Monday, 2 August 2010

Knit Nation

A month or so ago I decided as I was free I would attend some classes at Knit Nation, the knitting event at Imperial College. I've just got back from the event and enjoyed it very much. Although I am a knitting teacher it is quite nice sometimes to just go and be a student myself and as the tutors at Knit Nation where mainly over from the USA I thought it would be a great opportunity to do classes with people I'm not likely to see again.

The first class I did was on Thursday and was Baltic Braids and Bobbles with Nancy Bush. We knitted the sampler below which included a special braid cast on, several different braids and some nupps. I worked out a 2-colour cast off with one of the braids to finish the sample. Most of the braids where taken from Estonian knitting but one was from Latvia.
During the day Nancy talked about her research in to Etonian knitting which was very interesting. She had quite a few samples of mittens, gloves and socks although she wasn't able to bring the number of samples she usually has with her. As a result of the class I decided to buy her book 'Folk Knitting in Estonia'
On Friday I booked to do just a morning class to give me time to look around the marketplace in the afternoon. I booked to do 'Fiendishly Difficult Stitches' with Merike Saarnitt. Below is the sample we knitted in class. At the beginning of the class Merike said students don't usually finish the sample in the class time - so there was my first challenge. I did finish my sample as did the lady next to me but most of the students completed 3 out of the 4 stitch samples.
I wouldn't have said they where 'fiendishly' difficult but the stitches where more complicated than some and as I hadn't tried most of them before it was an interesting class.

The shell pattern above (called Alsacian Scallop border' in the handout) is also in one of the Barbara Walker books. Merike is originally from Estonia so the remaining 3 stitches are Estonian.

This detail above is called Estonian Embrace Cable and involves manipulating long stitches to create the cable look.

This next sample was Estonian Butterfly on open ground and is very similar to a sample I recently knitted called 'moth stitch'. In this sample the long loops are made by dropping 2 stitches and knitting around all the dropped loops.

The last stitch pattern in the sample was Berry Kisses. The charts for both this and the stitch pattern above where drawn to be knitted as each row is seen i.e. on a wrong side row a horizontal bar for a purl stitch on RS and knit stitch on WS did mean purl on the WS. This was a bit confusing to start with if you are used to the convention of drawing charts to show the stitch pattern as it is viewed from the right side. After starting to the knit the butterfly pattern I realised after a few rows that the chart was different from normal. That's what comes of getting ahead of the rest of the class instead of being a 'good student'!!!
There where quite a few stands in the market place. There where a lot of indy dyers so lots of sock yarn and lace weight yarn. I decided I didn't need any more sock or lace yarn so I didn't buy any yarn but I did buy 2 books. The Nancy Bush book mentioned above and 'The Intentional Spinner' by Judith MacKenzie McCuin. This book has a lot of information about fibres and methods of spinning so I thought it would be very useful.

The workshop on Saturday was 'Top down Aran Cardigan' with Beth Brown-Reinsel and again I really enjoyed this class. Beth was very knowledgeable about her subject and provided lots of information during the day. She also provided a very comprehensive handout for us to take home.

There wasn't time to knit the complete cardigan in the 6 hour class but I did knit the saddle shoulder pieces, most of the back, the 2 fronts and the neckband. There where different cable patterns on each piece so we were able to try out quite a few variations. Beth explained how to finish of the sleeves for the sample and pick up stitches for the button and buttonhole bands.

I wasn't able to stay for the Ravelry party on Saturday evening but I'm sure everyone had a good time. This was a very enjoyable and well organised event so I hope it becomes a regular event.


  1. Hello, can you please tell me how to do the two colour bind off in your sampler?

    1. I don't have access to my notes at the moment. When I do I will look up the instructions but I did this several years ago and haven't used it for a long time so I may have to work out the cast off again.