Way back last summer, I spotted that Melanie Berg was going to be teaching some classes at Loop. There were two that I was interested in taking, and was dithering about which to go for, so Mr JK encouraged me to book both, meaning an overnight stay in London was needed. 'I'll pay!' he said, so I had an indulgent weekend of knitting to look forward to several months ahead. I even thought about cancelling this week as I have been suffering from a rotten cough and cold and having been feeling a bit 'blergh', but thought that a weekend away would do me good. It did feel a bit odd booking a taxi for the station on Saturday, and it was even worse coming home this evening. Previously, I would always be looking out for Mr JK waiting behind the ticket barriers to meet me and drive me home, but of course this time, there was no one there. However I did have a lovely time in London, learning A LOT from one of the current Queens of Shawls. I really like Melanie's designs - lots of interesting shapes and use of colour, and most importantly shawls that are wearable. I've knit shawls in the past, mainly triangular lacy ones, and I just don't feel right wearing them. They make me feel like an old lady, so after all that time and effort spent knitting them, they're unloved and unworn in the back of my cupboard!
Before the first class, I squeezed in a visit to Loop (the classes were being held elsewhere as Loop's basement is still drying out after their flood) and decided to treat myself to some yarn to knit myself one of Melanie's shawls as a memory of Mr JK's weekend gift. Loop is a fabulous shop, crammed full of gorgeous yarn and knitting notions and lovely, friendly people too! If you've not visited before, you should definitely go! I'd happened to spot on their blog the arrival of some particularly luscious yarn that I thought would be perfect for a shawl - Lichen and Lace one ply merino fingering. I even had a completed Loop loyalty card to get discount! The three shades I picked were Beetroot, Pewter, and Teal Tide and I think they look great together. What do you think?
The first class was all about colourwork shawls and Melanie talked us through many of the techniques she uses in her own shawls, with lots of samples to admire and swatches to examine. Then of course we had a go at trying out some of these ideas ourselves. There are several that I really, really like and I went back to my hotel room (after unbelievably bumping into Snoopydog and the younger Miss Snoops in M&S where I was buying something to eat for my tea!!!) with my head buzzing full of ideas! My swatch grew with several more rows of patterns being tried out, but I forgot to take a photo.
Today's class was all about shawl construction and Melanie went through the different possible shapes for shawls, giving us a basic starting 'recipe' for each one. I especially like the asymmetric triangles and crescent shaped shawls. We then got to cast on for one, a crescent shawl, and knit a few rows just before the end of the class. She suggested that this would be a good one to work on as a 'first shawl' design, and that's what I intend to do! Once my secret knitting is completed, I plan on having a go at designing my first colourwork shawl. I'm feeling quite excited by the prospect.
It was a great weekend and I learnt so much from Melanie. She is an absolutely lovely person and was so generous with her knowledge. I will keep you informed on my shawl design progress, I'm thinking of one with colours of spring in it. Just hope I can get it knit for this spring, rather than spring 2018! I'll be back in the week paying forward some of the kindness I've received, so be sure you stop by. xxx