Posted on

Shawls On The Brain

Rock Island close up, using Indigodragonfly Merino Lace Singles in "You Punched the Highlights Out Of Her Hair."

I am veeery slowly working my way through the TKGA Master Knitting course.  Why so slowly?  Well, I keep getting sidetracked.

Take, for instance, yesterday, when I discovered not one, but two Craftsy classes that caught my eye.  Now, I’m a huge fan of Stephen West.  I was a fan of his shawls before I even realized they were all designed by the same guy.  So when I saw that he’s teaching a new class called Shawlscapes, I was in trouble.  How could I not take his class?  I’ve been puzzling over a shawl design that looks great in my head, but was being impossible to sketch.  Maybe he could give me some insight.

So I signed up.

And then I watched every single video in his series last night.

And guess what?  I think I’m on to something with that stubborn shawl idea of mine!  It’s probably not at all what he intended from his lessons, but just listening to him talk about his design process and some what-ifs of design made more wheels start to turn in my brain.  Worth. Every. Penny.

If you’re wondering about taking Stephen’s class, let me just tell you that

1) He’s hilarious

2) He talks a lot about his unconventional shaping methods and how they work.  Think geometry refresher course.

3) He gives great knitting tips throughout the videos — cast ons, selvedges, different bind offs that are great for shawls, colour play, and blocking.  I learned a couple things and picked up some new tips, which is kind of a big deal when you’ve already been reading lots for your Master Knitting program.

4) I’m inspired!  I’m getting ideas!  And they don’t look like his — they look like mine!  Sometimes, all you need is a great teacher.

I watched the whole class — every video — on my Android smartphone.  Craftsy doesn’t have an Android app yet (Come on, Craftsy!), but their mobile site is really nice.  It doesn’t contain all the features — I couldn’t make video notes — but it’s good enough to watch everything through.  So I curled up in my soft, green knitting chair, placed my phone beside me on my knitting table, worked mindlessly on the garter-stitch section of Rock Island, and immersed myself in Shawlscapes.  What a great evening.

Knitting chair.  Rock Island Shawl, unblocked.  Bliss.

I eventually finished all the videos in Stephen’s class, cast off my Rock Island, and started in on the other class I signed up for yesterday:  Miriam Felton’s Lace Shawl Design.

For now, I will say only, I have been looking for someone to explain these things to me.  

I’m looking forward to learning all I can about the flow of lace stitch patterns.  They have always fascinated me.

Are you taking any classes right now?  Are we in the same class?  I’d love to hear from you!