Posts Tagged ‘Capstone’

WEBS Expert Knitter Certification Capstone Graduation 2017

Monday, July 10th, 2017
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My favorite evening of the year is the Capstone Graduation ceremony, held at the Delaney House a few miles down the road from WEBS. It’s a chance to congratulate and praise the students who have made their way through the 19 required classes and electives, and then used the knowledge they’ve acquired to design and knit a sweater that fits them to a T. This year’s graduation was held on June 21, a beautiful summer evening, and our group gathered to socialize, see old and new friends and fellow students and teachers, and celebrate our newest group of 9 graduates.

We began with a tribute to a dear friend and colleague, Liz Wrobleski. Liz passed away very unexpectedly in late December–we’d already met and I had approved her proposal for her Capstone sweater, but she never got to start it. Her family gave one of her exquisite sweaters to us, and we awarded her certificate to her husband and son in her honor. It was a beautiful and sad moment, but her family was supportive and we are so grateful that we were able to recognize her talent. Here is her Sweater Construction sweater–and it’s flawless.

Liz Wrobleski sweater

Susan Drew is a seamstress as well as a phenomenal knitter, and her sweater design was an interpretation of a classic Chanel jacket, with i-cord trim standing in for Coco’s famous braided edging. She used a 3-color slip stitch pattern, and painstakingly reviewed each step of her process with her mentor, Stephanie Gibbs, for technical accuracy. I think you’ll agree that the effort she expended shows to great advantage in her iconic design.

Susan Drew sweater

Kim Lier chose to do a cabled aran sweater, but proportionally correct for her small size and shape. She researched cables, twists, crossings, ribbing, twisted stitches, and finally steeled herself to do a saddle shoulder (without EVER having done one before!) so that her cables would truly shine, uninterrupted by a shoulder seam. At one of our “support group” meetings, she worried that perhaps her sweater was going to be smaller than she wanted–and she ended up ripping out a month’s worth of stitches to re-do her design to more closely mirror her ideal fit. Her cabled cardigan is really a work of art, and her mentor, Leslie Ann, agrees.

 Kim Lier sweater

When I first met Salin Low, she was caring for a very ill spouse. Although I knew she had a long drive to WEBS and had a lot on her plate with work,in-home care for her husband, and a lot of complicated knitting, she was always warm and took time to talk with me and her fellow students. Sadly, her husband passed away a few months ago. Salin created a Capstone love letter to her husband by adapting the design on her wedding ring, whichwas a glass seal used for sealing letters with wax. The design was a sun and a flower with the words “I turn for you” in French. With mentor Erin’s help, Salin’s sweater incorporated an intarsia sunflower and sun, and embroidered sun rays on the shoulder. The sunflower was supported by an i-cord stem and the border of her hem was stranded in different colors to resemble grass. The entire effect is clean and simple, with texture on the flower adding a visual pop to the background of the stockinette stitch.

Salin Low sweater

Angie Tierney had an ambitious plan for her sweater–using two different yarn weights, she wanted to make a sweater that looked like a sleeveless vest over a lighter long-sleeved shirt. I had no idea how she was going to make that work, but of course she did, beautifully. Using Valley Yarns Colrain for the body of the sweater, she designed numerous cable patterns to accentuate the shaping and fit of her “vest,” and then chose Valley Yarns Huntington to knit the sleeves, collar, and hem. By choosing tonal variations rather than stark contrasting colors, she softened the visual effect of the two different parts of the design and truly made a unique sweater that will certainly be an attention-getter once the weather moves into winter temps.

Angie Tierney sweater

Michal Lumsden and I share a former workplace–she’s there now, and I was there for several years before her. I knew her colleagues would be supportive of her knitting in meetings, for which I was pretty envious! Michal’s sweater is a simple, elegant, form-flattering light cardigan with an intriguing eyelet at the hem, giving it an airy feel and a sophisticated look. I told her that if I didn’t know she had knit it, I would have picked it out of a lineup for her to wear. It just says “Michal” to me! The genius of having 3 top buttons leaves the options for accessorizing open–in the summer, it can layer over a tank, and in the winter, a turtleneck wouldn’t look out of place underneath it. Cyndi Shepard, her mentor, is incredibly proud.

Michal Lumsden sweater

Elaine Bloniasz knew she wanted to use Fair Isle colorwork in her sweater. True Fair Isle is knit in the round with no seaming, but the Capstone requirements demand that there be shoulder, sleeve, and side seams on the sweater for their final project. Elaine and her mentor, Erin, came up with a truly genius solution for that, by making a yoke that she seamed into her shoulders. Desperate times call for desperate measures…Her sweater fits her so perfectly that it reminds us all that truly well-fitting garments are within our reach.

Elaine Bloniasz photo

Jan Wilson has spent a lot of time in Africa, courtesy of her daughter and son-in-law who moved there to teach. She was entranced by a woven basket she saw during her time there, and had the idea to recreate the look and feel of that basket in her sweater. It is amazing! Knitting a worsted weight yarn at a tighter gauge gave her the tightly coiled texture of woven plant fiber, and her tri-color braids perfectly reflect the braided seam holding the coiled strands together. Working tirelessly with her mentor, Ping Wood, Jan really made this sweater the stand-out for most closely resembling the inspiration for the garment.

Jan Wilson sweater

Ruth Manna worked with mentor Beth Decker on a drapey open cardigan with intarsia striping that is deceptively simple in appearance. In order to make those stripes she had to do intarsia (color blocking) sections with invisible joins. I know she ripped them out over and over in her quest for perfection, and her garment is the richer for her hard work. Not only that, but the stripes in her hemline align exactly with the striping on her sleeve cuffs–and that is perfectionism I can get behind! Ruth’s sweater is absolutely lovely, fits her perfectly, and would be appropriate year-round.

Ruth Manna sweater

I’m so proud of this year’s graduates. Their sweaters are on display in our store for a few more days, so come in and see them in person!

Best In Class

Friday, July 15th, 2016
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Every June, I am honored to celebrate another class of graduates from the WEBS Expert Knitter Certification Program. We just had our graduation and 9 new designers have been launched into the knitting universe! Our very swanky ceremony was held at a very nice hotel/conference center nearby for the first time ever–because we’ve outgrown our former celebration venue otherwise known as “the back classroom.” Want to see some eye candy?

The 2016 WEBS Expert Knitters Graduates at their Capstone Ceremony. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Our graduates this year are, from left to right, Lorraine McGough, Sara Gibbons, Liz Frosch-Dratfield, Andy Tarr, Alexis Price, Lindsey Lindequist, Susan Baron, Donna Smith, and missing from the photo is graduate Cindy Romaniak. Each created a masterpiece of design and construction using the skills learned in the 16 required classes that make up the WEKP, as we call it.

The 2016 WEBS Expert Knitters Graduates at their Capstone Ceremony. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

This year’s sweaters ran the gamut of texture and construction. Susan Baron made an absolutely perfect coat in Madelinetosh Chunky; the detail was incredible. From the complicated math she used to figure out how to end a cable at the shoulder seam, to the ingenious use of a sport-weight yarn as a facing for the heavier front panel of the jacket, Susan made a garment that any professional designer would be proud to call their own. And, she got the stamp of approval from the designer herself when Amy Hendrix, the co-owner of Madelinetosh, saw Susan’s Capstone at her appearance at WEBS and loved it.

The 2016 WEBS Expert Knitters Graduates at their Capstone Ceremony. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Alexis Price made a lovely cabled pullover, keeping it traditional in her yarn and color choice, but making it her own with shaping and textural details. You can see the pride she takes in her Aran sweater (as well she should!).

The 2016 WEBS Expert Knitters Graduates at their Capstone Ceremony. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Cindy Romaniak’s complex paneled design contains a number of elements completely unique to her design sensibility. Her use of several different stitch patterns, unique Empire shaping, directional knitting, and eye-catching colorwork made this garment stand out.

The 2016 WEBS Expert Knitters Graduates at their Capstone Ceremony. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Sara Gibbons created an exquisite saddle-shoulder lace-and-cable sweater with 3/4 sleeves and knit it in a heathery green that beautifully complements her coloring. Sara was the most independent of our designers, needing only to consult her mentor Kirsten Hipsky for a few final questions about her finishing. Sara’s design was inspired by a sweater of her mother’s and she really nailed the essence of that earlier sweater.

The 2016 WEBS Expert Knitters Graduates at their Capstone Ceremony. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Lindsey Lindequist achieved the impossible – she finished her Capstone sweater while caring for a 2-year-old and a newborn. My hat is off to her! Her 2-color cable and sweet “Tree of Live” design on her front pockets (pockets! yes!) add standout elements to a reverse-stockinette background. Congrats, Lindsey!

The 2016 WEBS Expert Knitters Graduates at their Capstone Ceremony. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Lorraine McGough’s “Butterfly Sweater” (as she and I both called it) reflects her sunny personality as well as her perseverance. She knit the front as one piece and then steeked it (in order to preserve the unity of her butterfly eyelet stitch pattern), and knit intarsia butterflies around the shoulders and hem. Her sunny yellow color choice and bright bursts of color were exactly what she planned.

The 2016 WEBS Expert Knitters Graduates at their Capstone Ceremony. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Donna Smith made a designer’s dream sweater: she used stitch patterning to shape the back design of her cabled rib cardigan. The placement of her buttons emphasized the vintage look of her swing design and the blue color she chose added the perfect final touch.

The 2016 WEBS Expert Knitters Graduates at their Capstone Ceremony. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Andy Tarr had a tough year but still managed to pull off one of the most beautiful sweaters we’ve seen–and the complexity involved in her yarn and design made her dedication to her project even tougher. Andy hand-dyed Valley Yarns Huntington in shades of lavender and purple to achieve a gradient pattern, and she knitted a contrasting lace overlay as the front panel of her cardigan. It can be worn either buttoned on both sides as a fitted cardi, or open, as a draped open piece. Either way she wears it, the craftsmanship is evident in every detail.

The 2016 WEBS Expert Knitters Graduates at their Capstone Ceremony. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Liz Frosch-Dratfield had a rough year as well–and almost decided to wait to finish her sweater. However, with some persuasion, she decided to forge ahead (since I knew she’d been planning her Capstone design for over a year!) and her finished design is absolutely exquisite. Knit in Valley Yarns Northfield in purple and heathery green, she used a leaf motif throughout. The ties in front, the hemline, and the sleeves showed off hand-crafted leaves, and the lace patterning echoed the leaves, climbing like vines up the front and back panels of her cardigan. The final result is a flattering and eye-catching work of art.

I’m so proud of this year’s grads. Huge thank yous go to our Capstone mentors: Stephanie Gibbs, Cyndi Shepard, Erin Holman, Ping Wood, Kirsten Hipsky, and Sara Delaney. A thank you as well to Kris Potasky of KP&Co Designs, who hand-made lovely, lovely matching bracelets as our gift to the graduates. And a final thanks to Kathy and Steve Elkins, who started the WEBS Expert Knitter Certification Program in 2008. It’s grown to almost 100 folks at present, and 34 have graduated since 2009. I hope you find inspiration in these designs.

WEBS Expert Knitter Certification Program Capstone Graduation

Friday, July 3rd, 2015
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Last week I was honored to present our latest group of graduates of the WEBS Expert Knitter Certification Program their certificates. This is my second graduating class, and once again I was truly inspired and amazed at the creativity and imagination of our grads. This post will be heavy on pictures, since my words won’t do these beautiful Capstone sweaters justice.

WEBS 2015 Expert Knitter Graduation Ceremony, more on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

Just as an FYI, our Certification program students take sixteen required classes and three electives in everything from basic knitting to Advanced Fearless Finishing (VERY technical) and Sweater Construction (designing and knitting a sweater to fit). Their Capstone sweater should reflect elements of their classwork, be it texture, color, lace, perfect finishing, or an interesting construction. The only requirements are that it be knit in pieces and seamed, be knit to fit the maker, and have saddle or set-in sleeves.

WEBS 2015 Expert Knitter Graduation Ceremony, more on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

As an extra bonus each year the Capstone graduates receive a handmade bracelet by local jewelry artist Kris Potasky. The beads match each sweater and are totally unique.

Without further delay, this year’s lovely garments…

WEBS 2015 Expert Knitter Graduation Ceremony, more on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

Patty Creedon (who has only been knitting for TWO YEARS!) made a deceptively simple pullover, accented with a Tunisian crochet collar and sleeve cuffs. It fits perfectly, and the finishing is exquisite.

WEBS 2015 Expert Knitter Graduation Ceremony, more on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

Susan Gruen (who is also a Master Weaver, because why not?) made a sturdy jacket with a garden motif in a contrasting color; the assymetrical colorwork really stood out but the piece de resistance was her Czech buttons bought in Prague. They were such a perfect match that it looked like the sweater had been built around them, rather than the other way around.

WEBS 2015 Expert Knitter Graduation Ceremony, more on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

Jessie Tropp’s sweater was a vintage-inspired cardigan with delicate lace panels–and peeking through those panels was a surprise! Bright pink lining on both front panels and down the back. To finish it off, subtle beading accented the lace pattern. It was breathtaking.

WEBS 2015 Expert Knitter Graduation Ceremony, more on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

Bonnie Miller did the un-doable: she spun fiber into yarn and used that yarn to knit her sweater. Really, what could go wrong? Anything and everything. But thankfully, not much went wrong, and her sweater is a real work of art, with a Japanese stitch pattern adding textural interest.

WEBS 2015 Expert Knitter Graduation Ceremony, more on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

Sandy Kistner made what I can best describe as an actual couture garment. She used a designer sweater as in inspiration and crafted a slipped-stitch pattern in three different colors that looked like it had come from a Paris showroom.

WEBS 2015 Expert Knitter Graduation Ceremony, more on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

Meri Ames did tons of research on Japanese kimono construction and use, and dyed her yarn to achieve a shibori effect. Yes, you read that correctly. She dyed the yarn she used to make her kimono. As a dramatic accent, check out the back view, where she showcased a crochet motif that was knitted into the fabric of her garment. Amazing.

WEBS 2015 Expert Knitter Graduation Ceremony, more on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

Brenda Aldrich lived in China for five years and it so influenced her that she chose to feature it in the outerwear sweater that she made. She also wanted to honor her Irish heritage, so she used a bright Kelly-green yarn to craft an arch texture in the body of her sweater. She made figure-8 cables around the hem of the jacket, a nod to the Chinese belief that 8 is a lucky number. She also crocheted matching frogs to use as closures. It’s a sweater that tells her story.

WEBS 2015 Expert Knitter Graduation Ceremony, more on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

 

Linda Sasso’s sweater also revealed a life-story. She raised 3 daughters as a single parent, and to do that she taught Spanish for many years. Her love and respect for that culture informed her dramatic black-and-red cardigan with an I-cord closure at the neck. Look closely at the embroidery on the front panels and along the sleeves. The flowers reflect her family and the sleeve design shows a Mayan “Tree of Life.”

WEBS 2015 Expert Knitter Graduation Ceremony, more on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

And in the category of “Most-Touched Garment,” Sheri Rademacher made a pop-culture sweater that blew the room away. Her “Doctor Who” sweater was made to look like the iconic Tardis, a time machine disguised as a British police call box. The details such as thumbholes at the sleeve cuffs and colorwork that made it look like her Tardis was whirling away were nothing compared to the fact that her hood-windows LIT UP and the sweater MADE NOISE! When I turned out the lights in the room, the applause drowned out the sound of the Tardis whooshing away, and the lights winking from her hood made the evening as fun as a fireworks show.

I hope you’ll be inspired to check out our Expert Knitter program. You can make one of these amazing works of art, too!