Sunday, January 25, 2009

Louisa Harding Juliet Scarf Class

Juliet Scarf Class with Louisa Harding

I have always hoped to take a workshop with my favorite designer Louisa Harding.

I love her Cameo Shawl from the book Pretty Knits. I was so excited about a year ago when I read that she was teaching a Cameo Shawl workshop at Loop in London. Oh, how I wanted to hop on a plane to London to take that class!
I was even more excited when I found out that she was the (week long) guest instructor last September in the South of France with Kristeen Griffin-Grimes of French Girl Knits. This would have been a dream come true but I couldn't pull this trip off either.
So you can imagine my delight, when I emailed Louisa Harding's company in England and found out from Louisa, herself, that she was doing a workshop event right here in northern California. I called Green Planet Yarn in Campbell, Ca immediately and signed up for all the Louisa Harding events.

Louisa Harding Day

I was still reeling with excitement of meeting Louisa Harding the day before at the book signing event at Babetta's Yarn & Gifts. You can imagine how excited I was to be spending the entire day with Louisa at Green Planet Yarn. This was an occasion meant to be shared so I invited my knitting friend Pamela to join me. She has been knitting all her life and has followed Louisa's career since her early days at Rowan. Pamela was just as excited as me!

Louisa Harding
Juliet Scarf Workshop

I have wanted to make the Juliet Scarf for quite some time. I remember the first time I saw Louisa's book Knitting Little Luxuries at my local Borders Books. I fell in love with all the pretty patterns but didn't think I could knit them.

Not much later though, I purchased the book, started a wish list of what patterns to knit and signed up for knitting classes.

Now it is about a year later and I am taking the Juliet Scarf class from Louisa herself. Wow!

To begin our workshop, Louisa tells us about her concept for the Juliet Scarf. She designed it in her luxurious Kimono Angora yarn. The pattern only requires one skein for both the rosette pin and the scarf so it is a perfect little luxury gift to knit and give away or keep yourself. (We are keeping ours!)

The one thing I am most struck with about Louisa, is how beautiful her patterns are. She tells us that she designs all her patterns to be simple and not hard to knit.

Juliet Rosette

For my scarf, I selected a new color of Kimono Angora in # 18 Aqua. This is my first time knitting with this yarn. It is very luxurious and feels wonderful to knit with. I am using Clover bamboo needles.

Our first step in making our Juliette Scarf is to make the Rosette pin for the scarf. Louisa guided us perfectly. This was the first time that I have done short rows. I loved making the flower rosette. It was magical how it became a flower.

The interesting part, is that the rosette looks as if it could be crocheted but it is all made with knitting. Louisa told us that she knits and doesn't' crochet. So many of her garments have lacy trims and they are all achieved by knitting. Since I a more of a knitter myself, I love that!

There were eight students in our class. We were all pretty serious and entrenched in our knitting. Now and then we would fess up about a mistake and ask Louisa for help. Louisa graciously fixed our mistakes and made it look effortless. I loved it when she said to us (in her lovely British accent) "ladies it is just a scarf"! That lightened up our moods, relaxed us a bit and made the class fun!

I remember my friend Pamela being nervous about knitting in front of Louisa. She was worried about forgetting everything. Neither of us forget how to knit (thank goodness) and Louisa really put us at ease. Louisa made the class a special we wont' forget!

Louisa is an impressive knitter. I have never seen anyone knit so fast! She also has her Juliet scarf pattern memorized. No matter where one of us was stuck in the pattern, she had us back on track in no time!

Pamela, Louisa and Lisette
Juliet Scarf Workshop

Dreams do come true! 
My wish to take a workshop from my knitting idol Louisa Harding came true! 
I didn't even have to hop a plane to London to meet her. I do hope one day that I can take more workshops from Louisa. It would really be a dream come true to take a workshop in England or France with her!
I am a very expressive person so Louisa certainly knows how much I admire her. I really attribute her work as the reason I am knitting today.

Louisa's beautiful books and fashion-forward patterns are what made me want to learn more about knitting and move beyond the garter and purl stitch.

Next, it's time for tea with Louisa Harding.
Read about tea and conversation with my favorite designer next!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love the Juliet Scarf, too, and have started it which is why I came across your blog. I'm trying to figure out how to do SHORT ROWS! Would you be able to help?
Thank you so much, if you can!