I’m back from Minnesota. What a passionate knitting state! It’s an extraordinary place to teach knitting, as the caliber of the students is so impressive. The Scandinavian roots of many of the knitters still strongly influence the current generation of knitters.
Each year, for quite a number of years now, the Minnesota Knitters Guild has been organizing a one-day knitting extravaganza. The Guild takes over a high school building, hosts more than 25 vendors, and invites circa 15 well known knitting gurus from all over the country (and even Canada) to come and do their thing ! Attendance hit an all time record this year: well over 400 committed or soon-to-be-committed knitters!. The Guild organizes (and fills) classes, feeds and waters the attendees and provides them all with an abundant goody bag: all as part of the package.
The amount of organization is phenomenal for a one-day volunteer-run event. Take a bow folks!! You do a great job and are wonderful hosts. This event obviously also has a very positive spin-off for the many excellent local knitting stores; besides offering them a market-place to reach potential new customers, several enterprising stores hosted some of the teachers either before, after or on both sides of the event.
On this trip Cookie A and I were involved in the collaboration between the famous 3 Kittens Needle Arts shop in Mendota Heights (they are in an even larger, more attractive location than last time I visited) and Steven Be (a.k.a. The Glitter Knitter), previously known for his Yarn Garage store (and the notable uniform of pink coveralls worn the YG team). Steven Be now really has the space to show his colours (and, believe me, he has colours, textures and sparkles galore) in his new second premises. It’s a redundant firehall gleefully and creatively transformed into a knitting salon!
The large and lofty space is decorated with extraordinary furniture and fittings in a style which could only be Steven. Along with some mainstream staple yarns, if you are looking for something wild, crazy and drop-dead exotic you will find it all here. Between them, Steven and Cis organized a weekend-long series of knitting happenings, kicking off with a fine catered breakfast on Friday morning at 3 Kittens. Cookie A and I taught two three-hour classes at each store; students selected workshops and took a mixture of classes. And just in case the days were not full enough, there were evening gala events to round off Friday, Saturday and Sunday. This was, as you can imagine, a weekend for knitters of great stamina; all survived, I’m happy to report, and they were additionally rewarded with massive, abundantly filled hand-made goody bags. They earned them!
Steven specializes in the outrageous and the totally-over-the-top: it’s really good, clean fun. I found it rather ironic that Cookie A and I were both teaching there, as both us are (as some may be aware) precision knitters with a taste for tiny needles! However, I entered into the spirit of quick creation and the siren call of instant gratification: I managed to knit a shawl in some of the fun hand-spun yarns (now christened The Minnesota Moment Shawl) , between arriving on Thursday and teaching at the studio on Sunday morning. An all-time record for me. I do plan to write this shawl up: an exercise that will probably take longer than the knitting.
Do plan to visit Minneapolis/St. Paul: it is a notable yarn destination. I believe that over the years I have taught for more excellent stores and groups in and around this city than anywhere else!