Shawl we?

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This is one of two mini Faroese shawls I made yesterday from the top down.  I rather hurriedly pinned it out and might pull and tug a little differently next time, but I just wanted it down so I could see it!  The second one is all garter, which is more traditional in Faroese shawls than stockinette, though top down isn’t traditional at all, yet shoulders are warmed either way — and isn’t this just fantastic?  I learned two different increases for the shoulder shaping, various ways to do the knitted-on border, mitering corners, and a bunch of other stuff!  The cast-on and beginning of the shawl were pretty cool, too.

I have been intrigued by Faroese shawls for a while now, so I didn’t hesitate in signing up for this all-day class with Joan Schrouder.  On Saturday evening, between classes and dinner, I spent a little while in the "hospitality room" at the hotel (I’ve been working on Shirley Shrugs during every spare moment) and was fascinated by a tiny, in-progress sweater that someone had from Joan’s Saturday class.  It made me look forward to Sunday’s class even more — what an excellent way to teach specifics, by working in miniature and doing every step exactly as you would on a full-sized piece.  Joan is an excellent teacher — and I’m very happy that I signed up.

Dsc08643On Saturday, I had two classes with Fiona Ellis.  The first was "Morphing Cables" and here is my morning’s work… actually, it was all play — play, play play.  I feel like all I did in Fiona’s classes was play!  It was definitely play with purpose and very energizing.  While most others in the class were much more organized and thoughtful about their designs and patterns, I was much less not structured at all.  I took it one row at a time — sometimes one stitch at a time — as presented on the needle, ending up with a very free-form piece.  I am no stranger to cables, I’m even beginning to rely on reading the knitting a little more than the chart or pattern once it’s been established and have played around with charting designs, but I’ve never actually cast on a bunch of stitches and just played before.  Oh, what FUN!  Dsc08644Nearing the end of Shirley Shrugs, a very traditionally styled, organized and thoughtful cable piece, it was just wonderful for me to leave organized and thoughtful at the door, to throw repeats and row count and stitch count out the window, and to cross whenever and wherever the hell I felt like it and in whatever direction felt good at the moment — for no particular reason.  Because of this free-formness, some of it is kind of icky, but there is a bit of promise, too, and so I am qiute happy.  My teacher liked it, too.  ; )

May I just say?  I love Fiona Ellis.  By the end of the Saturday classes, I was almost sorry that I hadn’t signed up for Sunday’s "Funky Fair Isles" class — and I’ve never seriously considered knitting a Fair Isle (yet), much less thought about messing around with a design!

My other class with Fiona was "Hand Embellishments" and you will never see my work from that class.  This one was really a stretch for me.  I don’t adorn things, I don’t accessorize very well, or even wear jewelry much.  I was having a hard time coming up with "bits and bobs" to take with me to class because I just don’t have much in the way of "bits and bobs" — I ended up taking mostly buttons and didn’t use a single one.  My embellishing consisted of embroidery.  I tend to go all-out in my pursuit of a craft, along a very narrow and focused path, and gather lots of "bits and bobs" specific to whatever is the current passion.  It takes a little more vision, more of an artistic nature, a bit more risk — perhaps some degree of flamboyance (of which I have pretty much none) — some playfulness and intermingling and willingness to experiment in order to embellish.  I admire that spirit and freedom.  I am not sorry at all that I took the class — I learned some things that I think I will be able to apply.

Did I say?  I love Fiona Ellis.  I can count the knitting classes and knitting teachers I’ve had on one hand — most of them have been at the two Midwest Masters Seminars I’ve attended.  I have to say that the part I enjoy most about these classes has absolutely nothing to do with the class that’s being taught — it’s everything else.  I love all the stories and sharing of experience, a glimpse of the spirit and personality, the interaction with other students, the questions and answers.  People like Joan and Fiona are so energizing just by being — their creativity and passion for what they do is evident in everything they do and say — the room and the people in it become energized, too.  It’s exhilarating and wonderful!  I feel very fortunate.

One of the really great parts of the Midwest Masters Seminars is the dinner on Saturday night and Show-and-Tell.  Both teachers and students are encouraged to show off their work and the quality (and sometimes quantity) is just amazing!  I showed off Fib (had actually worn it all day on Saturday), saw some beautiful Fair Isle and lace work, a Salt Lake City Olympics sweater (though not knit for the Knitting Olympics), "Gathering Intentions" and the cover sweater from Fiona’s book, and TWO completed Am Kamin/Crossed In Translation sweaters — just gorgeous!  One of them is pictured here — Anita is the only other blogger I was aware of, and that didn’t happen ’til very late yesterday.  I did not "advertise," and if anyone recognized me or Fib, they kept it to themselves.  ; )

I should have bought a lottery ticket on Saturday night — I won the first door prize of the evening at dinner (Morehouse Farms Merino Knits!), and then came home to find that Celia needs my foot measurement because my number came up for the hand-knit socks!  How cool is that?

Oh, yes, I feel very fortunate indeed.

May I also say?  I love the recent improvements to Bloglines.  ; )

Amy Lu, I’m sorry you didn’t make it.  I know you’re going to ask what’s coming up for spring…  I don’t remember.  I’m sorry — the schedule will be posted soon!  I do know that if I am to attend any Midwest Masters classes next year, it will have to be spring because the fall session is going on the road — a very long road — to Ireland, ten days.  Very exciting, and fun to dream about, but way out of my realm of possibilities.

Coming up this week:  Shirley will be finished.  ; )  Katie has a car.

9 thoughts on “Shawl we?

  1. Thanks for sharing your class adventures, what a fab way to spend the weekend. When I first read (skimmed) your last paragraph I thought you were going to Ireland next autumn and we could have got to meet up….that’ll teach me to read fast.

  2. Love those cables! So pretty. I got yarn to make a sweater for my hub this weekend, and at first I was thinking a very plain sweater. Now I’m starting to think of it having a cable or two. 🙂

  3. I’m so glad you had positive experiences in your classes and stuff this weekend. The shawls are beautiful and the cables are very unique! I am so with you on the embellishment thing, though. I always see people with great accessories and think, how come I can’t do that?

  4. Your classes sound like they were great – very inspiring. Hmm, are those little shawls suitable for wall hangings?! And congrats on your good fortune!!

  5. What a great line up of classes. Taking knitting classes is always a hoot. How wonderful you have a trip to Ireland planned! Lucky you…can you believe we have only 3 weeks until you know what?!

  6. What a fabulous time you had! And what wonderful results. some day I’ll do a midwest masters also.

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