In the first class session of Vogue Knitting LIVE, held at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago, students both local and from out of town gathered to learn from the masters on topics ranging from knitting socks on circular needles to the geometry of shawls. Carla Scott, executive editor of Vogue Knitting magazine, taught a class of thirteen students about Designing with Cables.
"I did my homework!" one student who came in late exclaimed to the room. She was from Chicago, and her tardiness was caused by her sick teenager. Other students had traveled from as far away as California, Colorado, Detroit, Wyoming, and Canada to attend the three-day event to honor the education and passion behind fiber.
Students were asked to make two swatches before coming to class, and every student was compliant with their instructors guidelines. Yarns ranging in color from white to chartreuse to rich Columbia blue filled the tables as students referred to their work and took notes. Scott, a veteran at Vogue Knitting since its resurgence in 1982, has a love affair with knitting cables and translated her love into understandable lessons for her students. "Not by the cast on or bind off; they tend to pull in. Always in the center." Scott was talking about measuring gauge properly.
The students all had different reasons for choosing the class, as determined by the round-robin of introductions. Some budding designers, a few people who just wanted to learn more about general cable-knitting, and one student who wanted to know more about how to determine which cables complement each other on the same swatch or sweater side. Scott picked up a swatch from one of the student's own designs. "Look at this," she said to the class, and then turned back to her pupil. "Do you want to teach this class? This is beautiful!"
With the limited class size, Scott was able to give personal attention to each student on every step of the lesson progression. Asking the students to check the gauge, or number of stitches and rows per inch, on their own swatches, Scott went around the room to each and every student to verify they were measuring correctly. She also used the swatches as an example of how to change the fabric for a desired effect, including offering suggestions to the students such as, "You knit tightly; this is a very firm fabric. I would probably go up a needle size so there is more drape. Then again, if you like it like this, it's also fine." Scott turned to the room. "There is no right or wrong here."
The class, a new addition to Vogue Knitting LIVE, was successful on all fronts. Despite it not being a crucial piece of the syllabus, Scott polled the room by asking, "Does anyone want to learn how to make a schematic? We have time." The students received a bonus designing lesson in addition to all of then nuggets of knowledge Carla Scott shared with the room. The students went to the break continuing to talk about cables instead of where they were going next. The class was an investment, and both the students and teacher were invested.
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