Today, I’m happy to interview Linda Pietz, a knitting teacher who has come up with a really interesting and unique project for her students. Those of us who teach ongoing crochet and knitting classes are always looking for something to keep the group enganged, and Linda recently responded with a presidential knitting challenge…
Underground Crafter (UC): When did you first learn to knit?
Linda: I have my Great-Aunt Ella to thank for teaching me to knit at the age of four. I appreciate the fact that she did not tell me that I was too young.
UC: What are your personal favorite projects to create?
Linda: I really enjoy creative problem solving with my knitting. Doing a project like the presidents is just that type of thing. Taking a basic “body” pattern, I had to research face, hair, clothing and interesting facts that could be incorporated in each of the presidents that I knitted. To me knitting, is an art form and I want to express myself through knitting.
UC: Tell us a bit about your presidential knitting challenge.
Linda: Last year at about this time, I started thinking of ideas for a knitting challenge for my students. Knowing that 2012 was an election year, it just seemed natural to knit the presidents. I challenged those that participated to really get to know their chief executive well and show their human side. I didn’t want to have a bunch of guys lined up in dark suits. Taking me seriously, each knitter uncovered and incorporated some interesting things with their president. For example, George Bush, Sr. is sky diving. James Buchanan sports a pet eagle on his arm that he hand feed. He has a needle felted elephant at his feet representing the elephants given to him by the King of Siam.
UC: As a teacher, how do you keep your classes fresh and interesting?
Linda: Good question. My teaching philosophy is process over product. I want my students to be fearless in their knitting and to not be intimidated by anything. I am constantly having to stay one step ahead of them in my search for things that would challenge me and them. I also throw in a little history, math, and color theory along the way. On the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, I divided up the class into small groups to answer trivia questions about that fateful night. It was followed up by a project related to the sinking. We have also done a little dyeing, spinning, embroidery and needle felting.
UC: What are your favorite knitting books in your collection?
Linda: Where do I begin? I have an extensive collection of books. I am in awe of Cat Bordhi and moebius knitting. Debbie New‘s book, Unexpected Knitting, is great. I love Prudence Mapstone‘s freeform books. More superlatives go to Barbara Walker and her Mosaic Knitting, and Vivian Hoxbro and her books on domino and shadow knitting. One final favorite is Melanie Falick‘s Kids Knitting.
UC: Do you have any crafty websites or blogs to recommend?
Linda: My sister and I share a website. She is a McGowan certified traditional rug hooking instructor. If you go to the website, you will see rug hooking patterns that I have designed. You can follow what my class is up to by checking out a blog that one of my students, Irene Bergh, does.
UC: Do you have any upcoming classes or projects you’d like to share?
Linda: Lots. I have four different knitting classes, a number of art classes and some other “craft” classes such as diagonal plaited baskets and twined rugs. I just got back from Sauder Village in Ohio where I taught Kaleidoscope Rugs to traditional rug hookers and will be going to Ohio again in March to teach that same class. Look for my upcoming article on Kaleidoscope Rugs in a fall issue of Rug Hooking magazine. One other thing I would like to add is that there may be a book on the horizon. (UC comment: Oooh, I love it when the interview ends on a cliffhanger!)
Thanks, Linda, for stopping by and sharing the details of your presidential project with us!