Friday, February 19, 2010

March Classes at Passionknit

March Classes at Passionknit
3355 Yonge St. 416-322-0688

Sock Knitting!
This is a two-part class where students will learn the basics of sock knitting. We will be working on four needles from the cuff down. Please know how to work on 4 needles, read a pattern, cast on/off and be available for both classes. (Pinchy) $50 For both classes; materials additional. Wed. March 10th AND Wed. March 24th, 7 – 9pm

Cast On Methods
There are many methods used to cast on for a project. If you are interested in learning what cast on is best for what project as well as hands on basic and decorative methods, this is the class for you! (Peachy) $30 Please bring a medium weight yarn and appropriate needles
Thursday March 25, 7 – 9pm

Short Rows
Short rows are used a lot in knitting. They facilitate the shaping of a garment and turning heels in sock knitting. This is a great project full of short rows! It is a lightweight hat that can be worn under a bike or ski helmet! You’ll be an expert at wrapping and turning after you experience this class. (Pinchy) $30 Plus
Wednesday March 3, 7pm - 9pm

Passionknit Stitchers’ Night
This is a special night out for our Passionknit customers to come and socialize. Come join us to “unwind” the last Wednesday evening of every month for a fun knitting night. Come and let our array of amazing new yarns and patterns inspire and push your knitting to the next level. (Free)
Wednesday March 31, 7pm - 9pm

Registration Information:
We keep classes small in order to be able to spend one-on-one time with each student. Please register in advance either by coming into the shop or calling us. Payment in full for the class is due upon registration, please check your schedule and class description carefully, registration fees are non-refundable and non-transferable. We also do not offer make up classes.

If you must cancel a class you have registered for, please notify us at least 48 hours in advance, we will issue you a credit toward another class.

Two-hour classes are $30, which is for the class only. Materials and applicable taxes will be in addition unless otherwise noted. If a class does not run due to low registration or extenuating circumstances, you will be refunded in full.

A 10% reduction on materials costs is offered once you are registered. You may pick out your materials anytime after registration.

Doors will open 15 minutes before class and class will start promptly. Please be on time.

We also welcome suggestions for class ideas – just send us an email or give us a call!

For up-dates on Passionknit events and classes please join our mailing list by calling or emailing us.

Class Rating:
Peachy = Easy
Pinchy = Medium
Persnickety = Difficult

Alisa McRonald, Fibre Arts Teacher
My love of the fibre and textile arts came as soon as I was old enough to sit on my mother’s lap at her sewing machine.

I have been fortunate enough to exhibit my work at galleries and shops in New York, Los Angeles, Asia, England and Canada. It was in the late 1990’s when my work as an artist became solely fibre based.

My interest in hand spinning came first from my love of animals and wanting to learn about yarn production from start to finish. I was able to gain hands-on experience during a two year internship at a small fibre mill / angora goat farm in Elora, Onatrio. During this time, my fibre knowledge was expanded exponentially.

I have been teaching fibre arts classes to both children and adults for several years and I am excited to bring my teaching skills and fibre knowledge to Passionknit. I feel fortunate to be working with a group of people who are amazing knitters and believe in helping people with their endeavors.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Importance of Staying Earnest!

It's hard to stay inspired. When I try to explain to most people about the new BFL roving I got that spins like butter - they look at me like I'm crazy... I don't blame them! That's why fibre related clubs and guilds have become my main source of learning and inspiration.

I recently took a class through the Downtown Knit Collective's winter workshop with Fiona Ellis. A fabulous designer and very inspirational teacher, Fiona's class allowed the students to dive into the design process and be as freeform as we wanted to be. She had us choose an image from a pile of images she had brought to class, I chose a picture of a delicious slice of cake...

After we chose our image we used strips of card to crop the image, focusing on a particular point of interest. I was drawn to the uneven lines and bumps in this image - I'm a texture person. Next we were to interpret the image in a swatch, a design for a garment or freeform piece - anything that would act as a spring board for inspiration in anyway the student felt comfortable approaching it. I chose to dive right in and start knitting using short rows, knits and purls and different yarn weights to create texture. I also added some embroidery and crochet baubles. I created two swatches that day. The top one in the image below - was my first one, the bottom was the second. I used my first swatch as a jumping board for the second. I utilized the elements I felt were working in the first to develop the second.

I loved this class and Fiona as a teacher. I don't know what I will do with my swatches but they did inspire me and remind me the value of "playing" without a goal. It's a great way for me to develop ideas.

Another wonderfully inspiring class I took was a while ago! It was last March and it was with Debbie New. Debbie is an amazing thinker, knitter and teacher. I saw her speak through the Kitchener Waterloo Knitting Guild and was wowed by every word that came out of her mouth!

Her class asked the students to forget about everything we've learned about knitting. We were going to break the rules to see what happened. The first swatch we worked on Debbie calls "Scribble Lace". We knit with light weight yarn on large needles and incorporated heavy weight yarn as we wanted. The result is quite interesting...

The second swatch we worked on with Debbie was a sample of what she calls "Labyrinth Knitting". She makes full sweaters that are hundreds of stitches long and about six rows wide. She utilizes increases and decreases to make a "puzzle". She'll give this long strip to someone and tell them if they can solve the puzzle and make it into a sweater shape, she'll sew it together for them. Seeing the picture below gives a better impression. The first one is a strip of knitting with increases and decreases, the second is the "puzzle" solved and positioned into a closed shape.

Both these classes have left an impression on me. I can never stop learning or playing. There is always inspiration around me.

To find a Spinning and Weaving Guild take a look at the Ontario Handweavers and Spinners Guild website.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Craftsmanship and the Quest for (Near) Perfection

I've been reading an amazing book called "The Craftsman" by Richard Sennett. It is an amazing book that is very much up my alley. Mr. Sennett defines "craftsmanship" as "the desire to do a job well for its own sake".

He goes back to the guilds of the middle ages and talks of apprenticeship and mastery. He discusses how our bodies adapt to our skill. For example, how the hands of a musician develop and are trained to move to produce the correct tone.

I could talk about this all day long! But, for today, I'm just going to apply his idea of "the desire to do a job well for its own sake" to my recent completion of a crochet project.

Crochet is a skill that I would say that I'm good at. I understand the stitches and what my hands need to do to make them, I have developed the manual dexterity to be able to manipulate the yarn easily. I do well at letting the developing pattern tell me where to go next. My intention is to do a good job for its own sake. Where do mistakes fit in to intention? I made some boo-boos in my project because I wasn't paying enough attention to the written pattern or because I made a mistake and let that mistake dictate my developing pattern on subsequent rows causing a kind of "mutation" of the written pattern.

Do unintended mistakes have anything to do with intention to do a good job? In this case, I believe I did all the right things. I chose a project that challenged me, I learned a lot about balancing reading patterns and letting the stitches tell me what to do. I was open to learning and challenged. My intent was pure. Mistakes are learning tools. A completed project by human hands will always have mistakes. The point of mistakes is to learn, the point of "making" things is to do a job well for its own sake. Both those things are the building blocks to (near) perfection in your craft.

Here's my shawl. The Blue Curacao Shawl designed by Doris Chan, interpreted by me! It's made of Diamond Luxury Collection's Pilar (Llama and Silk). I'm not going to point out the mistakes!