16 August 2009

Cookie A Continued

The morning class with Cookie A was "Creating Your Own Stitch Patterns." She talked about how to create lines (ribbing, garter stitch, etc.). We discussed how you need to take note of how the fabric will behave - when do purls pop? when do purls recede? We discussed paired increases/decreases, and finally cables. We talked about the advantages and disadvantages of knitter's graph paper (good for simple designs, but not as good for cables since cables suck fabric).

Without going into much more detail about her class (just take the damned class!), I will say that her seven-page handout is EXCELLENT and very detailed. She has a fun sense of humour; she is very good at explaining detailed, technical concepts; and I got a kick out of how she used her entire body to demonstrate how stitches lean or behave in fabric.

The afternoon class was "Intuitive Chart Reading." I've worked with charts before but what attracted me to this class was that it promised to teach me the connection between the chart the resulting knitting, how to read my knitting to determine where in the chart I am, and how to read cable charts WITHOUT A KEY!!!!

One of the things that always annoys me about charts is that I always have to have some kind of marker or something to show me where in the chart I am. But Cookie showed us how to not have to not have to do that. I will admit that while I conceptually GET the concept, I'm not sure that I'm yet brave enough to do that on an actual project. I might keep practising on the Celtic cable chart she gave us. Crazy Celtic cable chart... three-stitch cables, four-stitch cables, purl-knit cable combinations, some are right cables, some are left cables... COOKIE'S CRAZY CELTIC CABLE CHART, I tell ya!!!!

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Cookie started by asking us which ones of us preferred cable charts over lace charts or vice versa. Craig (the owner of Loop) said, "Lace charts are easier than cable charts, but cables are easier to knit than lace." My eyes lit up, I pointed to him emphatically and practically yelled, "Yes! THAT!!!" (I found out SO much about Craig yesterday - he doesn't like lace because he hates yarn overs. Who hates yarn overs??? and he hates charts! I have no idea why, but that totally cracks me up. I guess I just have this vision of an LYSO embracing every type of pattern ever made. And to find out that they have pattern preferences just like every other knitter was somehow mind-blowingly revolutionary.)

Cookie showed us the three types of cable symbols used in patterns. She then drew out three examples of each. Some were right-leaning cables, some were left-leaning, but each were three-stitch cables. She numbered them, and then drilled us. "Stacey, number five - how many stitches would go on the cable needle? And is it a right cable or a left cable? So does the needle go in the front or the back?" So by the time everyone in the class did one, we all had it down pat. It gave me law school flashbacks. Wowza.

She taught us a good mnemonic (which, btw, does NOT work well for those of us who cable without a cable needle): I LEFT you out FRONT; I'll be RIGHT BACK. So if it's a right cable, you put the cable needle to the back.

She gave us her rules of cables, which completely made knit-purl combination cables make sense for me - suddenly, with just the utterance of two simple sentences. Voila. She's a friggin' genius. Seriously. And I think it helps that she uses her hands constantly to represent different stitches so even though she had swatches to show what she was talking about, it's obviously much easier to see her hands.

So... in case you've missed it, the classes were awesome and amazing and absolutely worth the time and money and energy. The way Cookie thinks about knitting meshes well with my methodical mind, and her teaching style complimented my learning style (it was hard to remember that she didn't know about my learning disability and I therefore shouldn't randomly yell "Stop covering your lips!" as I sometimes do with my professors). If she ever teaches again at Loop, I'm definitely taking her class, even if it's a garter stitch scarf class.

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