I might just make a self-imposed deadline!
Last September I taught at the Valdez Quilt Festival. This was a wonderful experience. The women who organize this event do an amazing job of creating a rooster of teachers who offer classes for all kinds of fiber artists. Mark your calendars–the next one will be in September 2014.
While teaching there, I met Cathy Torrence. Cathy is one of the many wonderful students I had who traveled from the Matanuska-Sisitna Valley to study with me in Valdez.
The Mat-Su Valley where the Alaskan towns of Palmer and Wassila are located is about 40 some miles from Anchorage. Lots of stereotypes exist about the Valley. I suppose they can best be personified by Sarah Palin. It is true, Sarah is Wasilla, but that is not what I think of when I think of this area of Alaska.
The Mat-Su makes me think of good vegetables–more than 200 farm families from the upper midwest were relocated to the area in 1935 as part of the New Deal. Each family was given a 40 acre tract to farm. Coming from a midwestern farming background myself, Palmer feels a lot like Valley Falls, Kansas to me.
I also think of the Alaska State Fair and all the hard work the fiber artists from that area do to make sure everyone gets a chance to see the amazing fiber work–from quilts to felt to handspun wool– that comes out of the region of Alaska.
If you want to see both–amazing vegetables and amazing fiber go to the Alaska State Fair held in Palmer, but leave your kids at home–all they want to do is ride the rides and eat junk food.
When Cathy said she wanted to be a sweater model. I was so excited. I kept thinking Oh my god. I get to make a Valley Girl Sweater. Like that is like so cool, you know, like totally cool. So, I talked to Cathy and she was like whatever, like if you have to, I guess. And I said okay, like I get it, duh, you are not that kind of Valley Girl.
I really like wanted to do this entire blog post in Valley Girl. But Cathy put the kibosh on that. I guess I have to agree-one paragraph is enough ironic cultural referencing for one day. We are here to make a beautiful sweater not channel the 1980s genius of Moon Unit and Frank Zappa.
Cathy visited my studio last week with a bag full of clothing. That is standard procedure for making these sweaters. The models bring over clothing they like, and we talk about it. Cathy did something very clever but in a way it was also torture for me. Each piece she tried on had even more potential than the last piece. My mind was all over the place trying to figure out which idea was best. Here is what I mean.
That circle sweater is so beautiful! But can I do a take on that? And what will it look like when I am done? Stay tuned.
Cause, like, it’s gonna be like totally amazing. For sure.