Posted in Knitting
April 1, 2008

Tell me what to do. You know you wanna.

In response to a number of requests which I am finally now taking seriously, I’m considering producing a how-to DVD. Presumably, you all know how to knit and purl. But what else would you like to see in a knitting-related? What techniques have always puzzled you? Which guest instructors would you like to see (and what would you like to have them demonstrate for you)? Go crazy in the comments section, or email me directly.

Here’s the competition, at least those that are listed on Amazon, if you need ideas.

I think the thing that always throws me about knitting DVDs, at least the ones I’ve seen more than a few minutes of, is that they’ve got all this cheesy music playing while you’re trying to figure out what the instructor is doing. I mean, come on. Cheesy music never helped anyone concentrate. So even before the very first segment is taped, I make this promise for you: no panflutes. Ever.

And don’t be afraid to go into crazy detail with your requests. I like crazy detail. I’ve also been known to reward those who come up with really good ideas with gifts, lavish public praise, credits and yarn, so make sure to include your email address. Cough, cough.

Felting and spinning also a possibility, so feel free to pipe up about those, too.

p.s. No, this isn’t an April Fool’s joke. My brain already played one of those on me the other night when I dreamed I was dating General Zod from Superman II (seen above). Seriously, brain. What’s up with that?

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  • Susan

    Short rows! I’ve been staring at a pattern that I know is pretty easy, but the directions are (in my mind) poorly written; add to this, the accompanying diagram doesn’t match the directions, unless I’m completely bonkers.

    So yeah, a good visual and verbal tutorial on how to do short rows, the whole wrap and turn thing, etc.

    BTW, my favorite knitting video is “The Art of Knitting 4 Kids,” produced by Leisure Arts — at least the instructional bit with the seven-year old boy. Heck, if he can do it, so can I! The adults talk down to the viewer and grate on my last nerve, but the kid is good.

    Reply to Susan
  • Rosemary

    Hi Shannon! I would LOVE a series where you show how to felt. It’s like the final frontier for me; I’m afraid to even try it. I also live in an apartment building, so I don’t know that I want to spend $2 on my building’s crappy washing machine just to have my work buggered up, so if there is a way to felt when you don’t have access to a washer you trust, I’d love to see it.

    And the key is step by step; I’ve seen shows on felting where they spend more time showing how the piece itself is knit, whisk you away to a commercial break, and magically, it’s felted! I don’t need a description, I need to be shown!

    I’ve also been fascinated by spinning, but again, not sure if I want to make the investment in a wheel just yet. If you could do a how-to on using a simple drop spindle, I’d love it.


    Reply to Rosemary
  • Erin

    Maybe this is a bit too basic, but I’d really like to learn how to knit socks. I’m completely intimidated by it, even though it seems like the rest of the world knits socks in their sleep. I need something that shows me exactly what I need to be doing.

    Reply to Erin
  • Tracy

    Grafting, especially on something besides plain stockinette. How do I graft ribbing so it still looks like ribbing? Or grafting garter stitch, when the graft line should be a purl ridge?

    Reply to Tracy
  • Kristen

    Shannon, since I missed my chance to see the steeking in action, I think that would be an awesome DVD subject. So many people are terrified of the concept, myself included, that I would run right out and buy that. Not only would it be hugely informative, it could easily become performance art 🙂
    Drop spindling would be another good subject.

    Reply to Kristen
  • Daniella

    I second steeking, it scares the living CRAP out of me and I’d like to see it done carefully and without this sort of ‘oh well’ air that I see in a lot of steeking tutorials. It is most definitely not an ‘oh well’ situation when you’ve worked for the last 5 months on a detailed fair isle pattern only to CUT IT IN HALF. Speaking of Fair Isle, showing how to do both Fair Isle and intarsia correctly would be useful too, not to mention illustrating the difference between the two and when you should use one versus the other.

    Some simpler techniques that I bet would be useful: how to do a crochet cast on properly (I know how, but I seem to have to keep explaining it to people an awful lot.) and explain how to pick up the live stitches when it’s time. Picking up any stitches seems to be confusing to most people as well.

    Also, kitchener stitch. I’ve seen it done in person once and I was entranced by it but couldn’t begin to understand how to do it properly.

    Also, when it comes to spinning, a walk through of the various parts of a spinning wheel and what each part does and the appropraite name for it would be great. I’m interested in spinning, but I’m terrified to touch a wheel because I don’t know what all the little bits are or what they’re meant to do. Also, the difference in types of fiber you can use. I’ve seen several different things people use to spin, and I’ve come to understand it’s not all called roving. Giving tips on which fiber to pick if you’re a beginner would be nice too, and whether it’s even worth it to get mill ends. (Someone suggested starting with mill ends to me, and someone else looked at me with sheer horror in her eyes when I told her I was going to order mill ends to learn to spin on, she insisted I need to start with pencil roving.)

    Okay, I’m taking my n00b self back to the Google to look up what half these things are while I await a decent DVD of how to do it. 🙂

    Reply to Daniella
  • Sarah

    Bobbles, short rows, double knitting.

    Things that I was able to figure out but I think other people (non-math-people) might struggle with include cables, drop stitches, and pretty much everything everyone else said!

    Reply to Sarah
  • Carie

    I’ll second everyone’s suggestions so far – particularly the one about felting. My nominations would be for mattress stitch, avoiding holes in the corners of your socks and picking up stitches around a neckline – whatever you produce it sounds like a fun project!

    Reply to Carie
  • alexandra

    I’m more interested in spinning. I’ve been able to learn any knitting technique with no problem, but spinning is a different animal.

    A lot of people have gone coocoo crazy for novelty yarn spinning and that’s great. I’d prefer to see some basic techniques that can be tweaked later. How short is short draw? How long is long draw? How can some people spin such fine yarns? How do I make boucle that won’t catch my needles when I use it? How much teasing is enough? How much fiber for a sweater? a pair of socks?

    Books are great and all (especially for pattern ideas), but I would buy a DVD so I could watch at the same time as I practiced.

    Most of what makes me love a DVD is the personality of the presenter. I love EZ for her terse this-isn’t-rocket-science style. Having taught knitting myself, I spent too many years hand-holding and babying people who feighned helplessness. I think they are all scrapbooking right now. I don’t teach any more.

    As for a knitting DVD…maybe something that explores design, dyeing, fiber characteristics, or history. Techniques are so easily found on Youtube and blogs.

    I hope that helps.

    Reply to alexandra
  • wendy

    seriously- Zod??! Oh man oh man. I’ll take Kal-el any day …

    Reply to wendy
  • Caroline

    ENTRALAC. It seems like the one advanced technique I have yet to master, thought it’s probably not true, and I probably could do it if I gave some time to it….
    I agree with spinning, design, and dyeing, fiber characteristics & history. Also steeking. Cut up my precious knitting?! Also the grafting-on-something-besides-plain-stockinette. But most of the other stuff I can find tutorials for doing it (and I know how to do it anyway).

    Look at free tutorials on the web, and do what you can’t find.

    Reply to Caroline
  • Post authorShannon

    Keep the suggestions coming, everyone — they’re really helpful! Thanks!

    Wendy — seriously. Imagine the look on my face when I woke up. Something along the lines of “wha???” Then it launched a whole series of jokes here at our house.

    “I’m opening a new seafood restaurant. It’s called Kneel Before Scrod.”
    “Oh yeah? I’m opening a new lawncare service…Kneel Before Sod.”
    “Yeah, well I heard Ben is opening a new specialty music store… Kneel Before Mod.”

    Etc etc. It only got worse from there.

    Reply to Shannon
  • chppie

    If you’re going to do short rows I’d sure like to see some knitting backwards. it just seems that it would make life so much easier but i just can’t get the hang of it.

    I also second the non-stockinette kitchener. I have a reference book which talks through it oh so briefly but i think it would be more helpful to watch someone actually do it.

    Reply to chppie
  • Eve

    Finishing! I’m with the others on grafting and I got really stuck on sewing up for a while. I’ve got one method down now, but I’m always up for learning more. Also – the knitting backwards or combination knitting. That’s a mystery for me.

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