Madrona 2016: Class reviews

A little more Madrona. If you missed the Fun and Games edition, you can see it here. (Market, extras, a song.)

I took two classes this year: Latvian Fingerless Mitts with Beth Brown-Reinsel, and A Sense of Proportion with Franklin Habit.

latvian mitts

The mitts class was a full day affair, and packed with related technique and information. Sure, we were making a mitt, but at the same time we had a review of Latvian tradition, yarn dominance in stranded knitting, how to manage 2, 3, or 4 colors, half braids and herringbone braids, and the afterthought thumb. I had a passing acquaintance with all of these techniques, except for braids, which I loved. Kudos to Beth for excellent instruction and a very comprehensive handout.

latvian mitt

Here’s my class piece. Excuse the errors; this was more of a technique learning piece and color combo audition. Someday I’ll actually knit the mitts…

Franklin’s class was, as always, enlightening. He is always well prepared, and a great presenter. This class started with body proportions (think of da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, or Vitruvian Sheep per Franklin’s illustration), and then related them to proportions in three common knits: Hats, mittens, and socks. Example: Hats are generally worked until they are as tall as your hand (wrist to fingertip) before crown shaping begins. Second example: Your palm is a square, and the thumb hole on a mitt is halfway up the palm. I knew the first example, but not the second. I’ll be using that soon…

franklin speed swatch front

We talked about speed swatching in the round. Your gauge knitting flat isn’t always the same as your gauge knitting in the round. I knew this when I swatched for my BangOutASweater Stopover, so I swatched magic loop because I wanted to try two different color combos, front and back. But if you don’t need that much knitted real estate, you can speed swatch for gauge, color combinations, or new techniques. Basically, you work only the front half, and just carry the yarn across the back. (Make sure you leave enough slack so you can block the piece flat, or you’ll have to cut the yarn, which means you can’t re-use it.)

franklin speed swatch back

Clever, yes? I’ve used this technique before, but then Franklin added the step beyond: He mentioned using it to swatch just a wedge of a hat, to figure out vertical motif placement. I tend to think of swatching for stitch gauge, but it totally makes sense to use it to also make use of the row gauge. If you’re trying to center something vertically, you can know without knitting the whole hat first. Time saver!

So now I’m home, and taking my braids to the next level. What happens if you carry the yarn over the previous one? Under the previous one? Use the same color or opposite color for the braid? Follow the braid row with the same colors? Opposite colors? Only one way to find out…

braid speed swatch

Of course, I’m speed swatching my way through all the options.

braid speed swatch back

Thank you Beth and Franklin, for two great classes. I highly recommend them.

It was a joy and a thrill to take classes AND teach a class at Madrona this year. I hope I can do both again next year.

glass dress at murano

chihuly bridge of glass

A little more ambiance from the weekend…

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2 responses to “Madrona 2016: Class reviews

  1. Really enjoyed reading about Franklin’s class and key learnings! Thanks!!
    Jackie Northwest Wools

  2. Franklin gave a 2-day workshop form our guild last year. I took the first day which was twisted stitches and shadow knitting and he also showed the knitting in the round swatch technique. He’s a great person and teacher. Beth Brown-Reinsel is in town in March and is presenting the Latvian Mitts and sweater techniques. I’m taking the sweater one.