Functional Friday: Entrelac 2 by Rosemary Drysdale

I bought Rosemary Drysdale’s first book, Entralac, a long time ago. Not too long after I first started knitting. It was a decision I went back and forth on for a long while. I would see the book, flip through it and admire the patterns, but not get it. At that point, I couldn’t afford to buy it, it was right after I was out of school and didn’t have a job yet. I never forgot about the book and did eventually buy it, but it was a huge case of delayed gratification.

Entrelac 2 two

I was really excited when I realized the free book I was getting from Vogue Knitting Live Chicago 2014! I was also going to be taking the advanced version of Rosemary Drysdale’s class. I ended up getting my book signed just before class and there weren’t very many people in the class so there was a lot of one on one attention. The class was based around the second Entrelac book because that is where the more advanced techniques lay. The first Entrelac book was more about the basics and how to knit Entrelac in the first place. It looks very intimidating so a lot of people are apprehensive, but it really isn’t too bad.

Entrelac 2

This book focuses on Entrelac in a more abstract form. Asymmetrical patterns, knitting Entrelac on it’s side or in a pentagon shape instead of a square. There are a lot of really interesting options for these different shapes and Rosemary incorporates them into the patterns in the back of the book.

Entrelac 2 Three

There is still the ordinary how-to instructions in the front of the book, but everything else incorporates lace, beading, strategically placed yarn overs or bobbles. It is an excellent place to get really great pattern ideas.
As with the first Entrelac book, everything is written very well and there are explanatory photos, but I would not recommend this book for a beginner. The techniques needed are easily explained, but I think the average knitter would benefit from doing these books in order.

I’m Back!

Well, I’ll be completely honest with you, I haven’t done all that much knitting in the past couple weeks. BUT there are great plans for the future!

Gradient 2

Last time we talked, I had a pair of gradient car-socks I was working on. I have managed to finish them! The plain ride back from Antigua was five hours long and that was the longest plain trip I had ever been on. Just sitting still for that amount of time was crazy so I am really glad I had some knitting with me. I couldn’t graft the toe closed because I didn’t have any needles with me, but I just left the needles in the toe, and reclined to listen to my audio book the rest of the way home.

Sock Toe

I was also working on the Rocky Coast Cardigan. I was not totally impressed with the gauge I ended up getting in order to accommodate the pattern for the RCC. It was very lose, which would really cause it to grow in the future. I was looking for a pattern that would be fine with a little growing, but I think this was going to get out of control a little bit. I have decided to rip out the little bit I have and knit a tighter fabric.

RCC

When I was taking Amy Herzog’s class in Chicago, I got to look at all her samples, and there was actually one sweater there made from 100% alpaca. It was a sample sweater that had been tried on a million times and it had not grown at all. The seams and tension were holding it together perfectly. This made me realize that I didn’t have to go through so much trouble for the type of yarn I was using. I am thinking about using Amy’s website, Custom Fit, to make me a pattern for the exact sweater I am looking for.

Next up on the docket is a pair of mittens for a friend! I am not sure how sneaky I should be with this project, but all I need to say is that they are lovely and will be beautiful. I am going to have to ask her if I can disclose the particulars on the blog!

Chicago VKL Day 2.75

I am currently writing this at 4am in the Chicago airport. Our flight leaves at 5am so Saturday night, immediately after my classes were done for the day, I took a four-hour nap to prepare for the trip to Antigua.

My post from yesterday was getting slightly long, so I skipped my time at the market place. I didn’t spend a whole lot of time there because I had a list of things I was specifically looking for. I wanted to get a double pointed needle case from Della-Q and a small project bag. My current project bag is kind of thin and my needles poke through it. I was also looking for Anna’s Mochimochi books and Tess Yarns microfiber ribbon yarn. Since I wasn’t really meandering around, I didn’t get a really good look at everything, but I didn’t have too much time there. I went on my mission, grabbed the things I was looking for and got out.

My flu has resurfaced again so I have been totally dead to the world Friday and Saturday. I am going to have to take some cold meds and sleep it off in Antigua.

My Saturday was the long day of classes, with a six hour Knit to Flatter class in the morning and afternoon, then Twists and Turns around the World: Japanese Lace in the evening.

Knit to Flatter was amazing, of course. Amy Herzog is an excellent teacher and very captivating. I would highly recommend this class to anyone not impressed with the fit of their hand-knit sweaters.

I don’t think it was very intelligent of me to take a Japanese lace class at 6pm on a Saturday. I was exhausted and not really in the best frame of mind for any kind of knitting, nevermind lace. Brooke Nico is a great teacher though and with the handout, I think I will be able to get a better grasp on things after sleeping and coffee.

I originally took this class because nothing else was fitting into my schedule really well and I wanted to take SOMETHING. It ended up being really informative and the perfect intro for me into Japanese lace. I’ve always been a little weary of getting a Japanese lace book because they are, clearly, not written in English. I didn’t think I would be able to decipher them. This would have been completely true, and one of the first things Brooke went over was how to decipher the lace patterning. The symbols are a little different, but other than that it seems fairly logical. I’ll have to look into the Japanese lace books and see if there are any that really strike my interest.

This post was pretty quick, but I’ve got a honeymoon to get back to and some sleep to catch up on!

Side note: Photos don’t seem to be loading, so I’ll have to put them up later!

Chicago VKL Day 1.5

Vogue Knitting Live has officially started!! Whooooooo! Today is technically day two for me because I had one class last night and two today!

Registration opened at 3pm on Thursday and I was there on the dot to get my pass and schedule. Since I am an ‘international’ attendee, VKL does not mail out passes and packages, you have to pick them up when you get there. I got the biggest package there was, which came with Rosemary Drysdale’s book Entrelac 2. I really love entrelac techniques and I am taking the class Beyond Entrelac, so I was very excited by the choice of book. I don’t think I will get the large package again; it comes with 6 three-hour classes, 2 lectures, a Vogue Knitting gift card and the swag book of VKL’s choice. Last year the largest package came with a ticket to the gala, but this year they were extra so I decided not to go. There was also quite a bit of confusion as to what was happening at the gala this year so I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted to pay an extra $140 for dinner and swag.

My first class was Thursday at 6pm; Teeny Tiny Toy Knitting with Anna Hrachovec. You have probably seen her books before because they are full of some of the cutest tiny toys you will ever knit. The class last night was centered on one of her more classic toys, the gnome.

Gnome

I am really glad I took this class because I was not totally sure where I stood on the toy knitting and I’ve been trying to win one of her books since last VKL Chicago. I’ve been so shameless as to send Paul out to look for the tiny toys while I was in class. I was hesitant on buying one because I really didn’t know if toy knitting was for me. What if I really didn’t like it?

I am happy to tell you that it is a lot more fun than it looks and totally and completely addictive. The class we had was three hours and I knitted the gnome in two. I was on the fast side of the class and didn’t stick with the pacing everyone else set. There weren’t a huge amount of people in the class so I was able to take my time and listen to the questions other people asked. When I am in class, I don’t always have questions right away, but sometimes, others ask questions I didn’t think about at the time. There is always the opportunity to help out classmates who get stuck as well.

Teeny Tiny Toys

As I said, the class was relatively small, so Anna had no problems getting to everyone who had questions and even stopping by my seat and teaching me how to embroider on the eyes. The class moved at very different speeds, but Anna took it all in stride and managed to get to everyone. I fully expected to sit and wait for the rest of the class to catch up before I moved onto the eyes.

Overall, I gave this class an excellent rating! The teacher was attentive, organized and passionate. Without one of these characteristics, I think a class suffers. Anna knew exactly what she was talking about and was infectiously enthusiastic about teeny tiny toy knitting.

First class of Friday was Rosemary Drysdale’s Beyond Entrelac; this was another class with a small student population. There were only five people on the role call for this class. I really like small class sizes because you get much more individualized attention. I showed up early along with three other participants for this class; before 9am we just talked and helped re-direct lost students to their own class rooms. The room this class was in was a little bit out of the way and the last possible option in that particular hallway. The last member of the class was a little bit late, but because we were such a small class we were able to wait for her before beginning.

Entrelac

The class itself focused on the more unconventional applications of Entrelac knitting. Things that are not the typical square or hat from the brim up. We were supposed to bring two colours of DK weight yarn, which I managed not to pack, luckily Rosemary had anticipated this and brought along extra yarn for the unprepared student. In class we worked on a swatch with different patterns on the middle squares.

The samples in class were very inspiring; there were a lot of different colours, yarns, fibers and stitch patterns. There was a swatch in particular that I am thinking of with beading! I really want to make a beaded entrelac scarf now! I really enjoyed this class and loved Rosemary as a teacher! She was very personable and managed to put up with me for an entire three hours, which is harder than it sounds. I joked the whole time that she was going to forcibly eject me from class for being a problem student. After we started knitting our swatches, I settled down and wasn’t too bad.

Immediately after this class, I headed off to lunch with Paul. We just popped across the street to Vapiano and it was PACKED. The morning classes all end at approximately the same time and there is just enough time to grab lunch and get back. The restaurant across the street would, of course, be totally and completely swamped. It was my fault for not being totally on the ball because we normally jump right out after class and just beat the crowds to lunch, I was pretty slow getting back up to the room and dropping off my stuff.

Vapiano

I managed not to be late to the next class, which was Sweater Boot Camp by Amy Herzog. Ever since I saw VKL New York was hosting Amy, I have been dying to take her class, for New York and Seattle, they sold out in a matter of minutes. I felt extremely lucky to get into two of her classes here, but then I did sign up MINUTES after class registration opened.

Sweater Boot Camp was about all those little mistakes you make while you’re knitting a sweater that lead you astray. Astray is probably not the best word, but it is currently the only one I can think of. The things that make the sweater you’re actually knitting much different from the one you’re imagining in your head. We went over a wide variety of techniques, benefits of one type of fiber vs. another and cautionary tales.

Sweater Boot Camp

This course is a little different from her regular classes about picking the sweater type for your body, but it was really useful nonetheless. Amy is, of course, still a captivating speaker and such a funny person. I love her dry humour and the little quips she uses to emphasize and enhance her classes. I have her Knit to Flatter class tomorrow and I am sooooo looking forward to it!

I think that is going to be all for tonight, I am already tired and tomorrow is my day of three classes. Our flight to Antigua leaves at 5am on Sunday morning, so I think we are just going to stay up Saturday. I am sure my post tomorrow will be quite deluded and incoherent. I am sorry in advance!

Functional Friday: Colours Galore

Friday! Finally! I feel like this was the longest and shortest week ever! While it was going by, I couldn’t see the end, but after I was close to the end… where the heck did it go. Today I am going to talk about Laura Bryant’s book Artful Color Mindful Knits.

LB Book

I was lucky enough to take one of Bryant’s classes at Vogue Knitting Live NYC 2014. I really thoroughly enjoyed the class and it was really worth going to the class in order to see all the examples she brought. The class was called Intentional Patterning with Hand Dyed Yarn and that is a large part of the book!

Hand dyed yarn is always very unique and sometimes you don’t know what to do with it. Bryant’s book and class, help you figure out how to make patterns from variegated yarn. Not just any random conglomeration of pooling and scattered rainbows, but argyle and circle patterns. I could not believe this! It looks amazing and the pictures in the books are wonderful, but nothing beats seeing them first hand. I think when we see things in a picture our mind tricks us into thinking the pictures have been air brushed or altered. I took some pictures of the samples and even those pictures do not do them justice.

Shawl with Kim

There is a lot of information for dyers in this book as well. Mixing and matching colours and tones. It is a really interesting read and I thoroughly enjoyed her class. Very interesting and educational!

Functional Friday: Knitting on the Edge by Nicky Epstein

The next book on my review docket is Nicky Epstein’s Knitting on the Edge. I purchased the book Knitting Over the Edge from Chapters and absolutely loved all the interesting edges, stitches and bobbles. When I saw Vogue Knitting had the other books, I jumped at the chance to add them to my collection.

Knitting on the Edge

Knitting on the Edge begins with a page about texture. There are twelve swatches knitted in the same pattern, but different fibers. It allows you to see the stitch definition and how defined or subtle the difference is. I love that this book has this in it! Some new knitters and even seasoned ones, forget that tension, fiber, needle size and all manner of things affect how your stitch pattern will turn out. This page serves as a gentle prompt to keep these things in mind when choosing your pattern and yarn.

The next section is ribbing, on my original perusal I got really excited because I am not generally a fan of the K2P2 ribbing. I always change the ribbing on sweater patterns I do. I think one of the only ones I did NOT change was the ribbing on my Terracotta sweater by Tanis Fiber Arts and that is because it has a cabled hem.

Terracotta Cobalt Edge

In Knitting on the Edge, there are many hems with different ribs, cables, twists, slipped stitches and bobbles. I feel I am going to be able to find a vast amount of hems to keep me occupied in my sweater knitting for a long time.

The next section is ruffles. Personally I am not a ruffle person, but for someone who does enjoy ruffles in their work, there are a variety of garter and stockinet ruffles and even pleats. Nearer to the end of the section, there are a few patterns for smocking, which I really liked.

The next section is lace and a picture of a magenta sweater prefaces it with a lace hem on the sleeves and body. I absolutely love the lace hem used in this sweater, it’s elegant and since the rest of the sweater is relatively plain, lace is the perfect touch. Even if you are not interested in buying this book at all, I would highly suggest checking out this particular picture.

With the warmer weather coming up I am looking forward to delving into lace. There are edgings as well as stitches that can be adapted to the entire body of a work. I actually saw a really great example of this at the New York airport. When Paul and I were heading home from Vogue Knitting Live, we met a group of ladies heading back to California. One of the ladies was wearing a short-sleeved lace cardigan. I believe it was made from a Noro yarn, but it could have been something that just looked similar. I really liked the look and it wasn’t something I thought I would like. I plan to make one this summer, maybe to wear on my honeymoon?

The next section is fringes! I do not venture into the land of fringes all that often, but sometimes a blanket, afghan or scarf really calls for one. There are many basic fringes, which look like what you would expect from a fringe book. However, there are some really interesting ones that I would have never thought of. I could see my mom really liking this section of the book because they would add a lot of character to your knits.

The next section was not very long, but it was possibly my favourite, flora. All the edgings and stitches in this section were leaves. Since I am having a fall wedding and the theme is whimsical forest, I loved this section. I am thinking about applying these stitches to a shawl I could wear. I especially liked the idea of beading to add depth to the stitches. Used in the correct place, I could imagine the beads looking like dewdrops on the leaves. I am personally biased for this section, but I really like most of the patterns in this section.

The last section is called points and picots; the picture that introduces this section is heavy on the bobbles. Like ruffles, I am not generally a fan of very obvious bobbles. I like to create things that are subtle and elegant. I think bobbles are more playful and it really depends on the person. I actually came across the term ‘knitterly’ at Vogue Knitting Live in NYC. It alludes to handmade garments that are not in keeping with the fashion scene, but are completely fun and comfortable. It’s not very often I make things that are ‘knitterly’, but I think I should do more. Why make handmade things if you don’t go completely crazy once in a while…

Knitterly Scarf

The ‘knitterly’ scarf I made for Paul that Chloe ended up stealing as a blanket

I digress, I thought this section would hold nothing for me, but there were not really all that many bobbles! There were even a few bobble edges that I liked. I will try them out eventually in an attempt to be more ‘knitterly’ and do the community in general proud. Quite a few of the edges had the clean lines and subtle patterning I am so fond of, so I was quite pleasantly surprised. Do not fear, there were stitches that had many bobbles, cord, scallops and puffs. Even if your taste is not in line with mine, I think this book does a good job at catering to a wide range of styles.

On the front, these were the sections stated; I realized that there was a secret section at the end. It had all the patterns of garments from the photos! The pink lace sweater I was so fond of and the braided scarf from the front cover are in the back of the book. I did not expect the patterns since this was a book for decorative boarders. All the boarders pictured were in their respective sections, but I am really glad to have the patterns all the same.

Next week I will take a look at Nicky Epsteins other book, knitting beyond the edge. It is the essential collection of decorative finishes.