Monday, November 14, 2011

Catching up

I seem to have finally managed to catch up on the every day life stuff after our lovely vineyard wedding and subsequent relaxing Jamaica trip (the thank you notes are even written! Though, not mailed.), so now I can get back to the fun stuff, like rambling about knitting.

I promised you guys a post/review about the class I took at Rhinebeck, Norwegian Cutting Techniques.

I signed up for this class because I wanted to learn about steeking. Last year, I started a Deep V Argyle Vest, and while I'm still not done knitting it, I might someday actually finish it, and when that day comes, I want to be prepared for cutting it open and watching its metaphorical guts spill onto the floor.

(Or, my couch. I don't sit on the floor while knitting.)

Now, it's entirely possible that I wasn't paying close attention when I signed up, but as I recall, the information available about the exact topics covered at that point was minimal. It said "cutting techniques," I foolishly assumed we would cover a number of techniques.

Which is why I was a smidge disappointed to show up for class and realize it was only going to address machine stitching.

I don't own a sewing machine.

(And frankly, if you do already own a sewing machine, I'm not sure you need a whole class to learn how to use it to do steeks--sew 2 lines of stitches, cut between them, voila!)

Still, I tried to keep an open mind--it's not like I couldn't buy a sewing machine if it seemed like it would be useful. Although learning to use a sewing machine would probably be a prerequisite.

I had done my homework, knitting a small baby-sized pullover and sleeves, so I was ready to learn.

The class consisted of about 14 students (two of whom apparently signed up for no conceivable reason, because they spent the whole class yapping instead of listening to the instructor, and generally being a distraction. I guess that's your choice, but what a waste of $70. And also, rude.).

The instructor showed us various samples of her steeking work (lovely!), and then set up the machine so we could start stitching. The assumption seemed to be that we would already know how to use a sewing machine, which of course I didn't. So I opted to wait at the back of line while watching other people tackle the monster.

When my turn came, I managed to sew 2 very crooked lines onto my sweater, in the general vicinity of the areas I had marked, and then deftly sliced it open--exhilarating. And of course, as predicted, the machine stitches held the raw edges together, so no unraveling. I worked on picking up stitches for the placket and then--the class was over.

The instructor gave us a brief overview of how we might go about steeking the armholes and attaching the sleeves at home--presumably with my non-existent sewing machine--but when asked if she could provide some kind of written instructions for the 86 steps she had glossed over in 5 minutes, she directed us to her book.

Um, no thanks.

So to sum up, I could not recommend this particular class, because the time allotted was not sufficient to allow students to actually learn all the steps, which is presumably the point (the instructor said several times she would prefer a longer class, so I assume this was the festival organizers' decision and not hers). It's especially not worth your time if you don't own (or have access to) and know how to use a sewing machine. And if you do, my completely uninformed opinion is that you don't need this class.

But that said, I've never taken a knitting class before in my life, and I really enjoyed the opportunity to meet other knitters, look at their work, and interact with an instructor. The class itself didn't do much for me, but made the idea of taking classes in general much more appealing. Next Sunday, I'll be taking a "design with confidence" workshop with Cirilia Rose, and I can't wait!

And now . . . animals!







1 comment :

Clumsy Knitter said...

I'm sorry the class wasn't as useful as you hoped it would be. :( Eunny Jang has a great series on steeking on her (old) blog that I found very helpful when I was doing my first steek. (

Also: I can't wait to hear what you thought of your Design with Confidence class!