Once I graduated from college, I knew I’d never, ever continue my education. I was fed up with writing papers, of all things. It wasn’t the studying, or making it to classes every week, or homework. It was writing papers. Of course, I ended up in the communications field a few years after I graduated and what did I do for a living? Basically, write papers. But when I learned to knit, suddenly I was on fire to learn. I took a Beginning Knitting class at a local community school taught by the wisest and most patient teacher ever, and for the first time, I understood how knitting worked. Once I started working at Webs, a whole new world opened up for me. I took classes in stitch texture, in finishing; I took a felting class, and a weaving class. I learned to crochet and spent an entire summer one year making a garden’s worth of crocheted flowers joined by scalloped edging.
Students + yarn = sweater
The Webs Education Program is one of the most amazing resources that fiberists in our area can take advantage of. There are classes ranging from Knitting I, where you can learn to cast on, knit, and purl, to Advanced Fearless Finishing and Sweater Construction, where the intricacies of design are brought to life in fiber form. Guest teachers are regulars at Webs, and in the time I’ve worked here I’ve met some amazing celebs: Debbie Bliss, Stephen West, Ann Budd, Kristin Nicholas, and of course, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee.
Webs also has a unique Expert Knitter Certification Program. It’s sort of “knitting college,” a series of classes that take the dedicated student from fiber basics to a Capstone Project, which is a sweater designed and knit by the student. The process usually takes about three years, but can take as long as one needs to bask in the fiber-y glow. It’s a serious commitment, with regular meetings with an advisor of sorts (the Education Manager) who signs off on completed classes and projects, and counsels each member on next steps or answers questions about which classes might fill a requirement. Graduates of the program might go on to teach at Webs or at other schools or community education programs, but they all emerge from the Expert Knitter program with every skill they will ever need to design a garment and knit it to perfection.
I encourage all blog readers (and all your friends) to take a look at the classes offered this Fall. You can make charming holiday gifts, design a Pi shawl in the spirit of Elizabeth Zimmerman, craft a pair of mittens, learn to spin on a wheel, weave a chenille scarf, delve into stitch textures and their derivations from various ethnic traditions, or just learn to cast on and bind off.
And starting right after Labor Day, there’ll be a change…and that’s me. I’m taking the reins of the Education Program as Tina McElmoyl, our current Education Manager, leaves to continue her education. I’m so excited to be inheriting this program, which Tina has made into a rich, expansive, well-oiled machine, and I’m eager to get to know all the students and teachers. Most of all, I’m so satisfied when I see the range of our education options at Webs; from knitting, crochet, weaving, spinning, felting, and dyeing, there’s no place that does more.