A Year of Learning: Part 1 - Photography and Brioche Knitting

While I don't like making resolutions, there are various things I'd like to improve and new skills I'd love to learn in 2016. All being well, it'll be a 'Year of Learning' for me, and hopefully for readers too. There are various posts coming up which include tips, tutorials and techniques for you to try. But first I'll bring you up to date with the things I've been taking on this week. 

After mentioning that I need to work on my photography, specifically in relation to photographing projects for blog posts, my friend Kate (A Playful Day) got in touch to let me know that there are still a couple of spaces left on the 'photographing knits and crochet' class she put together with Emily from Makelight Studio

Photo credit: Emily Quinton

I have loved watching Kate's photography develop - her blog and Instagram photos are beautiful - and she's both fun and inspiring, so I feel sure that this is the class I need! Unfortunately the date doesn't work for me this time. If you are free on Jan 16th and would like to spend a day learning how to photograph your creations, you can find details here - but be quick as there are just a few spaces left. I'll be signing up to a future date, so would love to hear from you if you take the class!

Photo credit: A Playful Day

In the meantime, I decided to take Emily's free online taster class on how to improve Instagram photography. What a revelation! I hadn't ever given my Instagram feed much thought - I mainly use it to record interesting details, things that inspire me and to generally 'snap' what we are doing. I enjoy capturing moments when we are out and about...

From my feed: Reminders of our holiday in Cornwall and a day out in Summer

... but most of the time - at home - I have no inspiration for "photography". This little taster course has really made me think about how I could be using Instagram as more of a creative outlet and to improve my photography in general. Emily's suggestions are practical and achievable, starting with just one photo a day. It only takes a short time to work through the daily exercises but I am finding them quite enlightening. If you want to give it a try, you can sign up here for free. So that's the first thing I'm working on. 

The second thing is a knitting technique. Since attending Stephen West's shawl class, I haven't stopped thinking about 'Askews Me' - an asymmetrical shawl which captured my heart.  There is no doubt that it would have been cast it on that very day if I had even the slightest idea how to knit 'brioche stitch'. 

Close-up of one of Stephen's samples - see the original post here
Being a creature of habit, I did what I always do in these circumstances -  downloaded the 'essential' book* by brioche expert Nancy Marchant, then enrolled on one of her *Craftsy classes too.  I made a start already, but the needles were too big for the yarn and gave a sloppy gauge, so it'll be necessary to start again. It's fun - and also a little frustrating - to be learning something new completely from scratch (new terminology, a new way of knitting), but I am determined this will be one of the things I learn this year - if only to make that gorgeous shawl!

What are you hoping to learn this year? Do you have anything you'd like to master? If you have any specific requests for new 'tips and tutes' please leave a comment and I'll see what I can do. 

*Affiliate. The book is also available as part of Kindle Unlimited and the class is currently on sale. 


  1. For me this year is designated as a year of writing every day. I hope to write more, to write more creatively, to explore new ways of writing, whatever else.
    I also hope to watch all the craftsy classes I've bought.
    Brioche stitch has been on my list of things to learn for a few years. I've got the book, I've read the book and understood it. Just need to bite the bullet and cast on.
    There's spinning as well: so many ways I could improve.
    What am I doing spending time commenting here? I should really be off!

    1. Sarah ~ Crafts from the Cwtch7 January 2016 at 21:00

      How exciting! Sounds like it's going to be a fun year. Now get on with it!!!!!! :)

  2. I have no idea what this year will bring but so far it's going ok! I'm definitely going to have a look at the photography course, thank you. Your photos are looking great xxxx

    1. Thank you. It's definitely worth doing the free one and I'm absolutely planning on taking a full course too as this one made such a difference to how I think about taking photos for the blog - I am looking forward to it now, rather than thing 'oh no, I need a photo!' - I hope you enjoy it!


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