Skill Builder Class Reviews

Above: Several of our class participants from 2016 holding a variety of their completed blocks!

Our two skill-building class series for beginning and intermediate knitters are coming around again next week. We start fresh from the beginning every six months, in January and in July.

Building Blocks teaches beginning knitters techniques like bobbles, several types of increases and decreases, cables and twists and slipped stitches which can be create a variety of textures. Building in Color teaches intermediate knitters techniques like intarsia colorwork, fair isle colorwork, short rows, elongated stitches, and knitting in the stitch below which can be used to incorporate multiple colors into your knitting projects.

It’s our goal in these classes and in day-to-day life to make every knitter feel like you’re the boss of your knitting. You can do it your way, and if you like it, then you did it right. If you want to veer away from a pattern or make it up as you go along, we think that’s swell. We’ll help you get your work to look the way you want it to and we’ll teach you everything you want to know. If you haven’t noticed, we feature a “Who’s the Boss?” photo board right up front in the shop, and also on our website!

These classes taught by Mim Bird are more than just an opportunity to complete a knitted sampler blanket within six months; they’re skill builders and confidence builders! At the end of the road, we’ll give you a certificate of knitting achievement because you’ll have come a long way towards knitting mastery. You’ll know more about yarn weights and fiber properties, deciphering patterns and reading charts, fixing your mistakes, and perhaps most importantly: reading your knitting. 

But don’t take my word for it. I’m writing this blog post because I want to share with you a few reviews that we’ve gotten from folks who’ve finished either Skill Builder class series! Thank you guys!


Lucy M. says:

I have quilted and done needlepoint for years and could manage to knit a rudimentary scarf. I decided to try and advance my knitting skills. I saw the description of The Building Blocks class and thought I’d give it a whirl. From the very first class-understanding yarn and how to read the label- I was off and running.

I moaned when I saw the first block (I can’t do this!) but with Mim’s amazing instruction she taught us HOW to read the instructions in a pattern. Also the with the help of the videos provided by Michelle Hunter (author) there was nothing I couldn’t do. Cables, lace knitting, right twist-you name it I can do it!

This class gave me the skills to really read a pattern and deconstruct the seemingly complicated instructions. Almost immediately my imagination took off and now with the skills learned in this class and Mim’s guidance I really am the “Boss of my knitting.”

I also highly recommend taking the second class in this series Building with Color- incorporating color into your work gives amazing results. 

The world is now my kitted oyster! Thanks Mim and Over the Rainbow yarn!


Cheryl C. says:

I am a MUCH more confident knitter.  I’m working on a shawl with lots of lace and a fancy border.  I would NEVER have tried that before taking the class.  I am much better at reading my stitches and can un-knit to back up to a mistake and fix it without dropping stitches or getting lost, even with lace. I find friends bringing me some of their mistakes and I can often fix them! I look at patterns and I’m blown away by the possibilities now available to me.  Before the class I’d say “Oh that looks way too hard”  now I say “Wow that’s beautiful.  I’m going to make that!” So many friends have commented on how beautiful my afghan is.  I love lying under it, on the couch, with a good book or movie. It’s the best investment I’ve ever made to take my knitting to a new level. Totally worth the investment of time and money.


Sue M. says:

After picking up knitting after a 40 year hiatus, and not even remembering how to cast on, I signed up for the Building Blocks class at Over the Rainbow.  I can’t believe how much I learned in 6 months.  As a teenager, I only knew how to knit and purl.  In 6 months I had learned a variety of stitches, how to fix mistakes, and how to read charts.  I think I went from a novice to being a fearless knitter who was able to take on lace patterns, fancy edging on sweaters, and then some.  It gave me the skills to tackle projects I never thought I could do.

I was so pleased with what I had learned, I then signed up for Knitting with Color class, and learned the different techniques for knitting with more than 1 color at a time.  I’d always wanted to be able to make those pretty patterns I see other people wearing, and now I can!

Mim is an awesome teacher who can teach anyone how to knit with confidence.  The books she uses with video tutorials are clear and a valuable resource to complement the techniques she teaches.

I highly recommend either or both of these classes if you want to hone your knitting skills.


Mary S. says:

I learned to knit from my mother at age 8. I was able to do basic things and had made a few sweaters but I did not know how to make lace or other interesting textures, so I wanted to learn some new techniques. I started attending Building Blocks in order to try new stitches.What was most valuable is what I learned from Mim about how I was knitting. It turns out I was doing a combination version that twisted and untwisted the stitches when I switched from knit to purl. Suddenly some odd things that had happened over the years made a lot more sense. I closed up holes in lace when I knit my usual way. I had done a whole garment once with the twists left in, but then couldn’t remember how I did it. Now I can really “boss my knitting” and can make anything look like I want by my own choice. I also decided not to change my basic technique. My mom passed away this year, so it is kind of a legacy at this point. What I would like to know is how SHE learned it that way!Building Blocks was supposed to be a class to teach me how to do fancy stitches, and instead it taught me all about how I knit so I could go on and learn to make my own stitches look any way I want them to. Wow. I had no idea all that was about to open up to me. I have so many ideas and not enough time to knit them all–but isn’t that the problem everyone has? Thanks, Mim!

 

Embracing Hygge

I’ve been seeing the word “hygge” everywhere lately, and I found myself intrigued by the concept. Hygge, pronounced “hooga”, is a Danish word that seems to be all about coziness, warmth, and mindfulness. Visitdenmark.com says, “In essence, hygge means creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people”. Doesn’t that sound lovely? It seems to me that the concept of hygge is perfectly suited to a fiber lifestyle, especially here in Maine. Over The Rainbow Yarn’s Stitch ‘n’ Spin groups are pretty much the embodiment of hygge — lovely people sitting around a table, working on soft and cozy projects, and forming new friendships. Sometimes there’s even chocolate.

Winters in Maine can be long and dark, and I occasionally start to wonder whether spring will ever arrive. Remember when it stayed light out after 6 pm? Me neither. But now that I know about hygge, it’s almost as if I’ve been given permission to hunker down, don my wooliest socks, and knit the winter away. (In this scene I’m also picturing myself in front of a woodstove, with a mug of mulled cider and a kitten. Hey, we’re all entitled to our own hygge fantasies.) I think that the happiest country in the world is onto something here, and I intend to explore this concept further for you, loyal readers.

The scarf you can see in the background of that photo (behind a candle and my mug of tea) is our version of Pink Fluffy, a wonderfully simple garter stitch scarf by Andra Asars, and possibly the most hygge item in the shop. I also have to say that I think my Caribou Cowl is pretty hygge too. It’s soft, cozy, and very meditative to knit. This month, you can download it for free from our website!

Embrace hygge and stay cozy, my friends.

Temperature Blankets & Knitting as Journaling

temperature_blanket_collage

Above Examples From Ravelry Users: Temperature Blankets by arcticwildfire, maddnancy and JJAARRMom, Temperature Scarves by jesst70 and LaRue6358.

The beginning of the year is a good time to embark on an ambitious knitting project. The ability to impose daily, weekly, or monthly goals onto a calendar year is straightforward and satisfying. Dividing up a blanket, a complicated lace shawl, or even a sweater into goals like “knit 10 rows per week” makes large projects feel achievable. But have you ever thought of recording day-to-day events like the weather in your knitting? 

If you haven’t heard of it, the temperature blanket concept is to spend an entire year knitting or crocheting one row each day in a color which corresponds to the temperature outside that day: for instance, dark purple means 0-10 degrees, light purple means 10-20 degrees, dark blue means 20-30 degrees… and so on. You pick the pattern (stockinette, ribbing, single crochet, or something fancy), you pick the colors, and you pick the rules. You could use the high, low, or mean temperature for the day. You could use the temperature for your home town or the temperature for wherever you happen to be each day. You could make it a scarf rather than a blanket if you prefer. The point is that it’s not a pattern; it’s a concept. If you’re interested in catching up, wunderground.com tracks temperatures and other weather data for every day, and it’s easy to look up past days.

In the past weeks, I’ve seen a number of people on the internet sharing their completed temperature blankets from 2016. They all have a pleasing rhythm with a dash of randomness. They tend to have cooler colors on either end and warmer colors in the middle (if they were knit in a northern climate).

I think we all have the feeling that we imbue our work with memories of the time we spent creating it, but knitting a temperature blanket is a deliberate attempt to capture memories in your work. It’s like a snapshot in stitches. It’s like knitting as journaling.

Lea Redmond, author of Knit the Sky, first published the temperature blanket idea along with several other whimsical and inspiring suggestions for capturing a period of life in a knitted object. She suggests a mood scarf with colors corresponding to your daily moods, and she suggests a sky scarf with shades of blue and grey corresponding to the color of the sky.

Maybe it’s a bit late in the season to get started this year, but for football fans, the Scoreboard Scarf by Michelle Hunter uses a similar idea. You knit your team’s scores into the scarf by knitting a row of one color for each point your team scores and a row of another color for each point the opposing team scores, and you break up the games with a single row of a neutral color. Well, either that or you make up your own knitting rules.

Here’s a thought – why don’t you knit a scarf in which you think of something you’re grateful for at the beginning of each row? How about transitioning to a new lace motif at the beginning of each new week or month?How about combining a sky scarf with a mood scarf by knitting a different stitch based on your mood in the color of the sky? How about writing in an actual journal about what you thought about while knitting each day?

Knitting as journaling is a concept one could run wild with. It might challenge you to think about knitting in a new way.