Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Chicago Seminar Postponed

I was advised last night that the Tech Knitters seminar has been postponed.

Please keep an eye on their website for updates.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Upcoming Seminar - Chicago

As I've stayed home a lot lately, I finished the curriculum for the upcoming Tech Knitters Chicago area machine knitting seminar, May 30 and 31.

Tech Knitters is an amazing group and I am very, very excited about hanging out with old friends and doing a seminar with enthusiastic knitters.

Find out more about Tech Knitters and the upcoming seminar here.

As usual when I do a curriculum overhaul, I start out feeling overwhelmed with thoughts like, "How do I choose new things?  How do I arrange it into the schedule?  How do I avoid doing reruns and still be useful to beginners?  What am I putting in for the most experienced knitters?"

Yikes.  However, getting overwhelmed is not helpful.  What does work for me is to make lists.  I really do have a lot of new stuff, which I list.  Then I reprint the previous table of contents and double-check what I did the previous seminars to avoid re-runs.

[I worked a list for the Monroe Seminar at the same time, since it's in July, and I'll avoid overlap.  Monroe curriculum is not yet finished, but I've got a very good start.  Cathy has three teachers and breaks attendees into groups so you get to see everything every teacher does.  I do less material that way, but still a pretty good chunk of writing, photos and diagrams for that one.  I'll probably blog about that in a next few days as I finish it.]

After I had my Tech Knitters list, I divided it up by beginner/intermediate/advanced and bulky machine/standard machine and ribber/no ribber, and came up with a sequence.

And now I have it - written, formatted, with pictures and everything, and I am HAPPY with my Chicago booklet.

So, what am I doing at Tech Knitters?  Starting off on the main bed, joins and edges, and I've got quite a few new ones that are quite practical, like my Surprise! Join that looks like a braided cable and the cluster edging.  Then I'm doing some hand-tooling (which is good for Chicago because they have an amazing mid-gauge group in the area).  I'm going to teach the hand-tooled lace leaf edge, the feather and fan, the new method seashell stitch, the pinecone popcorns, weaving and intarsia without built-in or special equipment, and a little Entrelac and garter bar.

In Chicago, I decided I really should spent teaching time with a ribber.  I have some cool new demos.  I plan to cover industrial rib, English Rib, English Rib cables, Double English Rib, U-shaped knitting, U-shaped knitting with increases in the middle like I do in one the mitered shawl, Brioche stitch, Half Milano (long stitch), Honeycomb Stitch, and a variety of ribbing finishes.

On the standard machine, I'll do some lace, show how to start lace and short-row lace as well as super easy and striking Bargello Lace and the Ziggy Lace Border.

I have four free bonus patterns picked out for the back of the book.  These are cute patterns worth making more than once.

John is coming!  He'll do some electronic repairs while he is there, particularly FB100 disk drives, E6000 console work, and 970 CB-1 work.

Now for my usual scolding.  Are you fortunate enough to live in an area with a machine knitting group?  If you are, please don't miss out on their meetings and seminars.  If you aren't attending, perhaps you have no idea what you're missing - show up and find out!

Sunday, March 8, 2020

New Video for March - Pinecone Popcorns!

Well, happy Spring Forward day.

How about a popcorn that really pops visually?  And easy to knit, too:

Friday, March 6, 2020

Trying to Improve

I've been watching other people's YouTube videos on topics I find interesting, for instance, cooking, decorating, and quilting.  Some of these folks are much younger and some are very gifted designers.

I've been putting up YouTube videos for ten years, and it's very humbling.  It's hard to get a decent video put together, and I often see problems and issues with my work.  YouTube has added a lot of features and innovative people are doing lots of new things.

I want to improve.  Videos have really helped other knitters learn, and they have even helped get other people interested in machine knitting.

Observations, so far, watching these:

1.  They have much better "thumbnails"  than mine.  Those are the little pictures you see when you're choosing a video to watch!  I actually spent several days replacing most of my thumbnails to have a title so you'd have an idea what the video is about.

2.  They have lots of personality!  They talk at that camera like crazy, I mean face to camera for most or all of a video.  They joke, goof off, and edit in short goofy clips from TV shows.  They use lots of new slang and acronyms, which I have to look up.

3.  I'm pretty impressed by some speeded-up videos of crafts with a clock in the background showing how much time the work actually took!  I want to make progress and love to see how long things take to do.

4.  The openly "monetize" the daylights out of their videos because they actually make a living with videos!  Well, having lots of products you can buy to get the same look, or little built-in sponsorship call-outs doesn't bother me much.  If I love their videos I want them to make money. (But oh dear, the un-skippable, repetitious political ads clipped in all through them right now puts me off watching them.)

5.  They're LONG!   Sometimes you have to take extra time to show something complicated, but a lot of these are just overly talky.  I was listening to one the other day, and the woman said she was trying to get it at least ten minutes long!  Here I thought I needed to keep them under 10 minutes as much as possible.  Huh, there is something I don't understand about that.  I wonder how long my viewers want my videos to be.

6.  They use a lot of music and camera tricks.

7.  My absolutely favorite ones are the practical ones with lots of usable tips and ideas.

Hey, do me a favor and tell me how you think I could improve.  What do you like and not like about knitting videos, generally?

What would you like for me to teach?   More courses?  Does anyone want a course that just teaches a particular machine model?  Are my overviews of interesting (and maybe obscure) machines interesting?

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Inspiration at Rett Og Vrang

Check out Synnove's retro baby set!

Oh, Synnove, I wish I had this machine knitting pattern!

I think this would be super cute with bright colors for all those sideways stripes, a real update to the look.  The shaping and sizing looks like a math challenge, though.

Monday, March 2, 2020

When An Awfully Stubborn Knitter Meets Awful Yarn

This mystery yarn was given to me a few years ago.  I love the color.  I don't think it shows up in the photo, but it's lavender with little heathery bits of pink.

This big mess is my multiple tries with the yarn.  It was on a cone, so I didn't rewind it.  It was even bagged with a good name brand on it, but as soon as I looked closely at it, I didn't think it was that brand.  I think it was in the wrong bag.

It turned out that it has knots, thin spots, thick chunks, and weak spots. 

I've been working on a nice pattern book idea, and tried two of the patterns with this stuff, thinking most of us have some thin mystery yarn, and using the ribber I could get nice width, pretty patterns, and no edgings needed.  However, when you use the ribber, the work forms between the beds and you don't see trouble right away.

The ball on top of the pile was from unraveling  150-200 rows after finding two big holes in the work.  The yarn had broken.  I rewound that into smaller balls.  I wondered if my stitch design that put too much strain on the yarn - too much weight, too many tucks, etc.  For at least the first three tries, I was sure I was the problem.  For anyone who hasn't seen me at seminar and maybe thinks my knitting goes smoothly, well, that isn't always the case!

The other messy samples are multiple tries that ended with trouble.  It wasn't the machine, or the ribber comb, or the tension, or the pattern I chose.  It was the yarn, a thick spot, breaking, or having a big fat knot.

One of the chunks didn't knit off, it piled on a needle, and now there's a bent needle in my trash can, too.  I didn't see it, hear it, or feel it soon enough.  At that point, I knew there might be breaks but I didn't expect thick sections.

I'm so DONE with that yarn!  Pardon my bad grammar.  This was certainly frustrating enough to mess with my grammar and my decorum, as well.

There is one option: I could carefully rewind the yarn into little balls, feeling it as I go, and cut it every time I find a flaw.  I've done that before, but this particular cone would turn into 20 little balls.
Nope. I am not rewinding it.

I am not giving it to anyone for "practice yarn" or "waste yarn."  Sounds like a way to annoy a friend!  Goodbye, pretty but evil yarn.