I didn’t even blink when Joji and Veera announced that they would be teaching at Happy Knits in Portland, Oregon. I immediately signed up for 2 of Joji’s classes (I thought Veera’s topics were interesting, but I have been on a mission to focus more on sweaters this year). I signed up for “Approach to Sweater Design” and “Sweaters that Fit.” First of all I have to say Joji is a really warm, and funny person; she puts you at ease immediatly. I know she was a bit nervous because this was the first time that she has ever taught, but I think she was a pro (and yes I know she designs sweaters for a living:). There were a lot of prolific knitters in the sweater design class so the topics covered tended to be more for the intermediate to advanced knitter, although I am sure that there were beginners in the class too. From my perspective many of the people in the class wanted to learn more about sweater construction or how to make modifications to an existing pattern. I sometimes find taking classes tough. I used to take more classes, but the classes are designed to appeal to multiple levels of knitters, so sometimes the questions that are brought up in classes vary significantly (i.e from the new knitter to the advanced knitter).
I learned a lot from the class and afterwards was able to get some hints about how I will be adopting the Freshly Fallen pattern by Amy Miller ( if you are curious she suggested that when I do the v-neck increases at a deeper rate to start and then lower the rate of increases, causing a heart shaped neckline). I really don’t know when I am going to the actually sweater, but since I am committed I will do it. That reminds me I need to check my gauge on swatch #2. Okay back to the trip.
The 3 hour class went by really fast, it was as if I blinked and it was over. This class definately changed some perceptions that I had about sweater construction; mainly on gauge and how a looser gauge can be flattering with positve ease. I recently have been thinking about the tighter the fabric the better with sweaters would fit, flatter and wear, but I came away with some different takes after this class. I think I was looking at sweater construction a little two dimensionally before this class(which is okay), and not taking other elements of the design or my body shape in to deciding what and how I want to modify the pattern. I was just looking at what I would make as how the sweater was pieced together (ie. Raglan, top down, bottom up, seamed) but after taking this class I understood that certain construction types can be more flattering on my body type. Another way I can phrase this is that I think we look at making sweaters as knitters, construction, and what we would like to make, what is challenging. Joji noticed that my bust and the depth of armhole measurement was disproportionate ( i.e typically we pick the bust or chest measurement and that gives you a sleeve size). Hearing this made me realize that when I pick patterns this way or with a raglan construction I can end up with wider sleeves. This was kind of mind blowing to me because, although I have my measurements from Customfit, I don’t really think about changing the type of construction and modifications due to my measurements(length of garment and size yes, but that is about it). Her perspective as a designer at which she could dissect my body shape was extremely helpful. I definitely have new things to think about now when I make my next sweater.
So after class my friend and I ventured over to Knit Purl and Dublin Bay Knitting in downtown Portland. I was no disappointed. These shops were completely different from each other and the ones that I get to visit in Seattle. Knit Purl specializes in upscale yarn. I have visited their website before, but have never visited the store it was great to see and touch yarns that I have read about. I learned I liked Happy Mink by Jones Vandemeer, but was not as into Clever Camel (a worsted weight yarn made from baby camel hair by the same company).
I ended up picking up some of the Happy Mink and deciding to try the new FAR Woolfolk yarn ( in a gray color way…. what can I say I love this color). I am really excited about the Happy Mink yarn I hope to make the Becot hat by Julie Hoover with this yarn.
After wrapping up we headed to Dublin Bay Knitting which is about a 20 minute walk from Knit Purl. I can’t say enough about this store. I think the however is from across the pond. It has traditional Celtic themed things you would expect to see, but also new stuff like their own yarn line. I ended up picking up some Hedgehog Fiber’s Silky Merino Lace-weight yarn which I have been wanting to try ( I think I want to used this for the BeauB cardigan, I’m not a huge fan of mohair, which is called for in the pattern) the staff was very friendly and I enjoyed browsing some yarns I have not seen.
It hard to believe, but there is still more for me to share with you about my trip to PDX.
Norwegian knitting book
4 skeins for Hedgehog Fiber’s Silk Merino
4 skeins of Woolfok’s FAR in a grey color way
2 skeins of Happy Mink ( 1 is marled, the other is black)
Becot pattern by Julie Hoover
Work In Progress: