Sunday, February 25, 2018

Look to the Left!

Look to the left at the GET STARTED HERE! heading.  It's new.

This is a bunch of links just for beginners.  I've included information about  choosing a knitting machine, choosing the yarn, and coming up with a learning plan. 

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

2018 Seminars!

I love to teach knitting.  As I write this, I keep deleting words and trying again, because I sound like such a raving lunatic, but it's a fact - I absolutely love doing machine knitting seminars. 

In 2018, I have five planned.  In March, I'm teaching in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee; in May, near Portland, Oregon; in July or August (dates not nailed down yet), in Butler, Pennsylvania, in September, in Price Edward Island, Canada, and in October, in Dallas, Texas. 

As far as I know, every one of these seminar organizers has room for more people, so hey, if you're able to, I hope you'll come and join us.  If there's a seminar that might work for you and you need more information, email me and I'll send you contact information for the organizer.

John and I have been sitting around building a master list of seminar details.  Who is organizing.  Whether we're flying.  Whether we're renting a car.  What machine I'm borrowing for demonstrations.  It goes on and on, but from your point of view, as a knitter, you fall into one of two categories:  you either go to seminars, or you don't. 

I think most machine knitters don't go to seminars.  There might not be one near their home, and they may not want to put their time and money into going to a distant seminar.  However, I think most of the knitters who have not gone to a seminar just don't know how valuable the experience can be and have no idea what they're missing.

At a seminar, you are going to meet a bunch of other machine knitters, which is quite a treat if you're the only MKer you know!  Some of them might live quite close to you, and you might acquire a knitting buddy or find a knitting club through attending.  Or, you might just have an amazing time with a group of people who feel like instant friends.  If the seminar has a block of rooms at a hotel, you can either hang out with the group, go off by yourself and rest, or gather up some knitters to try out a restaurant.

Seminar organizers try very hard to make the whole experience fun.  There might be contests, raffles, a fashion show, door prizes, or freebies.  There might be an opportunity to buy or swap equipment and supplies.  There is often free yarn and books, and I've even seen free machines.  One seminar I went to had a little auction to raise money for the knitting club!   Sometimes there are charity knitting challenges.

The classes are very interesting - after all, we teachers like to bring out ideas and techniques that folks haven't seen too much - and then your fellow knitters are doing interesting projects, as well.  Everyone likes to talk about how to solve project challenges, and you end up learning from what everyone else is doing. 

Each teacher has a unique approach to teaching.  I am known for my detailed handouts.  I try very hard to write sufficient instructions for each demonstration so that you can do it on your own later and you won't have to take a lot of notes.  I put free patterns in the handouts, usually a few of my more popular crafty projects.  I bring gobs of samples that we pass around, and I show how to do one technique after another, making scruffly little swatches, which are also passed around.  Everyone peers at these samples and thinks about what they want to make and how they might use the idea.  Beginners cane come up and sit or stand right by me, if it'll help them.  Everyone wants to help the beginners - unfortunately, we don't have nearly enough beginners! 

The last year or two, I've taught my garter bar tricks at nearly every seminar.  It just keeps coming up as an often-requested item.  I've also done a lot of the geometric things I do so much of - entrelac, short-rowed shapes, diagonals.  I do a little finishing technique; if you read this blog you probably have noticed that my idea of a good seam is one that doesn't show at all from the public side.  I might talk about fitting, or I might do lace and ribber tricks - it depends on what the knitting club wants.  I often send a survey first to figure out what they'd most like to do.

Signing off! I'll put more details about the seminars in this space as plans firm up!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

New Video - Short Row Graphics

This technique has been around forever, and my illustration with bold diagonal lines is just a jumping-off point!  You can make all kinds of colorful designs with this for a float-free, intarsia look, especially anything with diagonals-diamonds, for instance.  Play around with it!

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Thanks, Jane, for the YouTube Video Captions!

I can't tell you how thrilled I am to announce that a great many of my videos are now captioned!  Linda M, my friend, remember telling me (among many other people) that it's difficult to hear what I'm saying in those things?  I have a small voice and I'm looking at the machine and even mumbling, at times.

I captioned a few of the videos myself, but it takes tons of time.  I've tried the automatic captions, and they produce perfectly amusing nonsense.  The voice recognition stuff YouTube has might work great if the video is about a cat, but they can't speak knitting lingo.  They've called a stitch all sorts of things!

YouTube has come out with a community approach to the problem, and I announced it and asked for help. We are much stronger together, and there's a goal here:  to get more people machine knitting, and mastering the craft, finding it fun and enjoyable.  Once someone learns the basics well, it has become an incredible platform for creativity. 

Jane Raddatz to the rescue!  She has closed captions so many videos that I've lost count!  She has worked away at it for quite a while, and I think the videos are greatly enhanced.  She's good at it, too, giving great attention to detail to get it exactly right.  I know from YOUR emails that this is needed and is truly going to make it much easier for many people to learn to machine knit.  If you're having trouble hearing, or you're just wondering what the heck I said because I didn't speak clearly, give the captioned videos a try. 

My husband and I have closed captions on movies we watch at home whenever we can.  He has trouble hearing.  While I have no hearing loss, I've found that old movies have much clearer dialogue on their sound tracks.  It's a change in acting style toward realism, but there are times - really! - when the hero says something critical, and we've had to run it back several times and then we still didn't know what he said. 

Here's one of the videos with captions:

Thank you, Jane, and thanks again!