Classes usually require preparation before and finishing up afterwards, no matter whether it's a class I'm teaching or taking, and the Madrona classes were no different, although they are much smaller, because most were either very small sample projects or technique samples.
I learned so much in the Spinning for Arans class with Carol Rhodes! It was the first time I've used hand cards to card wool and make rolags to spin. While I still need a lot of practice, I was able to spin some yarn and finish the sampler. The light colored part is knit with the yarn I spun in class, which was a blend of Coopworth and Cheviot wool. Its more lumpy and bumpy because my rolags weren't the best (definitely more practice needed). The upper, darker yarn was spun from roving that I was given, and I really like both the yarn and knit sample better. It has more stitch definition and I was able to spin a better yarn from the roving. All samples are 3-ply.
The next day, I took a Jazzknitting class from Ilisha Helfman, and ended up purchasing her book Jazzknitting An Introduction so that I'd be able to bring all the techniques and inspirational pictures of her work home with me. She works with hand dyed yarns, isolating certain colors in areas of the knitting, instead of knitting a pattern and ignoring the color change in the yarn. If you'd like to see her work, her website is here.
Our first project was a Ginko leaf. We used short rows to create the shape and texture of a leaf, and everyone's leaves came out beautifully different, due to differences in our yarn and knitting. My first leaf was knit with Koigu KPPN yarn:
As you can probably guess, some in the class were very fast knitters and knit more than one, but I was happy to have started a second leaf with a different yarn, so I could see the difference with it. This leaf is being knit with leftover sock yarn from Blue Moon Fiberarts, and I enjoyed both the color repeats in the yarn as well as the feel, so plan to finish this sample soon.
She called the next shape an Echinus shape and I should have asked the spelling, as it is not in her book, but is supposed to be included in the next one. All of her designs have infinite possibilities, are very organic and beautiful! She had some samples that looked like sea urchins, so I thought I'd try to head in that direction, but won't really know how it will work out until I sew the ends together and see how I did.