I have often said that there were two things that greatly influenced my knitting life- one was the discovery, pretty early on in it's existence, of Ravelry, and the second was the books of Elizabeth Zimmerman. Prior to those two influences my knitting was a rather frustrating experience with much time spent making garments that rarely fit. Then I discovered Elizabeth Zimmerman with her seamless knitting and her pragmatic attitude and something clicked in my head. I was liberated and emboldened to "knit on with confidence and hope, through all crises". A couple of years later, one day while poking around on the interwebs, I found Ravelry. Oh my. To be able to see all these projects I was considering, knit up by others, with their notes and advice? What a bonanza! I have never looked back, and my knitting was never the same.
These are two very different forms of inspiration, one analog and one digital. To my mind they are equally important, and at A Gathering of Stitches we will celebrate and work with both. For the moment however, I would like to talk about the world of books and their impact. There will be a library at A Gathering of Stitches that will include books on all the mediums we teach and support: sewing; knitting; quilting; crochet; dyeing; screen printing and embroidery. We have already started to build this library, having bought the collection of one woman who was obsessed with garment making. But in the next two months we hope to expand our holdings greatly. There is a wall in the new space that will be dedicated to the library. I hope that it doesn't get filled too quickly, but when it does we will build more shelves. These books will be available to peruse, to read (on site) and to inspire us all. We sincerely hope that you will take advantage of this time-honored method of research and discovery through the world of text and images on paper.
I am obviously partial to the printed word, being a partner at Rabelais, but I have always turned to books to learn. When I first discovered Elizabeth Zimmerman it was in her book The Opinionated Knitter, which was published posthumously (it was so disappointing that I discovered her after her passing in '99). I read the book cover to cover and immediately sought out, and bought, all of her other titles. Here was a voice for sanity and confidence in knitting. Here were patterns that were intelligent and clever, that kept the knitters mind engaged, as well as their hands. Here was an encouraging voice at your elbow urging you to knit on. I was smitten. I swear by those books, they have a prominent place on my bookshelf. I pull them out to re-read them often. Truly. Those books are my good friends. We will have all of the Elizabeth Zimmerman titles at A Gathering of Stitches.
When we open our doors in August you will have a haven to come to, a hotbed of ideas and inspiration, a mecca of resources right here in your backyard. When you walk though the door you will be met with a inviting space full of like-minded individuals working towards a similar goal- the creation of beautiful and useful hand crafts. Over the next few weeks as we ready the space, we will use this forum to discuss the full measure of what A Gathering of Stitches will be, and what it will have to offer to people such as yourself. Folks seeking contact, interaction, stimulation, support and tools. This is not to say that AGOS will be a fixed institution, on the contrary we are very much looking forward to these early days when we get to meet you in person and hear what you need from a collaborative space. So bring your creativity, your ideas, your fabric, yarn, thread, fiber and let's get to work!