Teachers announced!

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Things are starting to pick up steam for 2013 over here at Knit Fit! HQ and we’re busily making arrangements for class registration, the marketplace, and all the other fun details that go into planning a weekend for hundreds of fiber lovers!  Apologies for how quiet we’ve been, but you can expect to hear more news more often from now on.  Only a few months to go!

We announced the teachers yesterday to our newsletter subscribers, and we’ve posted some longer bios on each over at the website, so head over there for an intro.  We’ll be posting some longer profiles again this year, but you can learn a bit more about our returning friends in these previous posts:

Lisa Ellis
Jen Hagan
Lee Meredith (Leethal)
Shannon & Jason Mullet-Bowlsby (The Shibaguyz)
Andrea Rangel
Barbara Seeler

We’ve also posted a bit about the overall schedule for the weekend, which is mostly the same as last year in terms of class blocks, though we have switched up the market place hours a bit in response to feedback from shoppers and vendors.

MARKET HOURS 2013

Saturday: 9am-6pm
Sunday: 9am-4pm

And of course, MARKET ENTRY IS FREE!

More news soon!

Meet the Vendors: Three Fates Yarns

How did you get into this business? What is your favorite part of your job? What inspires you?

One October morning, I opened a dye kit I’d gotten for Christmas the year before; I was instantly hooked. I’m the child of a graphic arts designer and a children’s book illustrator, so it’s not too surprising.
My favorite part of dyeing is making new colors and seeing the projects people have made with my yarn. I’m constantly surprised and delighted.

I’m inspired by all sorts of things, but right now pictures of fruits and vegetables seem the most inspiring.

What is your favorite of your products and why? What new products are you excited about for Fall 2012? What can’t-miss thing will be at your booth?

Right now I’m really hooked on incendia sock – it’s an 80/10/10 merino, cashmere, nylon blend that is new to me. It’s very squishy and nearly sport weight. I’ve got it in over a repeatable dozen colors (see background.png), so you can make striping shawls to your heart’s content. I’m making a Vitamin D cardigan, so I’d look to see if it’s there. The other thing I’m working on is knitting a Suki with the eponymous sock yarn. Finally, if you are a spinner, you have to check out the little multi-color fiber kits I’ve put together. They are too cute! I’m hoping to do that for yarn by December.

Most useful knitting/crafting tip?

My favorite crafting tip right now is to double or triple yarnover when carrying up a second color for a striping shawl. (You then knit it as one stitch in the next row.) The curves in the shawl mean you need a looser edging to make the shawl relax properly.

Meet the Vendors: Stick Chick Knits, JaMpdx, and Textiles A Mano

Stick Chick Knits – Seattle, WA – scknits.com

How did you get into this business? What is your favorite part of your job? What inspires you? 

I started designing almost right after I learned to knit. I love to tinker with things and just kept modifying one project after another. After my Bliss Blanket was published my LYS asked me to work up a design for their Post Stitches West party with some Hazel Knits yarn and the rest took off from there. I love swatching up new ideas and watching them turn in to real finished objects. It’s interesting to see where they start vs where they end up.
My inspirations come from all around me. I’m always watching what people are wearing and what’s popping up in stores. Along with that I tend to interject a bit of practicality to my designs, I like to create things that are actually wearable.

What is your favorite of your products and why? What new products are you excited about for Fall 2012? What can’t-miss thing will be at your booth?

Picking a favorite is tough, though the design I wear the most is Hermosa. I actually love it so much I’m knitting a new one to wear in another color. That said, I also really love Prickly. They’re warm and squishy and are so much fun to knit. The stitch pattern is easy to remember and mixing and matching colors is also a lot of fun.
I’ve got 6 new designs I’m rolling out between now and the show, so things are really busy here. Some of these will be stand alone patterns and others will be kits. I’d say our kits are really the can’t miss item at the booth. We’re going to be packed with lots of Hazel Knits and Zen Yarn Garden yarns to pair up with my patterns and Dancing Sheep’s bags. If you need a quick pick me up our JANe Kits (Just Add Needles exclusives) are perfect. We’re debuting a new kit and bringing some old favorites too.

What is your favorite type of customer?

I love all my customers, but I especially love the ones that take my designs and modify them. It’s so interesting to see what people do with my patterns as a launching point!

Most useful knitting/crafting tip?

My tip, wash the swatch the same way you’re going to wash the finished object before measuring gauge.

JaMpdx – Portland, OR – jampdx.etsy.com

How did you get into this business? What is your favorite part of your job? What inspires you?

We’ve been friends for over 20 years, and ceramic collaborators since 2004. Jenn makes the pieces on a potter’s wheel and Meghan uses traditional cake decorating tools and techniques to embellish each piece. We started working together making pottery with cake decorations for fun, and decided to turn it into a small business when we both realized we enjoyed it too much to stop. We respect each other’s abilities, and enjoy the feeling that we’re creating something together which is better than what either could do alone. We take inspiration and support from each other–we have an unending supply of ideas!

What is your favorite of your products and why? What new products are you excited about for Fall 2012? What can’t-miss thing will be at your booth?

Our yarn bowl is definitely our favorite product! We’re both knitters, and we put a lot of thought into how we would want a yarn bowl to work. It has a lid to protect from cats, dogs, kids and from your yarn hopping out and rolling across the floor. It works for right-handed and left-handed knitters; with the yarn bowl on the floor, on a table, or right beside you on a couch; whether you have a caked or hand-balled skein; and holds both straight and circular needles. And because the cut-outs are in the lid, the bowl can be used as a regular bowl when you’re not knitting. To top it off, our yarn bowl is so pretty, it will inspire you to knit more just to use it!
We’re excited to release a new line of porcelain shot glasses and pint glasses with knitting themes, and we’re thrilled to be debuting them at Knit Fit! We’ve personally tested both designs: the shot glass holds a shot of espresso or liquor, and the pint glass is the real 20-ounce deal.

Most useful knitting/crafting tip?

When blocking, use a salad spinner to get as much extra moisture out of a finished piece of knitting after a good, long soak. The spinner protects delicate knits from stretching, and it speeds up drying time for everything from shawls to sweaters.

Textiles A Mano – Eugene, OR – textilesamano.com

How did you get into this business? What is your favorite part of your job? What inspires you?

Textiles A Mano owner, Laura Macagno-Shang, always wanted to paint and is inspired by how color appears in nature. She uses this inspiration to paint on the canvas that is yarn. Most of our yarns are named after cities in the world that the yarn evoked in Laura’s mind; some are just whimsical. Our yarns are hand colored one skein at a time to create a once-in-a-lifetime effect.

What is your favorite of your products and why? What new products are you excited about for Fall 2012? What can’t-miss thing will be at your booth?

One-of-a-kind yarns, fibers, and embellishments will be the showcase of our booth. Textiles A Mano carries hand-made buttons by Crone Art, made by women for women – these are wearable art. Don’t miss our hand-colored yarns and hand-crafted fiber batts! Our batts are very unique and are fabulous for spinning. We have great prices for top quality products.

What is your favorite type of customer?

We love customers who enjoy beautiful, scrumptious, highest quality yarns & fibers, and anyone who loves to have fun.

Most useful knitting/crafting tip?

Swatch, swatch, swatch! Gauge, gauge, gauge. 🙂 Don’t hate me for it.

Check out the complete vendor lineup on our website: www.knitfit.info/Vendors.html

No homework!

Who needs homework?  If you’re looking for classes you can just jump right into with no advance preparation (except gathering a few supplies), read on for homework-free sessions at Knit Fit!

(in alphabetical order)

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Beginner Pattern Writing
Jen Hagan (3 hrs – Sunday 9:30am-12:30pm, $75)

For knitters beginning to design on their own, the challenge of writing clear, standardized patterns worthy of indie sale or freelance work can be daunting. This class brings the beginner pattern writer up to speed and instills the confidence a new designer needs to be able to write patterns that will sell and that will keep customers coming back. We’ll cover topics such as what makes a complete pattern, how to make patterns easy to read, and to how to keep patterns concise. For pattern publishing, see Lee Meredith’s Self Publishing Your Own Knitting Patterns class.

Skill level: Intermediate knitting skills.  Also useful but not required: MS Office/Publisher/Excel, some charting program eg. Stitch & Motif Maker, Knit Visualizer, Intwined, etc.
Materials Fee: No
Student-supplied materials: None

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Design-A-Monster Workshop
Rebecca Danger (3 hrs – Sunday 9:30am-12:30pm, $75)


Are you ready to be in the designer’s seat? Join toy knitting pattern designer Rebecca Danger for a fun day of making a custom monster, just the way you want! We’ll play with different body parts and limbs until you get a custom-creation to your liking. Students will go home with a special pattern with all kinds of different combinations of monster parts plus basic instructions for creating their own monsters so they can continue creating their own unique creatures at home.

Skill level: Intermediate (Basic skills + increases, decreases, knitting in the round using Magic Loop, picking up stitches.)
Homework: None
Materials fee: No
Student-supplied materials:
• 1-2 colors of sock yarn (note: Rebecca will bring sock yarns that can be purchased in the class)
• A 40” Us Size 1 circular needle
• Basic knitting tool kit (scissors, stitch markers, etc.)

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Game Knitting
Lee Meredith (3 hrs – Saturday 6:30-9:30pm, Doors at 6pm, $15)

Make a completely one-of-a-kind item by turning the act of knitting into a game played along with a movie! This is an informal event where you’ll learn how game knitting works to create a random stitch pattern in any project, and we’ll all game knit to a Seattle-themed movie together.  Movie TBA. Food and drink will be available for purchase.

Skill level: All levels
Homework: None
Materials Fee: No
Student-supplied materials:
• Bring yarn and needles of your choice to knit a small simple project, like a dishcloth, wrist cuff, headband, or anything super basic, in any gauge you want.

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Inspired Seamless Garments
Kristeen Griffin Grimes (4 hrs – Sunday 2-6:15pm with short break, $100)

Even if you have never constructed a seamless garment, best-selling author Kristeen Griffin-Grimes (French Girl Knits & French Girl Knits: Accessories), will inspire you to pick up your circular needles and start knitting without seams! This is a completely hands-on workshop covering all techniques needed to create a seamless sweater. The first half of the workshop focuses on special cast-ons, increases/decreases, methods of picking up stitches and joining, as well as creative use of circular needles. Practical tips for sizing seamless patterns for the perfect fit will be included. In the second portion, students will knit a mini-sweater using one of the 5 seamless methods covered.  Kristeen will provide a 13-page handout that covers all techniques.

Skill level: Intermediate
Homework: None
Materials fee: No
Student-supplied materials:
• 2 sets of #7 circular needles, 24” long
• approximately 200 yds white or natural color good quality, worsted weight yarn (preferably wool or wool blend)
• ring markers
• tapestry needle
• small scissors

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Knit Different
Lisa Ellis (3 hrs – Sunday 2-5pm, $75)

This course aims to introduce knitters to the myriad ways there are to make a knit and a purl stitch. We will survey the many methods of knitting from around the globe and discuss their advantages and disadvantages. Throwers will try picking and pickers will try throwing, and two-handed colorwork will be introduced.

Skill level: All levels
Homework: None
Materials Fee: No
Student-supplied materials:
• Smooth worsted or bulky weight yarn in two different light to medium shades
• Appropriate knitting needles for yarn

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Knitting from Silk Hankies (Mawata)
Barbara Seeler (3 hrs – Saturday 9:30am-12:30pm, $75)

Learn how to knit directly from silk hankies (Mawata). Students will learn how to separate a few hankies from the supply, and attenuate the silk into fibers that can be knit just like yarn.  They will sample different dye patterns in the silk hankies to see what the pattern will look like when knitted. They will also learn what knitted stitches/patterns are appropriate for this technique.

Skill level: Beginner
Homework: None
Materials Fee: $15 – Includes sufficient hankies to get the concept plus 1 package of 0.5oz hankies to take home.
Student-supplied materials:
• Bring at least 3 different sizes of knitting needles from US 2-7.  On the smaller size if you knit loosely, on the larger size if you knit tightly, in the middle if you knit to gauge. Do not purchase any – just bring what you have – loaner needles will be available for use in class.  Any type of needle is OK.

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Make-A-Monster Workshop: Tips and Tricks to Make Amazing Toys
Rebecca Danger (3 hrs – Saturday 9:30am-12:30pm, $75)

What better way to learn the secrets of monster-making than to make a tiny toy with knitting pattern designer Rebecca Danger? Rebecca will teach you tricks and tips to toy-making by knitting a mini-monster with you. Does the thought of having to sew all those little bits together keep you from knitting toys? Rebecca can help you out! Perfect for knitters new to toys, or those who want to enhance their toy knitting skills, this class will cover the toy making basics: from different knitting techniques, to tools of the trade, to the perfect finish. Come learn new techniques to give you the confidence to start creating toys and walk away with a completed mini monster (or critter).

Skill level: Beginner
Homework: None
Materials Fee: $10 – Mini monster kit, includes everything you need to make a mini monster or critter (excluding needles).
Student-supplied materials:
• A set of 4 or 5 US 5 (3.7s mm) dpns
• Basic knitting tool kit (scissors, stitch markers, etc)

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The “OH!” of Math
Shannon and Jason Mullet-Bowlsby (3 hrs – Saturday 9:30am-12:30pm, $75)

Love it or hate it, math is an essential part of every stitcher’s life and in this class we’ll have you geeking out on crochet and knit math with our super easy methods for everything from averaging the number of decreases to calculating your gauge, figuring yarn amounts for your next project to, well, even altering existing or writing your own patterns! That’s right, we’re going to unveil the secrets that we use every day in our design studio to create everything from afghans and hats to runway couture. You’ll have more OH! moments than an herbal shampoo commercial!

Skill level: Beginner
Homework: None
Materials Fee: No
Student-supplied materials:
• Note cards or notebook
• Measuring tape
• Calculator

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Planning to Pool
Gladys We (3 hrs – Sunday 9:30am-12:30pm, $75)

Handpainted yarns are beautiful, but can be difficult to work with because of the seemingly unpredictable way that the colors can pool. This class will help you take a new look at those gorgeous multicolored skeins in your stash in order to help you see new ways to work with them.  We’ll do some simple swatching and plan how to use your yarn to create new and original works of planned pooling art. See Gladys’ projects at http://www.ravelry.com/projects/wenat for examples.

Skill level: Intermediate – familiarity with backwards loop cast-on and provisional cast-ons, reading charts for lace, and (ideally) ability to memorize very simple lace patterns.
Homework: None
Materials Fee: No
Student-supplied materials:
• A selection of needles from US 4 through US 9
• A skein or sample skein of handpainted yarn. (Instructor will bring some mini-skeins to share, but your own needles are essential. Interchangeable needles are recommended but not required.)

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Self-Publishing Your Own Knitting Patterns
Lee Meredith (3 hrs – Saturday 2-5pm, $75)

Learn all the basics of self-publishing knitting patterns, from how to create a PDF file to how to go about selling your patterns and promoting yourself to the knitting community. We’ll talk about all elements of independent knitwear design publishing, but will not be going into specifics about the actual designing or pattern writing itself, as that is a whole separate area (see Jen Hagan’s Beginning Pattern Writing class). The class will focus mainly on digital self-publishing (selling PDF patterns online), not so much on print publishing.

Skill level: Intermediate
Homework: None
Materials Fee: No
Student-supplied materials: None

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Sideways Edge Cast-On and Bind-Off
Lee Meredith (3 hrs – Sunday 9:30am-12:30pm, $75)

Learn how to knit a sideways edging while casting on stitches along the edge at the same time, avoiding the need to pick up stitches or sew seams later. This technique is done with increases and short rows and, once understood, can be integrated into patterns which call for picking up many stitches along an edge – perfect for hats with sideways brims or socks, mitts, and sweaters with sideways cuffs. Then learn the reverse, adding a knitted on sideways edge to a piece while binding off the stitches at the same time.

Skill level: Intermediate – basic knitting skills plus a variety of increases and decreases.
Homework: None
Materials Fee: No
Student-supplied materials:
• Any yarn of your choice (a weight that you like working with best, something smooth and easy to work with)
• Needles sized to match, a circular needle is recommended (everything will be worked flat, but the flexible cord will make it easier to see what’s happening)
• A stitch marker

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Two-Handed Fair Isle
Lisa Ellis (3 hrs – Saturday 2-5pm, $75)

Andean hatTwo-handed Fair Isle is a must for anyone wishing to knit in color. Strands are woven in as you knit – thus eliminating the ugly strands in the back of the work that tend to get snagged, pulled, and puckered. We’ll learn how to pick and throw as we practice reading and knitting from a chart.  We’ll also learn a fun cast on technique as well as twining the earflaps. We will also cover dominant color, trapping yarn, and 2-color cast on method as well as knitting with both hands. Andean hat pattern (right) included.

Skill level: Intermediate – must be able to knit in the round and work with double pointed needles, increase, and decrease.  Experience knitting hats and some Fair Isle helpful but not necessary.
Homework: None
Materials Fee: No
Student-supplied materials:
• US #9, 16-inch circular needle and dpns
• 100 yds of Aran weight wool yarn in main color
• 30 yds of Aran weight wool in highlighting color

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The Women Whose Knitting Made and Saved Their Lives: A Coast Salish Legacy and the Cowichan Sweater
Sylvia Olsen (2 hrs with intermission – Friday, 7-9:15pm, $30)
Doors open at 6pm, drinks and bites will be available before the program

Sylvia’s presentation is a wonderful story of Coast Salish knitters, who, almost one hundred years ago, created their own knitting style, a world-famous sweater and an industry that made and saved their lives. The history of the Cowichan sweater and the women who made them is a tale of innovation, hard work, hard times, ingenuity, beauty and love. Sylvia’s story is enhanced by stunning historical images and accompanied by a unique display of antique Cowichan sweaters. Sylvia lived most of her life in a Coast Salish community immersed in the knitting industry and brings a rare perspective to the story.

Skill level: All/suitable for non-knitters
Homework: None
Materials Fee: No
Student-supplied materials: None

Rebecca Danger

Meet Rebecca Danger!  Rebecca currently lives in Bellingham, Washington in a cute 1920’s bungalow with her husband, Mr Danger, their son and their 2 pugs, Abbey and Lucy Danger.

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She’ll be teaching two classes at Knit Fit! this year: Make-a-Monster Workshop: Tips and Tricks to Make Amazing Toys and Design-a-Monster Workshop.  Click here to register.

Rebecca’s next book Knit a Monster Nursery: Practical and Playful Knitted Baby Patterns is due out this November.  You can see what else she’s up to on her blog, and find her designs on Ravelry under rebeccadanger.

What are some sources of visual inspiration for you?ImageImage

I feel like life inspires me. It seems like every day there is something I see that makes me think of a monster or a toy. I have 2 pugs and I think they had some part in inspiring the “underbite” I like to give my monsters. Recently my kiddo (who’s 16 months) has started to enjoy Sesame Street, and then monsters on there are sure inspirational!

ImageWho taught you to knit?

My grandma–who passed away 2 years ago at the ripe old age of 97– taught me to knit. She taught me the first time when I was about 8, and it just didn’t stick. She tried again when I was 13, and I ended up knitting all through high school and college and beyond!

What is your biggest indulgence?

I think knitting in general is my biggest indulgence! I have a 16 month old, so I don’t get a whole lot of time to myself these days. I just love knitting and everything about it, and I feel so indulged every time I get a fancy pants new yarn, or knitting bag, or tool, or what-have-you (I just ordered 2 pairs of Signature Needles this week, so I am feeling super indulgent right now!).

Favorite yarn weight?

Sock yarn is my total favorite weight right now and I find myself trying to figure out every project I can knit in sock weight!

Most useful knitting tip you ever learned?

Knitting is supposed to be fun. Sometimes as knitters I think we get so wrapped up in everything that knitting can feel very stressful (especially when you knit for “work” like I do). I find myself reminding myself and all my knitting friends, “Remember, knitting is suppose to be fun!”

What was the catalyst that took you from knitting to design?

I ran a handmade handbag business for 7 years and only took about 3 days off in those 7 years. Needless to say, I was worn out, so I told my husband that I wanted to sit on the couch, watch movies, and knit and get paid for it. After laughing a bit, we agreed I would give knitting patterns a try for a couple months and see how I did, and here we are 3.5 years, 2 books, and some 80+ and counting designs later!

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Tell us about your design process.

I like to think about a design for a month or two in my head, then sketch it out and look at that for a bit, then I work from my sketch and try to make my critter match my picture. Sometimes it comes out exactly like my sketch, and sometimes I adapt the critter as I knit it.

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I have my second book coming out this November, which I am very excited about. It is called Knit a Monster Nursery and it is full of all the projects I made to create my son’s nursery when he was born last year. It is a nice little change of pace from my normal toy patterns and includes monster patterns, plus all kinds of blankets, and hats, and booties, and even a sweater pattern.

Ann Weaver

Meet Ann Weaver!  Ann currently works as a freelance developmental editor, copyeditor, and occasional project manager from her laptop while designing handknits, teaching classes in design and color theory, and transforming some warehouse space in Peabody, Massachusetts into Weaverknits Studio.

She’ll be teaching two classes at Knit Fit! this year: Color Theory and the Albers Cowl and Square and Rectangular Shawls From the Inside Out.  Click here to register.

Check out her latest color explorations in the recently released ebook Twentieth Century Graphic and her Container Ships pattern club which is running now.  You can see what else she’s up to on her blog, and find her designs on Ravelry under weaverknits.

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Who taught you to knit?
My mom and grandma. Neither was very good. I learned to knit and purl in a straight line. I taught myself everything else. My grandma, however, was an excellent crocheter, so I was making granny squares when I was about 7 years old.

What was the catalyst that took you from knitting to designing?
From the time I started knitting I was designing my own things, mostly scarves. I didn’t even know there were patterns for things like scarves; I just made up stitch and color combinations. I learned to knit sweaters from Rowan books when I was about 21, but after knitting two from patterns I started using the schematics in pattern books to create my own simple sweaters. After a while, I started looking at high-end sweaters at Neiman Marcus, take notes on their construction, and use the ideas to make my own, even better, garment. Submitting to knitty forced me to write out and size a pattern, so that’s when I really became a designer rather than a craft worker making one-off pieces.

Tell us about your design process.
Well, first I get an idea about the sort of thing I’d like to capture in a piece of knitting. It can be something simple and visual (like the Steve McQueen jacket after which I modeled my Le Mans baby jacket in Craft Work Knit), or it can be a vague idea (“The Whiteness of the Whale” chapter in Moby-Dick). I think about how it fits in with my other work, because I have a lot of themes I’m following and will continue to follow, and I think about the sort of garment that would best capture the idea I want to convey. For the White Whale books in particular, I don’t approach them thinking, “This chapter will be a hat. This will be a jacket because it talks about a jacket.” I think about the sort of yarn, textures, and silhouette that would be best. And the best size. At this point I usually have an idea of what I’m going to make. Then I start swatching like crazy to get the pattern, texture, gauge, and yarn perfect before I start the sample.

That’s the more labor-intensive design process, when I’m thinking about a collection of patterns or a theme I’d like to follow. My simpler design process is based on experiments with texture, color, and creating different shapes and structures that are knit in one piece. I’ll be teaching this process in my Square Shawls class at Knit Fit. I’ve done so much experimentation with these ideas over the past year that I like to pass on the knowledge so knitters who take the workshop have a base from which to start their own completely personalized projects (with no counting and no charts unless they want one)!

We love the way you talk about knitting as skilled work, a craft in a different sense that how we usually hear it.  How did this perspective come about for you?  How do people tend to react to this idea?
A lot of people don’t understand it, which is fine. The idea sank in when I was a bread baker and felt the satisfaction that comes from working in a skilled trade, producing something wonderful. My husband has worked as a mechanic, and interior painter, and now in facilities maintenance, and is always making things and fixing things. I realized that that’s what I do with my knitting: I do skilled work and produce a wonderful product. Studs Terkel’s book, Working, is also a HUGE inspiration. Some of the most fulfilled and content workers he profiled were those who made things, who could point to what they did and say, “See?” I think that’s a blessing. I like looking at the things I’ve made and say, “See? I made that. It was nothing, and now it’s something.”

Do you have any tips for people just starting to cultivate their color sense?
Here’s a simple one. If your colors are looking really bland when you put them together and you can’t figure out why, squint your eyes and imagine that they are shades of gray. If you’re more meticulous, you can take a photo of your yarns and look at it in grayscale. If you’re getting a blah vibe from your yarns, it’s most likely due to the fact that they’re very similar in value—that is, none are much lighter or darker than the others. Add a very light (stay away from WHITE white however; stick with natural sheep white) or a very dark color in place of one of your chosen colors. There! It’s better, right?

Tell us about your new studio and grand plans for it.  (when can we visit?!)
The studio is LOVELY. I’m waiting on two more small parts for my HUGE Le Clerc floor loom, and then I’ll be weaving. I’m looking forward to having some relaxing time there, weaving for myself—a hobby! I should be full steam ahead by the end of August. Right now I’ve been using it as a space to measure and examine the garments for which I check patterns (I do some tech editing and  pattern checking) and to lay out my own garments and write the patterns. My home “office” is far too cluttered with editing stuff to spread out what I need to write knitting patterns.

In the fall, I’ll be having some knitting nights and teaching some workshops. I’m also going to open the studio to other teachers who would like to use the space to teach on a very reasonable per diem basis. It can be difficult to find yarn stores at which to teach, and often this teaching doesn’t pay very well, so I want to offer teachers an alternative space.

I encourage anyone in the Boston area, or visiting the Boston area, to contact me and stop by!

You seem to approach design sort of like painting or photography – can you tell us more about the conceptual phase of your design work?
I think I put more thought about theme, mood, and references into my designs than a lot of knitwear designers do. When I started designing, I was working out my aesthetic and created a lot of patterns that I think are cool, wearable, and flattering, but that I probably wouldn’t design now because they don’t have enough meaning to me. I think there’s a learning curve to becoming a proficient designer, and I’m getting to the point where I have enough skills in my toolbox to execute my bigger ideas. My process now includes more thinking, listing, researching, looking at new yarns, and swatching than it does actual knitting. The knitting part is the relaxing part, which is why I knit nearly all my own samples, because I love it.

Right now I’m finding a way to make books and collections that speak cohesively about a theme (Moby-Dick, color theory and graphic design, shipping and industry, and regional themes, to name a few of my current and upcoming projects—looks like it’s going to be a three-book fall, which is crazypants), that are beautiful objects themselves (especially in a digital age), and that contain patterns that are appealing to a large range of knitters. I also want the individual patterns to be strong enough that knitters who aren’t into whatever theme I’m exploring will buy one pattern because it’s just cool. So far, so good.

What are some sources of visual inspiration for you?
My current and ongoing obsessions include early punk style, rust, ships old and new, machinery and industry, athletic uniforms (the odder the better), the Bauhaus school, Ad Reinhardt’s work, signs/flags/symbols, Edward Burtynsky’s work, abandoned buildings, David Lynch. That’s just a few. I’m always thinking about new things and making lists that usually get lost in the mountain of paper and clutter that is my life.

Tell us about your most epic knitting disaster.
I’ve knit a lot of ill-fitting stuff, and I’ve knit with some unfortunate yarns, but the biggest disaster for several reasons was when I was knitting a new sweater design. I had a tight deadline and the project had a small gauge, but I was moving quickly. The sleeves were knit separately. When I blocked the pieces, I realized that one of the sleeves was INCHES smaller than the other. I had used a needle TWO SIZES SMALLER than I should have. I spent the evening trying to “block it out.” (That did not work. Duh.) I am such an idiot.

Favorite recent project?
Definitely Chittagong. The idea of a series of knitting patterns based on container ships and shipbreaking had been on my Unprofitable and Likely Unappealing Ideas list for a while (below the Ad Reinhardt Black Collection and above the Blank Generation sweater series inspired by Johnny Rotten and Richard Hell). I mentioned the idea on my blog and got a bunch of enthusiastic comments, so I decided to go for it. Chittagong was the first project, and the response has been far greater than I could have imagined. I LOVE the finished object, but more than that I love seeing others cranking out versions in different color combinations. Having a design you love, and that others love, and that others “get” is the best ever.

Show us some grellow!
You’ve got it!

L-R: Weaverknits Grellow by Dragonfly Fibers, Doubloon edge closeup, yellow on yellow.

Advanced Classes

Ready for a challenge?  The following Knit Fit! classes are aimed at advanced knitters.  Skills required for each are listed below – but keep in mind you have plenty of time to refresh your memory or get caught up before November.  These classes are wonderful opportunities to learn new techniques with the pros!

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The Elements of Hand Knitting Design
Andrea Rangel (6 hrs – Saturday 9:30am-12:30pm, continues Sunday 2-5pm, $150)

Take your knitting to the next level by designing your own projects. Learn how to choose stitch patterns, fiber, and yarn for any design and practice the basic procedure for making it happen. Plan a scarf or wrap design in class using the skills you learn.

Skill level: Advanced.  Students should be comfortable following patterns and somewhat familiar with working lace, cables, stranded color work, and textured (knit & purl) stitch patterns using charts and/or written instructions.

Homework: Swatching and planning between sessions
Materials fee : $2 – Includes handouts.
Student-supplied materials:
• Pictures of project inspirations
• 2 skeins of yarn (with labels) wound into balls to design with – one plant fiber and one animal fiber OR two very different weights.
• Needles appropriate for both yarns
• Calculator

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Shapely, Sexy Steeks
Mary Scott Huff (3 hrs – Saturday 2-­-5pm, $75)

Think stranded colorwork sweaters are all shapeless drop-­-shoulder boxes? Not anymore! Learn to plan and use the steeked openings in your knitting to make shaped and fitted stranded garments! In this workshop, you’ll learn to think like a sculptor, shaping knitting to your body, and not the other way around. Learn how a well-­-planned steek can actually speed up your knitting, minimize the finishing required in your garment, and perfect its fit! We’ll practice shaping on a miniature vest project, analyze patterns for steeked adjustments, and even discuss ways to incorporate steeks into non-­-stranded garments. Sexy!

Skill Level: Advanced (Basic knitting skills [knit, purl, increase, decrease], stranded colorwork knitting in the round, and familiarity with steek techniques).
Homework: Using at least 2 colors of 2-­-ply Shetland wool (such as Jameson’s) work a 60-­-st knitted tube in any charted pattern(s) you wish. This is the beginning of your miniature vest, so put ribbing at the bottom, if you’d like, and make the piece around 3 inches long. Do not bind off.
Class Supplies: 2-­-ply Shetland wool yarn in the colors of your choice (at least 2), with needles to achieve gauge stated on ball band (or your preferred gauge). 6 stitch markers, tapestry needle, waste yarn, sharp shears for steeking , and either a hand sewing needle and thread for hand sewn steeks, or a crochet hook and yarn for crocheted steeks.