Saturday, January 24, 2009

Old Pueblo Knitting Guild

I know that I have mentioned the wonders of our local knitting guild here on the Kiwi Knits blog in the past. But I see so many knitters at Kiwi that I do not see at the knitting guild meetings, that I think it bears a revisit.

I find that everyone's knitting guild experience depends on what one wants to take away from it. There are many in the guild who participate strongly in the many charity projects that our guild supports - Project Linus, preemie hats and blankets, Operation Gratitude, the Navajo Project - just to name a few. All very worthy causes, and I think it is wonderful that the guild is so heavily involved in giving back to our local and not-so-local community.

But I confess that I enjoy the guild meetings most for the educational opportunities that they offer. They can range from something so informal as one of your table mates giving you a quick demonstration of how to do a new cast-on, to sharing pattern ideas with other members and having the opportunity to pet unfamiliar yarns. I find that I always come away from a guild meeting filled with new ideas and inspiration for new projects. There is also a wide range of technique videos available to borrow for viewing at home.

The very best educational opportunity always comes from the speaker we have each month during the presentation portion of the meeting. Did you know that Amy Singer, creator and editor of and author of No Sheep For You will be speaking at our next guild meeting on February 19th? Our new Workshop co-chairs - Pat Wood, former owner of the Fiber Factory, and our own Jill Holbrook - have been organizing some wonderful workshops for this '08/09 season, along with our Vice-President, Judith Segel, who is responsible for bringing in a range of interesting presenters to talk with us each month. Now think about this - in the last few months alone, for the price of your $20 yearly guild membership, you get to hear people such as Amy Singer and Galina Khmelova speak to the guild about their journey as knitters, teachers and designers, as well hearing them share some wonderful info relating to their particular specialty.

At the January meeting of the Old Pueblo Knitting Guild our presenter was Clare Campbell Park, demonstrating the power of color and how the use of color theory can relate to our creative process as knitters. Clare is a teacher in the Fine Arts department at Pima College, and she gave a wonderful demonstration. We all got to play with packs of color cards and see for ourselves how simply arranging the same cards in various way gave a completely different effect each time. I can tell you that the differences were very dramatic, and we all had a lot of fun playing with colors, and going around the room to see what color combinations others had come up with.

In fact, Clare was so inspiring that I and another guild member are now taking her Color and Composition class at Pima, and I'm taking her Mixed Media in Fiber class as well. I am having a blast! I always joke that kindergarten was my favorite part of school, because we got to make projects all day long if we wanted to. But to be honest with you, I'm not sure how much I am actually joking. To give myself the opportunity to nourish my creative side and allow it room to grow is so incredibly rewarding. I can already appreciate how these two classes are going to influence me as a knitter, as a teacher, and as a designer.

I'm a firm believer that to be a good teacher one must first be a diligent student. The moment that I begin to believe that I have nothing left to learn is the moment that I have nothing left to teach. So I eagerly look forward to seeing how this opportunity for me is going to trickle down into my teaching experiences with all of you. As a result of that one presentation at our OPK guild meeting, my life has taken a completely different, unexpected and delightful turn. How's that for the cost of guild membership?

Now mark down on your calendars - our guild meets on the third Thursday of every month, from 9:30 am to 11:30, in the Murphy Room at St Philip's Church at River and Campbell. Visitors are not just more than welcome, they are set upon by eager knitters! Come and sit with us, see if you would like to join us, and open yourself up to new opportunities to expand your life as a knitter.

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