Wednesday, June 08, 2005

I know what I did last Weekend!

I took a course in Couture Finishing Techniques. It was given by Katherine Lowe.
I have wanted to meet this woman and take her class for over 2 years. Her knitting and techniques are in a class by themselves. If Kaffe Fassett is one end of the spectrum, in that he's a color genius who paints with yarn, then Katherine is the other end. She's a perfectionist in terms of all finishing techniques. If it's true that god is in the details, then he/she must be wearing one of Katherine's hand-finished garments. She doesn't sew - she joins and the techniques are flawless. She uses couture finishings and tailorings to insure beauty of fit and form.

The course was 2 days long, and at the outset, she said she'd spend 1/2 a day on theory. Katherine is a scholar and a professor of french literature who basically transferred her teaching skills into the knitting classroom. I think it is for this reason that she truly enjoys the lecture mode. She is a purist and takes the subject of yarn to heart. However, I would have preferred it if hands-on demonstration had balanced out the lectures during the two days. As it went, she spent a day and a half, talking and that only left us with a little more than 4 hours to learn some of her brilliant techniques.

Using a combination of many different sizes of circular needles she shows you how to join seams with a knitting technique instead of a tapestry needle. Her buttonholes and her binds offs are a subject of conversation in heaven, I am sure. All in all, I am thrilled to have met her and learned from her , but as i said to her, 'This will never be subway knitting.'

And therein lay the rub for me. I cam imagine doing this type of work for a first baby (just once) or if I decided to knit a cashmere cloud. But, I'm the type of person who uses her knitting the way Linus uses his blanket. For security, to fill down time, sometimes just because it's there. I do great work, if i do say so myself, but it's work done in the middle of my life and not always with great lighting. Sometimes I fudge it, sometimes I screw it up, but always I love the magic of the doing as much as the done deed and I believe that comes from the surprise as much as from the "plan". Knitting as perfect as Katherine's is too much of endurance test for me - and knitting, like life, loses its charm when it's about endurance and measuring myself against the perfect ideal - and she has created the ideal.
She has also created a wonderful compilation of work in the form of a hand-bound journal named, aptly, "The Ravell'd Sleeve". It's well worth having. It's a beautiful addition to anyone's knitting library. Her first two editions are out - with two more to follow.

I'm off to The National Needlework Association's Convention in Columbus, Ohio - it's the 20th Anniversary and I'm thrilled to be going. I'll write about it next week. I'm taking the requisite second suitcase!

1 Comments:

Anonymous Becca said...

This is such an excellent post ... I agree with all of it ... and especially the balance of it. Love your blog!

9:20 PM  

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