I am very fortunate that there are several weekends I look forward to each year. One of them is, of course, STITCHES South. The older I get, the more I know the calendar lies, because it can't be possible we've just finished the fifth STITCHES South.
I signed up for Almost the Works. I've done The Works once, and while I love taking classes, that is a lot of classes even for me to soak up in one weekend. I'm finding that Almost the Works is the right pace for me.
On Friday morning I took Charles Gandy's "Pattern Pitfalls." I've taken classes before with Charles. He is a delightful teacher and a Southern gentleman. Again, I knew most of what Charles mentioned, but it is nice to double-check knowledge. As I am self-publishing patterns, I do not want to be guilty of creating pitfalls! The one really brilliant thing I must remember from Charles -- if you print a book, be sure it is on paper that will accept pencil and pen annotations.
When playing with dyes, the color mixing is not the same as the paint color mixing many of us learned in grade school. I plan to over-dye the second skein with more purple, orange, and green and with more overlapping of colors to make it more interesting. I'll probably just do that on a hot summer day and let the skein bake in the sun to set. The microwave makes the process faster, and the speed can be especially useful if you are dyeing colors that you don't want to bleed together. As with so many techniques in crafts, the questions is not so much, "What is the right way?" as it is "What effect do I want to achieve?"
On Sunday morning I wrapped up the weekend with Anna Zilboorg's "Surprisingly Special Techniques." This is basically a tips and tricks class. Anna's knowledge base is somewhat different from that of most other knitters, so I was confident her approach would be unique. We covered several techniques, but the best part was making her perfect buttonhole. It is worth the class just to learn the buttonhole. A word of caution: I am a very visual learner. Anna is not a visual teacher, and her handouts are not visual, either. She is also very opinionated. So go into her class ready to happily follow along the path she leads you, and don't be afraid to ask very specific visual questions if you are a visual learner. I was lucky Susan Duralde sat next to me, as she is also a visual learner and the two of us had mostly the same questions.