March 1, 2015

Olivia: Amy Miller & the Joy of Craftsy

When I am choosing something to knit I often try to pick a pattern which has an interesting element/stitch/technique/construction that I have not used before.  I am always on a quest to improve my knitting skills.  Isn't that the great thing about knitting?  There is always something new to learn.

I just completed Olivia by Amy Miller, using a new to me stitch, called knit one below (k1b) which creates a rib like pattern.  While knitting Olivia I soon learned that this stitch is very difficult to fix if an error is made, and at the time I unable to find a video to show me how to correct it, and I ended up ripping out quite a bit.  It was only after I finished knitting the pattern that I found a good one made by Bristol Ivy here. This was a fun pattern to knit and I really like how it turned out.  I had to modify it (see my notes) as the pattern seemed to consume a ton of yarn and three skeins of Tanis Fiber Arts Orange Label Yarn that I had on hand was not enough. Orange Label, a merino, cashmere and silk blend is so cozy to wear that I have had this scarf on quite a bit since I made it. I would love to knit a sweater with Orange Label.

Olivia by Amy Miller

Tanis Fiber Arts Orange Label:  Painted Jeans
Tanis Fiber Arts Orange Label

Another great resource I use frequently to help improve my skills is Craftsy, a website which has many how to videos on not only knitting, but a variety of other crafts as well.  The beauty of Craftsy is that you can learn from experts around the world about your favourite craft, and once you pay for the class you have access to the video forever, to refer to when needed.  

One such video that I have found to be very helpful is Patty Lyons Improve Your Knitting that teaches about the kinds of knitting styles.  I am an English style knitter and I have used her video to not only improve my English style knitting skills but also to experiment with other styles as well.  I feel that my speed has increased since I followed Patty Lyon's tutorial on how to purl Portuguese style. When knitting Japan Sleeves there are extremely long rows of purling and by using Portuguese knitting style I found the purling went much faster.  I can't tell you what a difference it made when knitting this sweater.

Another tutorial that I have found particularly useful is Sally Melville's  Essential Techniques Which Every Knitter Should Know which goes beyond the basics of knitting and purling and teaches you how to do increases, decreases, seaming, etc.  It has been extremely helpful to me with various patterns.  I have had the pleasure of attending one of Sally Melville's classes before and I can say that her Craftsy class was just as great except it can be replayed as often as I want!

Then of course there are the videos by Anne Hanson call the Ins and Outs of Grafting (it's free!) as well as Button Bands and Buttonholes.  Again both are well done and I refer to them often.  

Craftsy is a great place to help boost your knitting skills and confidence.  There are so many other great videos that I didn't even mention.  Have a look!

Have a great week everyone.


  1. what a great post! Your shawl looks amazing, but I'm so impressed that you are working on branching out on your skills, and learning new techniques to make your knitting easier and more enjoyable. it feels like so many don't really want to learn anything they might need beyond a top down in the round sweater, so I feel like you are totally making my day!

  2. Thanks Julie! I would get too bored if I did the same thing all the time. I love learning new things. I really envy those speedy knitters who seem to churn out a sweater in a week.