Sunday, March 03, 2013

Dreambird and a Swing Knitting Class

Oh, Dreambird.  I've learned to love you, but it's been a rocky relationship.  In the beginning, I was infatuated with your bright colors and curvy shape.  You promised to be exciting, with daring twists and turns.  Little did I know how you would taunt me.

Engulfed in passion, I knit two feathers back in January.  The pattern, translated from German to English, was confusing at first, but then the designer released a chart with stich counts per row that made the knitting go more smoothly.  I'm about halfway done, and I'm enjoying it so much, I think I may make another with different yarn and colors.

This technique of Swing Knitting spurred me to look for other patterns and for guidance.

Since I became enamored with the Dreambird pattern, I decided to take a Swing Knitting class at Stitches West with Brigitte Elliott.  Brigitte went to Germany to learn about Swing Knitting from its pioneers.  The Stitches class was sold out, but fortunately, I was on the waitlist, and I got a call a week or two before Stitches began -- I was in!

Brigitte is a marvelous teacher.  She is very patient, yet takes into consideration that some students are advanced and want to forge ahead.  Her printed course materials are easy to follow and complete, including references.  She provided formulae for creating our own swing knitting designs, as well as tried-and-true techniques, like placing locking stitch markers or pins to indicate turns.  She also brought several examples of swing knitting that she had created.  I'm excited that she's working on new patterns using this technique.

She also presented a slide show with examples of inspiring Swing Knitting wall art.  Take a look at this German website to see what beautiful works of art have been created with Swing Knitting.  (When you get there, click on Gestrickte Kunst to view the artwork.)

Skacel provided all the materials for this class for free.  Not only did we receive three balls of yarn, but also an Addi Lace circular  needle.  The yarn provided included a Zauberball variegated that really pops against the solid color background.

If you are considering beginning your own swing knitting project, I would advise joining the Swing Knitting group on Ravelry.  Also, take a few moments to learn German short rows from a Youtube video.  No wraps are required, it's simple and leaves no holes in the knitted fabric.