Friday, August 03, 2007

DVD Review

So finally, this morning, I managed to dust off the review copy of my friend Chris de Longpre's DVD that she sent me to review after TNNA. I wanted to be sure to give it the attention it deserved, so of course that meant I had to continually put it off... Since the kids decided to sleep in, I settled down on the sofa with my remote control and my venti mocha and watched some knitting.

You may already know Chris's designs - she's the brainpower behind the quiet classics from Knitting at Knoon. She also has a great line-up of video tutorials available on her website. I've used these as a reference countless times when asked how to do so-and-so. However, sitting at your computer watching a jumpy video over the internet just doesn't compare with sitting on your couch, watching a smooth DVD on the big screen.

The contents of the video (which you can view listed here) are a basic menu of techniques that every knitter should have in their arsenal. All the increases, decreases, several cast-ons and bind-offs, repairs and finishing techniques are included. Chris narrates everything in her smooth, soothing voice and shows each movement a number of times. I'd particularly recommend this video for anyone who wants a reference other than a book for those times when a personal lesson from an expert just isn't available.

Another bonus is the introduction and acknowledgment sections - both show video of knitters from Chris's local shop. There are a whole range of speeds, techniques and abilities. Everyone thinks of the big dichotomy as being throwers vs pickers (English vs continental), but these clips show just as much variation within the groups as between them. Yarn is wrapped around fingers in different ways, and fingers are used to tweak the working yarn back and forth in all sorts of manners. It just goes to show that the best way to knit is the way that works best for you!

Now, I've watched Chris's internet videos and knew the DVD would be good. I wasn't necessarily expecting to learn anything since, after all, I already know it all, right? (Um, yeah, right.) And truly there aren't any techniques on the DVD that I don't know how to do already - this is for a much different audience than the rock-star knitting on Lucy Neatby's DVDs, for example. But what I found really useful was Chris's great teaching technique. Since I'm starting to branch out into teaching knitting classes, I need to be able to explain and show as well as I do. This isn't always easy. I'm going to be keeping this DVD close at hand when I stumble across something I just can't figure out how to teach.

So, to wrap this up, this DVD is going on my list of top-10 references for beginning-to-intermediate knitters (and beginning knitting teachers). It would be a great gift for anyone who learns well from visual repetition and it's just so handy to be able to pop it in the DVD player and watch it in the middle of the night in your jammies. Ask for it at your local shop, or visit the Knitting at Knoon website to find out how you can lay your hands on it.

And now, you may be asking yourself, "why is she reviewing knitting DVDs when she should be packing for her two-week road trip?" I'm sure my husband is somewhere in the house, wondering the exact same thing. I'm still trying to figure out how much yarn I need to bring.


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