knitting with jean

Knittin g with Jean

A couple of weeks ago I was asked about Jean’s DVD and was embarrassed to admitted I hadn’t watched it even though I’ve had it since January. I finally finished watching it this past Saturday.

I first became aware of this 2 DVD set (and Jean) when she spoke at the
Seattle Knitter’s Guild meeting in February 2006. After her talk we were treated to a short preview of the first cast on segments. My initial reaction was that while I thought it was well maded, I didn’t particularly need to purchase a copy. I suspected that I was already familar with most of these techniques through various books I’ve accumulated, especially a couple of ones put out by Ondori (a Japanese publisher of knitting booklets). It was only after taking Jean’s class and hearing her mention that she has as a better way of doing a three-needle bind off that I decided to purchase it.

The each DVD starts with a menu that lists each category of techniques. You just select which one you’d like to view and all the techniques for that category are played. Some only show one specific technique while others show several similar methods. I immediately put in the second DVD and selected “joining shoulder seams”.

Just as Jean had mentioned, she does have a “new-to-me” method of joining shoulder seams with three needles that, unlike the old familiar three-needle bind off, doesn’t leave a noticeable ridge. Although I haven’t tried it yet, it looks like the perfect way to join shoulder seams that have been knitted in the same color. One thing to note is that it probably wouldn’t work for seams knitted with two colors on the same row. I’d love to describe the technique but I’ll leave that for Jean to teach you.

I continued to viewed some of the other techniques but soon found that I lost interest; not because the DVD wasn’t good but because it was a beautiful afternoon and there were other things I needed to get done. So, I guess I’m trying to say that while these DVDs will come in handy when I find myself in the midst of casting on a sweater, sewing seams or casting off  a sock cuff I won’t be popping them into the DVD player as something I watch when there’s nothing good on TV.

While I think many of the techniques can be found in books (if you search), these DVDs would be especially useful for knitters that learn better through watching rather than reading. Each segment shows clear close-ups of the knitter’s hands as she steps through each technique. Some are narrated by a woman with a native Canadian or American accent while others only have classical music playing in the background. A small booklet is included that summarized each technique, gives very brief suggestions on usage of the technique, includes a diagram on joining yarns mid row and a picture illustrating pick up spots around the neck.

What’s missing is a discussion on the merits of one technique over another and any explanation of why these techniques work better than others. But with that being said, I wouldn’t let these be the only reasons for passing up these DVDs. I would recommend them for picky knitters that learn better through watching another knitter.

You can find a list of all the techniques that are included in the DVD on her website, www.knittingwithjean.com.

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