Learning On Site with the Craft Yarn Council

Onsite Certified Instructors Program graphic

You’ve heard about the Craft Yarn Council’s Certified Instructors Program, and you may have even signed up for their correspondence course. But did you know that they have an on-site program, as well?

With the on-site program, you can cover both Knit Levels 1 and 2 or Crochet Levels 1 and 2 in one weekend. There’s homework to do, of course, but there are additional benefits to taking the course in person.

Learn from Others

You get to spend a couple of days with both a Master Teacher and a roomful of other experienced knitters or crocheters. There is plenty of opportunity to learn from each other and ask questions in real time.

Immerse Yourself

Get away from the hustle and bustle of your home life, and concentrate on your craft for two days. What could be better?

Discuss Real-Life Situations

What really happens in a class, in real life? We’ll discuss ways to deal with challenges you’ll face as a teacher. Everyone will have a chance to speak up and offer suggestions of what has worked for them in similar situations.

Learn the Business of Teaching

Teaching is not all about sitting down and sharing your knowledge with someone. You have to consider how to market your classes and how to get paid. Learn how to be a professional from professionals.

Make New Friends

You’ll begin the course with a bunch of strangers, but you’ll leave with a group of new friends. These new friends will become a new virtual support group. With them, you can share your joys and frustrations as you take your new teaching skills out into the world.

Leave Energized

You’ll be tired after spending hours thinking and learning. But you’ll also be energized and excited to use your new knowledge.

Where Do I Sign Up?

UPDATE as of 5/29/19: Unfortunately, we didn’t receive enough sign-ups for the knitting portion of the onsite course, so that portion has had to be cancelled. I’m very disappointed! Continue to watch the Craft Yarn Council website for announcements of upcoming onsite classes.

The next on-site class for crochet is being offered July 14-15, 2019, in Manchester, New Hampshire. It takes place immediately following the Crochet Guild of America’s Chain Link Conference. I’ll be teaching the knitting program. Barbara Van Elsen will be teaching the crochet program, and we’ll probably be teaming up to team teach some sections together.

If you can’t make it to the on-site class in July, but you are interested in learning more about teaching in your community, consider signing up for the Craft Yarn Council’s (CYC) Certified Instructors Program (CIP) correspondence course. I serve as one of the “Master Teachers” for that program, so you might be assigned to me!

Learn More button

 

Leisure Arts Takeover

On Monday, March 25, and Tuesday, March 26, 2019, I’m taking over the Leisure Arts, Inc. Instagram and Facebook pages. Visit me there, and check here for more information on some of the things I’ll be sharing there.

My most recent books with Leisure Arts are:

Stoneybrook Shawlette

On Instagram Live, I took you on a quick tour of my studio. The knit scarf I was wearing is the Stoneybrook Shawlette. It’s knit in garter stitch, and is perfect for beginners.


Delving into Double-Knitting with Alasdair Post-Quinn

While I’m more of a generalist in that I love to do a bit of this and bit of that technique in my all fiber arts, I’m in awe of crafters who delve very deeply into one aspect of a craft. Last month I had a chance to see the recent work that double-knitting guru Alasdair Post-Quinn has been doing and to talk with him about his work.

This post contains affiliate links, which may provide a small income to me but do not cost you anything extra.

Alasdair’s designs are both beautiful and mind-boggling. When I heard about a new learning opportunity that Alasdair is offering, I decided you needed to hear from him directly. Here’s an interview:

For those unfamiliar with double knitting, give us a quick explanation of what it is.

Hesperos Scarf from Double or Nothing
Hesperos from Double or Nothing

Alasdair: Double-knitting is a method of knitting a fabric with no “wrong side”. The way I use it involves colorwork motifs that reverse in color on the other layer. There are two separate layers of fabric, worked simultaneously, which are linked together at the color changes (unlike brioche, for example, which is a fully integrated fabric).

This looks difficult. Do I need to be an expert knitter to start double knitting?

Kontinuum Hat from Double or Nothing
Kontinuum from Double or Nothing

Alasdair: Not at all! As with anything, you can start with the basics and build on them as you get more proficient. Basic double-knitting, as I teach it in my intro classes, requires only that you know how to knit and purl. If you’ve done other colorwork before, it may help you follow the chart – but it’s not necessary.

Who does double knitting appeal to?

Sierpinski L5 from Extreme Double-knitting
Sierpinski L5 from Extreme Double-Knitting

Alasdair: I think it appeals to anyone who’s ever looked at the wrong side of a knitted item and wished it was more presentable. It is a double-thick fabric, so it may appeal more to those who live in colder climates (or who have loved ones who do) – but depending on the weight of yarn and how you use it, you can make three-season garments as well.

You have taken double knitting to the “extreme”. Explain what makes your designs unique.

Adenydd Shawl from Extreme Double-knitting
Adenydd from Extreme Double-knitting

Alasdair: Since I started double-knitting in the early 2000s, rather than simply playing with motifs and patterns, I have been striving to find the “limits” to the technique. I have adapted many single-layer techniques to double-knitting (including cables, lace, intarsia, and entrelac, among others). I’ve also developed techniques that are specific to double-knitting. I’ve documented these in my books Extreme Double-knitting and Double or Nothing, and I am continuing to expand on my existing techniques and develop new ones.

What are the benefits of learning this technique in person?

Parallax Scarf Version 3
Parallax Scarf Version 3

Alasdair: In my books, I have done my best to anticipate all kinds of questions (gleaned from thousands of students over more than a decade of teaching the technique) about double-knitting. I try to show the step-by-step instructions as clearly as possible. However, there’s often no substitute for hands-on learning, and being able to get real-time answers to your questions and feedback on your work will help you reach that “A-Ha!” moment even sooner.

Tell us about your special series of workshops coming up soon.

Alasdair: I’m trying something new this year that I’ve never done before. When I go to Stitches or one of the other shows, not to mention smaller workshop weekends at a local yarn shop or retreat, I’m most often running four to six workshops; sometimes one may even be offered twice. To be able to teach all nine of my double-knitting workshops in a single event is an unprecedented opportunity for me as a teacher – and to be able to take any workshop I offer is a huge opportunity for you as a student. That’s what the BuildingBlox Workshop Week, running from April 27 to May 5 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is about.

If you’ve ever wanted to learn to double-knit, I’ve got an intro workshop on April 27 and another on May 5 – but between those two dates, I’m available to take you as far into the technique as you’re interested in going. If you already know how to double-knit, I can teach you how to create letters that read correctly on both layers; how to add a third color to the mix; how to use increases, decreases, textures, cables, lace, and more.

The BuildingBlox Workshop Week isn’t a retreat (nothing outside the workshops is planned, and you can take as many or as few as you like), and all the classes run on evenings or weekends to accommodate those with 9-5 jobs, so for those who may be coming in from afar, you’ll have your weekdays free too. You can get more info and sign up at the BuildingBlox page on my website. Thanks!

A Note from Edie

I’ve done double knitting – and even teach an online class about it– but I’d take Alasdair’s workshops in a heartbeat. If I didn’t live so far away and didn’t already have commitments for the last week of April, I’d vacation in Boston during the day and learn from Alasdair in the evening workshops. If you can’t make it to the workshops but want to learn more about double-knitting, start here:

Double or Nothing by Alasdair Post-Quinn
Adventures in Double-Knitting with Alasdair Post-Quinn
Bluprint Class
Double Knitting Workshop with Edie Eckman
Creativebug Class

International Crochet Month Designer Showcase

It’s International Crochet Month! I’m happy to be participating in the International Crochet Month Designer Showcase with Underground Crafter.

What’s it About?

Each day during March, you’ll learn about a different crochet designer who will share a free crochet pattern or a 25% discount on a premium pattern. The Showcase has partnered with some great companies to provide prizes in the form of yarn, hooks, notions, and more.

All of the designers participating in this month’s Designer Showcase are members of the Crochet Guild of America (CGOA). CGOA is the only national organization dedicated exclusively to crochet.

What I Love About CGOA

The annual CGOA Chain Link conference is for crocheters of all skill levels, ages and backgrounds. Everyone is welcome!

At this one-of-a-kind show, I get to hang out with the geekiest crocheters I know. Ones willing to talk for an hour about the best way to weave in ends. Ones inventing yet another new and improved way to start a row without a turning-chain gap. Ones who invent new stitches on purpose (or not). Ones who are passionate about improving their skills and improving the skills of others. And ones who crochet just for the love of crochet.

I love to learn, and I love to teach, in such a crochet-rich environment. (And yes, I’ll be teaching at the Chain Link Conference in July 2019.)

Read how another crocheter felt about her first CGOA show.

Save on the Melbourne Shawl

To encourage you to make something special for yourself to wear, I’m offering 25% off my Melbourne Shawl pattern through March 31, 2019 with promo code NatCroMo2019. This generously shaped shawl wraps you in comfort and style, and includes both text and charted instructions. You can wear it with joy year-round! (And if I spy you wearing it at a CGOA conference, you’re in for a special treat!)

CTA Buy the Pattern

More on the International Designers Showcase

March is an awesome time to discover new-to-you crochet designers, learn more about crochet, and to join CGOA. To find out more about participating designers, follow the schedule, and enter to win prizes, visit Underground Crafter.

Skill-Builder Crochet Blanket Crochet Along

Plan now to join me in the Skill-Builder Crochet Blanket Crochet Along. Whether you’ve mastered all the basic crochet stitches, or you just know how to chain and single crochet, you’ll learn new skills with each square you complete.

The Crochet Along (CAL) runs February 4-March 19 on Ravelry, but you can join anytime. Pattern clues will be released on Mondays and Thursdays; each will contain both text and charted instructions, and most will contain video technique lessons. 

The Construction

Red Crocheted Square Skill-Builder Crochet Blanket

The Skill-Builder Crochet Blanket is made up of 12 pieces crocheted separately. You’ll use a different stitch pattern for each square, and along with each stitch pattern you’ll learn a new skill. You’ll also pick up tips and tricks for making your crochet look its best.

When the squares are complete, you’ll block them, join them using a crocheted seam, then add an edging.

Skills Built

The list is long! You’ll learn to:

  • Crochet into the back bump of a chain
  • Understand the use of turning chains
  • Pick up stitches evenly along an edge
  • Read pattern instructions
  • Understand crochet symbol charts
  • Understand stitch multiples
  • Crochet twelve stitch patterns
  • Create linked stitches
  • Work rows without turning
  • AND MORE!

Crochet Blanket in 2 Sizes

Diagonal view of large blanket
  • 7″ squares for a baby blanket measuring about  24″ [61 cm] wide  by 33″ [84 cm] long, using three colors
  • 13″ squares for a large blanket measuring about 42″ [107 cm] wide by 57″ [145 cm] long, using four colors

The Yarn

Grey ball of Encore yarn Skill-Builder Crochet blanket

I recommend using Plymouth Encore, a worsted-weight blend of 75% acrylic/25% wool. The wool content allows the yarn to be blocked nicely, and this yarn holds up to washing! Each skein of Plymouth Encore contains about 200 yards [182 m].

You’ll need a total of about 4 balls for the small size and 13 balls for the large size. Details about yarn colors and amounts are included in the pattern introduction.

Plymouth Encore is available at your local yarn shop. However, to make it extra easy to find the yarn, you can order kits directly from The Knitter’s Edge, a full-service yarn shop in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Email or call 610-419-9276 to order the yarn kit. You can choose the colors I used, or let them help you decide on colors that fit your decor. Order now, and they’ll have the yarn to you in plenty of time to start crocheting on February 4.

How to Crochet Along With Us

Buy the pattern on Ravelry. You’ll receive the preliminary pattern information you need right away. Discussion will take place in my Ravelry group.

On February 4, and every Monday and Thursday through March 19, you’ll receive an updated pattern with the instructions for the next installment. The pattern price will go up when the CAL is over, so get it now and crochet along with us!

Be sure to check into the Ravelry group thread to ask questions and share your progress. #SkillbuilderCAL

Join the CAL button

To brush up on your crochet skills, check out Crochet: Basics & Beyond.

Crafting A New Family Holiday Tradition

crochet lesson on the sofa

This year the Eckman family started a new family holiday tradition: crafting together. Over Christmas week, both my 20-something children were home for a visit at the same time.

This post contains affiliate links.

Daughter Meg had brought a variety of left-over yarns to crochet flowers for a Spring Wreath.  Charles, visiting from far-away California, had in mind that he wanted to crochet a Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) dice bag. He asked if I’d teach him to crochet.  How could I possibly refuse?

A Crochet Lesson

Crochet hook in jeans pocket

I grabbed a ball of Meg’s green yarn (conveniently sitting on the coffee table in front of us), a 5 mm crochet hook (conveniently within reach on my rolling cart), and demonstrated holding the hook and yarn.

A bag is a great first project. We covered the skills of slip knot, chain, slip stitch, chain-1 build-up chains, working into a ring, and single crochet in the first five minutes. Charles was a quick study, understanding the concepts right away. It was just a matter of his becoming comfortable manipulating the yarn and hook.

Wreath with crocheted flowers
Meg’s wreath with crocheted flowers

With the basic skills in place, we went back to our respective projects. I worked on my Crochet Skill-Builder Afghan (Crochet Along coming very soon!), Meg grew an entire garden of blooming flowers, and Charles worked out his own way of holding yarn and hook. And husband Bill? He joined in by helping untangle and re-wind a mess of yarn. It really was a family affair!

After a while, I demonstrated double crochet, so the bag-in-progress got a round of taller stitches here and there. When the bag was the right size, he added a drawstring chain in a contrasting color. By the end of the day, the bag was complete, and it was a rousing success!

Outfitting the Newbie

Crocheted Drawstring Bag with Teal accent

Of course, our next step was to go shopping in the Yarn Room (AKA “the attic”) for yarn for the next bag. Mountain Colors Weaver’s Wool Quarters in color Glacier Teal was the winner, with a bit of odd-ball teal of unknown origin for accent. This bag is a bit larger. It’s designated as a project bag, to hold not only a WIP (Work in Progress), but also the small collection of stitch markers, scissors, and other necessities that every crocheter needs.

Over several days, we worked on various projects. Instead of staring at our individual device screens, we worked with nice yarn, created beautiful things and (gasp!) talked to one another.

He’s Hooked

Charles crocheting

We now have a Crochet Convert. Between stitching sessions, Charles polled members of his D&D campaign to ask what two colors would best represent their characters. He headed back to California with enough yarn to make custom dice bags for all the players in the campaign, along with hooks in varying sizes, and a copy of The Crochet Answer Book. (I’m assuming that none of them read this blog, so a spoiler alert wasn’t necessary there.)

Planning for Next Year

Crocheting together was a lovely way to spend time together as a family. I think we’ve crafted a new holiday tradition! This year it was crochet. I wonder what we’ll do next year?

Next week, I’ll share the pattern for the Crochet Bag for Beginners (AKA D&D Dice Bag).

For a bit of perspective, check out Teach a Young Child to Knit. These same two “children” appear with yarn there, too.


Knit Socks For Those You Love - 11 Original Designs By Edie Eckman