Sunday, June 29, 2014

July and August Knitting Classes at Michael's in South Austin - June 30 deadline Knitting class discount!

June just flew by! I spent much of the month preparing for my parents 40th anniversary surprise party. I'll have a couple of pictures up later.

So I'm late with the July schedule. The good news is that I already have my August schedule completed, so I can kill two birds with one stone by putting them both up.

Also, I have more good news, in case you missed it on my Facebook page. You have until the end of business June 30 to sign up for knitting classes for $20. These classes are usually $25, so you can save $5. You can get this discount by signing up for any classes already on the calendar. July classes are already up, and August classes should be up soon.

New Classes - Discover Knitting classes are updated every few month, so you'll see some new classes. The good news is that I can bring back last month's classes upon request, but this month I'm focused on scheduled the new summer classes.

I'm excited because summer means kids classes! This July, Michael's is introducing kids classes with Weaving Sticks. Weaving sticks work like the bracelets I used to weave with straws when I was in elementary school. Except these are bigger and better.

I've also been doing the Passport to Imagination classes. It's been a new experience for me. I've never taught such a large group of kids. Luckily my fellow instructor is a seasoned veteran, and we've been getting in some great kids. Of course, I'm especially looking forward to the day we have a weaving project.

Let's get on to the schedule itself.

Beginning Knitting - No Experience Needed

These two classes, Knit Simple Scarf and Knit Beginner 1, are designed for students with no knitting experience. However, they are also good for those who haven't knit for a while and need a review, or people who are having difficulty learning on their own. Of course, anyone who wants to join us to make one of these projects is welcomed.

Each class offers different projects that teach the same basic skills. Both classes teach casting on (putting stitches on the needle), knit stitch, binding off (taking stitches off the needle), weaving in ends and a basic understanding of yarn and knitting tools. Knit Beginner 1 also covers basic seaming, and the Simple Scarf Class teaches how to make fringe.

Also, if you want to take the Ruffled Scarf class, these classes will teach you the prerequisite skills you need.

Knit Beginner 1: Hat or Mitts - $25
Saturday, July 12 from 2:30 pm until 5 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley
Wednesday, July 2 from 5:30 pm until 8 pm at Michael's in Westlake
Saturday, August 9 from 3 pm until 5:30 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley
Sunday, August 10 from  2 pm until 4:30 pm at Michael's in Westlake

Select your favorite colors and start making your own hat or wrist warmers that you'll be proud to wear or give as gifts. You choose one project for the class, but you will get patterns for both. You can look at the sample hat and cuffs I made here.
 photo b19dfa82-d6e5-41b2-9c19-570ce8e27dbf.jpg photo 3c9177a3-0aa7-4a18-a68a-31c8772f2214.jpg

Knit Simple Scarf - $25
Wednesday, July 9 from 5:30 pm until 8 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley
Sunday, July 20 from 2 pm until 4:30 pm at Michael's in Westlake
Saturday, August 2 from 3 pm until 5:30 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley
Sunday, August 17 from 2 pm until 4:30 pm at Michael's in Westlake

Knit on large needles with fringe accents, this scarf drapes beautifully and is the perfect accessory for any outfit.


Knit Simple Scarf photo K18_CYC_Knit-Simple-Scarf_0.jpg

Arm Knitting - No Experience Needed - $10
Tuesday, July 1 from 6 pm until 7 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley
Tuesday, July 8 from 6 pm until 7 pm at Michael's in Westlake
Friday, August 1 from 3 pm until 4 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley
Tuesday, August 12 from 6 pm until 7 pm at Michael's in Westlake

According to The Wall Street Journal, "Arm knitting combines several things that are appealing to millennials: crafts projects, chunky knitwear (featured on the fall 2013 runways), social media and instant gratification." Of course, this innovative new craft is for people of all ages who have two arms.

Choose from four different projects using different types of yarn, including three cowls and a shawl. Pick one for the class, but you'll receive patterns for all four projects so you can try them all. (Pictures of more of the patterns are coming soon. However, the left picture is me arm knitting at a demo, and the right picture is the Sashay Arm Knit Cowl sample I made.)

               Arm Knitting Demo            Sashay Arm Knit Cowl at Demo - 5/3/2014

Beginner Classes: Learn the Purl Stitch


These classes are designed for people who have taken Knit Beginner 1 or the Knit Simple Scarf Class, or knitters who know the knit stitch but haven't gotten to the purl stitch yet. As always, any knitter with the prerequisite skills can join us, even if they are more advanced. In these classes we will focus on learning the purl stitch, a skill that can be used to add new textures to your knitting.

Knit Beginner 2 - Neck Warmer or Tassel Hat - $25
Prerequisites: Casting On, Knit Stitch, Binding Off
 photo 451ebf09-39f9-4c23-93e5-2bce52d90c86.jpg photo 60d9a448-9798-405a-a129-54f3bb80f5bf.jpg

Now that you know the basics of knitting, you are ready to learn the purl stitch! Create a hat or neck warmer. You will choose one pattern for the class, but you will receive patterns for both projects.

Knit Jersey Pillow - $25
Prerequisites: None (See the paragraph below for details)
Thursday, July 17 from 5:30 pm until 8 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley
Thursday, July 24 from 5:30 pm until 8 pm at Michael's in Westlake
Saturday, August 16 from 3 pm until 5:30 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley
Tuesday, August 5 from 5:30 pm until 8 pm at Michael's in Westlake

Knit Jersey Pillow photo K19_CYC_Knit-Jersey-Pillow_1.jpg

You’ll love resting your head on this pillow because this unique yarn has a T-shirt look and feel.

About the Knit Jersey Pillow class prerequisites: Beginners usually learn the knit stitch first and then the purl stitch. However, the Knit Jersey Pillow class is designed to teach beginners how to purl first. So it can either be taken as a first class, or after Knit Beginner 1 or the Knit Simple Scarf class to learn how to purl. However, if you take Knit Jersey pillow first, I suggest taking a beginner knitting course also so you know the knit stitch as well.

Advanced Beginner Classes

This is your chance to take your knitting to the next level. These classes cover skills like Cables, decreasing, increasing, cables and working with specialty yarns. Be sure to check the prerequisites before signing up.
        
Knit Ruffled Scarves (Discover Time Knitting) - $25*
Prerequisites: Knit Stitch, Binding Off
Thursday, July 3 from 5:30 pm until 8 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley
Thursday, July 10, from 5:30 pm until 8 pm at Michael's in Westlake
Thursday, August 7 from 5:30 pm until 8 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley
Wednesday, August 13, from 5:30 pm until 8 pm at Michael's in Westlake

Ruffle yarns and ruffled scarves have become very popular recently. This is a chance to make your own ruffled scarf and get comfortable using these yarns. To get the look in the picture below, use Patons Pirouette, but you can use any ruffle yarn for this class, including (but not limited to) Red Heart Boutique Sashay, Premier Starbella and others. Once you get the hang of it, you'll want to try them all. (I know I did. Or at least I got pretty close.)

*This class is listed as "Discover Time Knitting" online.

 photo d75c98db-d63e-4167-912e-e5120894b035.jpg

Knit Baby Hat - $25
Prerequisites: Cast On, Knit Stitch, Purl Stitch, Bind Off
Tuesday, August 26 from 5:30 pm until 8 pm at Michael's in Westlake

Knit Baby Hat photo K21_CYC_Knit_Baby_Hat_0.jpg

Baby will look so stylish in this beautiful hat, and you'll learn about decreasing. Crown shaping ensures a perfect fit. (Personally, I'm fond of the swirl that forms at the top of the hat.)

Knit Twisted Headband - $25
Prerequisites: Cast On, Knit Stitch, Purl Stitch, Bind Off
Wednesday, August 27 from 5:30 pm until 8 pm at Michael's in Westlake

Knit Twisted Headband photo K20_CYC_Knit_Twisted_Headband_0.jpg

It’s a headband with a twist! Two cable stitches create the design and the ribbing ensures a perfect fit. (There's also a picture of me wearing mine on my Facebook page.)

Kids Weaving Classes – Recommended for Age 7 and Up 

Like I talked about above, this summer I'll be offering classes for kids using Clover Weaving Sticks. When you use these weaving sticks, the “warp” yarn is thread through the holes at the bottom of the sticks, while the “weft” yarn is woven in between the sticks. It’s a twist on traditional weaving that is fun and quick.

Kids Weaving - Monsters - $15 
Wednesday, August 6 from 10:30 am until 12 pm at Michael's in Westlake
Wednesday, August 20 from 10:30 am until 12 pm at Michael's in Westlake

Kids Weaving - Monsters photo W1_CYC_Kids-Weaving-Monster_0.jpg

These wiggle-eyed monsters will be a child’s best friend and perfect for decorating a backpack.

Kids Weaving - Monster Scarves - $15 
Tuesday, August 12 from 2:30 pm until 4 pm at Michael's in Westlake

Kids Weaving - Monster Scarf photo W2_CYC_Kids-Weaving-Monster-Scarf_0.jpg


Kids will love this scarf with its fun monster mitts!

Kids Weaving - Headband with Bow - $15 
Tuesday, August 19 from 2 pm until 3:30 pm at Michael's in Westlake

Kids Weaving - Headband photo W3_CYC_Kids-Weaving-Headband-with-Bow_0.jpg

Choose your favorite yarn colors and wrap it around four weaving sticks to create this eye-catching headband and bow.

Things to Remember About Signing Up for Classes
  • You need to sign up for classes and pay ahead of time. You can sign up for classes both in store and online. The links above should take you to the proper page for signing up for that class.
  • Ideally, you should try to sign up at least 24 hours before the class starts. When there is less than 24 hours left before the class, you won't be able to sign up online anymore. However, I usually accept in-store sign ups until the morning of the class, or sometimes as late as a couple of hours before the class. However, signing up at least 24 hours before the class is the only way to truly guarantee you a spot.
  • You can always get 10% off your class materials by showing your receipt and syllabus for the class to the cashier when you check out.
  • Usually you should have no problem signing up for classes online. Occasionally, due to typos in the calendar, you may not be able to sign up online until we fix the calendar. If you have problems, contact either me or the store, and we'll help you.
  • I take requests! If you want to take a class, but it isn't at a convenient time,  you want to take a different class from the Discover Knit programs or if you want to learn a skill that isn't covered in the courses, let me know. I can probably accommodate you.
  • Always feel free to contact me about anything related to the classes, including materials for the class, the curriculum or any basic questions about knitting in general. My e-mail is sallyvillarreal AT gmail DOT com . You can also e-mail me to get on my mailing list. Every month I e-mail next month's schedule to everyone on the list.
Thanks for checking out my classes. See you in the classroom!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

June Knitting Classes at Michael's in South Austin - Knit Beginner 2, More Advanced Beginner Classes, and another chance to take Beginning Knitting Classes, the Ruffled Scarf Class and Arm Knitting

May went so fast! I can't believe that I'm already making the June schedule. It's been a little slow getting students, but I'm not giving up. I'm also looking forward to teaching Kids Club classes and Rainbow Loom Meet Ups at the Sunset Valley Michael's. You can check the schedule to see what kids club classes are coming up. Rainbow Loom Meet-Ups are usually on Saturdays from noon until 2 pm. I've been practicing a lot on my own Rainbow Loom and loving it! I'll be blogging more about it later.

New Classes - I'm adding a few new classes in June, mostly for knitters with a little bit of experience. However, don't worry if you're new to knitting. We'll have three returning classes with no prerequisites. Also, it's not too late to learn arm knitting or take the Ruffled Scarf Class.

Beginner Knitting - Learn the Purl Stitch

These two classes are designed for people who have taken Knit Beginner 1 or the Discover Knit - Headwrap class, or knitters who know the knit stitch but haven't gotten to the purl stitch yet. As always, any knitter with the prerequisite skills can join us, even if they are more advanced. In these classes we will focus on learning the purl stitch, which is basically the knit stitch's mirror image. With this skill you'll be able to add new textures to your knitting.

Knit Beginner 2 - Neck Warmer or Tassel Hat
Prerequisites: Casting On, Knit Stitch, Binding Off
Thursday, June 12 from 5:30 pm until 8 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley
Thursday, June 26 from 5:30 pm until 8 pm at Michael's in Westlake

 photo 451ebf09-39f9-4c23-93e5-2bce52d90c86.jpg photo 60d9a448-9798-405a-a129-54f3bb80f5bf.jpg

Now that you know the basics of knitting, you are ready to learn the purl stitch! Create a hat or neck warmer. You will choose one pattern for the class, but you will receive patterns for both projects.

Discover Knit - Phone Case
Prerequisites: Casting On, Knit Stitch, Binding Off
Saturday, June 7 from 2 pm until 4:30 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley
Saturday, June 14 from 2:30 pm until 5 pm at Michael's in Westlake

 photo 62b27872-3f7d-4978-9860-2f483b798a8e.jpg

Protect your phone with this creative and cute phone cozy. Learn the purl stitch to make this functional, handmade piece.

Advanced Beginner: Discover Knit - Pom Pom Hat
Prerequisites: Casting On, Knit Stitch, Purl Stitch, Binding Off
Sunday, June 29 from 2 pm until 4:30 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley
Tuesday, June 24 from 5:30 pm until 8 pm at Michael's in Westlake

 photo 225448ee-9b0b-4101-893b-24ef74fb63c1.jpg

Show off your favorite colors in this striped ribbed hat. Maybe it's your school or team colors or maybe it's to match your favorite coat.

You'll be ready for this after you take Knit Beginner 2 or the Discover Knit - Phone Case class. This is also a good class if you know the knit stitch and the purl stitch, and you are ready to learn ways to increase and decrease. This class will focus on learning how to decrease, although changing colors will also be discussed. Decreasing is key to many hat patterns, not just this one.

Returning Classes - These classes from May are back for another month, in case you missed them the first time around.

Beginning Knitting - No Experience Needed

These two classes, Discover Knit - Headwrap and Knit Beginner 1, are designed for students with no knitting experience. However, they are also good for those who haven't knit for a while and need a review, or people who are having difficulty learning on their own. Of course, anyone who wants to join us to make one of these projects is welcomed.

Each class offers different projects that teach the same skills. Both classes teach casting on (putting stitches on the needle), knit stitch, binding off (taking stitches off the needle), basic seaming, weaving in ends and a basic understanding of yarn and knitting tools.

Also, if you want to take the Ruffled Scarf class later this month, these classes will teach you the prerequisite skills you need.

Discover Knit: Headwrap - $25
Sunday, June 1 from 2pm until 4:30 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley
Tuesday June 3 from 5:30 pm until 8 pm at Michael's in Westlake

Keep your ears warm with a simple, yet stylish headband that you create yourself. You can take a look at the sample Headwrap I made here.

 photo ae457138-1fe0-4d96-8580-7d40669585f8.jpg

Knit Beginner 1: Hat or Mitts - $25
Sunday, June 15 from 2 pm until 4:30 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley
Saturday, June 28 from 2:30 pm until 5 pm at Michael's in Westlake

Select your favorite colors and start making your own hat or wrist warmers that you'll be proud to wear or give as gifts. You choose one project for the class, but you will get patterns for both. You can look at the sample hat and cuffs I made here.

 photo b19dfa82-d6e5-41b2-9c19-570ce8e27dbf.jpg photo 3c9177a3-0aa7-4a18-a68a-31c8772f2214.jpg

Arm Knitting - No Experience Needed - $10
Tuesday, June 10 from 6 pm until 7 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley
Tuesday, June 17 from 6 pm until 7pm at Michael's in Westlake

According to The Wall Street Journal, "Arm knitting combines several things that are appealing to millennials: crafts projects, chunky knitwear (featured on the fall 2013 runways), social media and instant gratification." Of course, this innovative new craft is for people of all ages who have two arms.

Choose from four different projects using different types of yarn, including three cowls and a shawl. Pick one for the class, but you'll receive patterns for all four projects so you can try them all. (Pictures of more of the patterns are coming soon. However, the left picture is me arm knitting at a demo, and the right picture is the Sashay Arm Knit Cowl sample I made.)

               Arm Knitting Demo            Sashay Arm Knit Cowl at Demo - 5/3/2014

Ruffled Scarves: for Advanced Beginner Knitters - $25
Prerequisites: Knit Stitch, Binding Off
Saturday, May 31 from 2pm until 4:30 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley (Last class in May!)
Sunday, June 8 from 2 pm until 4:30 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley
Thursday, June 5, from 5:30 pm until 8 pm at Michael's in Westlake

Ruffle yarns and ruffled scarves have become very popular in the last couple of years. This is a chance to make your own ruffled scarf and get comfortable using these yarns. To get the look in the picture below, use Patons Pirouette, but you can use any ruffle yarn for this class, including (but not limited to) Red Heart Boutique Sashay, Premier Starbella and other ruffle yarns. Once you get the hang of it, you'll want to try them all. (I know I did. Or at least I got pretty close.)

 photo d75c98db-d63e-4167-912e-e5120894b035.jpg
I'm excited about teaching, and I'm working hard to get my lesson plans just right. I hope I see you in the classroom!

FO: Headwrap

Knit Headwrap

Finding beginner projects that are useful and interesting without requiring skills that new knitters don't have or taking too long to complete is always a challenge. That's why I like this Headwrap that will be featured in some of my beginner classes in the beginning of June.

Knit Headwrap

The pattern only has two rectangles, one for the main headband and a smaller one for the tie. Once you assemble them, the end result is a great little headwrap to keep your ears warm.

There are no prerequisites for the Headwrap class. It's designed to teach casting on (putting stitches on the needle), knit stitch, binding off (taking stitches off the needle), basic seaming and more to people with no experience.

FO: Knit Headwrap

Like the Garter Stitch Hat and Garter Stitch Cuffs, I used Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick and Quick and US Size 13 needles. Just like the Garter Stitch Hat and Garter Stitch Cuffs, I was surprised that I didn't need a smaller needle, since my gauge tends to run loose.

FO: Knit Headwrap

The yarn color is Raspberry 112. I used yarn that had been in my stash for a long time. Since the sample in the picture on the pattern was made in a baby pink, it seemed like pink was the way to go for my sample.

FO: Knit Headwrap

Pink also seems to go with the red roses Dad brought home from school. They handed them out to the teachers in honor of their work preparing students for the STAAR exam. My styrofoam head from Michael's looks pretty good, too.

I have two more classes left for this project. One is on Sunday, June 1 from 2 pm until 4:30 pm at the Michael's in Sunset Valley, and the other is on Tuesday, June 3, from 5:30 pm until 8 pm at the Michael's in Westlake. It's a $25 class. You have until 24 hours before the class to sign up for it online. After that, you have to sign up in the store. (Usually I will take students until a couple of hours before the class.) I hope I see you there.

Friday, May 16, 2014

FO: Garter Stitch Hat and Garter Stitch Cuffs

Katie and Aaron Sparring in my Knitting Samples

I was trying to get a cute picture of Katie and Aaron modeling my samples together, but since Aaron has martial arts training, and Katie teaches martial arts (here is the school) it turned into a spontaneous sparring session.

Katie and Aaron with my Garter Stitch Cuffs and Garter Stitch Hat

That's good, but I think I like the first one better. (By the way, Katie drew the picture behind them.)

So far it's been slow getting students for my classes at Michael's, but I'm hopeful. The next scheduled classes, which teach these two projects, are tomorrow in Sunset Valley and Sunday in Westlake. (You can see the entire May 2014 and class details schedule here.)

Katie and Aaron with my Garter Stitch Hat and Garter Stitch Cuffs

If you want to learn to knit, the classes this weekend are a great opportunity to learn. You will choose from the Garter Stitch Hat or the Garter Stitch Cuffs, and you will get patterns for both.

I made both samples were made with Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick and Quick and US Size 13 (9 mm) needles. This surprised me, because I normally need a smaller needle to get gauge because my gauge is so loose. But this time it took the size recommended by the pattern.

Let's start with the Garter Stitch Cuffs:

Garter Stitch Cuffs

I used Sky Blue yarn, which is ironic, because it is the same color they used in the official picture. I didn't plan it. That color had been in my stash for a long time now.

 photo e2cd4dfb-4fc2-46fb-b59e-88391a6cbc3d.jpg

I used about half the skein of yarn.

Garter Stitch Cuffs

You can see here that it's a very simple pattern. Just a couple of rectangles with a seam down the side, with a hole left for the thumb. No shaping or anything, but it still works.

By the way, the name of this pattern varies from place to place. Sometimes they are cuffs, sometimes they are mitts, sometimes they are wrist warmers and sometimes they are arm warmers. I guess fingerless mittens makes them sound too complicated.

Garter Stitch Hat

As for the Garter Stitch Hat, I used Lemongrass yarn that had also been in my stash, and I used every bit of it, except for one strand a couple of feet long. After the fact, I realize I went a little too far with the size. I could have stopped sooner.

Garter Stitch Hat

Katie tried to style it on my head to make it look slouchy. I think it just looks crooked.

Garter Stitch Hat

The hat, like the cuffs, it just one rectangle. You weave the yarn in and out the top, pull it and seam the side. It's a little tricky, but totally doable for a new knitter.

You have until 24 hours before the class to sign up for it online. After that, you have to sign up in the store. (Usually I will take students until a couple of hours before the class.) I hope I see you there.

If you can't make it this weekend, I think you will still see a lot of these patterns. Some patterns are seasonal, but the Knit Beginner 1 patterns are used all the time.


Thursday, May 1, 2014

May Knitting Classes at Michael's in South Austin - Beginner Knitting, Arm Knitting and Ruffled Scarves

If you're new to my blog, my name is Sally Villarreal, and I'm the new knitting teacher at the Michael's in Sunset Valley and Westlake. I've been keeping this blog for years now. At some points I've been more prolific than others. The focus is knitting, crochet and other fiber arts, but I sometimes veer into the stuff of day-to-day life, politics and more. Now I'll be focusing more on my work at Michael's

If you've been reading for a while, you probably already know about my new job. I'll be talking about my classes a lot, as well as posting more general. So if you've been reading this blog and wanting to try knitting, this is your big chance.

In May, I'll be teaching four different knitting classes at Michael's. Each class will be taught twice, once at the Sunset Valley Michael's and once at the Westlake Michael's. Three of the classes are designed for beginners with no experience.

You can book classes online at the links below. You can also go to the store in person to sign up.

Michael's offers Discover Knit and Crochet Classes from the Craft Yarn Council. These are the classes I'm offering in May, but I take requests for any classes from the Discover Knit Curriculum. Also, if these times don't work for you, let me know because I can probably schedule the same class at a different time. If you want to learn something that isn't covered on the curriculum, I'm sure I can come up with something. E-mail me your requests.

If you are interested in crochet, I plan to get certified to teach crochet next, but I'm not sure how long that will take. Until then, if you want to learn crochet, contact the Westlake store. They have a crochet teacher there already.

Beginning Knitting - No Experience Needed

These classes are designed for students with no knitting experience. However, they are also good for those who haven't knit for a while and need a review, or people who are having difficulty learning on their own. Of course, anyone who wants to join us to make one of these projects is welcomed.

Each class offers different projects that teach the same skills. Both classes teach casting on (putting stitches on the needle), knit stitch, binding off (taking stitches off the needle), basic seaming, weaving in ends and a basic understanding of yarn and knitting tools.

Also, if you want to take the Ruffled Scarf class later this month, these classes will teach you the prerequisite skills you need.

Discover Knit: Headwrap - $25
Saturday, May 3 from 2 pm until 4:30 pm at Michaels in Sunset Valley
Sunday, May 4 from 2 pm until 4:30 pm at Michael's in Westlake

Keep your ears warm with a simple, yet stylish headband that you create yourself.

 photo ae457138-1fe0-4d96-8580-7d40669585f8.jpg

Knit Beginner 1: Hat or Mitts - $25
Saturday, May 17 from 2 pm until 4:30pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley
Sunday, May 18 from 2 pm until 4:30pm at Michael's in Westlake

Select your favorite colors and start making your own hat or wrist warmers that you'll be proud to wear or give as gifts. You choose one project for the class, but you will get patterns for both.

 photo b19dfa82-d6e5-41b2-9c19-570ce8e27dbf.jpg photo 3c9177a3-0aa7-4a18-a68a-31c8772f2214.jpg

Arm Knitting - No Experience Needed - $10
Saturday, May 10 from 2 pm until 3 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley
Sunday, May 10 from 2 pm until 3 pm at Michael's in Westlake

According to The Wall Street Journal, "Arm knitting combines several things that are appealing to millennials: crafts projects, chunky knitwear (featured on the fall 2013 runways), social media and instant gratification." Of course, this innovative new craft is for people of all ages who have two arms.

Choose from four different projects using different types of yarn, including three cowls and a shawl. Pick one for the class, but you'll receive patterns for all four projects so you can try them all. (Pictures of the projects are coming soon, but this is me working on one of the projects at a demonstration.)

Arm Knitting Demo

Ruffled Scarves: for Advanced Beginner Knitters - $25
Prerequisites: Knit Stitch, Binding Off
Saturday, May 31 from 2 pm until 4:30 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley
Wednesday, May 21 from 5:30 pm until 8 pm at Michael's in Westlake

Ruffle yarns and ruffled scarves have become very popular in the last couple of years. This is a chance to make your own ruffled scarf and get comfortable using these yarns. To get the look in the picture below, use Patons Pirouette, but you can use any ruffle yarn for this class, including (but not limited to) Red Heart Boutique Sashay, Premier Starbella and other ruffle yarns. Once you get the hang of it, you'll want to try them all.

 photo d75c98db-d63e-4167-912e-e5120894b035.jpg
I'm excited about getting started, and I'm working hard to get my lesson plans just right. I hope I see you in the classroom!
All the problems with the schedule are fixed!
The classes with the asterisks are listed wrong on the website. The May 4 class in Westlake is the Headwrap, not the Hat or Mitts. The May 21 class is for the Ruffled Scarf, which is different than the tube scarf shown. starts at 5: 30 pm, not 5 pm. I'm working on correcting these, but the date and times are correct. Go ahead and sign up, but know that for the Ruffled Scarf class you will need a different yarn than the one listed on the website (like one of the ones listed in the class description above.)

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Big Changes

I had my Clapotis around my neck when the manager at Michael's asked me why I wanted to teach knitting when I had so much education and work experience.

I picked up then end of the scarf and said, "Because I love this." I told him how at all those call center jobs, and even when I was a newspaper reporter, I would be sit at my desk and think about what I would knit when I got home. (Or often when I went to lunch or clocked into my break.)

Things went really fast after my last entry.  I had started pondering teaching knitting around January. When I signed up for the Craft Yarn Council Certified Instructor Program in February, they asked me if I wanted to teach at Michael's, and I checked yes. (Michael's requires the Level 1 coursework to be completed before you can teach there, but you can do your student teaching at Michael's if you're hired.) Then came an e-mail wanting to know more about my background and which stores I was willing to teach at. Then there was another e-mail telling me that I had been "paired" with two stores in South Austin. By March I was calling people back about filling out the application and coming in to "chat."

I entered most of my work history into the application, but when I went in, I took this instead of a resume:

My Knitting Resume

You are looking at the Clapotis I mentioned before, the Strangling Vine scarf, the Broken Scarf, the Entrelac Scarf, the Soy Wool Spiral hat, my Knucks and a binder full of swatches I did for the CIP.  (I interviewed for the job before I submitted my coursework, so this was before I had sent them in, or even wove in the ends.)

So yes, I did get hired at Michael's in Sunset Valley and the Michael's in Westlake.

I even had my first two demos already. I demonstrated arm knitting and talked about the classes available in May at both stores. I'm kicking myself for not taking a picture while I was at the Westlake store yesterday, but it looked a lot like this:

Arm Knitting Demo

I'm responsible for doing my own promotion to get students. I posted an ad on Craigslist and got a response in less than 24 hours.

So this changes my rule about not talking about my work in too much detail in this blog. That's been my dream since day one, that my blog and my knitting would be part of my job, instead of something I did when I was done with work. I still have the online, work at home job. (Message me if you want details.) But I'll be spending a lot of time focusing on these classes. especially in the beginning. In fact, a complete description of classes in May should be coming soon.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Dad's Surprising Spinning Wheel Hack (or is it a Kludge?)

Are you ready for a post that isn't related to politics?

I've been working at a part-time, work-at-home job for almost a year now. (If you are interested in information about the job, comment or e-mail me, and I'll tell you more. I'm continuing my tradition of not naming my employer on this blog.) Since my pain problems make it difficult to use the computer for long periods of time, I have to be judicious with the time I do spend on the computer. The same head and neck problems have been keeping me from spinning as well.

Also, I've gotten stuck in the trap of thinking that because it's been so long since I posted, I need to come up with a big comeback post. So I put off blogging even longer because I felt like I had to do something big. Then I finally decided that I just needed to blog something.

Excuses, excuses.

Anyway, recently the conrod joint on Mom's spinning wheel broke. It's the flexible piece of nylon that connects the wheel's treadle with the rod that spins the wheel. (You can see it in a diagram here.) I think sometimes pieces of leather are used as well, but Mom's Ashford has a piece of nylon.

You can go out and buy replacement joints. They're only a couple of dollars. However, by the time you pay for shipping you're paying an awful lot for a little piece of nylon. The best way to do it is to wait until you have something else to buy from the shop and ship them together. Either way, you'll have to wait.

So Dad set out looking for solutions. He tried several things. His search took him to Home Depot, where he found the answer.

DSCN1437

You are looking at small piece of RG-59 Coaxial Cable. In this picture, Mom and Dad are working on screwing it into place. Dad bought 1 foot of the stuff for 27 cents, and he still has enough left over to replace several more conrod joints.

So if your conrod joint breaks, and you're having the shakes because you can't spin, go to your hardware store. Be sure to ask for RG-59 coaxial cable. There is more than one type of cable, and this is the one that proved to be the perfect size for Mom's Ashford Traditional wheel. (I would imagine that it's the same size for all the Ashfords, but you'd have to ask them to know for sure.)

They sell coaxial cable in pre-measured lengths with plugs on the ends at electronic stores. Don't waste your money on those. For this job, you need the cable that's sold by the foot. It will probably be in a spool that looks like this. Ask an employee to cut off a piece for you. Dad got an entire foot, but a conrod joint is much shorter than that. You could probably get away with half a foot, but it's not a bad idea to have some extra on hand in case you cut the first piece too short or something else goes wrong. (They may not sell lengths shorter than a foot anyway. I guess it all depends on your hardware store.)

Fixing Mom's Spinning Wheel

Mom and Dad cut a piece the same length as the old conrod joint. The screws in the conrod and the treadle assembly screwed into the cable, so they didn't have to make any holes manually.


In the video above, you can see the finished repair and hear Mom and Dad talking about it. Mom was having some trouble treadling. It turned out that she had taken off the bobbin before they turned the wheel upside down for the repairs, and that was throwing the whole thing off balance. It's treadling a little better in the video below:


In case you were wondering, yes, we made the repairs on Super Bowl Sunday. (I think I'm remembering that correctly.)

Also, while we're on the subject, I should mention another solution I found on the Knittsings blog. They used vinyl boat cording from an upholstery shop.

As you can see by the title, I've been debating whether to call this a hack or a kludge. Wikipedia seems to imply they are basically the same thing. In my mind, a kludge has negative connotations. it's a fix that isn't very good, like the kind of things you find on There I Fixed It. Kludges are either temporary, desperate, stupid or any combination of those three. Conversely, hack has positive connotations. I'm using hack in the life hack sense of the word. Hacks are clever solutions you wish you would have thought of. Apparently they're not as different as I thought.

This may be a Kludge, because I'm not sure how long the coaxial cable will last. I don't know if Mom has any spinning in progress right now. Only time and lots of spinning will tell how well it works. A true conrod joint is still the ideal solution, but the coaxial cable will last until Mom orders something from somewhere that sells conrod joints.

I'm going to confess that I used hack in the title because I read this post that says headlines with the word hack (and surprise) have the tendency to go viral. I doubt a post about fixing a spinning wheel will go viral, but I thought I'd try it. I think it still sounds like my own voice. I use the word hack, at least online. The challenge with tips like these (as well as any writing related to SEO) is to use the information to your benefit without sounding like a robot. I still want to sound like me. I think I did ok.

Besides, if any of these posts have truly been about a hack, it's this one.