Friday, June 5, 2009

It's Time To Learn Something New

Maybe I said this before, but let me say it again. When I first started knitting, I only knit. As in garter stitch. Period. I refused to learn to purl. This was in large part because I wanted only to relax with my knitting. I knew if I learned to purl that would then lead me, an over achiever, to want to learn patterns. And that, I thought, would take the whole relaxation thing out of the equation. So for four years-- I kid you not FOUR YEARS-- I only made rectangles.

While I still resort to gartered rectangles sometimes (right now I have a really simple, enormous purple rectangle on the needles), once I did learn to purl a couple of things happened. Yes, I wound up wanting to learn patterns, some of them tricky. And, true, it wasn't always relaxing. But man-- some of the stuff I can make now. Socks, I love socks. And though I can't do them in my sleep, I certainly have no fear around them anymore. And I've made several sweaters, all but one extremely simple, and every one leaving me with a major sense of accomplishment.

[My first top down sweater]
The way I conquered my fears and became the pattern-crazy gal I am today is by taking classes. Deb will tell you-- I used to be afraid of classes, too. I was worried I'd be so far behind everyone else I'd spend the whole time frustrated. That's where I was totally wrong. I took to classes like a hot pig in a cool mud puddle. Deb taught me socks and top down sweaters and I like to say it was a lot like jumping out of an airplane with someone strapped to your back. Someone who knows when to open the parachute. Step by step, stitch by stitch, I got all the help I needed.

This past winter, I signed up for a sweater class with Fran. It was out of control in a good way. I picked a pattern that was really challenging for me. I dedicated hours nearly every day to getting it done. I came to stop resenting and start appreciating swatching. And I was permanently relieved of my fear of messing up the seams. The sweater is the most gorgeous thing I ever made. I love it love it love it.

[Fran-- cruel swatch taskmaster!]

[picture from the pattern for my fancy sweater]

I mention all this because there are a couple of great learning opportunities coming up. Starting next weekend, on the 14th, Fran is offering a three week series: Tees, Tanks, and Vests. You can learn how to make gorgeous garments and, since it's summer, you can learn about the wonders of cotton and linen. Plus you don't have to worry about sleeves, so it's a quick way to get going on bigger projects without biting off what might feel like more than you can chew.

Also, starting on Thursday the 11th, the Adventures in Knitting gals are having free meetings to teach how to knit this really groovy bag that was in a recent issue of Interweave KNITS. If you missed that post you can click here and read up on the group. It's a really fun meeting, there's no pressure to get x, y, or z done in a certain amount of time, and usually there are some darn good snacks, too.

Whether you already know the joys of taking classes, or whether you've been too timid to sign up in the past, these are both really excellent chances to get in there and learn something new. For more information you can go to the main website.

Happy weekend,

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