Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Midwesterners: this one's for you!

I am very excited to be teaching at the Midwest Fiber and Folk Fair this June, in Grayslake, Illinois. I have a very warm spot in my heart for Illinois because so many dear friends (s.g. Franklin Habit) of mine live there. It's also a special thrill for me to be teaching at a location that's accessible to folks who live more than a few hours from me.

I haven't been teaching that long, and I don't want that to deter you from taking my classes. We cover lots of material, and my classes sound a lot like my blog posts -- conversational, lots of humor, concrete examples, and plenty of time for questions. My aim is for you to really understand the way things work-- not just to learn how to do something in a rote way, but to get why it works that way. Here's what I'm teaching in June:

Yarn Substitution Made Easy: I love teaching this class because this is an issue that I didn't understand when I first when back to knitting. I would go in to a knitting shop with a pattern and say "I want to make this; can you show me which yarns will work?" and then the clerk would point out all the yarns in the same category, like DK or worsted weights. I soon got impatient with having to ask for help all the time and with not really getting why one yarn would work and not another, so I spent a lot of time reading and playing with yarns to figure out how yarns are classified, how gauge works and how it is connected with yarn classification, and things to consider when switching out a yarn for the one listed in the pattern. I will cover all of this in the class so you understand it, too. We finish up the class by taking some actual patterns and coming up with some substitutes for them, so that you can see exactly how it all fits together in a real-world pattern.

Making Friends with your Handpaints: This is another class that is very near and dear to my heart, and you will leave with an incredible amount of information about handpainted yarns and why they work they way they do. If you love yarns like Koigu, Madeline Tosh, Lorna's Laces, Shibui, or any of the gazillion indie dyers out there, this is the class for you. We talk about how handpaints are made, why they look the way they do, how to sort them into categories by the way they will look knitted up, and how to choose patterns that will use the yarn to its best advantage. Most people take this class because of the section on pooling -- why handpaint yarns can produce strange patterns of color, like this:


and how to avoid that, if you don't like the effect you're getting.

Creativity with Color: This is a more hands-on workshop. If you are one of those people who shies away from color in your knitting, whether simple stripes or fair isle patterns, or who sticks with solids all the time, then this is the class for you. I will gently, gently walk you through some very user-friendly principles of color theory and ways for you to look at color in your life. We'll talk about some of the blocks to creativity that knitters experience, and then we'll play with color. We'll do some swatch knitting and some playing around with creating color patterns using graph paper and colored pencils. I will keep you entertained throughout with my sparkling personality and anecdotes from the dog-eat-dog world of yarn.

Self-Stripers: How They Work & How To Use Them: If you love Noro, Wisdom Poems, Regia, Trekking, Kaffe Fassett's Colourscape and similar yarns that stripe on their own, from one color to the next, then this class will help you understand them better and use them more effectively. We'll discuss how these yarns are made, the concept of the repeat and why it makes stripes, and what things affect the way the stripes look -- wide, skinny, zigzaggy or gentle shades of color like this:


I think you'll really benefit from the tips and tricks section. We'll go over some ways that you can work with stripers to get the results you want. (NOT "strippers," mind you, STRIPERS. For tips on working with strippers, you're on your own. Although I'd advise against Googling it unless your virus protection is up-to-date.)

You can see the specifics of dates and times by going to the Teacher Bio page here. Scroll down to my name. (You'll also see the other amazing teachers -- Franklin, Abby Franquemont, Merike Saarniit, to name just a few).

And there will be lots and lots of other fun at the Fair -- a fleece competition, marketplace, juried art exhibition, nonjuried vintage handbag showing, fashion show, music, food and more!

So pretty please, consider signing up for one of my classes. We'll have a great time, you'll learn a lot, and then we can all go eat funnel-cakes and ice cream together.



Mary Lou said...

Sounds like fun - wish i could go. Will I see you at TNNA this year?

Laurel said...

I'm taking Franklin's class on photographing your fiber. Promise you'll come back next year so I can take one of your classes.