I have just put my homework knitting needles down for a while to share some pictures and experiences from my first week as a full-time knitting student at HV Skola.
We are a small, select group of knitters (7 + 2 doing a knitting 2nd year/weaving combo.) As such we have a small and cosy knitting studio on a side road by the school but we do pop into the main building for lessons such as textile history. Our very kind and experienced teacher, Karin, has led us through a week of techniques following the very good principle of our course book which translates to “The details that make the difference.” The other book I luckily already had is the very handy “Cast on, Bind Off” by Leslie Ann Bestor.
This week has comprised of lessons in alternative methods in casting on and off, sewing pieces of work together and making increases and decreases. Of course, I am learning this in Swedish so my glossary of words so far are:
English – Swedish Terminology:
Cast on – uppläggning / Cast off – avmaskning
Side sewing – sidsöm
Knit – Rät / Purl – Avigt
Stocking stitch – slätstickning
Edge stitches – kantmaskor
Increases – Ökningar / Decreases – Minskningar
It might be easy to assume that all these skills are under our respective knitted belts since we are all quite experienced. However, being shown the alternatives available and learning the “correct” techniques is really giving me the skills and confidence to produce higher quality work with a much better finish. I am getting the tools of the trade refined and clearly laid out so that I can progress further in my creativity with the foundations solidly in place. It is also helpful for me to understand the terminology in Swedish since all my education is in my second language.
Cast on / off technique swatches:
Technique Top Tip: The cast on I learned (and used most of the time!) was using the needles in the normal knitting position, making a slip stitch on to the left needle to begin, then using right begin a normal knit stitch but lift and twist the stitch back onto the left needle. And then repeat this. I was never really that satisfied with the look of that but one simple tip from my teacher made it much better. On the first row after the cast on knit in the back of all the stitches. That’s it. Simple but effective!
On Friday morning we had an exchange where knitters got to look around the weaving looms and meet other main textiles teacher while the other 1st year textile students came down to our studio and try out some knitting with our teacher. When we got back it wasn’t long before the coffee was brewed but it took quite a while for our weaving friends to put down their newly acquired knitting needles!
Oh yes, and we all went home with a free bag. A nice end to a packed week. So packed that this is only a focus on the techniques covered in week one. Another blog post will follow soon with more on the 2 visits we had and our lessons in textile history.
Until then, happy (homework) knitting!