I took a great class on shaping with Melissa Leapman. We talked about incorporating increases and decreases into different patterns and how those elements can be used for waists and necklines.
As part of the class, Melissa used a SSK as a standard left-leaning decrease. Normally, I'm a product knitter, not a process knitter, and I don't normally sit around making swatches to test which method for left-leaning decreases I like better. I'm just lazy that way! I figured, though, since I was in class and would be making a lot of left-leaning decreases, I might as well use the opportunity to practice different ways, even though we weren't specifically working on that. When I first learned to knit, I used SSK, but over the last few years, I've been doing SKPs instead. I had read about TechKnitter's SYTK and tried that for a bit, but I found it altogether too fiddly for my tastes. Melissa mentioned that some knitters like to do a variant of SSK, in which you slip the first stitch knit-wise, slip the second purl-wise, and ktbl. I played with it a bit and ended up doing something like a 1-step SK. This is going to be my new go-to decrease!
I also got a bonus tip about how to neaten up the left-hand edge of my ribs and cables. The purl stitch that comes immediately after a knit stitch is always loose for me. She taught me to wrap the yarn *clockwise* for that purl stitch and then work into the back of that stitch on the next row to keep from twisting it. I'm telling you, that little gem is going to help me out so much!
Melissa is a really personable and clear teacher, so if you get a chance to take a class from her, don't pass it up! I bought one of her books for her to sign.
I'll share with you my remaining purchases at Stitches. One is a Skif pattern called June (Ravelry link), made with Skif cotton tape and some linen lace carried along for a punch of color. At first glance, it is not "me" at all--it's sort of blocky and unstructured. I would never have gotten the pattern if it weren't for a sample garment that intrigued me and that I had to try on. Lo and behold--I loved it! In fact, I nearly bought the sample (because it wasn't much more than the cost of the yarn + pattern), except that the sleeves were a little long, and I would have preferred to do something a little different with the peplum in the back. So I'll set out to make my own. The last thing I bought was a pattern for a Flirty Skirt. The picture hardly does the skirt justice. Claudia (as in Claudia Hand Painted Yarns) was wearing one, and it was STUNNING!
That wraps it up for Stitches South, folks! I hope to share an FO with you soon, so stay tuned.