Friday, October 21, 2011

IWC - Knitting Workshop - Part 2

Statue on Ft. Lewis Campus, site of IWC - Durango, CO
 Although IWC is called a weavers’ conference it’s all about fiber. The selection of workshops is pretty eclectic. Besides several weaving related workshops, others were on dyeing, spinning, designing, basketry and sewing. The workshop that I took was Free Form Knitting and was taught by Valentina Devine of Los Alomos, New Mexico. IWC’s format of workshops is a person signs up for one workshop for the span of the three days, rather than several shorter workshops. Depth versus variety.

Valentina taught us about four different basic knitting techniques in the three day workshop. She also covered embellishments and the construction of some basic garment types. Her methods utilized both knitting and crocheting stitches and a vast variety of yarns. Valentina was always concerned with color, texture, and basic shapes.

Valentina Devine demonstrating adding clusters of French knots as embellishments
For each of the techniques that Valetina passed on to us, she illustrated the result with numerous examples that she brought with her. It was a treasure chest of yarns and garments—our own “trunk show”.

Valentina was less concerned with gauge; sizing was generally based on the fit of known garments. Her style of garments has a loose, comfortable fit definitely not tailored.

V. Devine's sleeveless long vest - example of a loose fit using blocks of log cabin
The four basic shapes, which determined the technique that we used, were the rectangle/square as in log cabin, round as in swirl, irregular shapes, and strips from a double knit variation.

A previous student's jacket done in log cabin using sock yarn
V. Devine holding an example of Swirl technique done in a top
Valentina on left showing an example of irregular swatches edged in black
Valentina's double knit strip of many colors used as an edging and cuffs of black jacket
Valentina’s philosophy of knitting was very freeing and made a person adventurous combing yarns and colors outside of their normal comfort zone. I’ve included some examples of her designs and then shown what I completed during the workshop. My examples are rather incomplete as I am a slow knitter. But I was also trying to take decent notes and photos as my short term memory is getting shorter as time passes. I found Valentina to be a flash knitter, of course knitting continental style, and having done it for a living for many years with the cliché “time is money”, being a slow knitter wouldn’t get a person a very good paycheck.
My unfinished sample of log cabin or linear shape

My unfinished sample of swirl or round shape

My unfinished sample of an irregular shape

My unfinished sample of single strand double knit using Noro Silk Garden

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