I did it - the Finishing Techniques day course. Wow - the best £35 I've spent in a long time. I'm tired but extremely happy. :-)
Our teacher was the lovely Jane Crowfoot - author of the wonderfully informative "Finishing Techniques for Hand Knitters" book which I can thoroughly recommend. Buy it and READ IT! I'm not a new knitter by a long shot, but it's taught me plenty.
We covered all sorts of techniques - casting on and off, but my main focus was the seaming. Firstly we did a regular mattress stitch side seams:
Mattress stitch seam
Only now I can do it faster and easier than ever before. The seam above is actually to the right of the dodgy line of stitches up the middle - that's my terrible blocking (read killing) of the acrylic yarn squares last night; well it was late.
Then is was on to shoulder seams - which I always hated. Up to now that is. We learned to mattress stitch them as above, and also to graft them:
Grafted seam front
This is sewing a seam so that it looks like a regular knitted row, and it's wonderful! You can go on to undo the cast off edges to reduce the bulk! Here's the back of my example with one cast-off edge undone:
Grafted seam back
One of the first revelations of the day for me was the fact that I'm a loose knitter! Me! I never knew that before, but that explains why the green chenille in the lower part of the picture above looks so awful - do it again in a size smaller needle and it looks much neater.
Then it was on to seaming sleeves onto the main body of the knitting. I was really looking forward to this as I wasn't happy with my regular method as used on my current Angel project. Here's how it looked before:
Yuck - my old seaming method
And here's how it looks now:
What a difference!
Amazingly fab! And so quick and easy to do. I can't believe I've never learned how to do this properly before. I'm going to undo my original seam completely and re-do it like this of course.
Finally I had to get the obligatory signature in my copy of Jane's book:
Signed, sealed, delivered..
A big thank you goes to Jane for teaching us in her patient and clear way, and also to Rose and everyone else who helped to organise the event. Here's one happy knitter signing off for tonight. :-)