On Sunday I attended my first ever knitting class, I've been knitting for almost 50 years, I'm completely self-taught, and yes that's from the days before the internet, Craftsy and YouTube!!! If a pattern asked for something I'd never heard of well I just sat and tried and unpicked and tried again until I made it work and I never cease to be amazed these days when I do check out videos and discover that that little girl did good, lol.
Recently I saw a Double Knitting class with Melissa Leapman listed on the Lion Brand Yarn Studio website and I thought it'd be fun to learn a 'new to me' technique, Double Knitting, so I signed up. For those who don't know, especially us Brits for who think of Double Knitting as a weight of wool rather than a technique, this is a technique where you knit two sides of fabric on one set of needles at the same time. You can leave the row ends 'unattached' to each other so you have two pieces of fabric joined only at the cast on edge or you can attach the row ends as you knit thus creating a double thickness piece that has no 'wrong' side - both sides appear to be stocking stitch.
You know I just love the Lion Brand Yarn Studio, I've blogged about it a couple of times before, here Where To Shop For Yarn In Manhattan and here Going To England For A Warm.
There's always a great display at the Studio entrance and here's this week's pics.
The class absolutely didn't disappoint, it was excellent.
Melissa Leapman was friendly, funny, clear, supportive and encouraging. We worked each stage together as a class and Melissa explained all the steps brilliantly taking time with each student to ensure everyone understood the process before we moved on to the next bit.
We started out learning how to double knit by slipping the alternate stitches - a slower double knitting method where your work grows one row only once you've actually worked two rows - the front and back. Then we learnt how to make sure our front and back sides were joined together at the edges rather than staying as two separate pieces of knitted fabric. Next, we learnt a quicker double knitting method increasing the front and back rows at the same time so working one row makes both sides of your piece grow a row at the same time.
Having got the hang of that we moved on to reading a double knitting chart and adding a symmetrical image to the front and back sides of your piece in alternate colour ways and finally a piece with different images on both sides of your work creating this blue and white cat.
During class break, I treated myself to Melissa's book Mastering Color Knitting
and also to a new Yarnit - I've been wanting a second one for a while now and when my second ball of yarn rolled off the classroom table that was all the encouragement I needed to nip down to the
store and buy one!
By the end of class my head was ready to explode - reading the double knitting colour chart was the hardest bit!!! and I'm having to work out the best way for me to separate the two yarns I'm working with as I'm neither a continental knitter or an English thrower but use a throwing method where I don't ever leave go of my needles - a variation of a method sometimes called 'flicking' that I've perfected over the years and it allows me to knit pretty much as fast as continental. Never mind that though the long and short of it is that I love, love, loved double knitting and want to try out more.
I grabbed the opportunity and snapped some pics of Melissa's double knitting work to share with you:
|Winter Warmer Scarf - pattern in Mastering Color Knitting book|
|Lysefjord pattern available here on Craftsy|
|Slalom & Stripes Hat pattern available here on Craftsy|
|Snuggle-Up Baby Blankie pattern in Mastering Color Knitting book.|
You can follow Melissa here on Facebook and she has a couple of new classes coming out on Craftsy over the next week too.
Here we are together posing for a selfie.
I hope I get to do another class with Melissa soon, I'll be watching out for her name popping up again on Lion Brand's website and that's the best recommendation I can possibly give :D
Have you tried Double Knitting? Which method do you use? Have you ever done a class with Melissa or at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio? Share your stories with us in the comments - Chris :D
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