Wednesday, September 2, 2009
I am SO happy to tell you that Fran has a sweater class coming up really soon. Starting September 13th, you can work with her for five sessions over five weeks. Then there is a sixth session, about a month out, to give folks who need extra time a chance to finish.
I took Fran's sweater class last January/February and it was life changing for me. Really. Because I learned how to read a tricky pattern, and I learned how to sew seams without ending up with some big lumpy mess that I had put so many painstaking hours into. I was so inspired by the class, and I got so much confidence, that even though I knew it would be a major challenge, I set myself to the task of working on the sweater coat featured on the cover of the latest Interweave KNITS. Fran's voice is in my head as I work, and I have to tell you I am stunned and delighted that I'm actually doing it. So if you've been meaning to learn sweaters, or bump up a level in your skill set, now would be the time.
I chatted with Fran the other day to find out about her history of knitting. Check it out:
Spike: Fran, when did you start knitting?
Fran: I remember knitting as a young kid, sitting on the sofa, in the middle because I had those geat big loooong needles. Then I knit sporadically—a little bit in high school. Once I knit a sweater for a boyfriend and we did break up—I didn’t know about that curse when I made it. But I really didn’t start knitting in earnest until five years after I moved to Austin in '92. I was having a hard time in my life and a friend brought me to a knitting group at the store. Everyone was so warm and friendly. It helped. The knitting preoccupied my mind and got me to focus again. It also distracted me during parts of the day. And the yarns were so beautiful-- in my house growing up we'd had Red Heart yarn. I didn’t know there were all these kinds of yarn. Noro was really exciting. And Koigu. We all would be so excited when a new box arrived.
Spike: When did you start working at HCW?
Fran: I retired from teaching and Suzanne offered me a job. It all sort of fell in place. I think it’ll be four years this month. I started fulltime then I went partime after a year and a half. I slowly started teaching classes. I teach socks on circulars, sweaters, lace, and I have a Tuesday night group. Of all the specialty classes—I like teaching socks. Well, actually I like it all. The way I plan my classes is I find something I like and I knit it up to see if I really like it-- I don’t want to teach something I don’t care for just to teach it. I have to be enthusiastic about it.
Spike: Who are good candidates for a sweater class?
Fran: I think it’s really important that you’ve done at least four or five projects where you've had to read a pattern and that you know something about increasing and decreasing. As far as pattern reading-- it could be a hat or scarf pattern you've learned to read, you don't have to have sweater experience. Learning to read sweater patterns is part of the class. We’re also going to learn buttonholes and shaping. And we do all the different kinds of seaming. Blocking—that’s a big part of it, too. Also, you don't have to knit an adult sweater for yourself. You can make a baby sweater to learn the technique.
Spike: What's it like, getting people from start to finish for a sweater, oftentimes their first sweater?
Fran: It’s so interesting because over five or six weeks they’ve grown so much. They’re very hesitant at first but then they grow confident about tackling issues.