Thursday, July 21, 2011

August Classes I'm Teaching!

I'm excited to be teaching the super duper LYS All Strung Out in Guelph this month! I'm also teaching some fun classes at Passionknit.... Take a look:

Start a Log Cabin Blanket
This easy blanket pattern is based on the popular quilt design. It’s done in garter stitch and is fun to make in Noro Kureyon or Silk Garden. Please know how to knit and pick-up stitches and read a pattern. Discounts will be offered for people who take the class and want to purchase a kit. (Pinchy) Thurs. Aug. 18 OR Wed. Aug. 31, 7-9pm. $30 plus materials.*

Easy Lace Triangular Shawl

Jill Draper is a Kingston, NY based designer who has graciously allowed us to use her pattern “A Little Something”. This wonderful and easy pattern is worked from the tip/bottom of the shawl up. It is an easy beginner lace pattern. This is a fantastic opportunity to learn lace stitches and try out a beautiful yarn and pattern. More of Jill’s work can be seen at Please know how to cast-on/off, knit, purl and follow a pattern. (Peachy) Wed. Aug. 10 OR Wed. Aug. 17, 7 – 9pm. $30 plus materials.*

Sock Knitting!

This is a two-part class where students will learn the basics of sock knitting. We will be working on four needles from the cuff down. Please know how to work on 5 needles, read a pattern, cast on/off and be available for both classes. (Pinchy) Sat. Aug. 6 AND Sat. Aug. 20, 10am-12pm. Please contact All Strung Out for more details.*

Absolute Beginner Knitting

If you are interested in learning the basics of knitting this is the class for you! This class is for those of you who have never knit before and want to get started. We will learn the knit stitch, the purl stitch and how to cast-on. We will talk about different ways of knitting as well as knitting terminology. (Peachy) Wed. Aug. 3 OR Thurs. Aug. 11, 7 – 9pm. $30 plus materials.*

*Please bring your knitting tool kit to class:
Needles, stitch markers, scissors, note pad, etc. Also, please roll any skeins into balls before class!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Dye, Spin, Baaa!

I've been keeping busy with my hand-spinning coursework! Last weekend I went to visit my friend Andrea Leigh so we could play around with dyeing some yarn. We have to produce an 11 step gradient for class... We had a great time spinning and dyeing and eating vegan delights.

Vegan fish and chips!

It was my first time using the Greener Shades acid dyes. They were a little bit spotty and we were not sure if it was because we crammed too much fibre into each jar or if we needed to add more acid to the dye-bath or if we needed a leveling agent. So much more experimenting to do!

We were also lucky enough to be invited to a friend's farm to meet her Shetland Sheep! They are so cute and all different, wonderful colours. We even got to take off with a bag full of fleece each to spin up and experiment with!

My continuing course work is going well. I've been working on my Homo/Ortho spinning this weekend. The exercise is to produce a yarn that both singles are of different colours (orthogeneous) and another yarn where the colours are carded before hand then spun and plied to produce a yarn that is all one colour (homogeneous). I finished the Ortho part and prepped the rolags for the homo part.... I really have to practise more spinning from a rolag though, I'm finding it difficult to get a smooth yarn there are lumps... practise makes perfect though!

I've also been working on my "in the grease" homework. This exercise involves flick carding greasy fleece and spinning it without washing it. So the wool still has all it's waxy goodness in it. My hands are very soft! Half the fleece is spun "in the grease" the other has to be washed and carded then spun. I wanted to try washing the fleece in very hot water only. This is the way one of my classmates from Germany washes her fleeces. The idea is that the hot water melts off the wax, you don't let the water cool too much or all the waxy grease will coat the wool again. So you soak the greasy fleece for about 1/2 an hour then dump the water and repeat. I did it 3 times and the fleece seems pretty clean. I'm going to see how it spins.

Friday, July 1, 2011

There's Just Something About - Colour!

Before class reenactment

I've been working on perfecting my Creative Colour Class for a while now.

I am often asked colour advice at the yarn shop and also asked, "How do you do it? How can you just put things together? What's your process?"
Well, partially, I don't know.... mostly, practice and training. I have a background in fine art and I've been a hair-colourist for nearly a decade too, which gives me all the scientific "whys" and "hows", my backgroud also gives me the language. BUT - I think that everyone has a instinctive and very personal way with colour. Most people that ask my advice really need another set of eyes... validation for what they already know and feel.

So, a bit on my class, but not too much because you'll just have to take it to get the whole kit-n-kaboodle... Hee, hee!

Class prep - getting organized:

I wanted to create a class that was part hands-on, part basic theory. I also wanted the class to be applicable to yarn-ies as well as just in general (as in, "I'm just kind of interested in colour").

I wanted participants to be able to build a palette for themselves and was very much inspired by the book, "The Art of Felt". The author of the book takes photographs and uses them as spring-borads for surface design. Great idea! I also wanted a large palette to work from and so I ordered the full range of the Knit Picks "Palette" yarn. FUN!

After class a reenactment:

Then I had to organize it and make it make sense for the class....

I also thought it was important to bring in my idea of "The X-Factor" which is a tool I use when creating my palettes. I was visiting my friend Lixolux in San Francisco and we took a scent mixing class with the amazing Yosh. During the class we were asked to rate each oil we sniffed in one of 4 ways. Either you loved it and couldn't live without it in your life, you hated it and it made you barf, you were completely indifferent and could care less OR you weren't sure if you hated it or loved it but it was worth note. This catagory is the X-Factor and it can be quite easily applied to colour in the same way it does with scent. These colours that are "worth note" can quickly become the most important part of your palette. They are the colours you should pay most attention to - they may just be the kick you need to make your palette really sing!

Smell Class:

To end off, here is the intro from my hand-out.... It's a little cheezy, but true (I think):

Colour surrounds us everyday! It affects our mood, evokes emotions, and has deep cultural significance.

The colours of a national flag or religious garb hold cultural significance. Even the names we give colours hold historical significance, for example, "Royal Blue" was the name given to the blues used by the court of Louis XIV!

The beautiful colours of a fresh salad, a sunset, your favorite work of art or your first car – evoke personal memories and feelings.

Everyone holds the creative and instinctual power of colour inside them. A unique, personal palette evident in the clothes we wear, the art we choose to decorate our walls, the bouquet of flowers that sits in the perfect vase – we gravitate to our favorites every time!