Anyway, every year, just before Christmas I try and put on what I think of as my 'Christmas Lessons'. Most years they have been actual Christmas projects like snowflakes, baubles, Christmas decs - all sorts of things but this year I knew I'd be a bit Christmassed out if I went ahead with my plan to make the bags and I was right. So what I did instead was two project based workshops - one of my own design (the cowl) and one of a design that I've made many many times before (the shawl) and they both went down brilliantly. I had a BLAST teaching both of them and I must admit, it sometimes takes brilliantly successful lessons like that to get me back on the excitement about lessons jag. It definitely helps when I get photos of finished objects, I love seeing what you lot make with our yarn but more so when it's our pattern or from a workshop.
Thing about the workshops is that you form a little bond with each person there, it works nicely for us because you're more likely to come back but it works nicely for you because you're more likely to want to come and get help. I am super proud of all of my students and it's like a little bubble of satisfaction popping when I see somebody taking it to the next level. Ahhh. Anyway. Shut up. Let's look at these super talented knitters and crocheters and what they've been up to. Starting with the Fantasm because that's the first one I taught.
The first one I want to talk about is Sue's:
Isn't that just absolutely perfect? Well, of course it is, it's Sue. Sue won't mind me saying that we're at absolute opposite ends of the scale in terms of crafting - she's very much a perfectionist, likes to know what she's doing every moment, will rip things out if they're not working and I think that's not very 'crochet'. I think, and if you crochet you'll know what I mean, like, there is a right way and a wrong way of course but it's also very much just 'stick it in and hope for the best'. Or is that just me? So, I must admit it can be a struggle teaching Sue, more for my own confidence, because I need to know that I'm telling her the right thing not just what I'd do which is, as we said before, stick it in and hope for the best. Sue had her own crisis of confidence just before the lesson. She'd done the beginners lessons earlier this year but not much since and whilst trying to get up to speed before the lesson she'd been struggling with gauge mainly but luckily, I knew that that didn't matter for this project. I'm a big believer in just getting things done as a way of confidence boosting and I'm grateful that Sue trusted me enough to just dive straight in and I dare say that she's thrilled because look at what she's come up with! What an amazing finished piece, so wearable, so subtle, so intricate, so beautiful and I know what this colour and size and drape is going to suit Sue down to the absolute ground. PROUD!
And I ought to say, because this is still a shop blog and I have yarn to sell, that this was made in the Patons Cotton 100% Cotton 4ply with, I think a 4mm hook. :)
And now on to Claire's piece:
Isn't this beautiful? Now, Claire is allergic to wool, poor woman. But this doesn't hold her back. She has fun with acrylics and cottons and luckily, she had lots of choices. I love how the shawl has worked out in this self striper - so often shawls, because the stitch count gets higher and higher as it goes along, look a bit 'wrong' in self striping yarn. The stripes start out as big blocks and end up really thin at the end - you can see that a little on this shawl but I think the stripes work out beautifully here because at the beginning they follow full repeats of the pattern towards the end they follow only rows and because of the way that the fans work you can see the full wiggly detail. I love it. Oh, and the yarn is Shine DK in Volcano on probably a 5mm hook I think.
And following on with that, Claire was one of the special ladies that came on both courses, so let's have a look at what she made the next week:
LOOK AT THAT! LOOK AT THAT! LOOK AT THAT! I can't compel you enough to just bloody LOOK AT THAT! Now, the way that I teach this lesson, and it's the second time that I've done it, is basically we choose our yarn, cast on our stitches, do a row in continental knitting so that we can work with both hands when we get into the fairisle and then we dive straight in. I provide all of the charts from the original pattern and this time I sourced a few Christmas ones and even some Dr Who ones because they caught my eye. After that, they're on their own, so as you'll see each and every one is different and they're all fascinating. I particularly like Claire's colours here - I'd totes choose them myself and I'm excited by the fact that this is in cotton too. Most of the colours were King Cole Cottonsoft DK and the black was the Bamboo Cotton DK. I've done colourwork in both before and they work surprisingly well but particularly the Cottonsoft because of it's slightly woolly texture. I have asked about the pattern at the top in grey and black - are they sheep do you think? Do they look so angry because they've been knitted in cotton? Perhaps she should have knitted a cotton plant. Haha.
Moving on, let's have a look at Allison's:
THIS ISN'T A COWL! And that's why I love it. Allison knew that she wouldn't use a cowl so she's made it into a bag with handles from a charity shop bag. Don't they work perfectly? I love Allison's design here, she's spread the colours out really well hasn't she? I also like that, compared to the other ones that you'll see, she's used much more organic shapes. Can you see the orange donuts and yellow spots on a green background at the bottom? Well, she was particularly naughty then - using more than two colours on a row but hasn't she tackled it beautifully? I love that she chose these three colours from the combo, they stand out really well don't they? But not too much, like using the black or the cream would have done. Good choice! And the ribbing at the top really brings it all together. Ahhh. Perfect. Almost persuades me to knit a bag - but not quite.
Allison was introduced to Knit Nottingham by the lovely Lindsey:
Now, Lindsey is a crocheter through and through (and a lover of ponchos... tsssssssk), but her friend Beccy persuaded her to come on a sock knitting lesson a couple of months ago (they're like a gruesome twosome and they bring alcohol. I like it!). She absolutely took to knitting socks and I think it might have something to do with the fact that both this project and the socks are in the round - the needles tend to be shorter and there's a lot more knitting which is more like crocheting than purling is. By the by, she's absolutely SMASHED this hasn't she? What a colour combo. If I remember rightly she was actually one of the ones that took the longest time to choose her colours which is absolutely incredible because she has a definite colourscheme and I would describe it as - mermaid. Blues, teals, pinks, purples and a hint of sparkle. It's lovely to see every time. My favourite bit of this cowl is the motif just underneath the skulls (which I love), it looks so complicated doesn't it? But look a little closer, it's simply purple triangles on a striped background. What makes it look fantastic is the beautiful tension and the colour transition from dark to light - perfectly chosen. I may steal this at some point...
The next photo on the list in Stevie's - our token gentleman for the day:
I love it when Stevie comes on a lesson - it's been a while but he's booked on some in the new year if I remember rightly. He's a quiet man because he has to concentrate but I know he enjoys the banter going on around his head. Stevie's good with his hands - a hairdresser by trade - and that shows in his work. He takes his time and produces top quality stuff just like this. I loved his colour choices - very bold. I love that bright yellow and mixed with that purple and the jewel-y teal. Mmmm delicious. On the top photo, see the little birds on the grey (I think) background? That's gorgeous isn't it! Imagine that motif carried on, perhaps with plain colour and then the Riot DK as the birdies. Wouldn't that look lovely on a cowl or a perhaps the yoke of a cardi or a jumper? Lovely.
And our final piece for the day is from the lurvely Samantha:
Not blocked yet but LOOK! Remember I said that I gave the students some Dr Who motifs? Well, Sam took that and smashed it dooooooown! I think these are weeping angels (??? a year and a half and Chris has still only made me watch three episodes so I'm still in a state of blissful ignorance) and I love them! They don't have to be Dr Who related do they? But they are and for that I am eternally grateful. There's a definite crossover between knitting and geekery and even though I don't follow this particular geekery I love that it's there. People's little quirks, ey? Somebody might be looking at this on a bus and to somebody that's not a geek, it just looks like angels, but to somebody that is they'll be wondering 'Is it really weeping angels? Where did she get it from? Can I have one? Shall I ask her?' and all the while Sam will be sitting on that bus knowing that her little fingers made her something so admired and so clever and so. AHHHHHH KNITTING! I BLOODY LOVE IT! And separately from that I'm looking at the motif underneath and wondering what she's done there and how I can steal it. Inspiration time!
And that's it. There were plenty of other people on the lessons so perhaps the photos will trickle through and if there's enough then I'll do another blog post because I've dead enjoyed this. Isn't it amazing how one little pattern will set two people off in two completely different directions? It's all to do with people's experiences and situations and how busy they are and what colours the love (and why do they love those colours?!). I could spend all day looking at what other people make and comparing it to my own and wondering about the differences and imagining the conversations that could be started from that. Endlessly fascinating.
Love Eleanor. xxx
Love Eleanor. xxx