Knitting Lab: A weekend in knitter’s Heaven!

Kathleen and Anne Berk, who's wearing one of her beautiful Bohus sweaters

I recently attended the inaugural Interweave Knitting Lab In San Mateo, CA and it was an absolute blast!

The classes were fabulous, the people were wonderful, and the atmosphere was exciting. I took a bunch of classes and I learned so much.

Here's a run-down:

Double Knitting with Annie Modesitt:
I've wanted to learn this technique for a long time, and Annie taught a great class. We started with two colors and graduated to one. This is a wonderful way to knit pockets, bags, pillows and even socks because you actually knit two pieces of stockinette at the same time. Loved it.

My entrelac swatch in progress
Meg Swanson showing off a treasury of sweaters
My swatch from Cookie A.'s class

Bohus Knitting Tradition with Anne Berk: I was intrigued the Bohus technique (those beautiful, colorful yoked sweaters), and this class was so enlightening. We worked our swatches (sometimes with three colors in a row) learning how to manage our yarn, while Anne told us all about the history of Bohus. By the end of class my eyes were blurry but I loved every minute of it.

Charted Entrelac with Annie Modesitt: Annie is hilarious and she made this class really fun. I've wanted to learn how to knit entrelac for a long time, and Annie made it easy for me to learn. She taught the basic technique and then supplemented with a couple of tips that really helped a lot. She showed us how to knit backwards, which makes each little rectangle of an entrelac piece go really quickly, and we learned how to pick up stitches with a piece of yarn as we knit. I'll show both of these techniques on Knitting Daily in the near future.

EPS Updated with Meg Swanson and Amy Detjen: Meg Swanson is Elizabeth Zimmermann's daughter (in case you didn't know!) and she's an incredible knitter in her own right. Amy is Meg's assistant and master knitter as well. "EPS" is Elizabeth's Percentage System, which uses percentages of the bust measurement to map out an entire sweater. Meg talked about all kinds of ways to use EPS while showing us how to knit lots of increases, decreases, and other techniques that Elizabeth used in her sweaters. She also showed off amazing sweaters that she and Elizabeth knitted. It was amazing to see these knitted works of art, shown my Meg herself.

Custom Garment Shaping with Stefanie Japel: This class was really helpful to me. Stefanie talked about how to use your gauge swatch to make changes to a sweater pattern. She demonstrated several ways to calculate measurements to change the shaping of a pattern to match my own shaping, which is almost never represented in patterns. I'm an apple shape, you see, so no waist shaping for me! Stefanie gave us two of her patterns that are simple—but classic—and easily customizable. It was a fun class.

Traveling Stitches with Cookie A.: Cookie is brilliant, and she's really good at teaching her brilliance to "lay people." She taught us about her traveling stitch methodology while she passed around beautiful knitted socks as examples. I have three new sock patterns in my queue because of you, Cookie! We got to practice our new-found knowledge by knitting swatches from charts, which was really fun. Some intrepid knitters in class even worked up their own charts!

It was a wonderful weekend, and I can't wait for the next Knitting Lab in Manchester, NH October 4-7, 2012 and then again in San Mateo, CA November 1-4, 2012.

I highly recommend this event; I learned so much and am ultra-motivated to use my new skills!

Check out these reviews, too, one from Annie Modesitt and one from Clara Parkes.


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