Archive for January, 2011

I took two classes with Merike Saarniit at Vogue - one on Nupps, Buds and Bobbles, and one on Elongated Stitches. I’d heard good things about Merike after Knit Nation and I was really looking forward to these two.

I’ve done classes in the past with Nancy Bush, and have all the ‘Estonian’ books, but it was great to get an angle on Estonian knitting from a completely different direction. Merike is totally sweet too, and her classes were really fun, as well as being loaded with very useable techniques.

From the bobbles class, this was absolutely my favourite stitch:


It’s like smocking, but a sneaky technique that doesn’t require a cable needle. and I think it sits better too. I can see myself using this stitch loads, I already have a design in my head (and conveniently, cashmere in stash). This swatch has the wraps worked on a 1×1 rib, but it looks just as effective on stocking stitch or other backgrounds.

My reward for finishing swatches quickly, I got Merike to show me the bobble cast on pictured at the top here:


The needle I was using was a bit big, so it’s untidy, and also needs a bit more practice. The other swatch is a bunch of bobbles in various stitches.

I have another swatch that I’m not bothering to show, it’s just a series of different nupps. I did them all, and picked my favourite, and you don’t need to see how messy my swatch is!

In the elongated stitches class, we knitted stitch after stitch and, just like in the bobbles class, the first one was my favourite again. (Maybe Merike always does the best stitches first). It’s at the bottom of the swatch on the right.


I didn’t like the 2-colour stitches at all, but that could have been the yarn I was using (not very suitable) and I can see the potential to explore further.

The stitch at the bottom of the left hand swatch I also love. It would look great in a variegated yarn, but even here you can see how the little v’s kind of ‘hug’ the columns. It makes great ribbing with some purl sts in between.

That was it, Merike is going to be at Knit Nation again this year and I thoroughly recommend you sign up for something with her if you didn’t get a chance to last year!

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I took four classes at Vogue Knitting Live, one with Melissa Leapman on Cables, Cookie A’s Stitch Pattern Design class, and two with Merike Saarniit.

VKL ran Friday to Sunday, and Ruth had classes all day each day. I didn’t start till Friday afternoon, but we had breakfast together and I wandered over to the Hilton with her, registered, and then hung around knitting and knitter-watching. By lunchtime I’d already spotted a February Lady Sweater, a Yarn Harlot, and someone knitting socks while waiting for coffee.

Friday afternoon was my cables class. I really tossed up whether or not to go to this, if it had been Sat morning I prob would have skipped it - so as not to have such a full day - but I went, and I learned a couple of things, so it was worth it. Melissa was great, but although the class was billed intermediate it was pretty straightforward, and full of beginners that needed things explained in very small words. This is really no-one’s fault, but it meant we didn’t really do anything exciting. (I’d love to see a lot more advanced classes on offer at the next VKL).

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We did some funky stuff with extra-wrapped stitches and lace in the two swatches above, I really like the crossover lace/cable panel - Melissa had one as the centre of a big square and it would make a great blanket.


The funny shaped piece is the beginning of a v-neck; the cable pattern sits inside the fully-fashioned decreases and continues intact up the sides of the neckline. The 2 colour cables were fun, but made me realise that I would never do a project with this in! It’s an extremely bulky fabric, and eats up yarn like you wouldn’t believe. I just wasn’t really a fan.

Cookie A’s class was great. If the cables were not much of a brain challenge, then Saturday morning made up for that big time! I chatted at the beginning of the class to the girl next to me (new friend - hi Patty!) but as soon as we started it was head down and hard at it for 3 hours.

We started by talking about how to make lines and pictures in knitting. Cookie discussed three different techniques, using knit/purl combinations, using increase/decrease pairs to move stitches, and using cabling and crossed stitches.

Then we started our design by sketching on paper, the sketch was turned into a chart (sounds easy, but this was the hard bit) and we knitted swatches.


This was the swatch I ended up with. I meant to take a picture of my original sketch so you could see where it came from, I’ll try and remember to do that later. I’m still playing with the placement of the twisted columns - at the bottom they’re in the centre, but they look like they’re way off to the right. I’ve moved them across at the top, but I think they still need to move a little more.

Tomorrow I’ll post about the two Estonian stitch classes I did with Merike - they were great fun!

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Last week I jetted off with my friend Ruth from Rock & Purl to attend Vogue Knitting Live in New York City. It was SO much fun! We took classes, we wandered Manhatten, we wore all the handknits and layers we could scrape up as the temperatures plummeted to -17 degrees. MINUS 17!!! I have never been out in such cold weather (I came close 13 years ago in Germany) and discovered that you actually have to wrap stuff around your face just to be able to breathe.

Here I am by Central Park, it’s lovely and sunny, but don’t be misled by that sparkliness. I’m wearing uggs, tights, handknit socks, jeans, camisole, cashmere sweater, silk shawl, woollen shawl, gloves, mittens, puffy coat, and the snow day hat. It was still cold.


There was some shopping involved…

Sock yarn:


Including the amazing Dream in Colour Smooshy with Cashmere which I assume is new as I’d never heard of it (why not? why not?) And none of my friends had either, plus two skeins of Sweet Georgia Tough Love.

A couple of red hats:


One for me and one for Neil.

Mittens perhaps?


I’ve always wanted to try out this yarn, and I’m a bit in love with raspberry at the moment.

I also fell in love with this in a gorgeous haberdashery store we found (I have no idea where now):


And to help with the sock stash:


I took a class with Cookie and got to see all these socks in person - there’s loads I want to knit, first up will most likely be Pointelle.

There will be more posts to come with swatches and notes from the classes I took - I thought they deserved posts of their own!

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I haven’t been blogging much as I have had horrendous problems with spam. I need to upgrade my WP and clear out comments and generally just get things going again. In the meantime, I’ve switched off commenting which will hopefully help, I’m trying to figure out how to allow comments on new posts, but not old ones (which seem to be the ones that attract the spam most).

If you are an actual reader/friend and you have any advice please email me with it!

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