Hello Fiber Folk! As many of you know, I’m a self-taught knitter and spinner. I’ve had plenty of wonderful teachers . . . but, like most of you, perhaps, many of those teachers have been virtual or unconventional. Luckily, we live in an age of connectivity: across nations, cultures, communities, the list goes on! Some of my favorite teachers have been in my own “backyard” thanks to the Champaign-Urbana Spinners and Weavers Guild; and some of my favorites can be found half-a-world away from me via podcasts, YouTube, and Craftsy. And now there is a new kid on the block that I really love: The School of SweetGeorgia!
For the past year, I’ve been part of the School of SweetGeorgia (SSG) as a student–I purchased Felicia Lo’s Dyeing Intentional Color and Dyeing Complex Color with some birthday money my dad sent (yes, I’m a lucky duck–I know!). Once you own the courses, you have lifetime access and you get to be a part of the larger SSG community, including Felicia’s virtual office hours. It’s quite a cool package deal! And I would recommend both of these dying courses to anyone who is either serious about learning to dye OR who really wants to understand the processes and mathematics behind the creation of color + yarn. Plus, all of the videos have excellent production quality and at this point, a few years into the SSG’s development, there are classes on spinning, weaving, dyeing, and knitting–a little something for everyone. And if you subscribe, you have unlimited access to all of the courses–yes, you heard that correctly!
Fast forward a year and I find myself serving as a SweetGeorgia Ambassador–I love how these yarn and fiber communities and relationships continue to evolve and change! As I’ve said on the podcast, one of my favorite parts of being an Ambassador is the access I have to the growing library of classes on the SSG platform. So, I thought I would share a bit about my experiences there and offer a review of two new classes: Spin to Knit Socks and Spin to Knit a Sweater–both are taught by Rachel Smith of the Wool n Spinning Podcast.
First, the teacher. Rachel Smith was one of my first and favorite spinning teachers. On the ground, I learned from my guild mates Debbie and Beth; and in the virtual world, there was Rachel! She was a wonderful teacher in part because she was so exploratory and curious: she was always trying a new technique and then reporting on the results. She took time to explain properties of fibers, colors, fiber prepping techniques, etc. Plus, when I found Rachel’s podcast, she was in the midst of knitting ONLY with her handspun, and that idea was just, well, revolutionary to me. Despite her busy schedule as a nurse, mom, and fiber teacher, she was willing to chat with me via YouTube and, eventually, a blogspot interview I posted several years back. In short, I feel like I’ve know and learned from Rachel for a long time and she is an excellent teacher!
Second, the SSG classes. Given everything I’ve told you about Rachel as a podcaster and spinner, you won’t be too surprised to learn how excited I was to find out that she would be hosting a SSG class on Spin to Knit a Sweater! In my mind, it would be a class that gathered all of the bits and pieces of her podcast experiments and hand spinning to knitting experience into one place. And I was not disappointed. The class is a serious resource for anyone who dreams, as I do, of taking the leap and designing a sweater from fleece to finished object. The curricula is pasted in below, and includes everything from sampling to swatching–all of the considerations you need to address if you want to come away with a useable yarn that is designed for the kind of garment you intend to produce! Pair this class with Rachel’s co-authored book, Unbraided: The Art and Science of Spinning Color, and you have an amazing amount of information to work with for any spinning –> knitting undertaking.
Rachel’s second SSG class is Spin to Knit Socks and it’s also a keeper. This one takes you through twist, various types of ply and color play, consistency, and fiber content–basically everything you need to consider to spin a yarn that will hold up to lots of wear. I was particularly impressed by the module about modifying the twist of your singles and modifying the twist of your ply–it turns out different twists in either of these moments can produce amazingly distinct yarns that fulfill different purposes for knitters. Plus, this course includes tons of resources, as does Spin to Knit a Sweater, that you can download and reference again and again. I’m beginning to think I need my own box of handknit socks . . . my husband loves his (I knit them for him often), but I rarely knit any for myself! This may need to change 🙂
If you’re interested in Rachel Smith’s new class: Spin to Knit a Sweater you can access it via the link; and you can access Spin to Knit Socks via this link. Both classes are for intermediate spinners, so if you need to learn the basics of spinning (treading, drafting, spinning wheel basics), I would recommend that you take a class and/or become familiar with the basics before signing up for Rachel’s courses. You can find a SSG class taught by Felicia Lo called Spinning from Scratch here. If you have any trouble with access, let me know! Happy spinning, knitting–and learning 🙂