Last night I had my first Beginning Knitting Class. It was the first of five two-hour sessions. I took the class at Loopy Yarns, based both on location (the closest yarn shop to my house) and the fantastic Yelp reviews.
The store is fantastic. It’s a charming storefront in a great historic building in one of the hot neighborhoods in Chicago (South Loop). And it’s almost like you walk into another world when you enter the building. The class started at 6:30, and I got there early, but even so, it was already dark outside and very cold, but you walk in this store, and it’s bright and cheery and warm. I was greeted at the door, and everyone was friendly and welcoming. I had time to kill, so I wandered around the store for a while, and it was clear from the conversations that they have regular customers who stop by frequently.
I can’t speak for the yarn collection, since I don’t really know much about yarn. It looks to be extensive, but they do not have the kind of cheap yarns that I might want to buy (Red Heart or Lion Brand). The Cascade yarn I picked out for my scarf and hat (included in the cost of the class) was $8 for 220 yards. I assume they had us pick out from the cheapest yarn in the store, and in my browsing I didn’t see anything cheaper.
You can’t really tell from the pictures, but the store is enormous for downtown Chicago. Apparently they moved out of a previous State Street location and into this location because they could get three times as much space for the rent. It was a very good move. The most amazing thing is that they actually have a second level! There’s a downstairs space that’s divided into classrooms. Last night there were at least three classes going on– mine, beginning crochet, and fair isle.
My instructor was male, which was just awesome, and he was great and really helpful. He said he’s only been knitting for three or four years, and his stuff looks great, so perhaps it won’t take too long to get good. I’m not there yet, though. Last night we learned to cast on with a long tail and to do a basic knit stitch. That’s it. We did each thing over and over again so that we wouldn’t forget. And then we ripped it all out. 🙂 Our assignment before the next class (two weeks from now because of Thanksgiving) is to keep practicing.
One thing I found odd is that we learned the Continental method. I had always heard that the English method was easier, and I think that’s what I’ve learned in the past, so I was surprised that we did this. I found it a little awkward and painful, but hopefully it will get better as I get more used to it and relax more.
No pics yet, since I ripped out my stitches, but hopefully I’ll have something to share soon. By December 22 I should have a finished scarf and hat!
And then on to sweaters…