Sunday, March 17, 2013

Crafty Classes Update

Elfin Bonnet from the front
So, my week of lots of work-related deadlines has most fortunately been punctuated by opportunities to get my hands on fabric and yarn. First up was a knitting class with Master Knitter Lisa Wilcox Case. When I saw the hat in Home Ec (and felt it—knit from the springiest, softest merino Millamia), I had to make one.

Such a cute side detail!
Lisa calls it the Elfin Baby Bonnet and she recreated the pattern from one that an elderly neighbor gave her when she was in college. She described a woman who lived alone, across the hall, and knit hats for babies. Lisa still had the pattern the woman shared with her, typed up on an index card like a recipe. The construction of the hat is so cool—you knit it flat, then fold it in half and use a three-needle bind off to "stitch" the two sides together. Lisa hopes to have the pattern available on Ravelry soon. I knit a red one, and bought a different yarn yesterday to make a pink one. With spring coming, these may not be appropriate gifts for babies for awhile, but I'll have a nice gift stash for next fall and winter.

Then yesterday I taught my first quilting class. I was a little nervous—Would people like it, would it be enough to fill the time? It turned out that I knew all four of my students, some long-time friends and some new friends, so that helped with the nerves.

The group discusses layout possibilities for HSTs
It was so much fun to catch up with them, find out about the connections between them, and watch their very different fabric choices become half-square triangles. I can't wait to see what they ultimately do with their squares. And I hope they enjoyed the class.

Nora and her HST blocks-a pillow for her bed?
It's always surprising to learn that you know something other people don''s easy to just assume what you know is common knowledge. But in hindsight I am grateful to my half-square triangle sweat shop for making me adept enough at half-square triangle-making to share it with others.

Maureen and her Heather Ross-polka dot HSTs
And everyone agreed that Laundry Basket Quilts Triangle Papers are a pretty nifty tool.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Half Square Triangles: Please Sir, Can I Make Some More?

After all my whining about my half-square triangle sweat shop, I realized that I'd gotten really good at making them. And that I was getting a little excited thinking about how I'd arrange mine when they arrive. So when Codi was talking about adding some quilting classes at Home Ec, I volunteered to teach one on half-square triangles.
These fabrics are from Jessica Swift's Blomma by Anna Griffin Blend 
While they're pretty simple to make, I have learned a few tricks along the way. If you're in the area and interested in joining the half-square triangle mania, here's a link to the class. It's perfect for those who are just getting interested in quilting but have basic sewing skills. We'll make enough half-square triangles to make a pillow top or get a good start on a baby quilt.

P.S. In case you're not a lover of musicals, the title of this post is a riff on a line from Oliver! Not a great riff but hey, it's the best I could do with what I've got. Which is not enough caffeine. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Master Knitters on Etsy

Lisa Wilcox Case
It's a little after the fact, but I thought I'd share some of the photos I shot for the master knitting certification post that went live on Etsy. Etsy's discovered that a large number of their visitors are accessing the site through mobile media, and that's changed the kinds of photos they need--big, bold and graphic reads much better than detailed. So a number of these just didn't cut it.

Lisa's intarsia sample
But I wanted to share them with you because I think the master knitting process is impressive, and Lisa Wilcox Case's notebooks are amazing. Filled with reports and samples, they really demonstrated her abilities, as well as the requirements for being a master knitter through The Knitting Guild Association.

Lisa's final project for master knitter certification
The other part of the master knitting story that was fun for me was that I was having a heck of a time finding a second source to talk with. I went to lunch at a local restaurant and was chatting with the owner, who I've known for years, about what her daughter was up to. Her daughter, Taylor, had been in my class when I taught at a Montessori school many years ago. She described how Taylor was getting ready to graduate from college, thinking about various careers and then said, "Oh, and she's getting master knitting certification." So funny! So I contacted Taylor (who shared a couple of photos that I've included, as well).

Lisa demonstrates a cable technique

One thing that struck me was how different the personalities of these two women seem, yet how they both want to be (or in Lisa's case, are) Master Knitters. Lisa's been a librarian and an endodontist--methodical, detail-oriented, exacting. Taylor seems to be much more of a free spirit, but she's enjoying the challenge as well.

Hope you enjoy these!
Samples in Lisa's certification notebooks
Lisa at work (she knit the sweater she's wearing)
Lisa's entrelac sample
Taylor wearing a hat she knit
Cowl knit by Taylor

Taylor's yarn bombing on the Cornell College campus