Posted by: L | October 2, 2009

Reflections, Nihon 1 Coming to a Close

Sometimes less IS more in life. And change is good. Normally one doesn’t see that until the end of the process. But it can be. I’ve been going through a lot of change in the last 18 months (OK three or so years). Some by my own design and some not. It’s been painful and I’m sure I have some pain yet to go. That said, I’m beginning to feel my way out and on the other side and all the better for it. I’m a believer that change takes courage. And even more courage to see where you miss stepped. The key is to NOT repeat those miss steps again. That doesn’t mean I won’t. It just means I’m now cognizant of what I need to work on and try not to do again. Only then can one really change. Sigh. It’s a life long process.

One of the light bulb moments for me in the last several years was to understand that I continue to want to know more about knitwear design and that I like learning in a structured way. It’s when I really begin to understand something at the most basic level. It’s then that I feel that I can break the rules to develop new and/or evolutionary things. I’m SOO not going to delve into the psychology of the why of this. I prefer to acknowledge this is my format and keep moving forward. My time at the Academy of Arts, San Francisco was most excellent in helping me to understand this and helped me begin to form a process that continues to enable me to explore color, style, texture and knowledge. I also realized I could draw. Who knew?

When I moved to Portland I uncovered a course that seemed to speak to me in regard to my quest for knitwear design knowledge. The Nihon Vogue course taught by Jean Wong and offered through the fabulous Suzanne Pedersen of Madrona Fiber Arts. So about 18 months ago I bit off one of the biggest unknowns of my life (with T’s whole hearted support) and signed up for the Nihon Vogue Level 1. In Seattle.

I started the course with several loose goals – to understand fit as it applies to knitted garments. I’ve sewed most of my life, so I feel that I understand construction. However a knitted surface moves and adjusts dependent upon the yarn, gauge and stitches. I’ve learned that I really have to let go and play with different styles, shapes and ease. To dive in and see what emerges is the learning process with no idea what that will be. I’ve started to learn more about ease. I’m still working to understand texture and how it changes the mix. And it’s shown me how much I enjoy the drafting and editing process. It’s all good. Big lesson for a Type A. I recently read an article by a fellow Nihon Vogue student, Jack Lewis in Knit n Style’s August issue. Real Men Knit: Knitting School. I couldn’t have said it better.

Ironically, it’s given me the courage to start a new business Urban Fiber Studio. It’s my first formal move to become professional at what is currently a ‘hobby’. Those that I admire in this industry have been at it for years (decades). It gives me hope that I will find a niche that fulfills me. At the core, this course has given me the courage to keep exploring and learning. At (almost) 44 how COOL is that?

Level One has been a first step and more than I imagined and hoped for. Our last class is December 12/13. It doesn’t seem that close, but when measured in projects done and those to complete. It’s to soon. I’m going back for more if we can corral enough of our class for Nihon Vogue Level 2, to commence Sept. 2010. This is no small investment of time or money, but one that I feel compelled to do.



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