Of the many (many, many, many) things I love about the retreat, one thing is learning new skills. When I went on my first Monhegan Island trip, not only did I not understand charts, they scared me. And I was certain I would never, ever be able to learn them. Susan had other ideas though, and, thanks to her patience and amazing teaching skills, for the past two years I've come to be intrigued and even eager to improve my chart reading.
Not long ago I got the latest issue of VOGUE Knitting and spotted an article about the wonders of charts vs. written patterns. Two years ago I would've flipped right past that. This time I read it and was so excited that I knew what the writer was talking about. I can't wait to move up to the next level this year and rumor has it that both Susan and Cathy have some chart lessons planned.
I've also learned intarsia from Lisa. And the biggest thing I've learned is to set aside any reservations I have about techniques. I like to tackle new skills during the day classes. In the evenings for informal knitting, when I know I'll be laughing too hard to count past 2, I usually whip out some easy project from home. Totally best of both worlds-- skill improvement and comfort knitting.
The picture above is the beginning of a project I worked on last year. At first I tried the chart. Then I backed off and skipped to the written directions. Then I realized, wait a minute, I preferred the chart. I finished the hat really quickly and am still super pumped about it. I'll bring it along with the fifty other finished projects I've got all lined up for show-and-tell.