teach a mini sock, ornament sized, because it has all the same skills as a big sock, but with a tiny fraction of the stitches.  (I like  minis as teaching tools in general.  Here are a few in front of our very small fireplace at the shop.)

I know some people want to come to class and get right to work on their garment or project, and although I get that, there's a reason I don't teach that way.  Each project contains it's own group of necessary skills.  In this sock, as an example, we have cast on, knit, purl, ssk, psso, k2tog, picking up stitches, knitting in the round, knitting straight (for heel flap), and of course toe grafting.  That's a lot of skills.  I try to reinforce all the skills in a single class rather than have students come back.  The only way to do this and accommodate all the different knitting speeds and skills is to work on a mini project or swatch.  Otherwise I would have to assign homework, and ask people to come back when they are ready for the next step.  This would make fast knitters as crazy as slower knitters. So, swatches and minis.  You can make the big projects at home.

On a more personal note, my daughter was really happy with her hat and mittens.  I'm thinking of doing a fair isle skull motif on mittens for my 18 yr old son.  After two more pairs of socks and my vest, of course.  **fingers crossed behind my back**

Saturday, October 23, 2010

What's Next

I'm trying to figure out what classes to offer next.  Things that have been popular in the past?  Something new?  Advanced techniques or something simpler?  A specific project or a skill with a wide application?  Seasonal for today, or something for next season?  Yeesh!  So many possibilities!

What if I offer cables?  Do I choose a pattern with cables in it?  Or do I teach the principles of cables and leave the pattern choice to the students?  Basic cables or reversible cables or cables that make intricate knots and weaves?  Usually when I teach a class the students leave with a swatch made in class that contains all of the techniques needed for the project.  Other teachers will offer multiple classes, and say "For homework, work until you start the decrease for the armhole.  We'll pick it up there next week."  Decisions, decisions.

Since the next several classes will be free, price won't be a factor.  What kind of class do you like?  What would you like to learn next?  I'd love to hear from you!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Getting Ready For Class

Simple Texting Mitts class tomorrow. We're working in the round, but straights with seams are possible. Worsted weight and 7s are the order of the day. I have four teens at home and all three girls LOVE these! No fingers or thumb tips make these an easy first mitten pattern, as there is minimal shaping involved. Just make that thumb and you're home free!

Next week is Marvelous Minis. I'm collecting some simple miniature patterns to use. Minis are fun because you use/learn all the skills for a full sized garment, but you use a fraction of the yarn and the time. I enjoy using leftovers from favorite skeins of yarn again, and the little creations always get comments. I'm offering mittens and socks... Pictures will follow, I promise.

It's very hit or miss whether I'll have students. Eight students came to Easy Entrelac, but none came to a basic swirl cap in the round. I was in Northampton, MA over the weekend, and there are two shops there getting $15 -$20 bucks a class, 1-2 classes per week, and they are often full classes. Here in Buffalo, NY I charge $5, and it's totally hit or miss. (Since most patterns are original, and the class runs 2 hours, it's quite a deal!) Sometimes I schedule classes that have been requested a few times and get no one. Sometimes I schedule things that just pop into my head and they're overfull. Will you be there tomorrow?