Monday, May 7, 2007

my, oh, my, oh, my, oh

Why did I leave Ohio? To go to the Grand Rapids Area Knitting Machine Club Spring Seminar!

I had a wonderful time. Thanks to all who organized this. Charlene Shafer and Ilene Levy were the demonstrators on Friday and Saturday. Adrianna and Sarah prepared the luncheon, which was wonderful. The Grand Rapids seminar is a WONDERFUL value. They try to keep the prices low and have largely succeeded. I compare the cost of a machine knitting seminar to a similar seminar for handknitting and I find that I save hundreds of dollars. Possibly because I eliminate some of the travel expenses and don't have to stay in a hotel!
I learned many, many tips and tricks at this seminar. I will try to share a few each day over the next few weeks so as not to overwhelm you as I was overwhelmed and inspired!

I spent the first day, Friday, with Charlene Shafer. Charlene's shop is "The Knit Knack Shop" in Peru, Indiana. She demonstrated some of the techniques from her newest books . (Shameless plug)
She demonstrated a number of afghan techniques, and answered a burning question for me: When you are knitting an afghan with fairaisle, which obviously has floats on the reverse, and the lining is plain stockinette, you have two different gauges to deal with. Usually the fairaisle block is shorter (higher number of rows to the inch). But for ease of knitting and finishing, it is convenient to have the same number of stitches and rows on the front as on the back. How does she deal with the difference in size? Her answer was that she likes to attach the lining at a number of points on the back, like "quilting" the two pieces together. It is nice if you have a design element such as contrasting colors to use to do this. But the more places you attach the lining, the nicer the finished product will be. Blocking and steaming will eliminate the size differences, once they are attached.

Another point she made about lining fairaisle afghans is that if you use a darker lining color, the floats on the back of the fairaisle will not show through the lining, as might happen with a lighter color.

If using a very large repeat (such as a 200-needle repeat) on an electronic machine, be sure and set the machine for a single motif. This will eliminate any possibility of the design being split in a way you do not want.
Tomorrow, or the next time I catch a few minutes to post, I will fill you in with some information about Ilene Levy.

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