Last Spring, I met with Dr. Jullia Rosdahl and Betty Haskin from the Duke Eye Center. Dr. Rosdahl wanted to conduct a study about yarn art therapy for low vision patients, and she was looking for an artist/teacher to teach some classes and make a project. She started her search at Cozy, which is how we met each other. We talked with Ms. Haskin, curator of the Touchable Art Gallery at the Eye Center, about a project that would be worked on and contributed to in the classes for the low vision patients.
Over the Summer I thought about ideas for teaching low vision patients and came up with the coral reef project. In the classes, I would teach low vision patients who had been knitters and crocheters earlier in their lives how to make some of the pieces for the coral reef. After the classes, I used the students’ contributions along my own work to create the coral reef. It will hang in the Touchable Art Gallery this summer.
Over the course of the year, I learned a lot about what goes into a study at a major university. The process is very slow! There is a lot paperwork and training–I had to complete an on line course about the protocols involved in being part of a medical study that involved people.
During the classes, I was able to see that Dr. Rosdahl was right to think that low vision patients could enrich their lives with yarn art therapy. The number of participants was small (We were dealing with illnesses since it was during flu season, and these patients have to rely on others for transportation. These conditions and others made it hard to recruit as many patients as we had hoped for) but the sessions were a success. Classes were warm, comfortable, and as enjoyable as any social knitting event I’ve ever been to. The patients were enthusiastic about learning freeform techniques. We all enjoyed the knitting and crocheting, but we also enjoyed talking with each other and learning about each others lives.
I didn’t know what to expect when this project was suggested to me, except that it would be interesting and challenging. It truly was, and it was also a wonderful, rewarding, and enjoyable experience.
My sweater pattern (above), The Emma Sweater, will be published in a new Cascade book (below) this fall. Yippee!
Yet another Craftsy.com class–Tunisian Crochet with Jennifer Hansen. What a great class! Nice projects, good patterns, and a stitch dictionary for future use in your own projects. This a fun technique that has so much variation. The first project is a spa cloth. It teaches the basic stitches.
Then the fun part, a “Multi Garment” that is two large panels of crochet. The pattern calls for making the 2 panels and attaching them with ties to wear in 8 different ways. Or, you can make just one panel and wear it 4 different ways. Or, you can decide after one repeat of the stitch pattern that you’d really just like to wear it as a scarf and move on. I love the pattern and I loved doing this project, but I know I will wear this more as a scarf, so I finished it and added knitted fringe.
The pattern calls for 4 solid colors of a dk silk. After much comtemplation, I turned to my stash and chose 4 slighty variegated colors of super soft wools. One of these days I’ll try the silk, but for now, I have too much yarn to buy something so luxurious and expensive. Besides, I really like the finished product. I’d like to design something using Tunisian crochet techniques and teach a class.
John likes socks. He wears his handknit socks year-round, so it is a pleasure to knit them for him. I started these in Ann Budd’s Diagonal Rib sock pattern from 25 Favorite Socks. It’s a man’s sock pattern, and I chose a nice semi-solid brown called Black Olive from Ellyn Cooper’s Yarn Sonnets. Halfway into the foot on this cuff down sock, I realized they did not look like they would fit him. We tried. They didn’t.
Rather than rip and restart, he suggested that I just finish them and wear them myself. They fit me, so that’s what I did. The next pair will certainly be for him, but for now, I’m enjoying these. I wore them yesterday for our first cool fall day.
Being so happy with my last Craftsy.com class, I couldn’t resist getting Gwen Bortner’s Entree to Entrelac class when it went on sale a few weeks ago. I’ve done entrelac before, but there were some techniques mentioned in the class that I was interested in, and 19.99 didn’t seem like a huge investment for a nifty new class.
So far I’ve only done the beginning project, but it already had something new to me: entrelac in the round. Not hard to do, just different than what I’ve done before. After this I would like to learn the reversible entrelac techniques. Yes. Reversible. Yay!
I like it when something that I use or look at in my house every day can have a crafty component. And it’s even better when freeform can be added to the mix. So, I was unduly excited to try out freeform towel toppers for the kitchen. A little hokey? Perhaps. Fun in spite of it, and lovely to use? Of course!