Sunday, June 7, 2009

Building Skills

My weekly Build Your Skills class at Village Yarn & Tea with Rebecca DeGaris (here, coaching Gina) is for me like membership in a club. The membership grows and the attendance shifts according to schedules of work, family, vacations, and so on - it's the thread of spirit that keeps me week after week. I joined the class when I returned to serious knitting after periodic long breaks from the skill (sport?), and my techniques have been improving ever since. The class, wonderful "fiber friends", and visiting stores and websites give me insights and inspiration - I'm in real awe of my good fortune when I stop to think about it.

So let me tell you about some members!

Joanne was in the class when I signed up in March of 2007, and she, like me, shows up for "un-knitting class" even on the weeks there are no classes scheduled. Joanne has never seen a pattern she doesn't have a great idea to alter, and she's courageous about just doing it. She teaches needle felting at Village and has a gift for charming whimsy, an eye for lively color, and the good-natured generosity to share her creative ideas with us every week. I think the colorful pullover she's working on is like looking at a Monet pond.

Charlie is a knitter for whom no project is daunting. She knitted afghans before joining the class, then her first project was the February lady sweater. It was beautifully done, and she promptly gave it to a family member who admired it. She next knit an Un-pattern top-down, long-sleeved, v-neck - she still has that one as far as I know. Now Charlie is working on a beaded lace shawl of tencel yarn in darker Monet tones. She has experimented with lifelines and markers, including some frogging to begin again, after identifying a mistake in the pattern she is making beautiful progress and we're waiting to see what she will take on next.
Gina found herself knitting dozens of hats for each student in her pre-school, so she decided to expand her knitting skills. Her first adult-size project is the February Lady sweater, and she has patiently learned to purl, count stitches, frog when there are errors, and she is working on the lace portion. When she was nervous about knitting lace, she decided to do a lace swatch. Then a lace scarf. Then the lace scarf over again. Turns out she loves knitting lace. It's going to be a lovely sweater.This serious expression hides Kathie's fun-loving and adventurous nature, and her laughter rings throughout the store frequently during class. She often brings out of stock items from the toy store where she works and gives them to Gina for her pre-school. Kathie is learning about matching patterns with yarn, and is knitting a classic T in a soft charcoal yarn, and has chosen some sock patterns to become adept on two circular needles next.Terry has been knitting Cat Bordhi socks from her own handspun yarn. The yarns are beautiful - she's quite a skilled spinner - and she likes the way the swirl of the sock design fits her tiny feet (she was previously a shoe model at Nordstrom). Terry's always up on the newest knitting accessories and is here with her travel pack. She's now working on a shimmering summer shawl knit from yarn she had in her stash - she's preparing for a trip with her husband.
Joelle is a quietly "monogamous knitter" - committed to one project at a time. She decided on her first stranded project and ended up with a beautiful Selbu modern hat - it made me want to knit one too! Recently, she's had fun knitting this beautiful baby cardigan for a new granddaughter - she chooses beautiful, elegant colors, even for babies! Marguerite has been doing a lot of traveling and recently had foot surgery, and she comes to class when she can. She likes to knit gift projects - this scarf is from cashmere yarn - she has lucky family and friends!
And me? I'll be sharing my recent creations and triumphs next time, along with the latest movies and books I've enjoyed. The yard has been taking large chunks of time, and I'm picking up my Adirondack chair today so I can sit outside with my knitting through the summer.
As for my class/club, there will be new folks coming in and some of our current members will need to take time away. The constant is the inspiration, the sharing, and the learning of new-to-us techniques and experiences.
We're so lucky to be in the Pacific Northwest where we have so many options to feed our knitting passion!