Have you met the Shetland Trader?

gudruncroppedIf you design knitware, aspire to publish your own work, have a love of beautiful photography or just want to become a better knitter, then you will look forward to meeting Gudrun Johnson as much as I am.  Visiting Gudrun’s website is like peeking through a keyhole into a beautiful “other” world where laughter rings clear and lovely people knit beautiful garments.  Perusing her knit designs is like wandering through a beautiful fiber store where moods are brought to life by clicking needles.  If you’re on ravelry, you’ll find her by searching Gudrun…she even has her own group!

I’ll stop gushing now because it sounds like I’m in love, but check out the links for yourself and then you’ll see why we’re so excited to have Gudrun teaching her Crofter’s Cowl pattern this year on Sunday from 9:00-12:00.  This class will be the perfect place to learn simple lace patterns and the kitchner stitch.

The Crofter's Cowl to be taught at Fiber College

The Crofter's Cowl to be taught at Fiber College

We wanted to understand more about what makes Gudrun “tick” so here’s how she answered our questions:

1)  Teaching takes courage and experience…and so much extra time.  When you’re not teaching, what else do you like to do?

I spend most of my time working on my own designs and trying to squeeze in the odd personal knit when I can!

2)     Describe the perfect class that you’d like to take…

When I was in Shetland last year I was taking a class on Fair Isle knitting. It was taught by a lovely local woman in her 70’s, who was happy to share her incredible fountain of knowledge. She even told us we could drop by her house anytime if we needed help! There was tea and biscuits (cookies to you Americans) and a warm and cozy atmosphere! That’s the perfect kind of class!

3)     We’d like a sense of your expertise and ability to teach the class you’re offering…so tell us how you came to feel confident about leading a group through your particular class.  How long have you been practicing?

Ever since I started designing I’ve been very inspired by the knitting of my origins, Shetland, and have spent a lot of time playing with Shetland Lace in particular. The class I’ll be teaching at Fiber College, the Crofter’s Cowl, will involve the use of a well known Shetland Lace pattern. It’s a great pattern for those new to lace and shows off well in this cowl pattern.

Gudruncardi

4)     If you make a knitting error (substitute your art form here) do you jump right in and frog it (rip it out) or do you call it a design feature and keep right on going?  Does the mistake cause you anxiety or do you feel like it’s just one more opportunity to make the project your own?

I don’t have one particular technique but I would encourage them to find several different sources of how to achieve their goal as it’s likely one of them will be the golden ticket. I also think knitters often underestimate their capabilities so mostly I’d just tell them to go for it, what’s the worst that could happen?

I’m most definitely not scared to rip out hours and hours of work if I think it’s a flaw to the design I envisioned. I may be a bit grumpy about it and usually my husband will look on horrified at what I’m doing but I’d rather not have it sit there and niggle at me forever after!

5)     What techniques are in your bag of tricks for motivating a student to struggle through a difficult step…maybe something that’s just a bit out of his/her range…and come out the other side feeling successful?

I don’t have one particular technique but I would encourage them to find several different sources of how to achieve their goal as it’s likely one of them will be the golden ticket. I also think knitters often underestimate their capabilities so mostly I’d just tell them to go for it, what’s the worst that could happen?

IMG_0301

6)     I am an avid collector of:

Yarn, books and memories!

7)  What do you do differently from the way you were taught? Why?

I’m mostly a self-taught knitter, gleaning techniques from all sources. It’s entirely possible I’m not executing them all perfectly but if it gets the job done then that’s fine with me!

8)  What’s your favorite tool?  Why?

I couldn’t imagine my knitting life without circular needles! I love that I can knit straight on them, in the round, on two circulars or use the magic loop method. The fact that they don’t get stuck up my sleeves is also a bonus!

gudruncap

9)  What do you like best about what you do?

That I can take it with me wherever I go!

10)  What do you mean when you say that a piece has turned out really well?

For me this would mean it has met or exceeded my expectations from design idea to actual garment.

3 thoughts on “Have you met the Shetland Trader?

  1. I was wondering if there is a certified college equivalent of this Fiber College
    that you can learn how to design knitting patterns at?

    • Hi Petala,
      We are using the word college defined as “an organized body of persons engaged in a common pursuit or having common interests or duties”…perhaps Mary Jane Mucklestone, knitware designer can answer that question? She’ll be teaching at the College or if you’d like to contact her before September, you’ll find her on Ravelry or on her blog http://maryjanemidgemink.blogspot.com/.
      Good luck!

  2. Pingback: Twist Collective Fans… « Fiber College on Penobscot Bay

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