A Wonderful Weekend: Knitting Lab 2012

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the Interweave Knitting Lab in San Mateo, CA. It was so much fun, meeting people and learning new things.

I attended three workshops: Basic Brioche, Two-Color Brioche (both with Nancy Marchant), and Roositude Inlay (with Nancy Bush). Here’s what I made:

Basic Brioche swatch Two-Color Brioche swatch Roositude Inlay—A finished object!

I took a brioche-stitch workshop a few years ago, but I wanted to brush up on my skills. It’s amazing how you loose a knitting technique when you don’t practice it. In the Basic Brioche class, I felt like I was just learning to knit! But as I worked the stitch more and more, it started coming back. Nancy Marchand is the master of brioche stitch, and it was an honor to take classes from her. She’s funny and very supportive of students, and she clearly loves the beautiful brioche stitch.

The two-color brioche class was really interesting and fun. Brioche stitch is unique in that it’s easier to do in two colors because you can really see the stitches. In the two samples above, the stitches are the same at the bottom, but it’s so much easier to see the knits (white) and the purls (blue) in the two-color version.

Nancy brought many beautiful, inspiring samples with her—I have a scarf on my list already.

Roositude Inlay is an Estonian technique where you embroider, for lack of a better term, as you knit. The technique is deceptively simple, and Nancy Bush is a treasure trove of information.

What you do to work the inlay is knit to the stitch where you want the inlay to start, bring the colored yarn to the front of the work, knit the number of stitches you need to cover with the inlay, and then bring the yarn to the back. That’s it! You never knit with the colored yarn, you just cover stitches with it as you knit. I love it. I can see so many uses for this technique, from hats to baby knits.

Nancy knows so much about knitting, Estonian knitting especially, and she was very generous with her knowledge, sharing fascinating stories about her time in Estonia and showing beautiful pieces knit by herself and by Estonian knitters. It was a wonderful class, and I ended up with a finished object! The little case fits my iPhone perfectly.

Muhu Gloves by Nancy Bush

I also had the joy of attending an evening presentation from June Hiatt, the author of The Principles of Knitting, a book that every knitter should have on his or her shelf. It’s really the Bible of knitting, covering hundreds of knitting techniques, with commentary from master knitter, June. Years in the making, this book is absolutely invaluable.

The presentation was wonderful; it was really a conversation between Interweave founder Linda Ligon, June, and the audience members. June talked about what it took to develop both the first and second editions of the book; the second edition has just been released and it’s 736 pages long! (And I think it weighs about 10 pounds.) It was fascinating listening to June talk about the history of the book and how she researched the material. No knitting-knowledge stone was left unturned for this definitive book. If you don’t have it, get it.

There was also the trade show, of course, which took a lot of my money! But I came home with so much fabulous stuff! I bought four balls of fabulous Friea Handpainted Yarn and a cowl pattern, three skeins of Toots LeBlanc angora/merino and a hat and scarf pattern, a Jordana Paige bag, a striped cowl kit, and a hilarious ceramic coffee to-go cup that says “Give me my coffee, hand me my knitting, and slowly back away.” Just how I feel in the morning!

I also got a kit to make the Muhu gloves on the cover of Knitting Traditions Fall 2012 (shown at right), designed by Nancy Bush. I saw these gloves in person in Nancy’s class, and darn it, she wouldn’t give them to me. So I’ll just make my own.

Here’s a bad (sorry!) photo of the trade show floor. It was hoppin’!

I loved every minute of Knitting Lab, but perhaps my favorite time was spent in the Knitting Daily Knitting Lounge just hanging out with other knitters. It was so much fun to meet friends I’ve only known online, to see their works in progress, hear about their knitting communities, and knit together. So good to meet you in person, friends!

So that’s about it. What wonderful memories I made! I hope you’ll have a chance to attend Interweave Knitting Lab next year. It’ll be in San Mateo again,  October 31 through November 3, 2013. I hope to see you there.


P.S. Did you go to Knitting Lab this year? How was it?

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