Tuesday, November 17, 2020

My Next Virtual Seminar

 Hey, everyone, I'm working on the next virtual seminar for early next year.

The ones I did in 2020 had four half-day sessions and picked four big topics.  I plan to follow that same general format.

So here's my question for you, and giving me answers is the very best way to help me:

What sort of projects and techniques would you most like to have covered in a knitting seminar? 

Leave a comment here or send me an email.  Down on the left-hand side of the blog is an envelope icon where you can email me.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Brand New Video - How to Use your Tilt Stand and Tilt Safe Brackets

When I taught the Rib It! seminar, the knitters really noticed my tilt stand and how I use it.  There are a lot of advantages to them:

  • Tilt stands are very sturdy.  I have had really old ones (like 30+ years) and they are still rock solid.
  • Tilt stands don't rock or wiggle.  The four legs are spread for a wide base.  The legs have thick rubber pads on the ends that stay put.
  • These stands have a holder in the back for the lid of your knitting machine case.  That lid holds a lots of miscellaneous necessities for machine knitting.  Mine are chock-full of items, and I'm grateful to have them right there within reach.  I might have to stand up and peer over the back of the machine, but this holds a lot more tools and books than a flat table, unless you have an enormous flat table.
  • Tilt stands have a relatively small footprint.
  • If you want them taller, you can put each leg on a bed riser and then stand to knit.  I just put them on the floor, and use an adjustable office chair that I move up and down to change my body position from time to time as I knit.
  • They are just the right thickness to hold machine clamps.
  • They're expensive, but you can find them used, since they last so long.
  • Best of all, you can go from slanted operation with your ribber to flat and back again in seconds!
I was surprised at how many questions I got about tilt stands.  This new video covers those questions.

Also, I originally had the very old style ones, which did not have a security bracket to hold the clamps. When I treated myself to a new one I discovered that the new ones come with these brackets.  I promptly decided that the safety brackets are an absolute necessity.  Without them, with the stand tilted, you could have your machine slip right off onto the floor or your lap!  The machine is both fragile and heavy.

Other people had the same thought.  Ronnie in Chicago has a source for these safety clamps that I put in the video description, below the video on YouTube.  The ordering links are here, as well:


There are two sizes, 1" and 2", so look at your stand and see which ones you need.  I do not have an affiliation to "feature" these items - I simply am very happy with the 1" ones I bought and I want to spread the word and support vendors who are willing to manufacture items we need and can't get elsewhere!

Important: Do not overtighten your machine clamps!  Gradually, over-tightened clamps spread and then no longer hold the machine securely.  I don't have great grip strength, and to tighten them, I grab a short dowel or chopstick for a little leverage.  You could use a screwdriver shaft or a longer stick, but don't overdo it!  Also, I avoid using the racking handle for tightening.  It is probably strong enough, but I'd hate to damage it.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

My Two 2020 Seminars - USBs Available

 Now that the two 2020 virtual seminars are over (whew!), I wanted to announce that their contents are available on USB flash drives.  We have caught up on these and have plenty in stock. 

This is VERY new and different for me.  Let me tell you the Readers Digest version of what happened.

In the springtime, with the pandemic, machine knitting seminars all over the country were cancelled.  I was very disappointed, since I had some great seminars planned, and I started to think about doing a virtual seminar.  I asked several very knowledgeable people about how to go about it and whether it could work for me, and then I recruited my son and husband to figure out the technical set up for the knitting video.  Gradually, it started to look quite possible, and with just a few announcements on social media, the first seminar, Summer Seminar 2020, filled up.  

As the summer went by, we solved our technical issues, putting a studio setup in the house with a new video system and a new sound system.  I figured out how to run the seminar on Facebook, how to enroll people, and I worked to create an experience, not just a class.  We had vendor advertising and discounts, online discussions, socials on Zoom (after trying and abandoning Facebook Rooms, which didn't measure up to Zoom at all).  I put on extra sessions both before and after the main curriculum, and we worked out all sorts of minor technical issues.  

Summer Seminar ended up huge - four planned half-day sessions plus two long bonus sessions, detailed handouts for everything, and a bunch of free patterns.  The knitters were amazing, sharing all sorts of ideas, photos, patterns, links, and friendship on the Facebook page.  A number of knitters asked me to put out the videos later without editing so they could have a permanent copy of the materials.  There were so many hours of video that we had to rule out DVDs and downloads and I finally came up with the USB flash drive idea.  

To my astonishment, the USB flash drives were quite popular.  Feedback and reviews have been great!

When Summer Seminar was well underway, another club asked me to do a virtual seminar on the ribbing attachment.  I went to work on fresh curriculum and offered that one (Rib It!) in early fall to that club and others who wanted to participate in a seminar specializing on the ribber.  This was really different material, much more specialized classes, and it turned out great.  A lot of knitters don't get nearly as much great knitting out of their ribbers as they could, and I am quite proud of that curriculum.  We had four half-day sessions again and a bonus session, plenty of free patterns, detailed handouts again, and all those hours of video and documents went on another 64GB USB drive for sale at a deep discount to seminar participants.  

If you couldn't make either seminar, the USBs are both available at www.dianaknits.com.  

These little USB flash drives go into an envelope and I just drop them in the mail like letters.  Since that's cheaper to mail than the padded envelopes we usually use for books and videos, we've been able to offer them with free shipping.  

Keep an eye on this space - I am planning my first 2021 seminar for early spring!  

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

New Video - Tower Cable

 Every so often, I get a bit obsessed with cables!  There are just endless variations.  Sometimes, you want a BIG cable to anchor your design.  Here's one!

And now, a word from our Sponsor.  ME!

I finally got all my products onto USB flash drives.  This is an option.  If you buy a book and video set, you can purchase the coil-bound book and the DVD(s), or as an alternative, you can get the USB flash drive.  The flash drives are very nice for people who don't play DVDs anymore.  But mainly, they're good for our international customers, because I am shipping them for FREE (instead of the current minimal shipping of $17 beyond the US and Canada).

I used the USBs as a way to make video and handouts available for my two 2020 virtual seminars, and I have gotten very positive feedback about it.  I wasn't so sure...it was new and therefore a bit unpredictable, wasn't it?  So these look like little credit card or business card sized flat plastic things with a swing-out USB piece.  In fact, the front of it is my business card art and the back has a sticker with the contents.  You push it in your USB port and the video is .MP3 and the documents are .PDF. files.  

For such a little thing, they're are fairly large data capacity and more costly to me than the previous products, books and DVDs.  I've kept the prices the same, though, for at least an introductory period.  I have to see how this goes.  

My international knitters have been asking me to do digital downloads for years.  I can easily create patterns that are just written instructions and do that, but I want to include the videos of how to do everything, which has always been the heart of my patterns.

DVDs have chapter markers so you can pop over to the video you want.  MP3s don't.  As a solution to that, I created a READ ME file with a list of all the demos and where to find them on the video in minutes and seconds.  

Some Apple products don't have a USB drive.  If that's what you have, you'll need an adapter.  

Friday, November 6, 2020

New Video - Surprise! Cable Join

 OOPS!  Somehow didn't announce October's new video on this blog.

Actually, I know how I forgot.  I have an interesting new product line coming out, and I've been crunching away, working on getting that ready.

Anyway, I promise this is a VERY cool video.  You end up with a "cable" join for two knitted panels that is:


* Introduces another color, if you want

* Well-closed and warm

* Best of all - it looks like a braided cable!

So have a look: