Before Christmas last year, I was contacted by Hazel Tindall, the well-known Fair-Isle knitter, to see if I was interested in reviewing her latest DVD. Hazel has joined forces with another Scottish knitter, Elizabeth Johnston to produce a really informative DVD. They were both brought up on the Shetland Isles where their early lives were spent surrounded by people who were knitting quality garments for sale. This lifelong immersion in knitting means that they have a huge knowledge that they willingly share in this DVD. The tips and techniques discussed come from the questions that they get asked during workshops. Each tip is demonstrated and frequently more than one way of doing something is shown.
Hazel and Elizabeth are sat comfortably chatting and you almost feel like you could be part of their knitting group as they discuss ways of doing something and even seem to learn things from each other at times. The demonstrations are easy to follow and clearly explained, with each knitter repeating the action several times. They both knit in the traditional way, using long double pointed needles and knitting belts. I'd only seen a knitting belt in a museum before watching the DVD and I would really love to be able to watch them knitting first hand. The techniques that they share can just as easily be applied to knitting with circular needles, although neither of them is a fan! Hazel is the world's fastest knitter, able to knit an astonishing 255 stitches in 3 minutes, and you can see just how fast she is at various points in the DVD.
The three and a half hour DVD covers a whole range of techniques, starting with long tail cast on where I learnt how to estimate more accurately the length of yarn needed for the tail. No more shall I run out of yarn before casting on all my stitches or have an end so ridiculously long that I could almost skip with it! Other cast on methods are shown as well as how to knit, purl and rib. Knitting in the round and picking up stitches, increasing and decreasing, grafting stitches, making button holes, reading charts, blocking and stranded knitting are some of the other techniques covered. I was a little alarmed when Steeking appeared at tip 10. Crikey, I thought, how complicated is it going to be by the time we get to tip 50?! But I needn't have worried. I didn't even wince when the knitting was cut into!
I think that this DVD is perfect for people who can already knit but want to learn more and improve their skills - so perhaps a confident beginner or an intermediate knitter. It's the kind of resource that you'll want to watch again and again, dipping in and out as questions arise in your own knitting. I know that I'm going to be making good use of it this year as I try to improve my own knitting skills. You feel like you are learning from generations of knitters with tips and techniques that have been passed down and carefully curated by Hazel and Elizabeth.
It's available as either a DVD or a download. I watched it via a download on my computer and it worked fine. I could stop and start it as I wanted to watch things again. If I was trying to find something specific, it might take a little fine tuning to locate the exact part, but it's not a chore to do so. The download can be bought from Vimeo here or you can buy the DVD from a number of suppliers listed here.
I was really pleased to be asked to review this DVD and would definitely recommend it. Try it, you'll definitely learn something new! Thank you so much Hazel for giving me the chance to do so. Knitting is definitely a life-long lesson.