Fiber Corner

Daily life of a knitting designer/publisher of handknitting patterns

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Cast of Characters

Many times I'm asked by other knitters/spinners, "why take a class?". The short answer is because they're fun! As a self taught knitter, I learned most of what I
know through trial and error and reading books, but even when I started taking knitting classes (fairly recently) from respected authors whose work I've already ingested, I found I still learned something new--even if it was only a good/bad way to deal with teaching a class or maybe a new approach to a totally unrelated subject. And every new thing learned is valuable, I think. When it comes to spinning--I have so much to learn and classes are definitely speeding up the process. But really, the high point of all the classes I've taken are the great people I've met. So here are the talented group from the Folk School class earlier this month. I feel very fortunate to have shared the workshop with all of them.
Meet Roberta. Actually, I first met her at Meg's Knitting Camp a few years ago. We stayed in touch and have met at various knitting (and now spinning) events every year or so. She's modeling a gorgeous Faroese shawl knit out of her handspun yarn (mohair and Corriedale, I think). It's really a beautiful piece!
Then there's Darilee. She's a recent graduate (can't remember which school) and made this knitted igloo for her Senior Exhibit. (reminds me of the inventiveness of Debbie New) And, the carder she's sitting next to was a gift from her boyfriend. Nice guy--I'd say he was a keeper!
I caught a pic of Joan as she was dyeing some roving. Part of the class dealt with dyeing fiber and the other part on how to best utilize handpainted rovings through different spinning methods. Some people just have the dyer's touch, and Joan certainly does. Everything she tried turned out beautiful! Hopefully, it won't turn out that she's allergic to the dyes because that would certainly be a shame.
Then there was Nancy. She brought along the results of a dyeing project she worked on a number of years ago. It completely blew me away! She dyed and then spun a range of colors--one batch from regular primary colors blue/yellow/red and another from the printers colors turquoise/yellow/magenta. Each spun sample has a card detailing the percentage of each of the colors it was dyed with so that it can be duplicated. I'm sure I'm not describing it quite right but the entire thing took her a year to complete. She also wore some great handspun/handknit garments with equally fun stories about how she found the fibers she used.
Next, is Kathryn. She teaches Dollmaking at the Folk School. As part of their payment, teachers are able to take classes there (at a reduced rate, I think she said). Her dolls are quite interesting, take a look. I spent alot of time comparing notes with Kathryn, too, as she used the same roving as I did for the plying portion of our class--see the ring hanging on the front of her wheel. It was interesting to see the differences in how they turned out since we both tend to spin different size yarns than each other.
This next pic is of our teacher Patsy (on the left) and student Jeanne (on the right) surrounded by the dyed fibers that graced the clothesline each morning. Patsy is a terrific teacher! I'd highly recommend her classes. She not only has an impressive knowledge of spinning but she's a great story teller! And Jeanne, was a most dedicated student. I believe she was the only one that actually dyed all the fibers with which we had to play. For my part, I was much more interested in the spinning portion of the class since I tend to keep Lisa's # on speed dial, anyway.
And, last but not least, there's Pat. She not only brought her gorgeous Kromski wheel with her to class, but also the matching stool so she didn't have to deal with the uncomfortable folding chairs. Very smart! She also brought several bags of processed roving from her Shetland sheep. I thought I knew what it would feel like, after all, I've knit several FI sweaters from Shetland yarn. But this stuff was incredibly soft! After trying a sample and getting it spun fairly fine (I was using a wheel from the school which developed the shakes when I'd try to spin lace weight which fortunately mine at home doesn't do), I knew I needed some of it so traded her some of my patterns for several oz. of a creamy white. I hope to knit a real Shetland ring shawl from it...someday.

First, I need to practice the novelty plys I learned in the workshop. Patsy is teaching another one next winter on spinning cotton, flax and silk. I'm already thinking about it. How about all of you?


At 7:21 AM, Blogger CarolineF said...

I have Patsy's first video and I really like it when I forget something basic.

I think Pat has my wheel.

I have never taken a class either - maybe someday...

At 2:56 PM, Blogger Melanie said...

Thank you so much for the Folk School tour and for sharing your experiences there. What serene surroundings, and what a talented group of people! Kathryn's dolls just floored me.


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