Friday, July 14, 2006

Finishing Techniques

Thought I'd attempt a post about the Finishing Techniques course I went on, oooh, nearly 3 weeks ago now! I'm going to attempt to upload all the pics I took, but as I'm still on dial-up I might give up if it gets too boring waiting for it all to happen.
The course was at Yarn, in Beeston, so I got to spent a couple of nights with my nephews (and their parents!). Noah was particularly entranced by my tape measure. Who needs toys when Simply Knitting provides freebies?!

The course itself involved knitting a tiny little garment from start to finish. The garment was from a jumper pattern, sized for teddy bears and small children and the idea was that we would spend the two days of the course knitting all the bits, learning stuff as we went along and then sewing it all together.

Debbie Abrahams, the tutor (on the left in the pic above), was excellent. She had the pattern ready annotated and showed us what to look out for - things such as checking the ribbing will match up once it's sewn together so you don't get an odd section and doing all increases and decreases at least a couple of stitches in from the edge as this makes sewing up much easier. One bit I found particularly helpful was being encouraged to check my row gauge, and then to work out from the measurements in the pattern how many rows it would take to finish each piece. This made it easier to make the pieces the same size as they had the exact same number of rows and avoided the risk of misreading the tape measure/ruler when measuring the length! This was the point when most of us ended up buying Kacha Kacha row counters too!
(look at my mattress stitch in the pic below - it's SO cool!)

We got most of the knitting done on day one (with a bit of time in the evening too!), and learnt things like the three needle cast off. On day two we started with blocking (something I'd not given an enormous amount of thought to before) before moving onto sewing the garments together. This was the most amazing part, I think. Our perfectly matching pieces of knitting were SO easy to sew together with mattress stitch (which I'd never really managed before) and it was easy to see exactly how it was supposed to happen.

There were also loads of hints and tips about knitting and sewing etc. It was also great to meet some other knitters, and I found one lady who is about to move to Lincoln (maybe a new Knit Lincs member?!)
The food was also splendiferous - from the Flying Goose cafe down the road, we had yummy organic veggie lunches, plenty of tea to drink and fantastic cake for the afternoon.

including a luscious chocolate cake on the last day!

Miraculously my yarn diet managed to survive intact, although I did purchase a couple of bamboo needles and a few notions (having left my bag of stuff at home I needed sewing needles, and of course, the Kacha Kacha row counter!).

On the subject of my yarn diet - I successfully completed the month I signed up for (WOOO HOOO!!) and promptly went out that day to the closing down sale at the shop in Lincoln. But I bought stuff for my SP so that doesn't count! I'm now planning to sign up for another couple of months of Stashalong as it seems to have prevented me getting too carried away so far!

I'm still really behind with posts - there is some knitting progress to report, Monkey's exploits plumbing in the washing machine (plus introducing his friends) and the felting course I've been on this week in Devon! Broadband is due in a week's time. Phew. Think I can last that long?!?!


Seahorse said...

The course sounds great - really, really useful, as well as being fun!

KnitYoga said...

That sounds like a brilliant course and So useful because I think the finishing is just as imporant as the knitting. I've used the decreasing a few stitches in before but I might use it all the time now though it can be a bit difficult with a lace pattern.

All the Way With Knitting said...

That cake looks very good..Monkey plumbed in the washing machine? So Daisy towels in the kitchen ..nice big pile right?

Mary Anne said...

sounds like a great course with lots of helpful material - and that chocolate cake! yum. I'm surprised Monkey didn't join you. I've been enjoying his photos in the previous posts but for some reason blogger wouldn't let me comment until today...sigh...
mary anne

scarletprincess said...

I have to say I agree with your nephew- I love my little free tape measure! I did a similar finishing techniques course last year with Jane Crowfoot- It changed my knitting life!

Amelia said...

It sounds like a great time was had by all. I met Jane Crowfoot on the same course a few months ago - although the course I went on was a one day course and not a two day one. It's amazing the tips you pick up. The one I found best was stranding the yarn on the back of the work which saves a whole lot of sewing in ends. Thanks for the report!