Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Knitter or an Admirer?

There are three winners from the drawing held at the Girl's Day Out event last Saturday at the Gering Civic Center. 

3rd place goes to:  Erin Stinner.  Erin will receive $5.00 off class tuition.

2nd place goes to:  Nancy Mignerey.  Nancy will receive $10.00 off class tuition.

And the grand prize winner of The Art of Yarn drawing is:

Marianne Relker!

Marianne will receive FREE class tuition.

Congratulations to all three of you!  

The booth was so busy throughout the day and I had a chance to speak to many people.  There were lots of great questions and many good conversations for sure!

My daughter helped me set up the evening before, and my mom, who has recently moved to the area, kindly volunteered to be in the booth to greet people and give me a breather throughout the day.   

Something new to my booth this time around was needle felting demonstrations.  I enjoyed showing participants exactly what needle felting is and what it can be used for.

All the fiber and tools are set up and ready to go

Adding designs to felted hats
I also had examples of class projects from upcoming classes displayed for viewing and of course touching!  There's just something about a colorful, knit item that makes you want to reach out and FEEL it.  The sweaters, the yarn, the clogs, oh my!  Almost every single person that stopped by picked up at least one or two items and gave them a squeeze, a pat, or a light caress.  

Cabled bags, socks, felted slippers and hats, plus lots of lovely Brown Sheep handpainted yarn!

Baby sweaters from Knit Your 1st Sweater Class & Cable/Lace Cowls, one of my original patterns

Fun headbands are the project for the Finessing Fair Isle Workshop and a digital frame showcasing projects, classes, and students

There were free patterns given away as well for a little bag that I often use to teach beginners the basics. 
One of the most asked about display items was this felted hat:

Conversations all day long went something like this:

"A work of art," someone commented.

"How nice, thank you," I responded.

"Isn't that cute!"  many others said.

"It IS fun, isn't it?" I'd say.

 But most commonly asked, "How much is it?"

I would say to them, "It is not for sale, but I will teach you how to make it in my Fabulous Felt Hats class!  In the class you will learn how to knit, felt, and embellish your own hat to create a one-of-a-kind accessory."

"So it's not for sale?"

"No, I'm sorry, it's not."

"Well, can you make me one then?  How much would that cost?"

"Actually I don't do custom knitting anymore."

"That's too bad!" said with a dejected look on their face.

"Have you ever tried to knit or been interested in learning?"

Said with a long gasp and/or sigh, "Oh, I could never do that!  I am not creative at all and I am so not coordinated."

I would gently smile and say, "You might surprise yourself.  Many, many students of mine have started off feeling that way, but quickly realize ANYONE can do this, if they have a desire."

If they have a desire...hmmm, well I believe those are the key words that stand out in that statement.

If the conversation continued, the person would at that point say one of two things typically:

1.  "Well, yes, I might like to learn" AND "I HAVE thought about it before."
2.  "No way!  It's just not for me, but I do think your work is beautiful."

If someone realizes that indeed they do have a desire to learn, well then, we are off and running in a new direction before they even know it!  This is the spark that I am looking for and the next step is to plant a little seed that says, "YOU can do this!"

(Yes, I teach knitting classes and knitting techniques, but what I most often do when I teach is help build confidence.   That is always the focus.  First there has to be a desire to learn something, and then the courage or motivation to try, and then the confidence to keep going.)

If on the other hand the person's response is NO WAY, well then I say, "I do understand.  You are an admirer!"

A grin appears on their face and they realize that yes, in fact, that is what they are, an admirer of handwork and the fact that someone out there does it...and I am here to tell you that's OKAY!

They may never be a student of mine, but we just connected nonetheless.

Fiber art in all its fabulous forms:  knitting, crocheting, quilting, felting, spinning, weaving, and more, is meant to be enjoyed, period, whether you create the art or you admire the art.

As a fiber arts teacher, I have learned over time that not everyone loves it like I do (of course not) and even though I do say often that my long term goal, my highest purpose in life, is to get the whole world knitting, I really don't mean it quite that literally.

My goal is to connect with as many people as I can and share fiber art.

Girl's Day Out gave me an opportunity to do just that!  I met and chatted with many knitters, wanna-be knitters, and also a great many admirers.

Which one are you?

Many thanks to those who made the day such a successful adventure.

Knit on (or admire on!),


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