We knitters have our favorite things: some of us are lace-knitting fiends, others are capable cable-ists. And some of us are just mad for a specific technique, like using a particular cast-on every chance we get.
When people think of online education, they almost always think about learning something new. But online education can also mean learning something more. Falling in love is just the beginning of a relationship. In April I fell in love with baking bread; now I have 7 different kinds of flour in my pantry and can justify every one of them, including that weird spelt stuff. Knitting is no different.
Take cast-ons. We all use them, and we probably have two or three that we use pretty regularly. Same with bind-offs. But did you know there are dozens of ways to begin and end your knitting? Ann Budd’s 45+ Knitted Cast-Ons & Bind-Offs not only gives you a lot of different tools but tells you why and how to use them. Need to cast on stitches in the middle of a project? A cable cast-on gives you a sturdy edge AND uses the working yarn, not a tail. Need a multitasking bind-off? The Russian bind-off is as good for delicate lace as it is for sock cuffs, giving you stretch and stability. This 4-hour workshop is like my 7 different types of flour. It doesn’t teach me to knit, exactly, but teachers me how to knit better. All these options give me more control over how my finished projects look and behave.
Lily Chin’s workshopA Knitter’s Toolbox is another fabulous resource. Rather than an A-Z of some particular technique, it’s a fun grab-bag of tips and tricks, with back-up techniques if you flub something the first time around. Need to cast on 500 stitches? She’ll show you how to calculate enough yarn, but if you end up a bit short, she has an ingenious method to add those remaining stitches without ripping out.
Lily’s workshop is all about making your knitting look better without doing anything fancy. Join yarns or change colors without any awkward lumpiness; work decreases in an exceptionally tidy manner; and un-fiddle the fiddliest of techniques.
If The Knitter’s Toolbox is a smorgasbord, Angela Tong’s workshop The Structure of Shawls is more of a tasting menu. It’s not so much “how to knit this shawl,” as “how to knit a bunch of different shawls.” Shawls come in all shapes, have many different construction methods, and can use an astonishing number of different techniques. Angela unravels all this and shows you how different elements work together, for good or ill. Whether you like combining various shawl patterns into something wholly yours or just want to understand the shawl pattern you are currently knitting, Angela’s workshop gives you a deeper knowledge of these perennially popular projects. Finally, did I mention that the workshop includes a free pattern download for the Colfax Shawl?