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Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Rock the (Knit)Nation

July 15th-17th marked a rather special event in the typical knitter's calendar: KnitNation. Last year I learned how to make two-at-a-time toe-up socks, and have made erm, zero pairs of those in the past 12 months.. Oh well, maybe this year's class would result in slightly more applicable skills?

It was actually rather easy to choose which class to do, and this time E and L were also in agreement: colourwork. Something all three of us were equally useless at, usually ending up with a lumpy piece of yarny rubbish after hours of *really trying*. And L still needed to knit that llama jumper for her husband...
Who would come to our rescue? None other than Susanna Hansson, queen of stranded knitting and Bohus Stickning.

So, far too early for a Saturday we congregated in one of the lecture theatres within Imperial College.

Looking studious in the front row!

We warmed up with a little intarsia. Previously I always ended up with an island of coloured yarn surrounded by a moat of loose stitches and general awfulness. This time around it actually all seemed to work out - it's all in the wrapping apparently.

We then carried on to try some fair isle, which was immediately a little more challenging. It basically involved trying to knit continental style with one colour, and English with the other which means that whichever one you prefer, you're going to struggle. I managed alright, although apparently my 'floats' (the yarn carried on the back of the work) were still a little tight.

I don't think I'm quite there yet, but hopefully a couple of projects later I should get the hang of it... I think we all felt the frustration of wanting to be able to do it NOW, but Susanna patiently explained to us that no-one can be an expert after their first go. Grrr, mutter, mutter..

We then got some *free yarn*!! It's a well known fact that certain things you can never really have enough of. Shoes and make-up are a couple of examples, and in the case of knitting obsessives, yarn is without a doubt another such example. Susanna had very kindly brought us over some Prism yarn from the US which was very pretty indeed. She had actually bought so much that we in the end got to choose about four mini skeins each:

She then got us to try slip stitch knitting with two colours, which resulted in some rather Chanel-like texture:

Not really sure what I would use this stitch for exactly, but it was definitely fun to try.

Apart from being very friendly and helpful (and Swedish ;)), Susanna got bonus points from us all for her immaculately prepared hand-out which contained all the info we needed to keep up our new-found skills:

Surprisingly exhausted after our day of intense learning (and despite the half-time crepe), we just about had enough strength to potter around the yarn market once the class was over. Of course I managed to pick up just one little souvenir of silk from the Natural Dye Studio. I'm considering to knit it double with some cobweb weight merino I bought in Stockholm - watch this space!

So are we colour-knitting experts now? No. But are we feeling more confident? Definitely yes.
And I think L is just a little bit closer to that llama sweater..

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