I took advantage of some great discounts before Christmas and enrolled in the Craftsy class Knit Lab with Stefanie Japel. Basic knitting is something I learned in school and since then I’ve made a handful of projects. Reading patterns was beyond my capabilities and even basic increases were something I had no idea of how to do; they look so complicated! Being a visual learner, a Craftsy class turned out to be just what I needed and around the holidays I made quite a few small samples.
The first one is the Lace Scarf project and as you can see it’s really not a whole scarf, but I chose to leave it at the sample stage. The knitting is on the wobbly side thanks to me being glued to the tv whilst knitting the garter-stitch section.
Casting on, knitting, purling, casting off, and weaving in ends are skills that I already had, but beginners will learn them during the course. Basic lace knitting looks difficult but it turns out it’s just knitting and purling! Complex-sounding stitches such as garter stitch, stockinette, seed stitch, and ribbing are all variations of knits and purls, so sign up if you want to learn more.
Making button holes or key holes looks even trickier, but again it’s just a few new moves with the same basic stitches. Sewing two pieces together is like “normal” sewing by hand, and finally, blocking the fabric with steam to make it flatter was also new to me. That’s where I need to pay more attention when I make a “real” project, though, because it’s easy to flatten the fabric too much.
Unfortunately, the yarn I used for the swatch of seed stitch variations is much too fuzzy to photograph nicely, but the interesting stuff happens elsewhere, in the increases and decreases.
The first swatch, yarn over, starts from just a few stitches and grows out into a fan. Isn’t it decorative? The second is called knit front and back, whereas the third is made from paired increases, right- and left-lifted increases.
Finally, in the fourth swatch there are three ways of “making one” (the stitch is called make 1). From right to left, they are “twisted loop”, “lifting the bar knit-wise”, and “lifting bar and twisting it”. I think I made up those names, but you’ll get them when you see the video. I should add that I improvised the layout of this last swatch, because there wasn’t a particular pattern for it; hence the tilting lines of increases.
All these increases have their place in constructing fabrics for garments and now it’s no hindrance to tackle more challenging projects.
While I used another yarn for the decreases, the weight is approximately the same and you can see the swatches are much smaller, since they started from around 16 stitches.
The first swatch is a paired decrease with two stitches being knit together through the back loop on the right side of the stitch marker (placed in the middle) and two stitches being knit together through the front loop on the left side of the marker. This results in those tilted stripes on both sides of the “central spine”, which happen when you knit stitches together. I simply kept knitting until there were no more stitches to knit, after which the casting off began.
The second decrease is slip slip knit on the right side of the middle and a knit two together on its left side. It’s clearly tighter than the first decrease, but perhaps slightly more decorative.
The rest of the Knit Lab class is more theory than practice, so I moved on to knitting in the round. Based on my positive experience in this class I had the guts to start making a hat from knits and purls, but I needed the confidence built during swatching. I highly recommend this class if knitting gives you cold feet.