25 April 2012

STITCHES 2012 Classes

One of my favorite things about STITCHES is the opportunity to take classes. This year I took three.

On Thursday afternoon I took Shannon Okey's "Get Published" class. Shannon is the genius behind Cooperative Press, who have published such great books as Alasdair Post-Quinn's Extreme Double Knitting. Shannon is definitely an extrovert. She gave a thorough handout and explained the pros and cons and options of self-publishing. Very helpful!

On Saturday I took Susanna Hansson's "Bohus Stickning" class. Thank you to Pam who advised me to take this class. This is an all-day class and possibly the one for which Susanna is best known. She has an extensive personal collection of garments produced by the Bohus Stickning (1939-1969). This class was a great opportunity to learn not just the techniques but also the social history. If you have any interest in economic history or women's studies, this class is very much worth your time. The class fee of $25 is for the Blue Shimmer cuffs kit. The yarn, from Sweden, is 50% merino and 50% angora. To say this yarn is soft is an understatement. The cuffs are worked on small needles, so this is an opportunity to practice your delicate knitting. I haven't been a huge fan of Bohus-style garments, but I came out of the class with a much greater appreciation. For one thing, Susanna explained the ways in which Bohus-style knitting is not Fair Isle knitting. Bohus garments use purl stitches as well as knit stitches, and those other-colored purl bumps that we spend so much time avoiding in other knitting situations are important aesthetic components. The patterns often use several subtle and related colors in order to create elegant color effects. When you see the samples in person, you understand how, like any great work of art, these garments are so much better in person than they are in photographs.
Bohus Blue Eskimo set from the collection of Susanna Hansson
On Sunday afternoon I took Edie Eckman's "Join Together: Six Join-As-You Go Crochet Methods." Edie teaches both knitting and crochet. She has written several books, including a wonderful crochet edging stitch dictionary in which all the patterns show you not just how to knit the edging but how to turn a corner in pattern. Edie has another book coming out in the autumn, and this class is based on that book. For those of you who enjoy making motifs but not so much the joining together, this class is essential. This is smart, clever crochet.

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