Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Knitting in Wales

I'm just back from my first ever knitting course taught by stars of the knitting world Amy Singer and Brenda Dayne.

I thought travelling to Pembrokeshire for the weekend was a pretty big stretch from Hampshire but NEW HAMPSHIRE???  I met Laurie as we arrived at the run down railway halt nearest to the hotel.  It seemed to be in the middle of nowhere (except it did have a very very good yarn shop).  I was amazed when she told me she had come from Maine (not New Hampshire, but you know what I mean) , flying over just for the course.  She knew so much about our teachers I was ashamed to admit that a friend had suggested we go to the course and I knew no more than that.  In fact  nearly half the women who attended came from the USA, travelling miles to attend classes given by such well known and admired knitters.

And here they are in front of the lovely hotel in Pembrokeshire where we stayed and where we learned  the essentials of a beautiful lace shawl and a perfectly fitting sweater.

(You'll have to look here to see what they were photographing)

We had goody bags!

(With three hanks of super quality yarn but my third hank is already a work in progress)

We had our own yarn shop

(NiMu as well as Fiberspates)

And Show and Tell

But above all we had good teaching.  Amy Singer taught us about her brilliant tool for taking any lace pattern and adapting it to the shape of the garment you want to make.

We did lots of charting and swatching.  There was a much rubbing out of charts and ripping out of swatches till (with Brenda's and Amy's help) we got it right

Brenda taught how, with a few key measurements, a calculator and knowing the knitting tension (gauge) of the yarn we were using we could make the perfectly fitting sweater.

I have chosen some fabulous lace weight merino wool, cashmere and silk mix from NiMu for my sweater.  I can't begin that yet as I need plenty of time to get the basics right - probably emailing Brenda a few times till I feel confident to launch into the project but I'm all occasionally for delayed gratification

The surroundings were beautiful, the view from the Orangery where we worked was lovely (who says it always rains in Wales!)

the neighbours were curious but friendly

we even had time on Sunday evening to watch Downton Abbey together (I wonder what Lady Mary would make of such enthusiasm for knitting)

But most of all we knitted and talked about knitting, even while waiting for dinner to be served

Thank you Amy and Brenda for a really special time




Vandy said...

It was a fabulous weekend - and you've described it perfectly, Catherine. :-)

My brain did start to smoke at times, but overall, I think we learned a huge amount, and had a lot of fun at the same time. Excellent way to spend a couple of days!

Kathleen Lawton-Trask said...

Your photos are amazing! Can't believe the weekend is over already. Must admit I'd be less worried about Lady Mary's opinion of our knitting...and more about that of Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham. We must compare notes after next Sunday's episode!