Tag Archives: Loopy Yarns

An unexpected private knitting lesson

Hey look, a post!

I recently had a sudden and unexpected desire to take some classes. I hadn’t been planning to take any more sewing or knitting classes. I figured after the intro courses I could learn everything else online, and for the most part I do (I taught myself Magic Loop recently!). But I needed to get out of the house, and I guess I’m feeling like this is my last chance to take classes. I know my life won’t end when the baby is here, but I also know that with working full-time, I probably won’t want to spend my off hours away from the kiddo.

So I signed up for an Introductory Lace Knitting class at Loopy Yarns. It’s a one-time course and only costs $15, which I found appealing. It’s also only offered during the day, so I had to take a day off work (which I used to run various other errands too). The intermediate course is also during the day, so I won’t be taking it.

When I showed up for class yesterday it turned out I was the only one enrolled, so I got a private lesson! It was nice. We actually went less than the full 2 hours, but I’m sure I got as much content as if it had been longer with more people.

There’s not a lot to learning lace, which I knew going in. But it was nice to have someone verify that I was doing yarn overs correctly and to remind me to keep counting. I actually bought and used a row counter for the first time! The intro course has you start a feather and fan scarf. It’s a quite lovely and very simple pattern. I bought a second skein of fingering weight yarn (I’m not quite ready for lace weight) and will be making a shawl (a double-width scarf) instead since it seemed more practical.

Since it was just me, the instructor also taught me the knitted cast on (I’d only done long-tail previously) and a different bind off as well. In all, well worth my $15, and I had a really lovely day off of work. I even got to catch up with my Intro Knitting instructor who was working at the store yesterday.

I really wanted to take a sock knitting course before the baby comes, but the final session of the next course is three days before my due date. Even if I’m destined to be overdue, I don’t know that I’ll still want to be taking the bus downtown at that point. So instead I signed up for Intro to Crochet! Yay for learning new things. ๐Ÿ™‚

I actually have some finished (knitted) objects to show off too, but that will have to wait until I manage to take pictures of them.


Knits in Progress

The thing about knitting is–it takes forever.

Blue and Turqua and Blue and Turqua. Forever.

I’m still knitting away on the Special Olympics scarf, which I need to finish by January 18! It’s going along fine, but K2, P2 is soooo boring, and this Red Heart Super Saver is just not inspiring (nor are these colors). I finally realized that my size 10 needles were way too long, and that’s making me work harder (or feel like I’m working harder?) than I should be.

13" needles. I can't imagine what I would need those for!

I had to get size 10 16″ circulars for my sweater (for the sleeves), so I bought them early to use on the scarf.What a difference. I need to start using circular needles for everything. :)I’ll be done with this scarf soonish. I hope. I just need to remember to budget time for all those ends to weave in. Darn color work. Oh, and I need to weave in an end where a destructive kitty chewed through the yarn. Sigh.

I’m also busy at work on my sweater, which is much more rewarding knitting, even if it will take an enormous amount of time. I love the Malabrigo Rio, even if my husband does keep making fun of me for how much I spent on it. I’m sure it’s the last time I’ll spend this much on yarn, so I have to enjoy it now. Sigh. I also love my Hiya Hiya 32″ circulars. Although the pattern called for size 8s, I had to get 10s to get gauge. Any guesses why I knit so tightly? Overanxious control freak here? Nope…

It's starting to look like a sweater!

I’ve knit (from the top) down to where we split for the sleeves and put in the scrap yarn to hold those stitches. Now to complete the body–that’s a LOT of stockinette to do. At least it’s pretty easy, with occasional decreases and then some increases for shaping. Can’t wait until I knit some guy sweaters with no shaping! And then the sleeves. And then the shawl collar. Why did I choose such a complicated pattern?

On Knitting a Sweater

Last night I started knitting my first sweater! I’m taking a sweater knitting class at Loopy Yarns. In four short classes, I’ll know how to knit a sweater.

We’re working on Top Down sweaters (no seams!), and everyone has a pattern from Knitting Pure and Simple. The class is all women, so I won’t get to see any of the men’s patterns, but the six of us chose different patterns and different yarns, so it will be interesting to see the variety.

I’m making:


I hope I look happier when I wear mine.

I really wanted to try a cardigan, since that’s what is most useful to me. And I thought it would be neat to learn how to do this shawl collar/button panel that seems to be knit sideways.


For the yearn, I’m going with the Malabrigo Rios in Azul Profundo. Just don’t ask me how much it cost. The yarn is gorgeous and fun to knit with so far. And it’s machine washable! I’ll get as much enjoyment out of it as I can because I can’t imagine I’ll be purchasing a lot of Malabrigo!


Not just blue... Azul Profundo!

So far, I’ve learned that I’m a really tight knitter. Most of my sweater is knit on size 8 round needles (29-inch). I had to go up to size 10s to get gauge! And of course I chose a pattern that requires three different round needles, none of which I owned previously, and a set of double points that I’ll need to purchase as well.


Last night we cast on and started the neck. I learned to increase by knitting in the front and the back of the stitch, which seemed awkward at first but has turned out to be pretty easy. Good thing because my first 47 knit rows have 8 increases a piece. When I got home, I figured out how many stitches each row should have and realized I hadn’t increased everywhere I needed to in the 4 or so rows I’d done, so I ripped it out and started over. Hopefully the neat excel chart I made will help!

This week I will be knitting those 47 rows (and purling their wrong sides) so that we’re ready to divide for sleeves next week. Whee!

Knitting Queue

My knitting queue, in no particular order:

  1. The Special Olympics scarf. I’m about one-third of the way through it. If this weren’t for charity, I might quit. I hate this yarn, and scarves are sooooo long. But it’s no-thinking-required knitting, and hopefully someone will enjoy this scarf when it’s done. My deadline to mail it in is January 18, so this is near the top of the list.
  2. An Irish hiking hat for my coworker, Jill.

    Is there special Irish hiking?

    I’m using Red Heart Classic because, well, I already have it in my stash, and it’s super soft. This hat is basically a way to learn and practice cables on a small enough project that I won’t get totally frustrated. I hope.

  3. My first sweater.

    Yay for complicated projects!

    I start my Sweater class at Loopy Yarns tonight! This pattern was most certainly not the easiest pattern I could have chosen, but I think if I’m going to pay to learn to make a sweater I might as well learn as much while I have someone helping me as I can. And I definitely wanted a cardigan for work. I’m using scrumptious and expensive Malabrigo Rios blue yarn for this one (sorry, Azul Profundo).

  4. The February Lady sweater. If this doesn’t make you want to learn to knit, nothing will.

    LOVE this sweater.

    I’ll be using Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Worsted in Jalapeno (and this will be a much cheaper sweater than the first!).

  5. Socks! I bought a kit from Knit Picks, complete with interchangeable patterns and enough yarn for five pairs!

    I love the jaunty drink with the socks.

    The kit seems way cheaper than buying all of the yarn and patterns separately. Of course, I may get horribly frustrated and end up taking a sock class at Loopy, but I thought I should at least try this.

I have lots more knitting ideas, and tons of things I want to try on Ravelry, but this is where I’m going to start, and these are the projects I need to at least attempt before I’m allowed to buy any more yarn.

On my master knitting queue is also an afghan, but that deserves its own post (coming soon).

Kelly Learns to Knit!

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.

Loop Yarns Storefront

Cute storefront. Picture from the Loopy Yarns website.

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.


Inside Loopy Yarns

Inside Loopy Yarns. Picture from the Loopy Yarns website.

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!ย  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. ๐Ÿ™‚ Our assignment before the next class (two weeks from now because of Thanksgiving) is to keep practicing.

Oneย  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…