Weekend at Shall We Knit

We’re in high production mode this week, getting ready to pack the car solid with yarn and head over to Waterloo Ontario to see our friends at Shall We Knit. (and cause trouble with Kate as well…we’re very good at that)

Kim will be teaching classes:

Colour Colour Colour: Colour theory and colour mixing with confidence! We’ll also talk about how to develop your own personal colour schemes.

Spatial Distortion: a crash course in chaos knitting and an excellent pairing with the colour theory workshop.

A Tale of 2 Sweaters: learning to modify patterns to fit YOU and tricks for becoming better sweater knitters.

We will also be holding a Yarn Tasting on Sunday afternoon.  We’ll look at 4 distinctly different yarn bases and talk about their qualities, how they take colour and what kinds of fabrics they produce.  Participants will get samples of each yarn to play with in class and we will have have TONS of each base available for sale in a variety of colours.

In addition to all this, we will have a special “pop-up shop” in Shall We Knit for this weekend only, with brand new colours and some old favourites.

Come join us!


“Colour Space is Infinite”

Here’s what you missed this week in Dyeing to Design at the Haliburton School of The Arts.

Dyeing colour pyramids

Kim may have borrowed one of the cakes from the last one. Not me-Kim…the other Kim. And yes, that did get confusing. 😉

Making mini-skeins of every. single. colour.

Note from the class: if you overachieve and want to dye 3 pyramids instead of 1, you WILL have to wind off THREE TIMES as many colour samples. That may get old and bring you ALMOST to the point of complaining, stamping feet and rolling eyes. Until you get to THAT colour…you know the one. Then it allllll goes away.

I think Kim likes her yarn...

Speaking of overachieving:

Claire’s souvenir yarn, based on the colours of the frog she saw that morning

Colour gradations

S dyeing all the colours of birch bark (even the inside layers)

Mona’s rainbow felted pillow covers

Sarah’s colourwork chart for her hat cowl hat cowl

M’s experimental yarn

For those following the Unified Theory of Muppet Types (Order Muppet vs. Chaos Muppet), M insists that she is a totally different muppet type:
@wisehilda @etcgirlthefirst @shallweknit: new muppet type alert

The many faces of Holly:
“Look! I made yarn!”
Holly wants to be on the blog. What do you think?
“Ohhhhh…you told me something kind of sad cute sad cute…sad? cute?”
I lied. Some people DO finish their project...

Trying on the new dye jobs

That’s Caitie on the right. That is also Caitie’s sad face. Seriously. She spent the whole week practically bursting out of her skin like an excited 5 year old told they can have ice cream for every meal for a week.

All the yarn and knitting

Oh. And an aquatic giraffe.

And just in case you wanted to know how many colour pyramids we could have created…

…the final answer was…well, actually, I forget. But when our intrepid mathematicians were asked to figure out how many colours we could make by mixing combinations of the colours we had mixed, one may have been heard to sigh…

“Colour space is infinite!”

Come Dye & Knit With Me

Come join me this summer at the Haliburton School of The Arts!  From July 2-6 I’ll be teaching a course called Dyeing to Design.


You will learn how to dye a full colour wheel of yarn, how to combine colours to reflect your own person colour sense and to design, chart and knit a colourwork pattern. Intarsia, fair isle, stranded knitting and double knitting will all be covered.


I’ve designed this course to work for knitters and dyers at a variety of skill levels. No previous dyeing experience is necessary, however you should be able to cast on, knit, purl and bind off before registering. And if you’re a more advanced knitter or dyer, I have a pile of challenges to throw at you! 😉

We will also have opportunities to visit the Indigodragonfly studio…in fact, I’m thinking that a class BBQ is in order.

Online registration for Dyeing to Design is here.

There are lots of options for accomodation in Haliburton, including hotels, Bed & Breakfast, rental cottages, small resorts and camping options.  A full Accomodation Directory can be found at the Haliburton Tourism website.


March Break in Waterloo

Well it’s time to tell you about our adventures in Waterloo.  By “we”, I of course mean me and the squirrels. (Tangent: what is it with that crazy law about squirrels not being able to driver’s licenses in Ontario???)

I spent Thursday night hanging out with the Uptown Knit Mob.  Otherwise known as the seedy underbelly of the Waterloo knit world.  OK, maybe only in our house.  And maybe only because we like saying “underbelly”.  The Mob hangs out in parks, restaurants and bars in downtown Waterloo on Thursday nights. I’ve been told many times of their existence, but had pretty much decided that they were, collectively, the Loch Ness Monster of Waterloo.

I can now confirm they do exist. However I believe it’s safer for all of us if I don’t post photos of the sighting. (It’s also entirely possible I was in a driving-coma and may have forgotten to take photos…)

One thing I love about travelling to Waterloo, is that instead of a hotel, they put me up in the guest suite at a downtown condo.  So I have my own little apartment for the week.

This means the Squirrels can make me breakfast every morning:

CCMZSoD make breakfastBut, um, I think this would be a mistake for our fluffy tailed friends...I told them they had to have fruit for breakfast (I told them we needed fruit)

(Anyone want to be the one to tell them it’s full of soap?)

There was teaching at Shall We Knit.  Lots of teaching of lots of wonderful knitters. On Saturday, we played with ALL the colours, trying different combinations and mixing formal colour theory with instinct and inspiration.

(note the unicorn tattoo on Cari. Um. There were many more.)

You know how to scare a really thoughtful knitter? Ask her to choose 10 colour combos in 3 minutes and would she like the duck or the crickets alarm? 😉

Sunday was all about the Cliffs of Insanity scarf. We had lots of small samples of yarns to swatch and play with. Even though I’ve written the pattern for Merino Silk Lace and Habu Silk Stainless Steel, the class is about trying the concepts with different yarns to find the combination of yarn, colour, gauge and stitch patterns that make you fall in love with your knitting:


Karen described this as “going offroading” with your knitting. That’s a great description. Making creative decisions as you go based on what your eye likes. Knowing that there’s no strict pattern that’s “right” is something I love. It’s all about you. Your taste. Your preference.

And then on Tuesday, there was my talk for the KW Knitters Guild. On Knitting Sarcasm. (I’m sorry, I truly don’t understand why the rest of you aren’t as surprised at that request as I am.)

Heather would like you to know that this is what I looked like while speaking:
Minion Kim

She would also like you to know that the podium is not to scale. It was taller than me.

I would like Heather to stuff a sock in it.

Admittedly I set myself up at the podium and Angela, the lovely Guild program coordinator had to gently let me know that perhaps the podium wasn’t such a great idea. You know. Due to the fact I couldn’t see over it.

Also: I may have mentioned to the audience that the last time I spoke at a Guild meeting, I was greeted with “I thought you’d be taller.” We have to excuse them. They were Potters.

This is what I actually looked like:

indigodragonfly at kwkg 6

The Guild members were a lovely and suitably behaved audience and laughed in all the right places. It was my first stab at a humorous talk (stop laughing! There are people out there who think I’m very important and serious)

(For photos of the talk, please refer to the KW Knitters Guild Flickr page)

And then swarmed the yarn table:
indigodragonfly at kwkg 9

Thank you to Shall We Knit for having me come and teach, and to the Kitchener-Waterloo Knitters Guild for inviting me to speak. Thank you also to Anne for use of the last 2 photos in this post.

Random Thoughts on Teaching and Speaking

1.  This week was the first week of the course I teach for the Visual Arts Diploma at the Haliburton School of The Arts.  We started with learning how to write Artist Statements.  I’m seriously considering lobbying for renaming the class Whining 101. Because it really doesn’t matter how long you’ve been an artist: writing an artist statement is hard and makes people cranky. Yet they all push through it and get through it and do a really good job of communicating what their art is about. And to top it all off, they seem really proud of themselves.

2.  I like to think it perhaps helped a little that I told them I myself am currently struggling with writing my talk for next week’s KW Knitters Guild meeting.  I’m really not convinced they believed me when I told them I was speaking about Knitting and Sarcasm.

3. They’ll learn.

4.  They also thought the slide about writing an “image list” that included an item called Cute and Cuddly Mutant Zombie Squirrels of Doom was fake too.

5.  There are still a few spots open in my classes at Shall We Knit in Waterloo ON this weekend.  Remember when I blogged about that?  Registration happens here.  I’m currently packing up little skeins of colourly goodness for students to play with.  They make me very happy.

6.  My Saturday class at Shall We Knit is a greatly abbreviated version of a course I’ll be teaching this summer at the Haliburton School of The Arts:  Dyeing to Design.  The difference?  The summer course will involve learning to dye the colours as well as design with colour.  In the most beautiful setting in the world.

7.  We may also have plans to have a dinner at our studio for students so that they can pick all of our brains. Otis is unwilling to give away his squirrel hunting secrets however.  Sorry.

8.  Of course, if you prefer, I’m also teaching Whining 101 in the summer as well…

How Fast They Learn

Psssssst.  Only a few more weeks to sign up for the Smart-Ass Knitters Club. And you know where to find the yarn, right?  Just checking.

Also:  Glenna is donating all the profits from her pattern sales this month to The Red Cross and Médicins sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders. Help her out.

I’ve been teaching a course at the local Art College: Haliburton School of the Arts. Portfolio and Presentation.  You know, the class that art students don’t want to take because it gets in the way of them actually making art.  But they need it and I know what they need to know, so I teach it. And love every minute of it.  Even when not nice things are being said under their breath. Even when Facebook is WAYYYYY more fascinating than I am.  (Is it wrong that it bothers me less when they’re on Ravelry...though I’d prefer it if they were at least talking about unsparkly yarn in my group to FAKE their sucking up).  Love. It.  I leave every single class completely energized and remembering why I work in the arts.

They also let me be my smart-assy self.  I know you’re all shocked that sarcasm is written into the lesson plan.

My first class was in January.  Later that same day, I also taught a “learn to knit” class at the Art Hive.  Two of my new art school students came and learned how to knit that day They chose some of my yarn… ::cough::gatewaydrug::cough:: …and some needles.  Stumbling through those first new steps.  Intently struggling through the cast on.  Learning to breathe again while trying those first knit stitches.  I’m told they went home that night and  knit all night.  Just couldn’t stop.  Heh.

Class 2 –

Me:  You can email me anytime with questions about class.
Students:  What about knitting questions?

Clearly I’ve made my smart-assy bed.

Today was the third class…not even 2 months after the first.  And Lili, one of my knitting students knit through class.  The whole thing.  While participating in class (which is why I let it happen).  Most of the time not looking at her knitting, just knowing where the needles needed to be.  During break, she got excited showing me all her knitted things and telling me she had seen my yarn at Needles in the Hay in Peterborough. But then she had gone to Walmart, and decided that their yarn wasn’t worth her time and energy.  That higher quality yarns are more expensive but they feel better and they look better and if she’s going to spend the time and energy making something, she wants it to feel good on and to last.  My students are SMART!

And my other knitting student, Lisa, literally gave me the sweater off her back so I can try to recreate it.  It’s a really cool sweater.  She totally trusts me to give it back.  ::snicker::  (There was a brief exchange about me taking it to Cuba, which she quickly informed me would be too hot for this sweater.  Snort. Like THAT’S going to stop me.)  Lisa is discovering knitwear.  Wanting to know how things are made and how long they take. Understanding the value. I love it when that happens.