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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

TNNA ~ The Classes

Twice a year, needlework industry people meet to network, take classes, and do business at a show called TNNA (The National Needlearts Association). Beth and I went to do the fall buying for Westport Yarns.We got there two days early to take advantage of the wealth of classes TNNA has to offer for needlework (knitting, crochet, weaving, spinning) as well as business related classes.
My first class was with Melissa Leapman, author of many books and individual patterns.  She is incredibly talented, friendly and lovely to work with.  The class was in double knitting, a technique that creates a double-thickness of knitted fabric that is reversible. 
First we worked a k1p1 ribbing with two different yarns. 
You can see my learning curve on the 
bottom of the white swatch.
Here are a couple of samples of what you can accomplish with double knitting.  She has a terrific book on color work, ironically called, "Mastering Color Knitting".
Here are the results of my class. 
A very cool technique that I look forward to experimenting with.  There are so many possibilities!
The convention was right in the heart of Columbus, Ohio.  There were lots of great restaurants walking distance from our hotel.  The first night out I discovered Summer Shandy beer; it was delicious!
I love that this is what comes out of a knitter's handbag.
On Friday I took an all day class with Cat Bordhi.  She was awesome, a totally outside of the box thinker.  I have always wanted to meet her.  She has published several books and has a number of educational (and entertaining) videos of knitting techniques on her website and youtube.
We got gifts of yarn from Shibui and lace knitting needles (size 10) from Skacel! The class was called "7 Techniques to Instantly Make You a Better Knitter".  The goal of the class was to enable us to teach this class at our stores.  I can't share any of the secrets, you'll just have to take the class. 
During the class, Cat added random knitting tips along the way.  This was really cool.  If you hold a mirror against your knitting, it will reflect what the pattern will look like when it gets bigger.  Wicked!
During "rest time" I admired this knitter's sweater.  It's one I've had my eye on.  Cinnie by Chic Knits.
It is a really interesting sweater.  You start with a lace panel in the back.  Then go side to side.  Then down.  When I got home I started it!  It is a lot of fun.
 Saturday morning before the convention began, I took another class with Cat.  This was about "Empowering New Knitters". She shared a different method for teaching beginning knitters.
Again, her class was interesting and innovative in it's approach. Two of the things a new knitter can make are a baby hat and
 an Ipod/Iphone bag.
A woman sitting behind me was wearing Color Affection.  This remains a very popular pattern on Ravelry.  I was surprised how many people in the class hadn't seen it before.
  She showed us how to put in an after-thought heel in a tube sock.
 She cut the heel and picked up the stitches!  She had many people cringing in their seats as she cut the fabric.  I'd really want to practice that one before doing it on a sock I cared about. 
The key to success here was not cutting to the absolute edges of the sock, cutting one or two stitches in from the sides.
Both Cat and Melissa are excellent teachers with a wealth of knowledge to share.  It was a pleasure to be a student.  I enjoyed meeting the other shop owners/staff taking the class.

One thing that amused me during all three classes was how all of us students reacted to the yarn provided in the classes.  People went around trading out colors so that they could work with the colors they enjoyed.  It is the little things that mean a lot. 

I came away from my classes totally jazzed up about new techniques and tricks of the trade.  One of the best things I learned was from Cat. 
 She taught us how to recalibrate our gauge.  I actually was able to employ a technique that enabled me to get gauge on the needle a pattern called for.  You could actually see the progression of my loose tension and then how it tightened up into the right gauge.  The first cable cross was loose and the next two on top tightened up.  I don't know if that has ever happened!  This was truly game changing for my knitting. 

I've since got gauge on two knitting projects, on the needle the pattern recommended!  Inconceivable!

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