Towards the end of last month I was luck enough to join Morgaine and a whole host of other wonderful people for the first ever Golden Gate Fiber Institute. It was held at beautiful Point Bonita YMCA Camp. The picture at left was the view, once the fog burned off, from the area where I had class in the morning. Unfortunately, due to prior commitments, I couldn't stay the whole time. So, on Thursday afternoon Maia came and took my place for the rest of the week. I'm thankful for the flexibility of the teachers to allow us to switch mid-week.
Speaking of teachers, what a wonderful collection of teachers. I took a natural dyeing class from Darlene Hayes of Hand Jive Knits in
the morning and a knitting class on shawl knitting techniques from the town of Haapsalu, Estonia from Nancy Bush in the afternoon. Both classes were great. A lot of people asked me why I was taking a natural dye class if it's what I do all the time. Darlene uses whole dyestuffs while we use extracts. Also, I've only had two natural dyeing teachers. It was great to learn Darlene's tips and tricks. Unfortunately I don't have any thing to show for the class since all the yarn is at Maia's house.
As for Nancy's class, it was a look at shawl techniques that are specific to the city of Haapsalu in Estonia. Apparently Haapsalu became know for its mud baths and the Russian upper class would visit to take the waters. The women of Haapsalu saw the Orenburg shawls worn by the women from Russia and said, "We can do that!" They would knit all winter and then sit at the port or train station knitting and selling shawls from their basket that sat at their feet. Thus the shawls were not part of the traditional folk costume but they developed specific patterns and techniques unique to their work.
The sample above features the lily-of-the-valley pattern as the center motif. The nupps (rhymes with loops) are made with 5, 7, and 9 stitches starting from the bottom. The edge is picked up and knitted on afterwards. This is a more modern method than the traditional method of knitting the edging separately and then sewing it on. I have the pieces for the sewn on sample almost finished.
The other cool thing about Nancy's class is that we got to see the samples from her upcoming book Knitted Lace of Estonia. If the samples are anything to go by the book is going to be wonderful.
The sign up for the next GGFI in January will be open soon. It is a great event that I highly recommend if you can swing it. Wonderful teachers, beautiful location, and great food. What more could you ask for?
P.S. Check out the wonderful hats Julia made in her class!