When Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark asked me to be a part of the blog tour for her Craftsy class, “The Seamless Artemisia Sweater,” I was happy to say yes. As you’ve undoubtedly heard me say before, I love Craftsy classes, and this particular class looked like it had the potential to teach me a few things.
As a self-taught knitter, I always appreciate the opportunity to watch someone else work. (Actually, this is true for me in all of my creative endeavors, not just knitting.) The reason being, there is a lot to learn from an expert’s workflow, from the way she holds the needle while picking up stitches, to the angle she inserts the pins while blocking a finished project. Sometimes the most valuable things to absorb from a class are not in the course materials, but in observing an artist at work.
I say all this because I want to encourage you to look beyond the specific project being offered, and think in terms of the skills you could learn.
I didn’t actually knit this sweater along with Mercedes, as it would probably be next July before I’d have had a chance to finish it up (I’m not the fastest stitcher in the world, and my project list is already pretty full). But I did watch the entire class, and I can tell you, even if I never do knit this sweater, it was worth the time it took.
Well, there’s the workflow thing I mentioned earlier, of course, but then there are the other more concrete skills that are a part of knitting a top-down seamless sweater such as the Artemisia. Some of the highlights for me:
The neckline and shoulder shaping. I have never made a pullover before, so the only experience I have with knitting sweaters is with top-down raglans and top-down round-yokes. Mercedes presented a very interesting beginning for this sweater, which included short-row shaping at the shoulders. I don’t know if this is a well-known technique or something she made up, but I have never seen it before. It’s quite clever!
Lined pockets. I like the way she did the pockets. I would not have guessed that’s how they were done, but now that I’ve seen it, they make sense. I may add a pocket or two to my next sweater.
Weaving in ends. We were just talking about this in regards to our blanket crochet-along, so it’s a pretty timely topic. Mercedes weaves her ends in a way I’ve never seen before, and I am definitely trying it on my next knit.
I also enjoyed watching her pick up stitches. It’s probably my weakest knitting skill, and so I appreciate seeing how others do it.
This is not a class for complete and total beginners, in that you are not taught the absolute basics (knit and purl), but I think anyone who has a firm grasp of these basics and an enthusiasm for expanding their skills will be able to take this class.
All of the techniques from cast-on to bind-off are demonstrated clearly, and the Craftsy platform allows you to easily skip back 30 seconds to repeat an instruction, if you want to see it again. The Craftsy platform, by the way, has many features that make their classes as good as (or even better than) taking a class in person. You can take notes, leave bookmarks, or ask (and answer) questions. Plus, the class never expires, so you can come back to it in five years to look up that short row wrap trick, if you wanted to. It’s pretty cool.
You know what else is pretty cool? Watching it on the big screen from the comfort of your couch on your Google TV. Yeah, that’s pretty cool.
If you are interested in learning top-down, set-in sleeve construction, hourglass shaping, knit-in pockets, and finishing details, I can definitely recommend this class as a good way to do it. You get roughly 2.5 hours of instruction, and you can refer back to it as often as you need to.
[Update: Oops! I forgot to include Mercedes and Craftsy's generous discount! Click this link, or any of the other class links in this post, and you can take the class for the discounted price of $19.99 - enjoy!]
(My standard disclaimer applies. I was given the opportunity to take this class for free in exchange for my honest review. All photos, aside from the one of my TV, are courtesy of Craftsy.)