13 March 2014

Glorious Weekend

I'm a couple days behind on this post. Partly that is because the Cuddly Hubby is home this week. He decided to take a week of vacation to come home on his own personal spring break. He also wanted to see The Atlanta Opera's production of Faust, which we saw Tuesday night. And, yes, it was very, very good. Beautiful sets, emotionally-engaging music, impressive singing, and a story worth thinking about.

This is all coming off a great weekend with TECHknitter!

First off, a huge thank you to Southeast Fiber Arts Alliance primarily, and Atlanta Knitting Guild secondarily, for bringing TECHknitter to Atlanta! And thank you to all the knitters who signed up for workshops. This weekend was scheduled more than a year in advance. As TECHknitter is presently trying to write a book and also now has a home in a fairly remote location, I believe it will be harder to fit teaching into her schedule as well as more expensive to cover her travel. We were fortunate to schedule her when we did.

In addition to the four workshops at SEFAA, TECHknitter did a presentation at Thursday evening's Atlanta Knitting Guild meeting. I believe a lot of us came away from the weekend with a new appreciation for just how much can be accomplished after the fact. I teach mistake fixing and am very comfortable with dropping ladders and picking them back up, but TECHknitter showed me new ways of picking up ladders. She does a lot of afterthought knitting, where she starts with a large blank canvas of stockinette and "paints" patterns on to it. Very often this means starting with a too-large garment and making it smaller, but she even has a way to make a too-small garment larger. Amazing!

The Friday sessions were tips and tricks. Many, many tips and tricks. TECHknitter uses a set-up with a video camera, white box, daylight lamp, projector, and iPad that allows her to demo everything up on screen to the whole class at once. She can also switch back and forth between live video and slideshows or even web pages. Very nice!

As amazing as the tips and tricks were, Saturday morning's New Ways with Cables session was mind-blowing. Alas, I can't reveal any of it, as TECHknitter hasn't published these ideas yet. By the end of the three hours, the class was clamoring for her to please publish a book about cables. The five-year-old in me wants to go, "Nah-nah-nah, I know something awesome about knitting that you don't," but I shall restrain myself and merely smile confidently like Shere Khan from Kipling's The Jungle Book.

Saturday afternoon's session was zippers and buttons. If you've read TECHknitter's blog, you know she has posts about what to do if you forgot a buttonhole. And she has multiple solutions! She also demonstrated an afterthought buttonhole that didn't require snipping. Wow!

We practiced zipper insertion based on her wonderful Interweave Knits article "The X, Y + Z of Zippers" (volume XV, number 4, Winter 2010, pages 108-109). One method does not involve a facing, but could be added after the fact. As you can see in the example at left, the rugged little edge is quite sporty. (Note: If I were to do this for real, I now know I would need to set the zipper teeth closer to the fabric selvedge. This is why we take classes and swatch.)

The other zipper is the full-up zipper with facings. This means the zipper is sandwiched between two pieces of fabric. The top piece is the outside of the garment. The bottom piece is a small strip picked up from the inside. Interestingly, both TECHknitter and Marilyn Hastings (see "Marilyn H's hidden zipper" in Knitter's Magazine, volume 29, no. 3, issue 108, Fall 2012, pages 28-29) have derived the same elegant solution for the facing. For a stockinette fabric, they both create a single purl wale a few stitches in from the selvedge. This creates a single rib on the back of the fabric. The facing is knit up sideways through the stitches of this rib. Marilyn then goes on to sew her zipper into place.

knit-picker vs latch hook
TECHknitter uses a tiny latch hook called a knit-picker to pull loops through the zipper tape. (The creative amongst you are no doubt realizing this technique could be used to get into all sorts of knit and crochet mischief.) In our sample, we went so far as to pull the loops through the tape, then through the front of the fabric, and then knit a little stockinette that rolls.

From the front the zipper is completely disguised. And the rolling stockinette will adjust to cover the zipper teeth, so you don't have to get the whole thing perfect. It is a very sporty look that would be perfect on a man's garment.

In sum: If you have a chance to take a class with this amazing knitter, stall not a nanosecond. I've spent the weekend drinking from the knitting fire hose and it was spewing ambrosia.

1 comment:

TECHknitter said...

Humbled by your kind words. It was a very great pleasure to meet you, Jolie. Your friend, TK