This weekend was spent in the beautiful setting of the Ammerdown Centre in Somerset with Fiona Morris and 4 other students on the City & Guilds Hand Knit Textiles course. And what a brilliant weekend it was!
We started on Thursday evening and got to know each other over dinner before heading to our work room. Fiona then spent a couple of hours talking about how to put together design submissions for magazines and shared lots of examples of her designs and swatches. Inspiring stuff!
On Friday morning we gathered after breakfast and the exercise set for the morning was all about colour matching. This was perfect for me as my current module is all about colour and yarn wrapping. Fiona introduced us to a couple of websites Design Seeds and Colour Lovers, which offer inspiration and ideas for colour palettes. We were each asked to select an image and recreate the colour palette by mixing up gouache paints. Here are my finished stripes, I was quite pleased with the results although the dark brown / purple colour was the trickiest to achieve.
In the afternoon we all got on with our C&G coursework. For me this involved painting more stripes based on yarn wrappings. Module 4 is more design based than knitting so I was quite envious of those who were able to whip out their needles and work on samples. The good thing was though that one of the other ladies is a module ahead of me so I was able to look at what she had done and also see what was in store for module 5. It definitely gave me the kick I needed to crack on! All in all it was a productive day and it was nice to end it with a knit and a natter over a glass of wine in the evening.
On Saturday we looked at Fair Isle knitting and Fiona showed us lot’s of examples of fair isle swatches and explained how to choose contrasting colours that would work together. We also looked at examples of Fair Isle ‘purl when you can’ which adds texture to the pattern. The technique is to purl instead of knit a stitch if the colour of the stitch about to be knit is the same as the one below.
Fair isle talk then turned to steeking. A couple of us had never steeked before and I have to admit the thought of taking a pair of scissors to my knitting filled me with horror! However, Fiona had the perfect little mug hug project for us to practice the technique. I neglected to pack my dpn’s but did have a long circular needle so was also able to learn the magic loop method of knitting in the round.
Below shows the crocheted edge that protects the stitches of the line to be cut. Then it was time to take a deep breath….
….snip, snip and voila – it’s flat!
As someone who has always pulled the fair isle floats too tightly, the handy tip of pulling the stitches in between the floats down the needle before working the contrasting colour stitch worked wonders! It’s not perfect but I am happy 🙂
Sunday came around far too quickly, and whilst a couple of ladies carried on with their C&G work there were a few of us keen to learn the Mobius Strip cast on which used for making a figure of 8 scarf or cowl that knits out from the centre outwards. I really couldn’t get the hang of how to wrap the yarn at first, but finally got there!
Over the weekend I had worked a Ribbon lace swatch from one of Barbara Walkers books so before we went for lunch on Sunday we blocked it using a hand steamer. I so need to invest in one of those, it opened up the lace beautifully!
Before hitting the road on Sunday Fiona was kind enough to help me with a pattern chart for a shawl that I have been stalling on for ages. I wasn’t sure how to split out the different sections to make it clear and she gave me some suggestions so I am hoping to get it finally written up this week.
All in all it was a really inspiring and motivating weekend at Ammerdown. Our group was lovely and it was so nice to spend some time with like minded people who are as mad about knitting as I am! I really do hope we can do it again next year.