I find that if you ever feel stuck in a rut, then the best thing to do is to learn something new. Better still, do something you have previously feared. In my case it would be ‘steeking’. Steeking is a technique which allows you to cut your knitting. You knit in the round, by that I mean a continuous circle. As part of the pattern you create special section which you will later cut to reveal a flat piece of knitting.
If you can imagine, it is like knitting a tube and then cutting the front opening to create a buttonhole band for a cardigan. All very risky and it would be easy to think that your knitted stitches would ravel away. I don’t do a lot of knitting now, but have always wanted to crack steeking. Face the fear and do it anyway.
This Saturday I had the utter treat of joining other knitters at Black Sheep Wools for a Steeking Workshop with Juliet Bernard. Juliet is a very accomplished knitter and designer and for many years was the Editor of the much admired Knitter Magazine. With me were a group of fabulous knitters. These were ladies with skills; Lucia, Lesley, Nancy, Pat and Helen. I was in auspicious company.
Juliet is a wonderful tutor, really patient and encouraging. Firstly we started knitting in the round using the fairisle technique. Now for a while I have wanted to learn how to knit fairisle continental style. Some of us used double pointed needles. Lucia and I persisted with the continental style. Lesley and Helen showed me their technique of using the ‘Magic Loop’.
What is wonderful about a workshop like this, you not only learn from the tutor but in discussion you pick of tips from your fellow classmates. Throughout the day we had lovely coffee and tea available. A sumptuous lunch appeared half way through the course, topped off with some stunning cakes.
During the workshop we knitted a tube of fairisle, using Rowan’s Felted Tweed. We were creating a fairisle mug cosy. We used a schematic graph to follow the pattern and Juliet generously lent us some of her highlighter tape to keep track of where we were. I have got to order some of that tape!
After lunch Juliet showed us how we could crochet two over-locking lines down the length of the cosy. We then took the scissors to our knitting. Frightening stuff. I must admit that cutting through the fabric was quite exhilarating and there were several rounds of applause.
We all managed to finish our cosies, picking up and knitting a picot edge binding. The wonderful Helen demonstrated how she attached and cast off her binding at the same time.
One of the joys of the day was just chatting, laughing and sharing tips and patterns with my fellow pupils. I came home with more yarn, due to the suggetions of super-chic Pat. I am now knitting an Arabian Nights shawl in beautiful yellow toned sock yarn from West Yorkshire Spinners.
Knitting and Stitching Show 2016
Thursday 6th Oct – 15.00-15.30
Friday 7th Oct – 14.15-14.45
Saturday 8th Oct – 13.30-14.00
Those of you are going the Knitting and Stitching Show on Friday 7th Oct – will you come and see me on the GMC stand between 14.00-16.00? It would be lovely to see you.
If you live in the North West of England and fancy a little bit of learning then I would suggest looking at the Black Sheep yarns workshop page and booking on Juliet’s course on cabling on Friday 28th October – I had the most wonderful time and met some lovely people.