Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Full Marks Saturday

What influences your decision on whether or not to take a knitting class? Content? Venue? Teacher? or, perhaps because a friend asked you to go with her and you just thought it would be a fun day?

On Saturday I scored 5/5  The class was on something very close to my heart - a technique with a complete absence of sewing up.

It was held at my favourite on line shop Purlescence.

So much more than simply an on line shop. They hold open days (the next one is 6 December), have a stand at almost every yarn show in the country, organise KALs and fab workshops.  And at the risk of sounding like their publicity officer (which I'm not, just a happy customer) they serve home made cakes at the events they host at their Wantage HQ.

Next time I'm there I MUST photograph some of the yarns they stock (which include Sweet Georgia, Fibrespates, Hand Maiden and Natural Dye Studio) but for now here are some of the totally beautiful tools from Lantern Moon that I have bought there in the past.

Cable needles, DPNs and 3.5mm straights (the only exception I make to my almost total use of cables)
But back to the workshop and our teacher the awesome Asa Tricosa (it's handy to remember awesome as her name, Asa, is pronounced Awe-ser!) super draftswoman, mathematician and knitter.  She says she is not a mathematician but how can that be so when her designs could only be created by someone with a highly developed ability to think in three dimensions and manipulate numbers while standing on her head (her designs are knitted from top down).

These sweaters are crafted from a single cast on edge that runs from shoulder to shoulder across the back neck then around the front and down creating a perfectly fitting yoke and pair of set in sleeve heads before taking three directions, one tube for the body and two for the sleeves.  There are curves and shaping along the way and for the advanced knitter the shape is adapted into cardigans of various shapes, some with a modern take on the Wateau pleat down the back (the purist will tell me that a W pleat begins at the shoulders but you know what I mean!), children's sweaters and little sleeveless tops.

But on Saturday we learned the basic ziggurat or zigguratlet, a tiny three month size sweater, less knitting but all the shaping of the grown up version.  Here I have to confess that I had wondered if Asa's beginner class would be too basic for me - how arrogant is that? It wasn't. I ended the day feeling that my brain had had a vigorous workout.

There are lovely little details on the sweaters to denote seams

Add a roll neck

and provide ease at the back of a high neckline

How snugly are these sleeves on a child sweater? (also decorated with brightly coloured bobbles)

Finally, yes, it was a friend who suggested and, yes,  we did have loads of fun including meeting lots of other lovely knitters.



my choice of yarn for the me-sized sweater, (now sadly discontinued ) Faery Wings* by Fibrespates

*but Hand Maiden create beautifully coloured yarns from the same base, Maiden Hair, also sold by Purlescence


Quinn said...

I share your appreciation of seamless knitting...thanks for sharing this! All new info to me, and full of exciting possibilities :)

Brenda said...

Great post, Catherine. I can't believe I didn't know about this top down technique! I have just purchased Asa's "tric" pattern from Ravelry. Thanks so much for sharing the technique.

kristieinbc said...

That sounds like it was a great class! I've not heard of this method for knitting a top down sweater. To be honest, although I have knit a couple of the standard kinds of top downs sweaters I find I struggle with them because I can't quite picture what is happening, or should be happening, until I get past all the increases.

Jennifer said...

This is all pretty much Greek to me, but it sounds like a wonderfully informative class. Your work is so beautiful. I'm sure you will have a lot of fun with all the new things you're learning.

Carol said...

You always have such great pictures on your blog, Catherine. It must have been a great workshop. I have favorited several of Asa's patterns, I love her style, but haven't knit one yet. (I'm just getting up the nerve to try my first seamed cardigan in years!) I'd love to take a class from her.

debbie1608 said...

Sounds like a great class and great online shop, I shall definitely have to go and have a "look around" online. I've never tried anything "seamless" but it definitely sounds like my kind of thing, I hate sewing up with a passion and the detailing on those sweaters and cardigans is gorgeous!

benita said...

Hmmm... I hope they offer this class in my neck of the woods soon. I am very intrigued by not having to do any sewing up - not my favorite part at all.