Today's KCBW post assignment is about improving our skillsets. I love this subject, because I am always, always trying to learn something new about knitting and crochet. I honestly believe that I will never learn it all. Of course, there are some skills I don't care to learn, like beading or intarsia. Nothing wrong with them, they just don't appeal to me. That narrows it down, at least!
I looked back at last year's similar post "Skill + 1UP" in which I talked about the invisible BO for 1/1 rib--one of the best skills I have ever learned! I also talked about learning Brioche. I am quite stalled on that one, but only because there isn't enough time to get around to everything fast enough.
This year I am focused on two subjects: learning real Fair Isle knitting and learning to apply couture sewing techniques when finishing my hand knit and crochet pieces. These two books are excellent for picking up tips.
Alice Starmore's Book of Fair Isle Knitting is a wonderful source for learning this technique. Also, I took the two-handed Fair Isle class from Eugene and Ann Bourgeois at Madrona a couple of years ago, so I have that technique pretty much down. Here's the tam that I made in class, and here is a link to the video that they have so generously posted on their site of the technique.
I have designed and made color work pieces (stripes don't count!), but none of them are Fair Isle. I want to make a real Fair isle sweater with steeks and everything. I should just begin with making one of the Bourgeois designs or one of Starmore's for general practice. No one does it better than these folks. I don't hold out tons of hope of making said sweater this year, but I plan to practice the technique with smaller projects until I can--gotta keep the skills fresh or you lose them!
The Dressmaker's Handbook of Couture Sewing Techniques by Lynda Maynard will come in handy for trying to improve the look of handmade garments at the finishing point. I have always wanted to become accomplished at hand sewing and got as far as learning smocking when my girls were little. I made one hand smocked dress that was passed down from one daughter to the next and that was it. I did pick up a few other techniques from that project, like French seaming, which I love, but there is so much more to learn. I would love to learn how to reinforce seams with binding, how to add different types of hand-sewn closures and hand made buttons, various ways to finish edges, etc. Presently I am working on a toddler dress with a jewel neckline and keyhole opening at the back of the neck. I am going to try adding binding to the inside edge of the neck and attaching a button loop and button to the binding, which will lessen the stress on the knitted fabric and will also give more stability to that area. I also want to sew in matching binding to the hemline for a smooth finish. I'll be showing you how that particular project turns out soon when we release the pattern. I'm really excited about it!
I look forward to reading other bloggers' posts discussing their own goals for new skills on
Google that and you'll find a wealth of other posts about this same topic!