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Creative knitting workshops at The Refectory Table

By Janet, Feb 2 2017 05:33PM

We’re expanding the range of our creative workshops in 2017. One new subject we are including is knitting, and we're delighted to be working with knit designer Nicki Merrall of Being Knitterly.

We’re running two workshops with Nicki in Spring 2017. 'Flora' on the 1st April will focus on how to achieve a professional fully-fashioned knit finish and embellishment techniques, through creating a floral themed sampler with knitted flowers and leaves. The first workshop, 'Colour' on the 25 February will look at how designers create colour palettes and help you develop your confidence and skill in using colour for your own projects.

Nicki and I had a chat about this first workshop and her approach to her own work.

What is unique about the workshop and how it will help people work more confidently in the future?

People will learn to choose yarn using basic colour theory, then knit swatches using different stitches. The stitches will all be simple (no intarsia or Fair Isle) so everyone can concentrate on how their colour combinations work and how changing the number or order of colours affects the look of swatches. Taking time to experiment with professional guidance and support will enable people to gain confidence in choosing colour for their own projects.

What techniques will you cover?

We’ll look at the colour wheel; primary, secondary and tertiary colours; monochromatic, analogous and complementary colours, and use design techniques such as yarn wraps and paper weaves.

What, and how many of anything, can people can anticipate making at the workshop

People will be knitting several swatches. Whilst I'll encourage everyone to try a variety of stitch patterns, people can knit fewer but in more colour combinations if they prefer.

What will folk leave being able to do that they couldn't do before, and what can they do next with those skills.

People will understand basic colour theory and how to use it to make better-informed colour choices for their projects. They’ll know how to work a variety of stitch patterns which are easily adapted to create bags, blankets, cushions, scarves and throws (in other words things based on squares and rectangles).

What inspires you in relation to colour?

I love knitting with colour!  I'm drawn to the work of artists such as Paul Klee, Claude Monet and Sonia Delaunay who use colour to create different moods, explore the effects of different light or examine colour relationships. I'm also inspired by the use of colour by the knitwear designers: Missoni, Kaffe Fasset and Alice Starmore.

How would you describe your teaching approach and what you make yourself?

I love the meditative process of knitting, creating something new and experimenting with ideas. I play around with colour and stitch combinations to create unusual forms - and I love to bring this joy to other people.

I like to be flexible with creative workshops and start each one knowing that everyone will learn something, but that it may not be what they or I expected! I encourage people to experiment with the skills I teach them, to loose the fear about trying different colours, to choose a stitch pattern and make something simple, to gain the confidence to make simple alterations to patterns, to stop thinking that a technique will be too difficult.

Turning to what I make - mainly garments and accessories usually using British wools. I self-publish some patterns and others are commissioned by magazines. My main inspirations are art, traditional textiles, botany and architecture.

The Colour workshop is for 8 people, includes all materials & a great lunch - find out more & book direct here

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