The Incredibly Awesome Nancy Bush
This week, at Nature's Yarns, they're hosting a number of classes taught by Nancy Bush. Wow! What a fascinating and talented woman she is! I've been fortunate enough to attend two of her classes: "Nordic Color - An Inlay Technique from Estonia" and the demo "Haapsalu Sewn on Lace Border". I am planning to attend a third class tomorrow - "Estonian Cast Ons". I only wish I'd had the time to take "An Overture to Estonian Lace" and "As the Heel Turns" as well. I heard those classes were fabulous as well!
Nancy is the author of several books, including "Knitted Lace of Estonia", "Knitting on the Road", "Knitting Vintage Socks", "Folk Socks", and "Folk Knitting in Estonia". I know I have three of these books....and quite possibly 4 of them....but for some reason, I just can't put my finger on any of them! (I've since gone out and purchased another copy of "Knitted Lace of Estonia" so I can get it autographed by her.)
Oh, my. Nancy is a fabulous teacher - I learned so much in the classes. She's extremely knowledgeable on the techniques used in Estonia and provided a wealth of information about Estonian history as well as exceptional detail and samples of Estonian knitting. The amount of research that she's done, her personal design and teaching skills, as well the "hands-on" training she's had with the Estonian knitters provided an treasure chest of information for all of us! (Prior to this class, I had had thought that Estonia was a county or province in a larger country - I was totally clueless that it was a country!)
In the "Nordic Color" class, I learned the Estonian inlay technique as well as two types of cast ons - the Continental Cast-on and a variation of the same. It was awesome! I'd never truly mastered the Continental Cast-on before the class yesterday. Sure, I'd tried it and done it....once! But it hadn't stuck with me. However, Nancy's method of instruction "cemented" this skill in my head....and I was able to repeat it again at home!
For inspiration, Nancy showed us a lovely assortment of gloves and socks using the inlay technique. She graciously posed with some of the exquisite gloves. I never really thought I'd even consider making gloves, but seeing these has somewhat changed my mind. I'm starting to think that everyone needs an elaborate pair of gloves in their wardrobe!
Here's the start of the sampler I'd made in her class. This used the inlay technique, which in itself was fascinating. It's an awesome way to add color to a project! I tried using both a single strand and double strand of yarn for the inlay. I definitely prefer the look of the double strand for this project. Of course, if I do this on gloves, it will be done with a much smaller needle and result in a more elegant result - hopefully more like the gloves Nancy is holding
I finished my sampler this evening after dinner. All I need to do now is weave in the ends (currently stuffed inside) and voila - I'll have an iPod case....or at the very least, a pretty sampler to look at. It's a very quick knit - and MUCH easier than embroidering or "knitting with color"! (Did you happen to notice that the colors I used in the sampler pretty much match the colors of the sock yarn I bought at the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival? Funny thing about purple and fuchsia!)
The demo of the sewn on Haapsula Lace border was fascinating too. The technique was absolutely intriguing! It results in a very elegant lace edging that wouldn't be quite as beautiful had you simply picked up the edge stitches and "knitted it on". I took copious notes and intend to make use of this skill in the near future. It's a fabulous way to add a border. The tips that Nancy provided will really make it easy to do! In addition to learning the technique, we got to ogle and fondle a number of lovely Estonian lace shawls....which provided added inspiration!
I didn't want either class to end! If you ever get a chance to take one of Nancy's classes, by all means, do it! You'll truly enjoy it and you'll learn so much! That being said, I can't wait for my next class with Nancy! Thankfully, I only have to wait until tomorrow!