life long learning

Budding Van Gogh

Spoiler Alert: This post has nothing to do with knitting.

A few nights ago a group of four of us joined about twenty other budding artists at Posh Splat, Boulder’s local paint and wine studio.

Back in my formative school years, I took a lot of art classes and briefly considered it as a vocation. Forty-some years later, my youthful dreams have yet to be realized. So, as you might imagine, I was delighted for the opportunity to try my hand at painting.

At Posh Splat, each “artist” is given a blank 16″ x 20″ (40.5 x 51 cm) canvas, three paintbrushes, and a squirt each of seven colors (blue, red, yellow, green, brown, black, and white). An instructor leads the class in choosing the right brushes, mixing the appropriate colors, and making the correct brush strokes, all while giving encouragement (and serving wine to help the creative juices flow).

The painting of the night was Vincent Van Gogh’s 1888 painting Cafe Terrace At Night (shown at left below). Instead of following the actual masterpiece (which would have been paralyzingly intimidating), we followed a much simplified version with fewer buildings and without the human forms (that’s my attempt on the right).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Needless to say, I think I was wise to stick to my knitting!

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Knit Stars 4.0

Last year I had the terrific opportunity to be part of Knit Stars 3.0: North Stars Rising, the brain child of Shelley Brander of Loops yarn shop in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I taught how to cut and finish steeks with a zipper or buttons. I had a blast filming the segment and am honored to have been included in the impressive group of stars.

This year’s Knit Stars 4.0: I’ll Alpaca My Bag will take you to new heights in Peru, weaving together the stories of the Pacomarca Sustainable Alpaca Network and the Centro de Textiles Tradicionales del Cusco, whose mission is to aid in the survival of Cusqueñan textile traditions and to provide support to the indigenous people who create them.

You’ll then east to discover how non-profit Manos del Uruguay is working with rural women to provide jobs that are more than an income, but also an opportunity to develop personally, gain independence, preserve their roots and traditions, and remain close to their families and community.

And you’ll criss-cross North America, from Nova Scotia to Oregon and everywhere in between…learning the stories of knitters and crocheters, designers and dyers…all united in their passion for the craft and their desire to spread the joy of creativity.

In all, there will be 11 informative episodes, many of which include an exclusive pattern:

  • Pacomarca – Preserving and Celebrating the Andean Way of Life
  • Martha Wissing – A Chullo-Style Hat
  • Lucy Neatby – Two-Color Double Knitting
  • Susan B. Anderson – Seamless Toy Knitting Techniques
  • Cecelia Lalanne – Hand Dyeing the Manos Way
  • Blue Sky Fibers – Adventures in Cabling
  • Andrea Wong  – Portuguese-Style Knitting
  • Hannah Thiessen – Slow Knitting, Natural Dyes, and Mending Knits
  • Marly Bird – Crochet Mending
  • Diane Ivey – Guide to Moving Forward: from Social Media to Building Inclusive Communities
  • Caitlin Hunter – Traditional Colorwork, Reinvented

It’s good to know that Knit Stars is deeply committed to diversity of all kinds – race, ethnicity, religion, sexual identity, gender identity, age, geodiversity, and the inclusion of people with all ranges of ability, many of whom are unable to travel to access inspirational teachers. Year after year, Knit Stars will continue to strive toward shining a loving spotlight on teachers, dyers, and thought leaders across the broad and beautiful global spectrum that is the fiber universe.

Open enrollment begins this Thursday, October 24. Don’t procrastinate — enrollment closes in just 7 days: at midnight Pacific Standard Time on Thursday, October 31.

Click on the following link https://knitstars.com/a/4441/qzGWw9gQ to register.

Let’s knit this world together!

 

 

 

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Knit For Fun in Savannah

Join Norah Gaughan, Elizabeth Johnston, and me next April at my Knit For Fun Retreat in Savannah, Georgia!

We’ll stay at The DeSoto, which overlooks Madison Square in the heart of Savannah’s Historic District.

Check-in for the retreat will begin Thursday, April 23, followed by a welcome dinner. Classes will be offered Friday and Saturday, and the retreat will conclude with a farewell breakfast Sunday, April 26. As a departure from the normal Knit For Fun Retreat schedule, you’ll have more time in the evenings to explore the historic district, including a night to eat at one of the local restaurants.

As with all Knit for Fun Retreats, you’ll get one three-hour class with each of three first-class teachers, as well as lots of fun and surprises!

Norah will teach Knitting Two-Sided Cables; Twisted Stitches; Knitting With Linen; and Knitting A Patterned Yoke.

Elizabeth will teach Shetland Lace Tips and Tricks; Steeking; Fair Isle Cuffs, Ribs, and Trims; and Shetland Lace Shawls.

I’ll teach Intro to Sweater Design; Fixing Knitting Mistakes; Custom Socks At Any Gauge; and A Skirt For All Seasons.

Registration opens at 10:00am MST today!

Click here for details and to register.

 

 

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Can This Old Dog Learn A New Trick?

Without revealing my actual age, I will admit that I clearly remember where I was when I learned that John F. Kennedy was shot. Ever since then I’ve wanted to learn to draw. Although I took a variety of art classes in middle and high school, I never took a drawing class. By the time I was in college, I fancied myself a scientist and focused on calculus, physics, chemistry, and geology. I would never say it was a waste of time, but my college education seems to have little relation to my current career as a knitter, editor, and designer.

To encourage me to fulfill a decades-old dream, my dear husband gave me a drawing pad and set of pencils for my birthday last fall. They’ve been sitting on my desk ever since, silently taunting me.

I kept looking at the them, imagining how impressive I might be in my next class when I’d draw a sock or sweater silhouette that had proper proportions. I imagined how I’d capture the likeness of my cat Lily on paper. And, oh, what if I could make realistic sketches of sweater design ideas?

I kept myself entertained just thinking about the possibilities without ever opening the sketch pad.

 

 

Finally, I decided to act and I sketched three objects on my desk–a Sharpie marker, my cell phone, and a small wooden bowl that holds dietary supplements. The results were less than spectacular. My timid approach is evident in the faint and shaky lines. I closed the notebook and returned to my knitting.

 

A couple of months ago I revealed my secret desire to my Sunday knitting group, which consists of several “real” artists.  They heartily recommended You Can Draw in 30 Days by Mark Kistler. Mysteriously, the book appeared in my mailbox.

I was both thrilled and terrified. Could I possibly learn to draw in 30 days? The author insists that “anyone can learn how to draw; it is a learnable skill like reading or writing”.  I don’t have lofty expectations, but I will say that after just two lessons, I managed to draw a couple of tennis balls that look like, well, tennis balls!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Only time will tell if I can learn to draw. For now, I’m excited by the possibility. If I’m successful, I may tackle another dream — painting!

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