Wednesday, 13 July 2011

The Most Exciting Workshop

I'm going to talk a little about the Summer Dress Workshop that we've got going on on the 17th July and the 28th August. There's not too much info on the booking site because there's just too much to talk about, so I'll talk more here.

The basic idea is something that I've been playing with for over four years. I found a pattern on ravelry (it's sadly disappeared since) that I absolutely had to make. It was a summer top with a knitted bust and a flared, sewn skirt. The best bit about it was that the lady who designed it had big boobs so I knew that the shaping would be good for me. I'd got some cotton yarn in the sale at Yarn in Beeston and some beautiful material that matched (an accidental purchase...), no idea what to do with them but I had spare time on my hands. I made it in about a week - which was good for me at the time - and I quite liked it. Most importantly I learned how to short row shape and how to add darts into my knitting - which has been a killer for later projects. But it sort of looks like a 'over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder'. I don't really know how else to explain that but it does...

I wore it a fair bit, still do to be fair and it definitely looks better with a cardi. At least it's cool for the summer.

Isn't it a bit of a pain when you feel a bit 'meh' about what you've made? As I grew in confidence I started farting about with patterns a bit, introducing shaping, choosing shapes and colours better and ripping when I realised it wasn't working and I tried again. I knew by then that dresses suited me more and I also enjoy wearing them more. Tops like the original are best with trousers and I just don't wear them. So I made dresses and lots of them, this is my favourite (ignore the deathly legs...):

And I got compliments - wow, I thought, this is just what I want to be doing in my knitting!

There's only a few basic building blocks to knitting (and crochet for that matter - crocheters welcome on the class!) once you've got past knitting and purling. Basically, increase, decrease, bias and short rows are all you need to create garments that fit and flatter. Messing about with patterns, not being stuck down to the word by word ethos is the sort of spirit I try to encourage in my workshops. Knitting and crochet should work for you not the other way round!

We've had a few workshops directly aimed towards fit and flattering and they've been well attended and well enjoyed but they are quite theoretical and I know that a lot of knitters learn with their hands, or at least their eyes which is where this workshop comes in. The skills we'll be learning together are:

1). How to choose a shape to flatter your shape.
2). How to choose measure yourself accurately.
3). How to choose colours and yarns to your advantage.
4). Techniques to shape the garment, how to work out the maths and how to place them.
5). How to read and understand your gauge swatch and how to alter it if it doesn't work as you need.
6). A tiny, tiny, eensey, little bit of sewing (I don't know much but I do know how to make this dress!).

And we won't just be talking about this - we'll be doing it!

You'll have the chance to make your very own summer dress (or top, or jumper or whatever you fancy really). Don't feel burdened by what I've done - though you're welcome to borrow ideas - if you don't fancy showing off your arms, how about making a long sleeved top? Need something to wear for church? Try a roll neck. Small bust? Add a frill around the top. Really - there's no pattern, it's all up to you!

We'll provide £10 worth of yarn of your choice (obviously from our shop) and you'll make a big gauage swatch incorporating stitches that you want to work with and shaping that you need to fit. We'll get to know the swatches by measuring and re-measuring, trying different needles, smocking after-the-fact with a crochet hook perhaps? Whatever strikes your fancy. But all overseen by me, who loves to mess about and get things wrong so that we can get things right!

By the end of the first lesson you'll have a plan (aka a pattern but much looser written) for your knitted bodice and in the second lesson we'll start cutting and stitching the skirt together. How exciting!?

The price is £45 for both lessons (and you do need to come to both). You'll be provided with £10 yarn like we said, some elastic for the waist band, and a veritable booklet of information for later including information on all the previous bullet points and, as always, tea, coffee and biscuits on the day.

You'll have to provide the material for the skirt - we'll discuss what you need on the first lesson (or bring some along and match your yarn) and some cotton thread to match. You'll also need to bring whatever you need for (very basic) hand sewing i.e. pins, tailors chalk, scissors.

The class is suitable for those that can cast on, cast off, knit, purl, increase and decrease (and the equivalent in crochet). Barely any sewing skills required, we'll be sewing straight lines by hand (unless you wan to use a machine). Don't worry if you're not confident in any of this - it's what the class is for.

The class starts at 10.30am each day it's on and finishes at 3pm and there's only four spaces so get booking!

How exciting ey!

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