Monday, July 04, 2011
They Walk Among Us: This Week’s special Guest is Christie Furber
Christie is one of the many free-range knitters I have had the pleasure to meet in person and more than once. She joined me for a knitting retreat in Santa Fe and will be rejoining me for Knitting Under a Mango Moon in Petrosky, Michighan, this September. She's every bit as vivacious, generous, dynamic, friendly and warm as she seems here and, what's more, she's a fabulous teacher! Here's Christie in her own words:
I knit, therefore I am! I borrow this from French Philosopher Rene Descartes, but this sums up my current philosophy of life. I am a German and English teacher by training, and I love to sing all kinds of music. My fiber journey included sewing, quilting and cross-stitching. My mother taught me to knit dishcloths when I was a kid, but I really got into knitting in the 1980’s after some back surgery.
Thank you, Jane, you are very kind. No, I think art and creation found their way to me and they won’t let me go! I studied Latin and German, then later in life Spanish, because I am fascinated with how language is generated and used. In traveling to different countries to learn languages I have experienced the art, architecture and textiles of different cultures. Most recently in Guatemala, Costa Rica and Mexico I have been so taken with the use of color in textiles, and it does stir my soul! Creating fabric from yarn and needles is a fulfilling experience for me. Knitted fabric is warmth, it is comfort, it soothes the very soul. I relate to it with every fiber of my being (no pun intended here). Life without knitting would be very dull indeed.
Jane: I imagine that your knitterly closet looks a lot like mine: a wide range of knitted creations to wear and share. Do you wear your knitted art everywhere and how to you handle comments and the appreciative stares you must gather?
Certainly I do wear my knitted pieces often and proudly. And I love people’s reactions, especially when men notice the knitting and comment. I have had great conversations with people about yarn, stitches, color, how they learned to knit, that they would like to learn to knit or crochet. It generates a lot of interest, and I sometimes feel a bit like an ambassador for the knitting industry!! But why not? It’s what I love and people can sense that.
Jane: Many knitters admire free-range knitting but are afraid to give it a try. Any advice for the faint of heart?
Yes, I believe your recent Free Range Vest-along on your blog and on Ravelry was excellent for beginners because it took people step by step through a multi-yarn creation. The internet has given us many resources we didn’t have before. Looking at a single pattern on Ravelry and seeing the different ways people have knit it using multiple yarns is a wonderful way to get an idea for taking that first creative leap. Local knit shops offer classes and ways to explore multi-yarn-y projects. If all else fails, come to my house and I’ll teach you!
Jane: Now, I know there’s a husband somewhere amid all that yarn. How does he manage living with all that yarn?
This is a very good question, Jane! It is not always easy for my dear non-knitting husband Jim, but he’s getting used to it. We used to have an R.V. and travel across country every six months. It had lots of room for yarn storage and was nicknamed “The Yarnmobile.” He is very pleased to wear and model the garments I make for him. He had great fun during a wool festival in MN where I was teaching a knitting class (in a sheep barn, no less)! I arranged for him to don a different sweater or vest every 15 minutes and stroll into class. This delighted the ladies in the class and gave Jim something helpful to do. He is a very good sport about it! But he did draw the line at buying me an alpaca to raise in the back yard.
Why is free range knitting so appealing?
Perhaps it’s the freedom from printed pattern or chart. Perhaps it’s the challenge of combing and blending different colors, yarn weights and textures. Or perhaps it is the lure of “no rules, no mistakes, only unintended design elements!” Most certainly it is being the master of your own knitting destiny. You are in charge, you are knitting to please yourself, it is your work of art. Be proud of what you do, Knitters. You have been set free. Enjoy!
Christie's version of the Savannah Not-A-poncho made me want to knit another
And this beauty, tres Santa Fe, emerged from the Santa Fe workshop
Christie's Ravelry name is 'Yarnplenty'. Check out her other projects.