I’m making slow, but steady, progress on my Summer Sweater. The days here have been an odd mix of super busy (as we’ve been working on some exciting CustomFit features that you’ll be seeing over the next few months) and peacefully quiet (as long summer days out in the sticks tend to be).

I’m particularly pleased with how this one is turning out so far:

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What is it going to be, you ask? It’s a sleeveless version of an as-yet-unreleased Amy design, worked in Mrs. Crosby Hat Box. The yarn is a joy to knit with, and is creating a fantastic fabric for this top. I’m really happy with it so far.

But it’s not just the yarn that is making me happy (though it is, to be sure). This is the first sweater I’ve knit after taking Patty Lyons’ Improve Your Knitting Craftsy class. As some of you may remember, I’ve been on a quest for some time now to improve my own knitting — not only do I want to create even stitches, without rowing out, and a good fabric that doesn’t grow mysteriously, and for my gauge to stay consistent from piece to piece, and from sweater to sweater…

…I want to know why that happens, and how to control it. Even with CustomFit, I would be nervous knitting my sweaters because I wasn’t sure if my gauge was changing as I knit. Or I’d start rowing out halfway through and I didn’t know why. I didn’t have a good reason for most of my knitting technique – it was just the way I figured it out from reading Stitch N Bitch, with adjustments made here or there based on isolated tips and tricks from different classes and people.

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Patty is pretty fantastic.

Patty’s class turned out to be just what I was looking for, that I didn’t even know existed. It was revelational. (And clearly, it’s one of the reasons we asked her to teach at our retreat this year, and are so excited to share it with you all as well.) In it, Patty covers many different types of knitting techniques, and by that, I mean how you hold and move your yarn around, as well as the pros and cons of each. But perhaps even more importantly, Patty discusses the proper way to size your stitch using your needles, without distorting it or the stitches around it — regardless of which technique you use. She thoughtfully breaks down the most basic motions of knitting technique, explains what is happening, and why it’s important.

My knitting technique didn’t change drastically, but it changed fundamentally, in a way that now makes me completely confident and consistent in the formation of my stitches. And my fabric reflects that.

I strongly believe that knitting is best taught and learned in-person. While I learned a lot from the Craftsy videos, but I’m really looking forward to being in Patty’s class this September and benefitting from her being able to *look* at my technique and make individualized suggestions. That being said, I think every single knitter would benefit from what Patty teaches in this class, and if you don’t have the ability to take it with Patty in person, the Craftsy class is (significantly) better than not taking it at all.

I learned to knit from a book. Amy learned to knit from her Gram, who clearly knew what she was about, because Amy’s fabric looks machine made in the best possible way. But even Amy didn’t know why her knit fabric was so good until we really started delving into this subject over the past year. I wonder how many of us really think about our knitting in this way?

So, how did you learn to knit? Were you taught the “why” as well as the “how”? We’re really curious — please do share your knitting story with us!