Category Archives: teaching

Teaching & Tutorials

I very much enjoy teaching, but I need to be careful not to overdo it. For me, somewhat on the introvert end of the scale, it’s important to get out of my own head. However I try not to schedule more than one event a month. I’m usually thinking about it for a few days before the event (so less sleep), have great fun while I’m doing the class and then crash for a few days afterwards until I get my rhythm back. Plus of course juggling the lives of 4 children when I change my schedule is no small task!

I think it’s fun and exhausting for me as I throw a lot of myself into the class. I don’t just want to teach knitters a step-by-step technique, I’m much more interested in them understanding how it works. For instance when doing grafting, I don’t just want to teach a series of steps to work in basic 2×2 ribbing. Instead I break it down into sections that are reproducing each step of your knitted stitch. That way every knitter in that class can walk out being able to transfer their knowledge to absolutely ANY type of grafted rib. When I teach cable charts I don’t just show how to work the exact cable shown in the chart. I break it down explaining how the chart is constructed so even if the legend is missing the knitter can easily interpolate the chart themselves.

When I teach classes I have discovered that learning can go both ways. During classes I’ve seen new methods of knitting, learned new techniques and I get to see patterns and written instructions from the other side. If I only sat at home writing patterns I’d be writing them as I want patterns to be written, explaining everything the way I understand. So in short teaching classes helps me write better pattern instructions and keeps me expanding my own knitting knowledge.

Over the last year or two there have been more and more knitting tours coming to Ireland. Originally it was just Tourism Ireland and Jean Moss but in the last few months I’ve taught a tour from Belgium, several more from the USA/Canada and there are 4 more upcoming over the next few months including one from Norway. While not everyone is going to do a knitting tour of Ireland I also travel a little for teaching. The next trip I’ll be making is to the Edinburgh Yarn Festival in March. I love Edinburgh very much, so it is a good spot for a weekend trip! The classes aren’t up for sale yet but you can view all the details here. On Saturday 14th I’ll be teaching Seamless Knits: Beyond the Raglan and on Sunday 15th I’m teaching Short Rows: Beyond the Basics.

If you want to find out what upcoming classes I’m teaching keep a look out on my class page here.

Holiday Time

This year the summer holidays have sneaked up on me. I’m so mentally preoccupied with the book that everything else has just faded into the background. I’m reaching the finish line now though and I’m looking forward to sharing it all with you…sorry it’s going to have to be a year away though :-(

Now that the knitting for the book is finished and I’m on to the editing part I can start thinking about new projects. I’ve got a few pieces that I want to reknit and some that I’m picking up an idea thread from. One of these is from a pattern I designed for Blue Moon Fibers Rockin’ Sock Club last summer, Sagrada. This went through a redesign initially – this was the first version -

Sagrada2

I loved the slip stitch garter panels and wide wings of this shawl but it was for a club so it was released with a single skein of yarn. Somehow as I was knitting the shawl felt to me as though it wanted to be bigger. So I’ve started playing around with it and using the design as a starting point for something brand new. I’m having fun with it, especially as I’m getting the chance to use This Is Knit‘s brand new hand dyed yarn Townhouse Yarns. The Grafton 4ply is really soft!

IMG_0912It’s nice to be able to share what I’m working on right now! My knitting list is growing, I’m also going to reknit Penrose Tile in some Dublin Dye Company sock yarn, I’m swatching up my delicious Blue Moon Fibers Targhee Worsted. I think this yarn wants some cables, what do you think? Plus in less than 2 weeks I’m heading off to Unwind in Brighton. I’m really looking forward to this, I get to see Brighton, lots of my knitting pals and teach all in one spot! Almost too much excitement for one weekend….if you’re around I think there are a few spots in my Cable and Short Row classes left still…

Classes at This Is Knit

On February 15th I’m going to be teaching 2 classes at This Is Knit in Dublin. The first class, De-mystifying Short Rows is one I’ve done before BUT it’s been updated with some new material :-) I am completely and utterly fascinated by short rows so I keep digging a bit more to figure out new ways of working them and new shapes you can make with them. This class is the fruits of this digging – I’ve added a new technique that I love and I’ve created a whole lot of new swatches to see all the things you can do with them. You’ll never think about short rows in the same way again….

The second class that I’m teaching, Sweater Surgery, will be a very different, fun class. You can approach this class in one of two ways; either as a sweater knitter who has a completed a sweater and was unhappy with the end product OR as a sweater newbie who want pointers/tips/hints BEFORE they get started.

So when you come to the class if you’ve got a sweater you want to work on you get to bring it along, otherwise just a set of swatches to experiment on will do the job.

We’ll work through our body measurements (you can’t fit a sweater without knowing what size you need!) and then do a bit of trouble shooting.

From there we’ll work though some techniques that can be used on sweaters that or finished or still being worked on.

Changing sleeve and body lengths, steeking a sweater into a cardigan and changing the edging on a garment.

We’ll even talk a little bit about modifing flat patterns so that they’re worked in the round.

So lots for everyone and a good way to get started on your new knitting year!

My weekend

Image from Daphne Ruben

I’ve been traveling for the last few days and now I’m attempting to get back to work and normal life. This time I was visiting the Netherlands and I was teaching at Breidag en Haakdag in Groningen. When I visit my sister we rarely stray futher than Amsterdam so it was a novelty for me to move further afield! This was a really well organised event, everyone was excited to have it so far north as it’s usually located in a more central location. I got to meet old and new friends and met the infamous ‘Belgian Boys‘!
As an added bonus Vincent was around to meet and greet….

I was teaching a couple of different classes over the few days I was there and doing a few lectures. Even though we had a translator present I was very impressed with the level of English almost everyone had. Obviously for more involved concepts translation was useful!

Image from Elly van Vilet

So thank you everyone in Groningen, maybe next time I’ll be able to tour the town without multiple bags in tow!

Sweater Surgery is Live!

I’ve been hinting over the last few months about my newest class but now that’s it’s live I can finally tell you all about it – welcome to Sweater Surgery.

sweater surgery

It all started last year with a knit along sweater that was worked from the bottom up. Several knitters finished the sweater and were happy with it except for the length of the sleeves. This can be a problem when working from the bottom up, as you can’t make a final judgement call on sleeve length until you are finished! I talking them through the process of shortening the sleeve but I really wished that I could show them on video properly. The process is not difficult but it is daunting the first time!

This got me thinking, so many knitters after spending weeks on a garment are unhappy with it. Some might rip it out, others give it away and others just leave it in the back of the closet. I know because I knit a few beauties myself starting out! Over the years I picked up a few tricks along the way to correct problems as I went. Plus there were several more techniques that I really wanted to experiment with. The idea for a class that takes disasters and creates wearable sweaters out of them is something I haven’t seen before but it’s a class I’d have loved to see when I began knitting! Plus you get the added bonus of using everything you’ve learned in future projects.

crochet steek

If you have a sweater that you only want to make a few minor adjustments to you’ll find the help you need here. But if you have a complete disaster you can also give the class a go and really go crazy with your experimenting!

The basic areas we’ll be covering in the class are:
Sleeves – adjusting the length and the width
Body – again adjusting the length and the width/shaping
Steeking a sweater to turn it into a cardigan
Changing the edging of a garment
Adding pockets
Planning future projects, provisional cast ons and changing patterns.

pockets

As you can see there are a lot of different areas covered in this class but the core of the class is interaction, both with me and other students. Analysing the problem is really important. Perhaps you think the sleeve is too long but it is actually possible that the shoulder is the part that’s too wide so it’s allowing the sleeve to slip down. You can post photos of the issues and we’ll all help you to figure out the best way to tackle the garment. Please join me to help make this class fun and productive!

To sign up with a 25% discount off the class price click here.

Craftsy Giveaway!

It’s getting very, very close to the time when my newest Craftsy class goes live.  I just got my first chance to see some of the finished videos yesterday and it should be a whole lot of knitting fun!  I don’t want to spoil the surprise just yet about the class content BUT lets just say that there should be something useful in there for most garment knitters……

Now on to the giveaway, just click through here, either register or sign in for Craftsy and your name will be added to the list for a FREE pass to my newest class.  It will close on Friday at 6pm MST and a winner will be drawn then.  Only one entry per person.

In the meantime if you just can’t wait to find out about the newest class keep an eye on the knitting classes here and my class will come up as a new class within the next day or so, hope you’re as excited as I am!!

Back home in Ireland

I’ve just returned from Denver after my second Craftsy recording. It’s so much fun heading over there for a few days, even if I do have killer jetlag afterwards :-) The lovely Amber and Jaime from Fancy Tiger Crafts took me out for dinner on Sunday night. This was very much appreciated as I was starting to get jittery before my first day of filming and it was really great to have a few hours talking with them.  So glad that they’ll be at TNNA in June, hopefully we’ll find some time for and ice-cream chat :-)

It’s much easier doing something like filming second time round.  You know what to expect and where you’ll run into problems.  I’m really looking forward to sharing this class with you, it’s very different from the last time and was an interesting topic to put together in a class format.  Here are a few photos from the class recording but I bet you won’t be able to guess the class subject from them!