Small Projects for Big Gains

One thing I know about myself and my knitting is that I always want to improve and learn some technique I’ve never done before. I think it stems from not wanting to be bored. Don’t get me wrong, I am totally happy with a mindless garter stitch project I can do without thinking about what stitch comes next in the pattern. But, that’s what I like to do to relax. What makes knitting fun for me is setting small goals and improving my craft. 

With that in mind I thought some of my knitting students would want to do the same thing with their knitting. So, I got an idea from our sewing department at Ben Franklin and their quilt block of the month. What if I taught a new knitting technique in an easy square? I could cover how to pick up dropped stitches, how to tink, cable, contenental knit, use beads, fair isle and more. 

 

First Square Class
 
Well, since January I’ve been doing just that. So far my class has learned how to pick up dropped knit stitches, dropped purl stitches, contenental knit and this month I’ll be covering fair isle worked flat. (which is not as easy as working it in the round)

When I first thought of this idea I didn’t realize how much I was going to learn in the process. You see, there is no magic pattern book out there for what I’m trying to accomplish. Sure, there are afghan square pattern books I could use, but they are all a little too intricate or they don’t cover what I’m trying to teach. So, guess what I have to do each month? That’s right, write the pattern myself and make the sample. 

The first two months I went through a sharp learning curve. The class coordinator has to have the samples at a certain time in order to be able to put the classes online for students to sign up. So, that means I have to have my pattern written and tested before then. I had a few stitch dictionaries that I was pulling from and knew it was possible. But, I wasn’t able to get a handle on things until I made a master list for the whole year. Once I did that I could focus on what was needed.

 

Too much!
 
March’s square had to be green for St. Patrick’s Day. I thought making a simple fair isle would be you know – simple. Ah, no. My first attempt you couldn’t even tell it was fair isle, my second attempt was way too much (pretty sure my students would’ve killed me if I gave them that much to do). However, just like Goldilocks, the third attempt was just right! This adventure took me so long that I started to fall behind but it taught me to get my samples done the month ahead. 

 

January, February, March
 
April is Slipped Stitch Butterflies in preparation for May’s cable pattern. (Sneak peak coming soon) I have posted the year’s master list below in case you want to know all the fun we will be having. If you are interested in purchasing any patterns from January – April let me know, I’d love to share. I’ll be posting updated of each month’s squares and letting you in on my design process.

January: Cobblestone – Technique: fixing mistakes

February: Dot Stitch – Technique: contenental style

March: Fair Isle

April: Alternating Butterflies – Technique: slip stitch

May: Arches – Technique: twisting stitches

June: Wide Cable Panel – Technique: cables

July: Beaded Star – Technique: using crochet hook to add beads

August: Waves – Technique: yarn overs & simple lace

September: Falling Leaves – Technique: lace

October: Offset Tiles – Technique: two color slip stitches

November: Pumpkin – Technique: intarsia 

December: Zig Zag & Bobbles – Technique: novelty stitches

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