My Advanced Kitchener workshop had it's first airing at Edinburgh Yarn Festival this March. It wasn't an easy workshop to describe, or deliver for that matter. Whilst some students may have felt daunted and many students would have had the penny drop some time later, there were a number of students who 'clicked' within the 3hrs and absolutely loved it. It isn't an easy subject, but it's not difficult, either.

Let me go into a little more detail, in response to some feedback I received, and to help demystify this oh so favourite subject of mine.

 
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I asked for feedback at the end of my class at EYF, and the one thing that rang through was the wish for an intermediate level. I completely appreciate that a jump from regular Kitchener (or my beginners class) may seem a jump too far. I do see that, I promise. But there isn't an intermediate level.

Once you want to move beyond grafting stocking stitch, reverse stocking stitch, garter stitch and reverse garter stitch (all things I cover in my Kitchener Stitch - an Introduction class) then you have to make the leap - there's no other way to do it. Why? Well, because we have to change how we see grafting. And that's no bad thing.

When I was writing my first book, Going Straight, I knew how difficult it might be for some to get their heads around the sideways construction. Even my tech editor wanted some breathing space around other projects. That 90 degree shift in thinking is subtle, and it seemingly turns everything upside down (which of course, it doesn't... it's a mere shift...) and it can take a little getting used to. But once your brain has adjusted, it's pretty much plain sailing.

It's no different with grafting.

What you know about grafting now - working the two selvedge stitches then launching into a routine of working two stitches on the front needle then two on the back - subtly changes. It's a minor change. And if you think about it, you're still doing the same thing except you're starting the routine at a different point. Instead of working two stitches on the front needle, two on the back.. you start to work one stitch on the front needle, two on the back, then one on the front. In a nutshell, that's it (there's a little bit more, which I explain in the class) but that really is it.

It's all very well for me to say it's not rocket science as the one who's teaching it, so I won't. But it isn't beyond anyone. To some extent it's easier with less understanding of the common Kitchener stitches, mostly because there's less habit to be undone. The class is a fresh perspective on a subject that many find daunting. And that fresh perspective describes the whys and wherefores, the engineering behind your stitches. It's eye opening.

And I'm kinda thinking that maybe calling it an Advanced class needs to change...

I'm teaching this class at Woollinn, Dublin, in a few weeks. As I've mentioned before, due to my health and stuff I'm take a long break from travelling to shows and teaching workshops, so I'd grab this chance while you can to come and pick my brains in person.

This blog post was bought to you from my new studio with the support of a new wrist brace. More about the new studio shortly.

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AuthorWoolly Wormhead

These tutorials were written for Circled and Elemental, to aid in grafting the Hats. The techniques will have other uses, too, so I'm making them public as free downloads. The best information is by far what's in the books as that's far more comprehensive (and better laid out!) but these are pretty thorough in and of themselves.

Please bear in mind that these are written with specific patterns in mind, namely sideways knit Hats that require a top to bottom graft. I plan to talk about this much more at length in the hopefully not too distant future!

These are all on the Grafting page - images below link there.

 

This tutorial replaces my original garter grafting tutorial as it's far more thorough and indepth and covers a few more things when grafting a sideways knit Hat with a top to bottom graft.

 

Although this was written for Azula and Parallelo, the same principles would apply when grafting any kind of colourwork in stocking stitch or garter stitch that's top to bottom.

 

Grafting slipped stitches comes a two-parter, as there's a fair bit of prep involved (slipped stitches onto a provisional cast-on will do that ;) It's worth the effort though, as just look at those clean lines in the photo below!

 

Part two of the two-parter - make sure you grab both of them.

 

There's an awful lot more I want to say about grafting but honestly, my head's not been in the right place for it... for years, even. I have so much material and it's such a waste just sitting there in a few folders on my hard-drive but bringing it all together was going to take some mighty effort.

So I kinda gave myself no choice about it by proposing new workshops and having them sell out at EYF! And now I've basically written a book about it. Except I'm not wanting to publish a book because I don't want that kind of pressure, but I would like to share much of what I've learnt here. Seems that what was causing my head to crash with it was one or two tiny pieces missing in the puzzle and now I have those, my brain is back together and my confidence much healthier. I'd basically got it all worked out anyway, I just hadn't noticed the obvious.

Is it alright with you that some time later in the year I start a Kitchener Diaries blog series? And share all this info in bite-sized chunks?

ps/ my Introduction to Kitchener and Advanced Kitchener classes haven't sold out yet at Woollinn (I believe!) - it's going to be an amazing class, and I'm keen to see you there.

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AuthorWoolly Wormhead
CategoriesTechniques

Edinburgh Yarn Festival is drawing ever closer, and here's a reminder of the homework for each of my classes.

 
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An Introduction to Hat Design

In this class we'll cover a couple of basic styles - beanies and slouchies - and for this you'll want a yarn that knits up pretty quickly (Aran weight or heavier), needles to give you a firm-sh gauge (go down a needle size or two if you're not sure) and an idea of your gauge. Needles should be DPNs, short circs or whichever method you prefer for knitting in the round.

A swatch would be fantastic but failing that, we'll use your ball band gauge (which may mean a less well fitting Hat)

 

An Introduction to Kitchener Stitch

A few balls of oddments - 50g each or so - and needles to match; DK weight or heavier. A tapestry needle is essential. Needles can be any tpe.

Please also knit two swatches of stocking stitch, and two swatches of garter stitch. Swatches can be any size, minimum 20 sts and 20 rows. Don't cast them off, leave them on the needles or waste yarn.

Extras: crochet hook and a few metres of waste yarn.

 

An Introduction to Short Row Colourwork

At least 2 x 50g of two different coloured yarns of the same weight - DK or heavier. Needles to match. The more colours you bring, the more interesting your swatches will be! Needles need to be able to take 40sts at gauge.

A crochet hook will also be a big help, as would hooked markers or the safety pin variety.

 

Advanced Kitchener Stitch

This class is flexible in that you can bring along whatever you want to practice grafting on. However, to get the most from the class, please bring the following swatches:

  1. Two swatches of 1x1 rib; use a standard cast-on and work for 5cm; an odd number of sts, starting and ending in K1 on RS; live stitches kept on spare needle or waste yarn
     
  2. Two swatches of 2x2 rib; use a standard cast-on and work for 5cm; a multiple of 4+2, starting and ending with K2 on RS; live stitches kept on spare needle or waste yarn
     
  3. Two swatches of moss (seed) stitch; use a standard cast-on and work for 5cm; an odd number of sts with each row starting and ending in K1; live stitches kept on spare needle or waste yarn
     
  4. One swatch of 1x1 rib, started with a provisional cast on, worked to around 10cm in length; an odd number of sts, starting and ending in K1 on RS; live stitches kept on spare needle or waste yarn
     
  5. One swatch of 2x2 rib, started with a provisional cast on, worked to around 10cm in length; a multiple of 4+2, starting and ending with K2 on RS; live stitches kept on spare needle or waste yarn
     
  6. One swatch of moss (seed) stitch, started with a provisional cast on, worked to around 10cm in length; an odd number of sts with each row starting and ending in K1; live stitches kept on spare needle or waste yarn
     
  7. If you're feeling adventurous, swatches of your favourite cables!
 

I hope this covers everything! Leave a comment below if I've missed anything. See you there!

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AuthorWoolly Wormhead

I'm going to talk about this here, as it's come up a lot over the last few weeks, and I'd like to put a couple of things straight.

 
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The Elemental Hats are not swing knitting. They don't use the technique. They are short row colourwork but that's a broad umbrella!

I'm not fully versed in swing knitting, but as far as I understand it, it's a method for maintaining balance within a flat piece of fabric that uses short rows to manipulate the fabric and thus create colourwork patterns. The aim of swing knitting is to guide you and create a rthythm to your work that follows the dips and flow of the short rows, and that doesn't take into account the need to use short rows for shaping.

Those of you who have knit any of the Elemental Hats will know that the short row forms are not all the same, and in some cases, not even the dominate feature. The only one that comes close is Korra, but even then that uses instarsia and still has those additional short rows for the crown and brim which would otherwise break up a rthythmic flow.

Swing knitting has picked up pace recently and is being recognised as a technique, which is great. It is though one method for creating short row colourwork, or perhaps a discipline is a better way to describe it. But it isn't the only way, and I wanted to clear this up before too many more people start linking the Elemental Hats with the swing technique. Parallelo and Scourie use the same techniques as the Elemental Hats but I don't think they could be linked in the same way. Taking a technique and adding in a 3rd dimension changes it muchly, and perhaps that's more evident when it's knitted?

Swing knitting is a brilliant technique and the uses of that I've seen are amazing! And now I think I need to investigate it further, as I'm always curious to see how others approach a similar challenge :)

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AuthorWoolly Wormhead

The teaching schedule has now gone live for Woollinn, a full week ahead of when booking opens!

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Edinbugh Yarn Festival and Woollinn are my only teaching bookings for next year, so if you're keen to take a class you may want to have a persual at the workshop list and see what takes your fancy. The event is well situated in Dublin, close to the airport which itself is not too far from the city centre, making it very accessible for travel. And of course, it's Dublin - you can't go wrong.

I'll be spending the weekend in great company - Carol Feller, Karie Westermann, Justyna Lorkowska, Nancy Marchant to name but a few (and I'm looking forward to catching up with each of them ;). With so many great tutors, a great city and fantastic organisers (the crew at This is Knit are amazing) it's guaranteed to be worth every penny and then some.

See you there?

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AuthorWoolly Wormhead