Fishing for holiday making students with challenges

by exemigrantka

I am amidst multiple conversations the subject of which is the upcoming knitting holiday in Bath. One question that never fails to come up is this:

“So how does this holiday / course work?”

Well, the thing is that it can work in a multitude of ways and how it will work for you completely and utterly depends on you and on what you need in terms of meeting the next challenge/s that you have chosen for yourself.

Ever since I started tutoring on the subject of knitting and knitwear design I always insisted that my students work on projects chosen by themselves – even if it was a group course. This meets the very basic requirement we all are subject to. It is that of being (and remaining) engaged and interested, no matter how difficult or challenging the process gets. This also applies to the knitting holiday. The number and complexity of your chosen projects is completely up to you.

OPTION 1: You are a complete knitterly “tabula rasa” and have absolutely no idea how knitting works, but you want to learn.

The following four options concern women who already know how to knit…

OPTION 2: You may choose something easy and keep your focus on relaxation and social aspect of the holiday, which is very rich in itself. In fact, the very notion of deep relaxation, which tends to be desperately deficient in vast majority of  women’s lives, is what inspired the holiday.

OPTION 3: You can also bring a balanced mixture of easy, and anything in between little to very challenging projects. Then you can choose what you work on depending on how you feel…

OPTION 4: Some of us have half-done projects stashed away for a variety of reasons, which may include any of these in any imaginable combination:

  • got stuck and never managed to get unstuck
  • made a terrible mistake and has no idea how to rectify it
  • doesn’t know the required technique
  • got incredibly bored
  • lost patience
  • had a nervous breakdown and quit knitting altogether
  • cannot figure out what the pattern is trying to say
  • loves starting projects so much that never has the time to finish them
  • so busy that never has the time to do any actual work on the project (the best it ever gets is just remembering about it and feeling guilty that it hasn’t been finished yet)

OPTION 5: An aspiring knitter who wants to push her own boundaries and is ready to take on a super challenging project. In this case, we will work together to get the project set up and started correctly, to go over all required techniques and to get the show on the road and well under way.

From my perspective, options 4&5 are the juiciest. Their intensity slightly cancels out (or at least has the potential to cancel out) the relaxation aspect of the trip. The reward is a completely overwhelming sense of accomplishment and satisfaction when one either leaves the holiday wearing the thing, whatever it may be, or at least has it all completely sorted out and is on the roll to a glorious finish and the momentum is carrying them along.

My job is to see what you have come to accomplish accomplished, regardless of whichever option you fall into.

Here is a perfect example of what I have just described…

This sweater was in pieces when its creator arrived at South Street last January. It was shelved for well over a year, if I remember correctly, due to a lack of time and a severe lack of what I call “head space”, which very busy people often suffer from.

IMG_1283On arrival it was just the sleeves and a tiny section of the front and back.

By the time we left it looked like this.



This sweater was actually designed by its proud owner and executed from start to finish under my discreet supervision. In this case, it actually wasn’t the inability to complete the work in technical sense. It was more of a case of making the time and needing to discuss options to fully understand the implications of available choices. And yes, sore hands were involved on this occasion. But every minute of hard graft put into it was worth it and I’m sure that the owner of this gorgeous seamless alpaca sweater would agree.

Knitting holidays have seen many finished projects over the years. The question is:

Whose finished projects will it be in Bath?