I had a reunion with Tracy Purtscher at her brother Terry's Hypno-Humorist show at the Lariat Club over a year ago. She, Terry and I went to high school together and it was great to catch up with her and hear what she had been up to since I last saw her decades ago!
Well it turns out Tracy is a fast-rising star in the knitting and fiber art world! Tracy won a contest held by Vogue Knitting Magazine and that led to her getting a book deal with Soho Publishing and her book is coming out this September. I thought this was extremely cool and told Tracy that I had never tried to knit in my life and she said that she’d be happy to give me a lesson. Well, that day is here! Tracy arranged for me to have my own private knitting lesson at The Sheared Edge, which is owned by Dana Baldwin. Dana’s a fashion designer and fiber artist and she’s going to help out with the knitting lesson today! I have a feeling by the end of this day, I’m going to be an expert knitter after getting taught by these two! The Sheared Edge is located in the Sunbeam Building, so let’s get over there and let this afternoon of knitting fun begin!
Here we are at the Sunbeam Building, The garage door is open, so let’s go on in and see what’s happening in here. Ha, no sooner do I get in than I bumped into Kevin and we naturally had to have a round of dueling photos! Always great to see him!
The Sheared Edge
There’s The Sheared Edge right over there, let’s go in and take a look around.
The place has all kinds of cool, fun and interesting items inside including one-of-a-kind clothing. Much of it is designed by the owner of The Sheared Edge, Dana Baldwin and we’ll be meeting her very shortly, till then, let’s keep looking around in here!
Here’s some art and jewelry on display and all of it is created by local artists. Really amazing pieces in here!
In the back is Dana’s sewing center where she creates her fashion designs. She’s currently working on a dress made up entirely of film! There’s spools of thread and there’s some balls of yarn in the bottom photo. That’s a good cue to meet our two knitting teachers for today’s knitting lesson!
Teacher Number One—Tracy Purtscher
Dana calls Tracy, “the knitting world’s newest rock star!” As I mentioned earlier, Tracy has a new book about her style of knitting coming out in September and below are the cover and a few pages from the upcoming book, which is being published by Soho Publishing out of New York City. Click here to see the publisher’s preview of the book. Tracy has a blog called Stringativity and if you want to pre-order her book you can click right here. You might want to order it now, because by September she may become so famous that she moves away and never speaks to any of us again!
Teacher Number Two—Dana Baldwin
Dana is a fiber artist and designer and her work has been shown in the Art Gallery of Vogue Knitting LIVE in New York, New York and in the ADORN: Contemporary Wearable Art Show at The Woman Made Gallery in Chicago, Illinois. She received a Mayoral Proclamation for her art and contribution to small business along the Main Street corridor in Peoria, Illinois. Below are three photos of her work. You can read more about Dana and The Sheared Edge right here at their website.
Here’s the two teachers with our yarn and knitting needles for today’s knitting class. I’m starting to get a little nervous!
Since I’ll be knitting and will have my hands full, Bart Grawey has agreed to take over the photography duties for the next portion of the blog. Bart was on the MBIP blog three years ago as part of Justin Glawe’s, “Chicken Thursday at Notre Dame” story. I always hate handing over the MBIP Camera to someone else because I’m such a control freak about this blog, but I think Bart will do a good job with the photos and if he doesn’t I can always just kill myself, so everything’s good!
Okay, the knitting lesson is going to take place at this table over in the corner. Dana was nice enough to buy snacks and drinks for the lesson! I like knitting already!
The Knitting Lesson
Tracy and Dana are two great knitters and knitting teachers! I hate to pat myself on the back...okay, I love to pat myself on the back, like you don’t, anyway, I really took to knitting as you can see from these photos. Tracy and Dana said I was a natural! I decided since I was learning so quickly, maybe we could have a little challenge between the three of us and we decided to have an old fashioned, “Knit-Off.” Basically we decided to see what we could create in just three minutes of knitting time! I told Bart to concentrate on Tracy and Dana for this portion because I was really getting into a knitting zone as you can see from the bottom two photos! Okay, let the Knit-Off begin!
As you can see, Tracy and Dana were knitting fast and furious for this exciting Knit-Off and I was too. Before you knew it, the three minutes were up and we put our needles down. Now here’s the results of our fast-paced Knit-Off!
The Results Of Our Fast-Paced Knit-Off
As you can see, Tracy was somewhat disappointed with what she came up with, hey don’t let it get you down, Tracy, we all choke now and again! Dana was a little more pleased and I have to say that this might just be a case of the student surpassing his teachers! I was able to knit a full-blown sweater in just three stinking minutes! Hey, Soho Publishing, are you seeing this shit over here? How about a big-shot, fancy-schmancy book deal for me? Anyway, thanks to Tracy and Dana for the knitting lesson and for hanging out with me for the afternoon, we really had a lot of fun! And Thanks to Bart for taking the photos! They turned out great and now I don’t have to kill myself today, so thanks for that and we’ll see you all tomorrow!