Thursday, November 27, 2008

Finding design inspiration

As well as teaching a range of knitting techniques workshops I also teach City and Guilds Design and Craft courses in both hand and machine knit textiles. On this course design is as important as the craft skill so I encourage student to always keep looking for design sources - anything that interested them visually.

My current mobile phone does have a good camera in it but I keep forgetting that I can use it. When going into Fareham town centre I frequently walk past the multistory car park. Several years ago when the council was spending money to smarten up the town centre they installed these blue railings around the lower level of the car park.

I've always found them interesting. As I was walking past them this week I was thinking about the C&G course and thought they would make an interesting starting point under the design theme of line so I decided to take some photographs.

Whether I get around to doing something with the images is another matter but I thought it might be helpful to my students to remind them you can find inspiration anywhere if you just look.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Knitting group and Beret pattern

I went along to the local Borders knitting group last night. They are a very friendly bunch of ladies who meet every Thursday from 6ish till the shop closes. I usually get there about once a month or so.

One of my friends mentioned she read my blog about teaching at Made but couldn't find the beret pattern I mentioned. I should have said it was in issue 1 of The Inside Loop so you have to look in the archives. The pattern is called Frances (after my daughter who is also the model). Here are a couple of picture of the beret. It is also linked on my Ravelry designer page.

One of the other ladies also asked if I was the person writing in Knitting Magazine as my name is mentioned on the front cover. I've written a third article on 'changing or adjusting' a pattern to suit you as an individual in the December issue. The previous articles where changing the style of a garment e.g. from a short sleeve jumper to a long sleeve cardigan with collar which was published in the September issue and an article on adjusting a pattern for size in the October issue.

I also have 2 patterns in the December issue, the 'Creme de Cassis bolero' and 'Magical Miser's purse'.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Teaching at Alston Hall

After teaching at Made I went on to Alston Hall as I was booked to teach a one day workshop on 'Introduction to Crochet' and then a residential weekend on 'New fibres, eco friendly yarns and traditional stitches'.

Alston Hall is a lovely old manor house that is owned by Lancashire Adult Learing. They run a huge range of courses throughout the year both during the week and over weekends. I have taught a one day and residential weekend course there for the last 3 years of so.

Both the crochet and the weekend course where fully booked so it was a busy weekend. The atmosphere at the hall is very relaxed and fully catered so all the students have to do is enjoy their course.

The 'Introduction to crochet' went very well and all the students could crochet by the end of the day. The centre will be offering this course again but not until next November 2009. Next November we will also be offering a follow on crochet day workshop to develop basic skills, read patterns and understand how to shape garments.

Some of the students on the crochet workshop stayed on for the weekend course on new fibres etc. Having given the students an overview of where many of these new fibres come from and how they are made on the Friday night we moved on to trying out these different yarns in a range of fibres.

I provided yarn packs for each student which included samples of bamboo, hemp, linen, cotton/soya mix, ramie, milk fibre, milk fibre/wool mix, corn fibre and wool/seaweed mix. We started looking at knit and purl patterns and I explained how a traditional Gansey is knitted including demonstrating the knotted (Channel Island) cast on. Later in the day we moved on to cables, travelling and twisted stitches and on the Sunday we looked at lace.

I also arranged for a friend, Bev from Knitting4fun, to bring some of her yarns, kits and other bits and pieces to the hall. I should apologies to the students for tempting them to spend money or more nice yarns!

Although it was tiring I enjoyed teaching the course and hope the students enjoyed it as well.

Teaching in The Wirrel

Last week I was invited to teach a one day workshop at 'Made' in Wallasey. I arrived on Tuesday evening to teach Wednesday. Val, the owner of the shop was booked to demonstrate the 'Knifty Knitter' to a ladies club so arranged for the knit and knatter group to look after me at Weatherspoons. we had a very enjoyable evening and I would like to thank the ladies for looking after me.

The workshop was Fair Isle knitting. After introducing the subject and showing everyone samples of how different ways of combining colour can completely change the look of a pattern they all got stuck in to knitting a beret (the pattern I designed for The Inside Loop). I demonstrated knitting Fair Isle in the round with a yarn in each hand and most of the ladies had a go and found it wasn't as difficult s they first thought it would be.

I have asked Val to send me some pictures of the completed berets so hope to be able to post them at a later date.

I enjoyed my day teaching very much and hope the ladies who attended also enjoyed the day.