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May 12

Learning Through Classes

I finally took the plunge and registered for my very first knitting class, at the Stitches Midwest event in August.  I’m really excited but also nervous.

I’ve taken a several sewing classes last summer at the needleshop, in order to learn the basics of the sewing.  But they were all basic level classes and only had 4 people in them at one time.  I’ve never taken any kind of intermediate sewing classes and I’ve also never taken any knitting classes of any kind.

I know it’s silly, but I’m quite nervous.  Having taught myself how to knit (thanks to youtube and some tips from my coworkers), I’m not certain where my skill set falls.  Am I average, intermediate, knowledgeable, basic?  I truly don’t know where I’m going to land in this class, and I have an irrational fear in the back of my head that I’m going to get scoffed at by the more advanced knitters.  In all actuality, if I took a more advanced sewing class I’m almost certain I would feel the same way.

Both sewing and knitting are very independent, individualized crafts.  For knitters, there are knitting groups that pop up all over, but it’s not mandatory to knitting.  And same goes for sewing.  We’d have to haul our machines,  and/or fabric and numerous supplies to someone else’s house or space to make it a group activity.  What I mean to say is that it’s not like playing a sport.  There is no team needed to work towards one goal.  It’s just me, my machine, and needles.  This all means that I’m not used to getting together in a group to learn and improve upon my skills, without already knowing that everyone else is also at the same level.

I really do love that the internet has opened up this venue, so that we can connect to tons of people instantly; I feel like I’m now in this huge sewing circle.  It’s fantastic!  But it’s still continues to be an individual craft-effort; you guys don’t scoff if I’m ‘ironing instead of pressing’ or chide me if I have one too many stitches on my needle as I’m casting off.  (Don’t tell anyone else but between you and me, I don’t think I’ve ever really pressed fabric.  I’m a closet-ironer.)

I personally learn extremely well by looking at, and reading books or examining diagrams.  And deep down, I know that once I take a class or two, it’ll be okay and my nerves *should* subside.  But I’m curious, do you guys feel the same way about ‘in person’ classes?  How do you learn new skills and techniques?

The class itself:

The ‘knitting’ class I registered for is called Lining a la Chanel.  So it’s not just a knitting class, but its a class that combines two my loves, knitting AND sewing.  So I’ll be learning how to sew lining into a knitted jacket, Chanel style.  Doesn’t it sound amazing?!  Okay, well geeky, and amazing.

So the homework for this class is that I have to knit up the jacket or coat before hand.  So given that the class isn’t until August, I think it will give me plenty of time to work something up.

Here’s what I had in mind….

While it does look more like a cardigan than a jacket, I’m not thrilled with the rest of the vintage jackets I’ve seen.  They tend to be really boxy and somewhat shapeless, while this green one is fitted and chic.  Plus it’s really what I want to learn how to do; to learn how to apply lining to a knitted garment that has some stretch to it.

This knit is a hounds-tooth pattern and it would have to be done in sections knitted flat (instead of in the round).  If I decide to do this one, it’s going to take me a while since there’s lots of color work to be done.  I’m really inspired by the grass-green they’ve made this in also.  The more I see this cover image, the less I can visualize it in any other color.

I’d really like to hear what color combinations you guys like too?  I need some more ideas before I settle on the green/white or green/cream color combo.  Or do you have any other other knitted jacket or coat patterns

As an aside, doesn’t the female model look more like this guy’s mother than a girlfriend?  hehehe I’m sure it’s just the lighting, but I think it’s funny.

  1. Amy / May 12 2011

    Have you ever gone to a “stitch and bitch” group, i.e.a knitting club? I’ve been part of one for the past nine years or so and it’s great. Everyone is supportive–no matter how much of a novice you are. It’s only the rare knitter who will be snarky about someone’s lack of experience. Most of the time, people are happy to help when you have a question. I bet there are a lot of groups in your area, which you could probably find through Ravelry. You might consider attending a meeting or two. That might help you feel less nervous about your class in the fall! Sounds like a great one. I like the green and white colorway of the sweater you picked, but black and white/cream would be classy too! You’re right–she does look much older than the male model…very pretty, but older :)

  2. Jane / May 12 2011

    How about red and white? There’s a photo of a jacket in this colour scheme in Ravelry – search for Jaeger Handknits JM09 in books. There’s also a terrific article in Threads issue 13 on someone who knitted and llined a chanel-style suit, it’s interesting to read but the sheer labour involved might put you off before you start! I can perhaps send a scan if you’re interested.

  3. Stephanie / May 12 2011

    Don’t feel bad about the press vs iron thing. I didn’t even know till recently that there was a difference! I just thought pressing was a fancier word for ironing. I hate ironing and (now that I know what it is) I hate pressing even more. Takes so much extra time….. guess I need to work on my patience ;)

  4. Karen / May 12 2011

    I think it is funny you are nervous, I think you are an amazing knitter. The sweater you posted a while ago has made me seriously consider learning how to knit and not just stick to sewing. I think you will do great!

    • Liz / May 13 2011

      Aww, thanks Karen! I do agree that it’s silly and a bit irrational that I’m nervous about the knitting class. I think my nervousness also stems from the fact that the woman who is teaching it, Jean Frost, used to work at Chanel.

      I remember thinking that knitting is hard, and was quite hesitant to learn it myself. But I do have to say, once you get the hang of holding the yarn and working with it, it’s a cinch. Sewing is great while I’m at home, but if I have time to kill when I’m on the go (at a doctor’s office, on a long car ride, or commuting to work) knitting is perfect; it’s a great way to get something done since most projects can just be stashed in your purse.

  5. Michelle / May 24 2011

    This class sounds like fun! I’ve gone to Stitches Midwest the past two year and LOVE it there! It’s fiber Christmas. I linked over to your blog from Sew Retro and have been cruising around. You do lovely work! I also live in Chicago, and am the organizer of the Logan Square Knitters Meetup. If you’re ever interested in knitting as part of a group, check us out.

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