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July 2021

Tip of the week


I know that not everyone is a fan of this piece of #knittingwisdom but it is rather a hill I am willing to die on.

You may have been lucky and had things come out the right size but that is a heck of a risk to take. Knitting designers, pattern writers and tech editors put a lot of time into working out all the numbers and sizing for a pattern based on a particular tension. Taking a little time to swatch makes it more likely that your project will come out well and not make that work in vain.

And it's just a little bit more knitting - and you like knitting, don't you?

If getting the right tension is your bug bear, to read about my Knitting Therapy option and we'll see if a one-to-one session would help you.



Creating video courses for lace knitting

After designing, my favourite thing of the various activities and jobs I have in the yarn sector is teaching – or more precisely empowering knitters to enjoy their hobby and be able to make the project they want.

That could be a face-to-face class, online help, in a magazine “agony aunt” column, picture tutorials or as the UK Hand Knitting Yarn Doctor solving individual problems.

Most recently I have created my first online courses, rather than one off tutorial video. These were lace knitting classes for the fabulous Knit School. The Intro to Lace masterclass, followed by the Next Steps in Lace course, combine videos, instructions for practice swatches and patterns to take students from making their first yarn over to tackling more unusual stitches and techniques from Estonian and Shetland traditions.


Ks grab

It was particularly interesting to plan the courses in video sections each designed to add to the skills of the previous one so that students learned to understand what was happening in lace patterns and why a particular combination of stitches gives a certain effect. It also means that someone who is happy with yarnovers can join in at the stage explaining double decreases or reading charts, for example.  

Working with Knit School also meant that when the classes launched there were also opportunities to interact with students via live Q&A sessions and through the community chat group. This is very rewarding – especially after talking to a camera by myself to create the classes in the first place.

P4251819Demeter's Delight beginner's shawl - now available from my pattern store

It was fabulous to receive really positive feedback for students about how the classes had helped them or changed their knitting. Some have kindly allowed me to reproduce their feedback here.

TD: “I was a complete lace newbie. I loved to look at lace knits but couldn't even comprehend understanding a pattern never mind a chart. Now I am knitting yarnovers like no tomorrow!! I'm actually knitting a lace shawl and already planning my next 🤩"

CM: “I have made a few lace patterns before but by taking the time to work through the course it allowed me to stop and appreciate the difference in the way the stitches were worked. I'm much more confident in correcting mistakes and being able to read the knitting.”

PL: "I had worked on a couple of simple lace patterns before, but I had tried and failed numerous times to try something more adventurous. The course video was easy to follow and really informative with lots of helpful tips. There were also lace knitting swatches to try, which was so helpful. Everything had been thought through so that the patterns gradually increased in difficulty and the fb live and Knit & Natter sessions were there to support you and help you along the way. I learnt so much - I am now much more confident about trying lace patterns and I also understand the importance of practicing a new lace sequence/pattern beforehand instead of diving straight in, getting confused and giving up. Thank you!"


Kelp P5271854
In the Kelp Garden wrap - a more advanced 4-ply lace pattern available now from my pattern store

Following the success of these courses I will be working with Knit School to develop more classes for next year and I am also thinking about how I can do similar online courses elsewhere as well as making plans for a new YouTube channel with short videos focusing on a single stitch or technique. More on that soon but you could help by commenting below to tell me what you’d like to see.

In the meantime, there are other ways you can learn from me. Knit School is open for new members from 23 July – this will give you access to both the lace courses I’ve been talking about (and the patterns), a mini-class on adding beads to lace, the patterns I designed to go with the courses and the vast amount of other Knit School content (there are hours and hours of great lessons in there). You can find out more by  clicking here  and there's an online prospectus. Note I’m an affiliate of Knit School so linking from my blog or social media can help support me too.

I am also offering one-to-one Knitting Therapy sessions where I tailor a lesson/session to help you with your specific knitting needs – techniques, helping you prepare for a project (sizing, yarn choice, practising stitches), fixing something that’s gone wrong, etc. Click for more info and to start a conversation.

You can sign up to my newsletter for news on what’s happening with my plans – plus access to pattern discounts on my Payhip store (use BLOG721 for 5% off today).

Tip of the week

31 knit what you want

I am going to try very hard to share some knitting wisdom with you every week.
We're starting with the most important piece of knitting advice I can think of.
It isn't about what other people knit, or the latest yarn craze. It is about enjoying the making and the result, using a yarn and a colour that make YOU happy.
I may not be very Marie Kondo when it come to clutter, but I certainly subscribe to the "does it bring you joy" principle when it comes to yarn craft.
If you think you could benefit from some one-to-one advice about your knitting, check out my Knitting Therapy sessions