A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat in Tacoma, WA. Hundreds of fiber enthusiasts attended classes in knitting, spinning, weaving, as well as other great subjects. There also was a great market place that was hard to resist! My focus that weekend was Intarsia and Fair Isle knitting.
My first class was a 3-hour class, “Learning to Love Intarsia” with Sally Melville. I have been so intimidated with Intarsia. This class definitely changed my mind! Here’s the swatch I created.
I learned how to avoid gaps in color changes and minimize the “mess” on the inside, how to weave ends, and many other tricks. I also learned the correct way to duplicate stitch. I know that may sound silly, but my duplicate stitches were mighty ugly. My swatch is Wool of the Andes Sport Avocado and Forest Heather, and a dash of Sprinkle Heather duplicate stitches. Sally also opened a whole world of intarsia design, which has already got the creative juices flowing!
The second class I took was “Adding and Inventing Colorwork Patterns” with Mary Jane Mucklestone. This was an all-day class teaching us how to create our own Fair Isle patterns, calculate number of stitches needed and charting.
Here’s a small swatch of my work. It was a little scary at first, trying to make sure the colors worked together. I’m fairly new to colorwork, so speed was definitely not seen here, but it took that fear away and I’m ready to start creating! I used Capra yarn for this swatch with the current colors Hunter, Harbor, Flamingo, Velveteen and an older color from my stash. Many people are resistant to swatching. A cool way to swatch in the round is to create an arm cuff with ribbing on either end. That way you can work on the first part of a project and swatch at the same time!
Sally Melville and Mary Jane Mucklestone are both amazing and talented designers and authors. When the next opportunity arises, I plan to take more classes from them. In the meantime, I’ll be perusing some of their published books to gain more knitting skills both in colorwork and design.
Knitting Pattern Essentials by Sally Melville: