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The 10K Students Project: +86!

10K Student Cards
From left to right: Gwen Bortner, Kellie Nuss, Sarah Peasley, Beth Whiteside. Take a class with one of us, and get your card initialed!

At the beginning of July my teacher friends (Gwen Bortner, Kellie Nuss, Sarah Peasley) and I began a joint venture we’re calling the 10K Student Project. It was a bit of a scramble, but a few weeks later we were ready with a bare-bones website and affinity/loyalty cards, in time for STITCHES Midwest. While we see each other almost every week over Skype, the 4 STITCHES events are where we get to enjoy face time (and knitting time, of course).

So what is it? It’s a just-for-fun aggregate count of students we teach. Not unique students, just total students. As milestones go, 10,000 seemed like a nice number, weighty but achievable in a reasonable amount of time, especially with all 4 of us pitching in toward the total. I’ve gone from 0 students to 86 for August – whoo hoo – and will be scheduling some local classes here in San Francisco to further try to pull my weight!

At the Bean in Chicago
3/4 of us wandered Chicago after Midwest. The final quarter was with us in spirit!

We’re not sure where the project will go, besides the counting. We’ve been thinking it could be a way to share what we learn by teaching, as well as a way for students to share with each other, but we’re really not sure yet. Both concept and website are under development (kinda like mine, here ;), so we’ll just see where it takes us.

Hope to count you in class soon!

STITCHES Midwest Market Sessions

STITCHES Midwest Market Session brochure
Download the STITCHES Midwest Market Session brochure

Classes are an integral part of STITCHES events. Even folks who attend only to hit the Market know they could choose to learn secrets of the sleeve cap from Patty Lyons, crochet around the corner with Edie Eckman or go in crazy circles with Myra Wood. But what to do when you don’t have time for Market and a 3 to 6 hour class?

Learn something new in just 1 hour.

That’s the tag line for STITCHES Market Sessions, short classes held right on (or near) the Market floor so it’s easy to pop in for one, then get back to shopping afterward. Classes focus on giving you a taste of a technique (ever try stranded color? Tunisian crochet? continental knitting?), learning an essential skill (fixing mistakes, simple seaming, picking up stitches) or doing something fun (magic twist-knit, dye with kool-aid, make a spiral bead bracelet). There’s no homework, so all you need to bring to class is yourself and your materials. Each class is $25, and you can either pre-register or register on-site (click here for STITCHES Midwest 2014 Market Session registration. Note that registering before August 7th gets you free entry to the Market all weekend, including the Thursday night preview!).

Samples for new Market Session classes.
Clockwise from top: Cords With a Twist, Macramé Friendship Bracelets and Jazz Up That I-Cord samples

Class offerings change from time to time, just as they do with the longer classes. I’ve been cooking up a few new ones for STITCHES Midwest, based on where my interests have lately been wandering. Which is toward using stitch patterns in I-cord (Jazz Up That I-Cord!), variations possible when twisting cord (Cords With a Twist) and tying macramé knots (Macramé Friendship Bracelet).

The common themes? Cords (great for trims, handles, jewelry). Using up left over bits of yarn (Mom would be proud). And gifting possiblities (because the holidays are just waiting to creep up on all of us).

I look forward to bringing my new favorite techniques to STITCHES Midwest and its attendees. We’re going to have fun with them! If you’re in the Chicago area, come join us in Schaumberg.

P.S. Got friends who don’t know how to knit or crochet? Bring them, and we’ll give them materials and knowledge necessary to get started. Learn to Knit and Learn to Crochet classes are FREE!

KLITCH Your Knits

Embellished class homework swatch and sample patterns
The KLITCH’d homework swatch and recent designs using techniques T and L.

A little over a year ago I came across The Weaver’s Idea Book by Jane Patrick. I’m a sucker for books (in general) with photos of intricate fabric textures and colors (specifically) playing gloriously in new and unusual (to me) ways. It made me want to weave. It made me wonder if any of those effects could be worked on hand knits. It made me pull out other books, and read and think about how techniques from other fiber arts could be worked on knit fabrics.

The end results were several pattern designs (check out the faux couching on Creative Knitting’s Summer 2013 It’s All in the Details) and a class: Through, On & Around: KLITCH Your Knits! KLITCH is an acronym created from the 6 technique areas we explore in class: Knotting, Lacing, Inlay, Twining, Couching (faux, not true couching) and Hemstitching. Look for it on the schedule of STITCHES South, Midwest and East!

The projects I designed in Creative Knitting’s recent Knits In No Time special issue show how twining can be used to create a pot holder, coasters, and table runner or scarf from I-cord, and how fancy lacing can tie seed stitch strips into a scarf. Imagine making strips in different colors or yarns, and lacing or twining them together in a contrast color—how fun would that be?!?

Trellis hemstitching worked on elongated stitches of a cowl.
Trellis hemstitching worked on elongated stitches of a cowl.

My latest KLITCH experiment is a cowl, worked in Cascade Yarns Longwood, with elongated stitch as fillings in a double-decker garter stitch sandwich. Longwood is spongy soft, great to work with, and superwash to boot. Hemstitching in turquoise 220 Aran will wrap the elongated stitches on both sides. If that’s not enough decoration, maybe I’ll do some knotting in the eyelet rows…hmmmm….

Want to learn how to knit pleats and welts?

Pretty Peaks and Valleys, Creative Knitting Winter 2013
My design Pretty Peaks and Valleys, Creative Knitting Winter 2013

It’s STITCHES class proposal time! And I’m brainstorming class topics to tempt you, the knitting and crocheting fiber enthusiast student.

If I go with what currently interests *me* most, one of the class proposals would be about those fabric-folding techniques known as pleats and welts (aka tucks).

I’ve had a thing for tucks for some time now, as those who have taken my 1-hour Market Session A Taste of Tucks can attest: they’ve seen the swatches. My favorite looks like the skin of a Shar Pei puppy.

The interest in pleats has been more recent, and apparently  is shared by the likes of Alexander Wang, Michael Kors, Proenza Schuler, etc, for Spring 2014 (see here and here). Whoo hoo, I’m on-trend!

Continue reading → Want to learn how to knit pleats and welts?