review: Knitting Bag of Tricks Workshop with Patty Lyons

knitting-bag-of-tricksWhen I approach a problem in my work as a technology consultant for small businesses, my first question is why so I can figure out the how and find the best and most appropriate solution for the problem at hand. I believe this is a sound approach to many problems in life, the universe, and knitting. It is the same approach, my friend knit designer and teacher Patty Lyons uses in her Knitting Bag of Tricks Knitting Workshop. In this course she covers over 30 knitting tips and tricks and the whys behind them. This workshop is available both as a digital download and as a DVD.

Patty is an experienced and exceptional teacher; this class is a great introduction to teaching style. The amount of things I learned in the couple of minutes surprised me. Many of the tricks were ones I already use, but I confess I never stopped to analyze why I used them. Patty clearly explains and demonstrates how things go wonky in our knitting, why they’re weird, and most importantly how to fix them. She also takes the time to show how techniques differ if you are a picker or thrower, if the technique requires it. Some of the tips are ones I wish I knew when I was first learning to knit. As a combination knitter with my own peculiar style of purling, it took me a long time to figure out decreasing without getting twisted every which way. If Patty’s class had been around back when I was learning it would have prevented much frustration and confusion.

What delights me the most about this class is how there is something for just about anyone to learn. Yes, you will get more out of this class if you already are comfortable with the knitting basics of how to cast-on and off, knit, purl, increase, and decrease, however whether you’ve been knitting for 5 years or 50 I would be surprised if you didn’t learn something even if it’s why you do what you do!

Patty’s tip for a better bind-off is so good I can’t resist sharing it with you. If picture-based tutorials aren’t quite your thing, you’ll see this technique clearly explained in the class.

Why not just search youtube and the library for all these tips? I won’t stop you. What’s nice about this class is you now have all these great ways to improve your knitting in one convenient place. You don’t need to spend time searching and tracking down where you last saw the trick to avoid the gap at the start of a mid-row cast-off. In addition, by being a professionally filmed and edited video, the little details make all the difference. The camera work is clear and focused on the swatches. The audio is clear and without extraneous background noise. The chosen yarn (and colour) is perfect for tutorials as the stitches show clearly what is being explained.

Want to see more? Here’s a video preview of the class.

If you don’t want to purchase the entire course right now, you can purchase the two parts separately. Part one covers all the things to start your knitting from casting on (with butterflies!), better ways to transition out of ribbing, and how to make your increases and decreases look tidier. Want matching YO’s between both your knits and purls? Patty has a very clear tip for that. Part two covers casting-off both in the middle of a row, either for a neckline, or a button hole, and at the end of a piece.

I recommend this class for all knitters looking to tidy up their knitting and have the best tools at their side to complete the techniques they use every day.

Note: The publisher sent me a review copy of this course. All thoughts are my own.

Tech Tip: It took me a long time to review this class until I remembered how to playback the video at 1.5 speed. If you are viewing it with quicktime, hold down option key while pressing the fast forward button and you’ll see it increment up 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 etc. I listen to all audiobooks and podcasts at faster than normal speeds, I’m a New Yorker, we talk fast and I like to listen to everything at the speed I’m used to hearing it. Note: this should also work if you wanted to slow it down.

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