Rhinebeck – addendum

Did I mention the class I took at Rhinebeck before the big weekend? No? Well, I’ll do it now. I won a free class courtesy of ShepherdSusie who held a contest on Twitter, and I chose to take a class with the amazing Kathryn Alexander.

kathryn_alexander(photo from http://www.kathrynalexander.net)

I chose her class because her style is the exact opposite of mine. I gravitate towards solid colors, and traditional forms. Kathryn takes color & shape and makes them dance. It’s an awesome skill to behold, by one who does not possess it. I figured I’d learn the most from someone whose fiber muse is so different from my own! Her technique is heavily influenced by entrelac, and her sense of color is amazing. Her designs exude joy.

IMG_1405

The pretty little haystacks of colorful yarns were arranged on the table when we arrived – hand dyed & prepared by Kathryn herself – and a stack of project instructions & tips. ¬†She showed us how short rows can give a twisted shape to a piece of knitting. We also picked up stitches in order to incorporate the pieces we made together. If you haven’t noticed, those are the elements needed to create entrelac – a technique I’d been intimidated by for years! We also switched colors about, carrying the yarn behind – the technique needed to create fair isle – the other knitting technique I’d been intimidated by. In one short afternoon, I learned the techniques I needed to (basically) close up the remaining holes in my knitting education.

whatshoesock copy

(photo from http://www.kathrynalexander.net)

The other knitters in my class were from all over the country, and of varying skill levels, but were all basically the same age as myself, or a bit older. We were amazed at how everyone’s individual knitting style made for very different results. Looser/tighter tensions yielded different forms, and degrees of curvature. Individual color choices & color changes made for truly unique results from all knitters. Gauge was not interjected into the instructions, and thus didn’t hamper the creative process. I left feeling creatively charged – I think the next major project I take on will be a shetland fair isle – something I’ve wanted to try for years, but now I have the guts to take it on. Pretty good for a free class, huh!

IMG_1406

Unlike the weather this weekend, the weather on Thursday was on the treacherous side. I had to leave the class a bit early because I saw that the snow that was supposed to descend after midnight had arrived early. I drove carefully through the first soggy snow of the season, and hit so much traffic when I hit the city, that by the time it was all over, it had taken me 4 1/2 hours to cover a distance that normally takes 2 1/4 hours. Not pleasant, but still worth it, I think! Next year, however, I will be retreating to a nearby hotel room. I’ve learned my lesson!