I am available for adult workshops on traditional knitting and present the folklore, the techniques, the on-the-needles how-to in a way that lets you touch the past. Here are some possibilities: choose one or tell me what you would like to learn about. Other ideas include, but are not limited to, double-rolled mittens, thrummed mittens, card weaving, woven twined mittens, and mittens hooked on a dowel.
Witches, Whores, and Knitting Women, a fun, 50-minute frolic through the long history of humans and spun fiber, why it seems magic even today, and why on earth there’s no mythology of knitting: Spider Woman didn't teach the Navahos to knit, and the Nordic Norns didn't knit people’s fates. Why not? No slides but plenty of action.
Spectacular Sweaters for Everyday (1-hour slide talk for up to 200 people). Skill: An interest in historical knitting. The Faroe Islands, a semi-independent group of islands between Norway and Iceland, are probably the oldest sweater exporting country in the world. Their rugged, hairy, patterned sweaters were once called Icelanders because of their 17th century export to Europe by the Iceland Monopoly as the hand-knit stocking trade faltered worldwide. See and touch Faroese sweaters, from the old Skipstrøggjur — hairy, two-colored stranded sweaters of coarse yarn — to finely knitted pullovers for children starting school, made of the finest under-down of the distinctive Faroese sheep.
Mittens from Maine and Beyond (6-hour workshop including 30-minute lecture with artifacts). See and touch traditional mittens from Maine and Maritime Canada, learn techniques preserved there for centuries, and start (or complete) a traditional mitten of your choice. Relates to Robin’s Favorite/ and Ultimate Mitten books.
Good Old Techniques from North Atlantic Knitters (6-hour workshop for up to 16 students). Skill level: Comfortable with knitting and knit patterns. Learn and try out some cool knitting techniques from Sweden, Norway, and Newfoundland: Northern people know how to knit like no one else: find out about pulled-up knitting, hidden ribs, two kinds of twined knitting. Try your hand at each and hear the stories behind them. These techniques are featured in Robin's book, Ultimate Mittens.
Step Up Your Knitting Skills, a 3-hour workshop for the not-quite-beginner. Up to 16 students). You should be able to knit and purl when you arrive and have finished a garment — A scarf is fine — in your lifetime. In three hours, learn an effective but old-time cast on, a simple increase and two decreases, knitting on four needles, and two-color knitting — and succeed. Robin Hansen will guide you through a quick and simple mitten that uses all these techniques and you will come out refreshed and with the skills to knit your own fancy mittens, socks and sweaters. Techniques found in Robin’s knitting books.
Twined Knitting, a 6-hour workshop including a 30 minute slide talk for up to 16 students. Skill level: intermediate. Comfortable with knitting on four needles. A twined-knitted mitten from Norway will be the most rugged mitten you will ever make or wear. Students will see and touch artifacts in this marvelous, dense and elastic knitting technique that alternates two strands of yarn from opposite ends of the same ball with a half-twist between stitches. Students will create a simple wrister or bag in twined knitting, as it was preserved, unnoticed, in the mountains of Norway and Sweden for centuries and only unearthed in the last century.
Norwegian Sweater: your engineered sweater, a 6-hour workshop for up to 16 students. Intermediate skill level: students are comfortable with 2-color knitting and have completed a garment in the last 5 years. The better the plan, the better the result! Learn to lay out a sweater on paper, complete with graphed patterns (Where does that yoke pattern begin?), increases and decreases. Guaranteed to fit, and Robin will show you how and why. Also, try out the dreaded cutting of arm- and neckholes (on sweater discards) until your fear is gone. (Students need a fair amount of table space for this class: 2 students per 8 ft x 3 ft table is minimal.)
Ice Harbor Compass Mittens, a 6-hour workshop for up to 16 students. This class can be both beginner or intermediate level, as the project will differ by student choice. Student should be able to knit and purl and have completed at least one knitted garment in the last 10 years. An exploration of fishermen's mittens, including the Ice Harbor Compass Mitten, based on Maine local legend that compass mittens can guide lost fishermen home. Students hear the legends, see and touch the mittens, and start on a single-colored or compass-patterned fisherman’s mitten. In the pm, they try their hands at shrinking and fulling similar mittens supplied by the instructor.
Teaching Little kids to knit, a 3–6 hour workshop for up to 16 people, based on Robin’s books Sunny's Mittens and her Learn to Knit Kit (Peace Fleece). Beginner and up. Students learn about needles going through doors and running around the back, make a sample penny pocket and a mitten knitted on the terrifying four needles.
And more: These are a few workshops that I have taught recently. If you have an idea for another within my knowledge and skills, contact me on this website.
Contact me to discuss fees. I usually negotiate on an individual basis.
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