when debbie talks, people listen

Posted on Posted in book reviews/events, designing

as if in a scene from the old EF hutton commercials, knitters do hang on every word debbie new speaks—she’s that captivating.

lucky me—i got to go to a talk and slide show presented by debbie new on monday night and was blown away by seeing all of her incredible knits in person, including my favorite—the knitted kaleidescope. i made a little video of it which i’ll try to upload when i get home . . .

this is another of my favorite pieces—a knitted portrait of debbie’s grandmother, comprised of log cabin squares, that gets more detailed the further away you step from it

as you can see, it is mural sized; the amount of knitting alone in it is astounding, but when you consider that any one section is an abstract composition of its own, you have to be impressed by the accuracy and instinct of her inner compass, navigating her along the course of this work.

omg, and here i am, literally rubbing shoulders with her—i will never wash this jacket again. debbie is absolutely delightful and meeting her is one of the highlights of my year already.

this is another beautiful knitted painting; debbie is explaining a technique of working in the ends of her knitting that creates lovely shadowing and transitions in the surface.

and THEN, she flipped the piece over

to reveal another, unique painting on the other side. gasp.
there are no words . . .

here is an example of a sweater constructed of knitting frilly squares; each square has more than four sides and therefore can be folded into shapes that will extend to make both body and sleeve at once.

you can explore this and many other amazing pieces of her work in her book, unexpected knitting, one of the most treasured in my library. this is a book i open when i want to expand my mind.

this is sue sturdy, artist in residence at the cambridge centre for the arts, where we went to hear the talk. susan has grand designs of her own—she plans to cover a bridge with knitted fabric.

she’s been collecting knitted pieces for it from contributors far and wide

and you can participate if you like—click here for more information about adding your signature to this work.

it’s important that she has pieces of certain sizes, but that doesn’t limit the creativity one can invest.

i had a little break on tuesday with some time off in the morning, so i went for a walk and found a delightful little french bakery, where i scored a baguette to take back to my room. i scarfed half of it down with my coffee while i worked for a bit, and then communed for a relaxing hour or two with my knitting.

while changing to a longer circular needle i had a chance to take a photo of it spread out out. since then, i’ve managed to add quite a bit to the size—i got a lot of knitting done yesterday; i’m excited!

my lace scarf is also growing in leaps and bounds—it’s been a great takealong project that i can stow in my purse and take out any time i have a few minutes to add a row or two.

the weekend activities culminated in the guild fashion show, held on tuesday evening.

i gave a little talk (holy cow, there were a lot of knitters) and presented a slideshow about my work (which i’ve spent the last year worrying about, haha). but it went well and was a lot of fun—i actually wished i’d had more time to talk, can you believe it?

afterward, i received an unexpected and totally astounding gift from the guild—you’ll be jealous . . .

this stupefyingly gorgeous skein of handspun, beaded silk lace yarn, created by tabi ferguson, whose coveted skeins and batts can be found in her etsy shop. it is heart-stoppingly fine and soft; a real treasure. the beads look like little raindrops. i think i know exactly what i’m going to do with it, too . . .

tabi is the spinning guru in the area; all weekend long, whenever the subject of spinning came up, i heard “tabi-this” and tabi-that” and “tabi says . . .”. then i got to meet her on tuesday and i could see why—she’s delightful (and a cyclist, so you know i love that). and i got to sit next to her at dinner, yay. next time i come to waterloo (and rumor has it that i WILL come back), we have a date to go riding together . . .

i had to leave waterloo yesterday morning (sadly) to come toronto, the next leg on my adventure, to teach at the purple purl. i already have a bunch of pictures and news form here, but i’ll have to share those with you next time. i need to get ready to start my teaching day here.

tonight i fly home (i can’t WAIT to see david) and tomorrow we head out for TNNA in columbus. i’ll try to blog sometime over the weekend, hopefully saturday morning. and i’m bringing a really fun surprise home with me on sunday—i can’t wait to show you.

ok, i didn’t leave time for proofreading, so you’ll have to forgive any messups; see you later. but i’ll leave you with something to make you smile

(that’s sue again; how easy it is to make her laugh??)

22 thoughts on “when debbie talks, people listen

  1. I love Unexpected Knitting – I haven’t actually made any of the projects in it, but just reading through it gives me a burst of creative energy. The knitted coracle is especially compelling 🙂

  2. Great post Anne–it sounds like such a fun trip. Now I just have to figure out how a square can have more than 4 sides….

  3. Anne – your visit was over way too soon. But the FACT that you are coming back will have to tide us over. Oh and the reality that we get to see you again shortly at TNNA.
    And yes – Sue can make a rock happy!

  4. Hi Anne – it was such a treat to spend time with you. We aim to keep Sue in stitches (ha ha) until you see her again.

  5. Wow, that knitted painting is absolutely stunning. And the beaded yarn looks delicious! I hope your last class there goes well, and that your flight home is easy. 🙂

  6. I really enjoyed your talk at the guild’s adjudicated show, it was very inspiring. someone said it was your first talk as well! I am looking forward to your future appearances at our guild!

  7. I had the good fortune to see an exhibit of Debbie New’s work a few years ago and it is truly amazing…it’s hard to believe that what she does and what I do are both called “knitting”. I’ll keep an eye on your schedule in hopes of catching your next visit to Waterloo – unless there’s any prospect of your coming to teach here in Ottawa, of course!

  8. It sounds wonderful! I’ve never seen Debbie New’s work in person, but her Unexpected Knitting blows me away every time I open it. I can only imagine how much better it is in person!

  9. Ooohhh, a puppy? (haha)

    What inspirational knitting! Mind blowing.

    So good to deliver a talk successfully after working and worrying about it! I’m sure it was fabulous!

    Safe travels.

  10. i confess that i am not a lace knitter. i made repeated attempts this year to coincide with the guild theme but never quite managed to have the correct number of stitches and was constantly frogging and starting over. however, after your inspiring talk last week, i’m giving it another go. there was some serious knit-crushing going on in our section during your talk. thank you so much coming to our guild.

    i have to ask, you found a delightful bakery? in waterloo? where?!

  11. what a glorious time you are having! and I bet that now all those knitters will be saying… “can you believe it, I got to meet Anne Hanson!” (lucky them 😉

  12. I had never heard about her before. But I would be that excited to meet you Anne!

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