Saturday, August 25, 2007

Back to school

Happy days! I'm the one headed back. This is the first time in 20 years I do not have a child starting school. This means no back to school expenses. For the last 8 years in addition to ginormous tuition payments, there were books and other fees that were a minimum of $600 a semester. Now that money is ALL MINE!! So if I break out in a giggle every now and then, please understand my joy.
This my 4th year attending the Friday afternoon Knitting Workshop offered at Foothills out in El Cajon. Ever since the January cruise with Deb Stoller, I've also been playing around with crochet, so I signed up for the Wednesday morning Crochet workshop too. It's a combined class with Crochet 1 and the more advanced Workshop group, some who have been attending for more than 20 years. Athena, who teaches both the knitting and crochet classes, said I was definitely at the workshop level in crochet in spite of never having taken any formal classes, but I'm hanging out near the beginners to listen in on their instruction. Several years ago I was forced to take a beginning sewing class as part of my fashion design program and I learned so many tricks that now I seize the opportunity to take beginner classes whenever allowed.

The sessions are 3 hours each, with most of the time interacting with other students and working on your own. It's a very social atmosphere. I feel such a part of my Knitting group and definitely the outsider in the Crochet class. With long standing cliques and a perceived rigidity in attitude, it's a definitely OLD class even though the ages of the students are about the same as the knitting group. Since Athena had been the assistant in previous years and is now in charge, some were balking at every difference rather than embracing a fresh approach.

The other thing I noticed was that afghans, doilies and starched ornaments were the order of the day, as was scratchy, bulky Red Heart and Supersaver yarns with some kitchen cottons thrown in. I absolutely love saving money, so bargain yarns appeal to me, but there has to be a certain level of quality to be worth my time. Gasp! I've become a YARN SNOB. I was working on a garment and when my table mate asked if it was in Wool Ease or Baby Soft, my reply of Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool met with disbelief. Like why in the world would I bother with something that had to be HAND WASHED and BLOCKED? Another proudly showed me a rectangular granny square she was making as a gift for a new born granddaughter from a variegated heavy duty acrylic and all I could think of was that the heavy scratchy thing was going to smother the baby in the crib.

But I think it will be good. I need to follow my own advice and be open to new experiences. In January, the Crochet 1 section will become the 2 level and the project is a sampler afghan I really want to make. Not for the blanket itself but for the 48 different squares. The workshop class project this semester is a spider style afghan with a lace border. I worked up a sample and when the border is taught, I'll work along with them. Other than that, it's personal crochet or knit projects for me as I try to fit in with students. I know there's a lot to learn from everyone.

The Knitting Workshop will be doing Elizabeth Zimmermann's workshop book and video. We will select one of the sweater styles in the book, use the percentage system to determine stitch counts. The yoke will feature Fair Isle techniques. I am really psyched. To start, we will be doing a hat on circulars with a couple of bands of color. I've got some pinks to work with, so it will end up in the Susan G Komen charity stuff.

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