We started Edinburgh Yarn Festival in no small part because we totally love knitting. Finding tutors and scheduling classes has been a pleasure - it's easy to think of things we'd like to take a class in! - but of course, we're going to be too busy during EYF to spend time with any of these great people. So, we've taken up a few of the techniques which are new to us.
The first one we tried is Brioche. If you've ever knitted Fisherman's Rib, this is a different technique that gives really similar results. It's a popular technique in Germany and the Netherlands (where our tutor, Nancy Marchant, lives and works) but over here, you can see the cogs whirring as people think 'bread?'. I can only assume it's called Brioche because like the bread, it's light in texture. Or perhaps because if you pull it apart and squint, it looks like the plaited form of the bread? I'm sure someone knows!
Whatever the reason, Mica and I independently came to the conclusion that Brioche is lovely. It's quick to work and the texture is so squishy: it can't fail to be extra warm with all that air trapped within. It took a little time to get going, as although I'm used to working with two strands of yarn when I knit a Fair Isle motif (for example), this technique is different, and it took me a little while to get my eye in and work out what was going on. It probably doesn't help that I chose Nancy's Hosta Brioche Scarf as my very first project (patience isn't my strong suit). Working out what to do with the edge stitches gave me a particular headache — I've got a technique for that now but I think it could do with some improvement as I'm twisting stitches.
That aside, Brioche knitting has a rhythm of its own and opens up all sorts of possibilities. I keep looking at my stash and planning epic colourful scarves that use up the single skeins I (we all?) have lurking there. I've found that shaping with decreases and increases is actually pretty easy: garments in Brioche have always looked daunting but I think I could handle a simple sweater. Have a look at Nancy's Basic Brioche and Beyond Basic Brioche — I know three hours with the Queen of Brioche would have saved me a few mangled swatches! (It was worth it, though.)
The scarf pictured above is going to my husband's aunt for Christmas (I am 99% sure she doesn't read this blog. If you do, Doreen, look surprised!). For a few more ideas for Christmas knitting, have a look at some of these...
Next up, for me, is crochet. I am determined to get further on. I can do a granny square and really, very little else. It's not hard...it's just practice! I keep looking at amazing blankets and intricate edgings with longing. I know I can do it!
I promised an update on classes: some have sold out already. All the places on drop spindling, Icelandic knitting, knitting with beads, continental knitting, two-at-once techniques, sock design, measuring masterclass and seamless knitting are gone (but we do have a waiting list facility in case of cancellations). As I type, the very last spot in the Darning workshops has just gone.
We still have limited availability for Veera's Colourplay, Martina Behm's Multicolour Love, Malia Mather's Stunning Stripes, Clare Devine's Beginner Socks and Beginner's Needle Tatting with Kersti. Book quickly if you're interested in any of these. Or if you have a lovely mum who might be? Sunday 15th March is Mothers' Day in the UK. (Totally unplanned coincidence!)
The rest of the classes still have places, though things are being booked up, even with three and a half months to go! You can find the whole schedule on our booking site HERE. Further information on how to book/terms and conditions can be found here.
And now, back to the Christmas knitting ;)