Friday, October 17, 2014

Brandon Mably Persian Poppies Knitting Workshop

Yesterday, thanks to Roxanne, I got to sit in on a color knitting workshop with Brandon Mably, friend and colleague of Kaffe Fassett.

We all brought yarns from home, each student received four more little balls of the Rowan Pure Wool Worsted Weight superwash--it's a lot like Plymouth Galway or Naturespun worsted in general cushiness, and is nicer to work with than Cascade 220 in my view.

Everyone tumbled their yarns out onto the floor to share.

I don't think we have enough yarn, do you?

With a little coaching as to which colors were likely to work best together, Brandon encouraged us to grab a yard of one color here and another color there, tie them together (in unseemly knots) and just start knitting away according to the Persian Poppies chart.  To be more precise, we each chose 6 different light colors for one ball of yarn, and 6 different dark colors for another.  One ball makes the background, and the other is for the poppies themselves.

We had to vow: no whining (thank heaven for that one) and no frogging.  You make a mistake, you learn from it, and no harm done.  Love that attitude.

It's fun to see how the colors work together (or not, as the case may be) and the somewhat random nature means lots of surprises as you knit, usually serendipitous surprises, I'm happy to say.

It's also fun to see how many different color combinations people come up with, and how good most of them look.

Lousy lighting for this pic, sorry, but in some ways, the blur helps show the colors off.

Here's my swatch:  the bottom section I did in the morning, and after we broke for lunch, I decided to experiment some more for the top section.  It kind of looks like a multi-colored owl….

I've done Fair Isle before, and I like to hold one yarn strand in my left hand for Continental knitting, and one strand in the right hand to "throw."  This keeps the yarn balls from getting tangled as much as they do when trying to "pick" from both strands held in the same hand.  I usually catch the yarn I'm not using every third stitch or so, but Brandon was having us do it every other stitch, and the back really looks better that way.

After we experimented with the knotted strands for awhile, Brandon revealed that when he does this, he doesn't knot them together first, he just starts knitting and then grabs the next color when he's ready. That's definitely the way I would go if I do this again, since catching all those knotted ends causes major posterior clumping (and none of us needs that!) and annoying extra tails flopping about and getting in the way.  (And none of us needs that either!)

Brandon is entertaining and encouraging, the soundtrack he brought was good (flashbacks to the past, Beatles included, singing along irresistible), the lunch provided was yummy, and I got out of the workshop in time to wander through the Farmers Market and get some grapes and persimmons.  All in all, a good day!

1 comment:

  1. That sounds like a wonderful class to take and one I would love to have access to. How lucky you are!!!! Hope you're having cooler weather and I'm sorry that your Mom had to endure that when she was trying to get away from the heat here as well. :-)


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