Monday, May 9, 2011

Interview: Guest Teacher Bruce Weinstein

Bruce Weinstein photo (c) Joh Fisher photography.

Knit designer and chef Bruce Weinstein will be at HCW teaching on May 14th and 15th. For info on those classes you can click here. Bruce took time out of his unbelievably busy schedule recently to tell me a bit about his knitting life. Here's what he had to say.

HCW: What brought you to knitting?
BW: My grandmother tried to teach me as a kid, at my request - she thought it was weird. But I could never get an even tension and gave up fast. So I took it up again as an adult, asking a friend who is a master knitter to teach me. She did and 2 days later I started my first sweater.

HCW: What's your teaching style? I see you're teaching a couple of classes that involve scarves that look pretty tricky to knit-- are they?
BW: In the classroom, I make students do everything. Sure, I'll show you how and might even do so on your needles, but I prefer to take out what I've done and have you do it yourself. I'm an orbiter... roaming around watching and helping as every grasps new techniques. All the patterns and scarves I'm teaching at HCW are a bit tricky but they all look much more complicated than they are. The reversible cable scarf has a secret. And that's spending time with the chart and thinking about the structure before we all start. Once the concept of multiple cables all twisting on different rows gets in your head, it's a snap.

HCW: How do you find time to knit? Do you squeeze it in whenever you can, or do you designate time?
BW: My time is all packed. I have 3 cookbooks coming out this year and am writing 2 more along with another knitting book. I tend to knit whenver I'm not doing anything else with my hands - at dinner parties, during movies, in front of the TV, anytime I can - it drives my partner nuts.

HCW: Do you have a particular garment you most prefer to knit, or do you like to knit everything?
BW: I love everything, but sweaters are near and dear to my heart. I go through phases though.... socks all last summer. Hats all winter.

HCW: Got any broad advice for knitters?
BW: Don't be afriad of your knitting.... it's just yarn. You are in control of it. Stop overthinking and over examining your work. Keep on knitting. Rip when you have to but don't do it for every tiny little thing you think is wrong. It's supposed to look hand made.

HCW: You're also a chef, too. Tell me a bit about that?
BW: Having been to chef school, my primary career for the past decade has been as a food writer, cookbook author, and cooking teacher. It's my passion. I took up knitting as a way to have a creative hobby since cooking went from hobby to career. Looks like I need a new creative hobby since knitting's become my second career.

HCW: You have some books out-- want to tell me a bit about them?
BW: KNITS MEN WANT was my first knitting book - 10 basic patterns for men writen for multiple gauges to so you can knit any of my designs with almost any yarn you like. I'm currently writing THE BOYFRIEND SWEATER 18 designs for women (and men, too) based on men's colors, cuts, and styles. There will be 18 patterns in sizes from a women's small to man's XL. I also have 18 cookbooks published - the latest is GOAT Meat Millk Cheese. My book HAM AN OBSESSION WITH THE HIND QUARTER is nominated for a James Beard award. And last year I publisehd REAL FOOD HAS CURVES a 7-step plan to get off processed food and enjoy what you eat all the more while losing weight and feeling great.

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