11 February 2014

Garter Tab

As the Early Bird Deadline for STITCHES South is this week, now seems like a good time to mention my classes. I don't always make the schedule for STITCHES South, so it is very exciting for me to have two classes offered this year!

My Thursday afternoon class is "Brioche Rosetta Stone." I've taught this before and I've blogged about it. Check this post from July of 2009 to find the genesis of this class. In class we'll knit three or four different patterns. We will work the first pattern two different ways, so you'll learn the two ways of making brioche fabrics and how to convert between them. When you leave class, you should be able to recognize a brioche stitch whatever it is called -- including recognizing them in Japanese pattern books. And you should be able to work the stitch pattern regardless of which technique you are given.

I've been polishing the other class for STITCHES South -- "Waste Not: Shawls," which will be on Saturday afternoon. Thank you to Lois, Amy, Betty, and Elaine for being my test teaching guinea pigs in January. Their feedback has helped me refine the class. As you might guess from the title, this is a class about how to knit triangular shawls with the yarn you have. So if you stash, spin, or dye, this class will help you figure out how to -- or whether you can -- make a shawl from just what you have.

One of the things I learned from the test run was how helpful it was to try on the shawls. I have knit and crochet shawls of various triangular-derived shapes, as well as several pieces of flannel cut into triangular v-shaped shawls of various depth. Students very much enjoyed trying on shawls and seeing what shapes each person liked and making notes of how to wear those shapes so they flatter.

I'm also pleased with how the handout for this class is coming along. I'm definitely refining my iMac skills with drawing diagrams, such as this lovely example below.
Diagram of yarn path for garter tab.
One of the things that came out of the test teach is a request for a garter tab video. So here it is.

For those of you wanting written directions:
Using contrasting waste yarn, cast on width of garter edging. In this case, cast-on 3 stitches. (Just pick a cast-on you can unpick, such as backward loop. No need to use a fancy provisional cast on.)
Work a number of garter ridges equal to the number of stitches you want for starting the body of the shawl. (In this example, Rows 1-6: knit 3; or stated another way, work 6 rows garter stitch to produce 3 ridges.) If you are clever, park the turn at the beginning of WS rows on a vertical lifeline.
When you are ready to launch into the shawl:
Knit across a RS row. (In other words: RS, Row 7: knit 3. Do not turn.)
Rotate 90-degrees clockwise.
Knit up in the parked garter ridges. (Knit up 3 stitches from vertical lifeline.)
Rotate 90-degrees clockwise.
Knit up 3 stitches off the first row (not the waste-yarn cast-on). You can tuck in the tail to make the pick-up spot for the third stitch, or you can increase in the first stitch using either knit front and back or knit and purl.
WS: Knit garter edge, purl body of shawl, knit garter edge. (In this example, WS, Row 8: k3, p3, k3.)
Begin shawl. In this example, Row 9: k3, yo, k1, yo, k1, yo, k1, yo, k3.

If you want to launch into the shawl shaping earlier, you can work yo, k1, yo, k1, yo, k1, yo in place of the knit 3 when you knit up from the vertical lifeline.

For those of you who really want to go all out on designing shawls, I notice Brook Nico offers "Pizza and Pi" on Thursday afternoon at STITCHES South. If you take her circular shawl class on Thursday afternoon and my class on Saturday afternoon, you should leave the weekend ready to browse stitch dictionaries and plug what you like into a pleasing shawl shape.