The divine Teva Durham visited fibre space on Sunday to sign her new book, Loop-d-Loop Lace, and teach a unique workshop: lace improvisation.
Ten lucky participants learned how to take elements from vintage lace patterns and use them as the basis for a lace bag pattern. The group worked together to develop a pattern for one such bag, and students left with the tools to create their own pattern based on vintage designs for doilies, shawls, or other garments worked in a circle.
Those who have followed Teva’s designs know that her mind works in wondrous ways, and those in the workshop got to see that mind close-up, as Teva drew the chart for the bag on a white board and explained how different options for each row would change the shape and look of the bag. Participants knit from the chart as it was being developed, learning how lace designers create a new pattern from concept through to execution.
Of course, there was lots of chatter during the class, as knitters commiserated about losing one’s place in lace knitting, shared tips for keeping that from happening, debated the pros and cons of bobbles (for the record, Teva is in the “pro” camp), and – most importantly – compared the results coming off of their needles. The different yarns, from Malabrigo Rasta to Blue Sky Alpacas Bulky, showed off the lace in different (but gorgeous) ways.
It was particularly exciting to watch how the improvised pattern knit up in several different yarns, as Teva compared the results from different class members’ yarn selections. Teva also talked about other kinds of knitting improvisation, including Ilisha Helfman’s new book, Jazz Knitting.
Best of all, the workshop is already yielding results. We know that at least one class participant has started a bag of her own, based on an element she found in a pattern from Victorian Lace Today. We can’t wait to see all the bags that this amazing workshop produces!