Have Ewe Any Wool?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Weekend with Anne Hansen

Another fabulous weekend and set of classes on Solomon's Island at "The Maples". Once again, Marie was the hostess extraordinaire!  The setting is just beautiful....Marie's home overlooks the water, so whenever you feel the need for a "calming view", all you need to do is look out one of the many windows overlooking the water.  

When I arrived, I decided to indulge in a crabcake at the local seafood house.   It was delicious!!!   The sea gull kept tabs on me though...kept checking to see if there were any tidbits left for him.   Unfortunately, for this "somewhat patient" gull, the crabcake was just too delicious to share!

Anne Hansen was our teacher for the weekend....and she was FABULOUS!!!!!   We learned so much!   We knitted with several different yarns on the same needles and explored the different fabric each type of yarn created.   We examined the drape and hand and discussed how to determine what yarn would be best for the various types of projects.    If you ever get the chance to take one of Anne's classes, DO IT!   She's not only an awesome designer, but she's a very knowledgeable and gifted teacher as well.     (BTW - I left the weekend with patterns for MANY of her designs!)

Anne brought a number of swatches with her to help demonstrate the differences between yarns and fibers.   Still to come:  how to fit garments properly and the steps for finishing.   There was so much to learn!    Of course, it wasn't all work...we did take a few breaks to enjoy the scenery!


 Most of Saturday, we spent on planning a sweater project and learning how to analyze the pattern and take the proper measurements for the perfect fit.   Anne wore numerous sweaters over the weekend - all of them gorgeous!   One of the designs she wore will be published in Ann Budd's new book of top down sweaters due to hit the newstands in August.   My friend Susan and I took each other's measurements (I really hate seeing those in black and white....definitely need to get in shape!!!)   Anne worked with each of us individually providing tips on how to make the sweater we chose the best possible project.   

I'm planning to do the Peace sweater from an issue of Knitty a few issues back.   The pattern I selected has slightly dropped shoulders, so it's not as fitted as some and the measurement across the back and shoulders isn't quite as critical as it is for other styles.   However, I learn a lot that I can put into practice on a more fitted sweater!

I have TONS of sunrise and sunset photos, so I'll post them in a separate post and stick to the knitting and fiber arts for this post....

The weekend was not totally dedicated to knitting.   I managed to get in some spinning as well.   I spun my yarn in the colorway called "The Green Mile" that was part of the fiber club run by my friend Carola in Sweden.   She dyes beautifully!   I just love how this turned out!  


My friend Jeanne showed off the absolutely stunning quilt she just finished. (I'm secretly trying to get adopted by her in hopes that she's make me one too!)


We also spent quite a bit of time talking about the process of finishing the garments.   Particular attention was made to the preparation of the pieces that would ultimately be sewn together.   The various methods of blocking for the different fabrics were discussed and illustrated.   Several folks in the class brought their "works-in-progress" so they could block their pieces.  
Soaking the pieces in water, ironing, and using blocking wires were just a few of the techniques and processes we discussed.   Each fabric seems to have it's own "preferred" method for blocking.   I must say that blocking pieces PRIOR to stitching together helps make a very professional finish - the pieces "cooperate" as you sew them together, plus, you're able to "block" connecting pieces so the sizes match or at least nearly match each other.

Some pieces just need to be soaked and then "pinned into submission" with blocking wires.   That's a typical finishing technique for shawls.  The "before" and "after" of a beautiful shawl is shown here with the very proud knitter!  It's gorgeous! 



It was a fabulous weekend, but as always, a bit too short!   I could stay here forever!!!  Just look at the view!!!!   And all our happy faces!


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