Well, not in the flesh... but Opal Harry Potter sock yarn is here! It's not what I was going to post about today, but it's sort of so exciting that it gets top billing here. Exciting things do not always come without drawbacks though - and we had a minor one. Only half of our order LEFT Opal to be shipped to us. When we (and they) realized this today, the problem was resolved... the other half has now shipped and will be here by this time next week.
Don't be disappointed... be thrilled! We weren't even supposed to get this yarn until October 15th... and today is, what? The 1st! So even with the snafu, we will still have the rest of our October shipment a week before we should have.
Now onto my actual post. I finished my "half" afghan in Manos. I made the Adventurine throw out of Manos del Uruguay Wool Clasica. It's in the Manos del Uruguay Geometry book. You see, it's for a shop sample and you can TOTALLY get the idea what it's going to look like from just half of it. So by only having to knit half, it leaves me more time to knit other shop samples. Anyway, I finished knitting the squares, blocked them all and seamed them together. It looks amazing, and it was a lot of fun to make. I especially loved the seaming. Wait! Why do I hear you all groaning? It IS fun if you know how do it right. I've been knitting for almost 26 years now and in the beginning I didn't know how to seam properly. I hated seaming and you could tell by looking closely at my FOs. But then somewhere along the way I learned how to do it properly and what was dreaded, became fun and satisfying. I can't even remember when that was, it's been way too long now.
I tell you, if you ever take a class, JUST ONE knitting class, please let it be a finishing class! Your seams, your buttonholes, your increases and decreases, your picked up stitches... they will all thank you a million times over for taking that class. And most importantly, you will thank yourself!
Our finishing knitting classes here at the shop have always been popular. Yet this past month, we had two finishing workshops (on seaming) that did not run due to poor signups. I think a lot of people can't be bothered to spend an hour or two learning how to finish properly because they really think they are already pros at finishing. We see quite a good number of knitted items at the shop that look hand made, rather than hand "crafted." Once you've completed a gorgeous seam, you can spot the bad ones from a mile away.
Most of the folks who have ever taken our finishing classes usually leave with a sick feeling in their stomachs... not because they didn't enjoy the class! But because they literally feel SICK just knowing all the things they've made that have been so poorly finished. And SICK because it is so easy to do it right, but they didn't ever want to take the time to learn.
If you can't make a class - don't worry. Their are several books out there that have great instructional sections on finishing. Heck, you can even find entire books dedicated to the subject. My favorite is Nancie Wiseman's The Knitter's Book of Finishing Techniques. In this book you will find excellent information on all aspects of finishing - and yes - there are great illustrations for those of you who are visual people, like me. I keep my copy right beside my knitting chair - and after all these years of knitting, I still refer to it often.