Category Archives: teaching

Craft Month

So it’s National Craft month, there are a lot of celebrations throughout the year but I think craft is well worth celebrating! Craft for me is primarily about knitting (due to the fact that there’s only 24 hours in the day!) but I do love to learn new skills. Living in the country in Ireland with several children in school I’ve found online classes the easiest way to learn. I can drop in and out and take notes in the spots where I know I’ll want to go back to.

crafty monthAs many of you know I teach several classes for Craftsy which have got a really nice format for learning (and teaching on). The classes are professionally recorded and edited, and the layout makes it easy to ask and answer questions. If you haven’t tried one out I’d suggest giving it a go!

If you’d like to try one of my classes here are some links for 50% off:

Essential Short Row Techniques
Sweater Surgery
Celtic Cables

Anyone who buys classes over the first 2 weeks of March will be in with a chance to donate $1000 to an craft based charity of their choice. (Plus I’ll be in with a chance to win a surprise as well :-))

I know a lot of you out there are very skilled knitters and may not want any knitting classes. There is however a whole range of crafts covered; from jewelry making and gardening to drawing and some fantastic cooking classes.

This one in particular has my mouth watering; all the boys love Mexican food so I wouldn’t mind upping my game a little!

Although I think that this might make a wonderful birthday present for my oldest boy, as he’s rather anime crazy!

So any new crafty or skill you’d like to build during crafty month? Have fun learning!

Essential Short Row Techniques

Some of you very observant people may have spotted that my new Craftsy class, Essential Short Row Techniques, is now live! (This link will give you $5 off the class).

Essential Short Row TechniquesNow as the name hints, this is a technique class. It works through different situations that you will use short rows in and how you can make them your own.

There is a huge lack of information out there about working short rows in anything but stockinette stitch. What happens in reverse stockinette, garter, ribbing or in the round? What about if you’ve got a cable or lace pattern?

I hope to give enough information in this class that you’ll feel comfortable substituting different types of short rows in a pattern, changing the slope created by short rows and maybe even use short rows in your own design!


Once you’ve mastered Short Rows you’ll want to use them in everything!

Here are a few of my favourite patterns that use short rows. Until March 15th there will be 25% off all of them with code “SHORTROWS“. Just ‘add to cart’ and when you’ve got the cart open click ‘use a coupon code’ to add the code.

Finally, I frequently get questions about the knitted pieces shown in my classes so here is a rundown of everything you’ll see:

Lesson 1: Basanite Hat (in Among Stones, digital only), Sandy Cove, Taupo, Ravi.

Lesson 2: Striped shawl (Tempisque) from new book, Carpino.

Lesson 3: Cabled Cowl sweater from new book (Orosi).

Lesson 4: Capall Dubh, new cardigan from book (Toro).

Lesson 5: Gilligan, Orosi (from new book), Penrose Tile.

Lesson 6: Sandy Cove

Lesson 7: Ravi, Maenad, Dunderry, Taupo.

Lesson 8: Basanite Hat (in Among Stones, digital only), Talium socks, socks from new book (Arenal), Maenad.


Short Row magic

For anyone who has been following my work you probably know that I really, really love short rows. Many of my designs use short rows, I’ve written multiple tutorials on short rows, taught a Craftsy class on short rows as well as many in-person classes.

penrose tile 1

Why do I love them?

I’ve often asked myself this, and I think it’s because they are so versatile. You can take a flat bit of knitting and without changing your stitch count you can create curves, slopes and even three-dimensionality shapes. Short rows are everything that’s good about knitting, you can make your knitting your own custom designed to fit you.

It would appear that my love for short rows doesn’t show any sign of subsiding any time soon. While the basics of short rows are not very complex there is so much to learn beyond the basics. I regularly learn and/or figure out new ways of creating them, new shaping ideas and new designs that can use them.

small back detailIn a few months I’ll be teaching a short row class for the Edinburgh Yarn Festival. While I’ve taught this class before I’ve been learning so many new short row methods and uses that I’m creating a very new class. The basics are still there but I’m adding in lots that is new; creating shapes with different short row steps, German short rows, short row shawl curves and sock heels.

If you can’t make it to Edinburgh this spring I’ll have a few short row surprises coming for you as well. You will however have to wait a few months to find out….I wish I was able to spill the beans on these new projects but I’ll just have to be patient :-)

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 –


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.


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!!