Read about Lyssa’s experience at Interweave Yarn Fest!

Q&A With A Scholarship Winner

At Interweave Yarn Fest, our greatest goal is to inspire all of our fans and provide them with new opportunities to help them further their love of fiber arts. Our 2017 community-funded scholarship program was a great success, and we were able to offer a talented lineup of artists free workshop tuition to assist them in growing their skills and passion.

We recently reached out to our scholarship program winners to find out what their experience was like at Interweave Yarn Fest, what they learned at the event and what they are up to now. Today, we are talking to Lyssa. We loved hearing all about her experience and how much she enjoyed herself at this year’s event. Keep reading to learn about Lyssa’s experience at Interweave Yarn Fest and why she thinks you should join us next year, too!

Lyssa’s Scholarship Program Q&A: 

Out of all of the workshops you participated in at Interweave Yarn Fest, which one was your favorite and what made it stand out?

“All of the classes were so amazing it’s hard to choose a single favorite! I think it’s a tie between Benjamin Krudwig’s Design On the Fly weaving workshop and Kate Larson’s Creative Spinning workshop. Both classes had a focus on moving beyond basics and thinking creatively about the fiber arts. It is fun to learn new skills, but it is especially satisfying to be inspired to think beyond technical skills and to move into creating works of art with fiber. I love to draw and paint, but creating with fiber is special to me because yarn, fiber, and fabric can create unique textures that cannot be recreated in drawing or painting. Fiber has more of a sculptural quality than two-dimensional art forms, but it also has a movement that is not present in a solid ceramic piece or in a painting. Textile art is different every time you look at it, and that dynamic nature is fascinating to me. Benjamin and Kate shared an appreciation for looking at unspun fiber and already spun yarn as a medium to make something beautiful, something more than the sum of its parts. I loved looking at their finished designs and learning about the design process that they use to move from inspiration to finished creation. In their works I saw textures that recalled lichen and stone, patterned tile and dragon scales. I left feeling confident and inspired, eager to create my own works of textile art.

Kate described her design process in great detail, and after learning about her process we created spinning notebooks of our own as a place to keep inspirational photos, drawings, and spinning samples. This approach felt very much like painting or drawing with fiber, and I left with tons of ideas for future projects – now I just need to find the time to actually make them! I could definitely see myself using this sort of inspiration notebook for weaving and knitting as well, and even possibly for garment sewing, quilting, and drawing. Kate also brought a myriad of different fiber types, colors, and preparations for us to try spinning in various ways so that we could think about our spinning in new ways. Plying singles spun of a cheerful multicolored batt with flecks of bolder color in it made me think of a field of wildflowers, and core spinning the same fiber left little tufts that reminded me of fluffy seed heads blowing across a field on a lazy summer day. Spinning a shiny gray batt made me think of sunlight shining through rainclouds as the storm comes to an end. When paired these two fibers make me think of a rainy spring day.

Benjamin’s class was not a beginning weaving class, but I dove right into weaving design with my very first weaving project – and I actually finished the entire scarf during Yarn Fest! I brought a suitcase full of yarn from home thinking I would design a project using blues and purples, but that plan fell right out the window after a design consultation with Benjamin where he steered me away from my “safe” choices. I love playing with texture and color in bold ways, so I was immediately drawn to a bright magenta yarn shot with purple that was sitting on Benjamin’s table of yarn. From there my eyes fell on some pinstriped fabric strip “yarn” that would add movement and contrast to my project. Finally I added in some of the yarns that I had brought with me: a dark purple tweed, a few rows of purple handspun yarn, and some metallic embroidery floss to add some sparkle. The scarf is beautiful, and it is a lasting reminder of the fun that I had at Yarn Fest. When I wear the scarf it calls to mind Benjamin’s workshop, weaving at the evening social hour, weaving while chatting with my friend Deb and loving on her kitties, and sharing my finished project at the fashion show.”

Did you participate in any activities at Interweave Yarn Fest? If so, tell us about your experience!

“I participated in one of the evening sip and stitch events, and I attended the fashion show. It was wonderful to get to meet other people with a passion for the fiber arts! I added some friends to Ravelry after the sip and stitch, and it was fun to get to weave during a social event without anyone looking at me askance. The fashion show was even better because I got to see – and touch! – so many beautiful finished projects. It is always inspiring to see what colors, fibers, and stitch patterns someone else will use in a project in ways that I may not have thought of before. I also won a beginning weaving DVD for being the newest weaver at the fashion show!”

Out of everything you learned and experienced at Interweave Yarn Fest, what was the most memorable? It’s okay if you have more than one answer! 

“Overall I loved sharing other people’s passion for the fiber arts. I got to see people’s passion the most deeply in the workshops because I got to spend several hours in the same room with some very creative minds. I loved seeing Benjamin Krudwig’s face light up as he helped us come up with fiber combinations for our own weaving designs and as he described his own design process. I loved watching Kate Larson smile as she talked fondly about her sheep, then showed us how to move from a fond memory or striking image to spun yarn to finished design. I loved exploring the technicalities of pattern writing with Kate Atherley, and I was thrilled that she tried on my cardigan to illustrate a point that she was making – it really did look fabulous on her, too! I loved hearing Miriam Felton describe her passion for combining sewing, knitting, and crochet to make projects with unique properties taken from all three mediums. I didn’t realize that you could knit with three colors in one row, but Nancy Shroyer showed me how, and she had beautiful Fair Isle and Bohus projects with her to demonstrate what different stranded colorwork techniques look like. Lily Chin showed us all kinds of useful tricks for finishing knitting and crochet projects with more polish, and she kept us laughing as we tried out new techniques.

I also loved to meet other people in person that I had previously talked with online or by phone. I was especially tickled to spend Kate Larson’s Creative Spinning workshop with Anne Merrow, and to spend Benjamin Krudwig’s Design On the Fly workshop with Mariellen Boss, after talking with them in SpinOff editorial advisory panel meetings. There were so many other names that I got to put to faces during the sip and stitch, the fashion show, and the workshops, and it was a lot of fun to talk with everyone that I encountered at YarnFest. It was also great to catch up with my friend Deborah Gerish and to see what her life is like now working at Interweave! She let me pet all of her gorgeous hand knits, let me use her rigid heddle loom and spinning wheel for workshops, and we got to discuss home renovations, kitties, our favorite fantasy and sci-fi productions, and fiber arts after hours. My husband and I had a great time staying with her and snuggling some of her more daring kitties. Deb actually gave me a skein of yarn dyed and named for one of her kitties, Ursula. It blows my mind that I have met and loved on the kitty that was the inspiration for this yarn! I’m going to use it to make the Lovecats Cowl, designed specifically for this yarn, and get every feline friendly knitter that I know to make their own kitty cowl, too!”

Why would you recommend Interweave Yarn Fest to other fiber artists? What do you think others can gain from attending this event?

“Interweave Yarn Fest is a great place to meet other creative souls who love the fiber arts. If you want to meet people who are passionate about knitting, spinning, weaving, crochet, and sewing, this is the place to do it! The workshops were especially helpful because they went into a level of technical detail that was very useful in deepening my crafting skills. Even though I have been sewing for 20 years, knitting for 10, and spinning for 2, I was able to find ways to deepen my skills in all of those areas as well as trying out weaving!”

Isn’t Lyssa’s weaved scraf stunning?!

Lyssa’s responses to our questions made our hearts sing! This is the most rewarding part of doing what we do–seeing all of you grow creatively and discover new areas of your passion for fiber arts.

Thank you for sharing your experience, Lyssa! You are a true inspiration and we can’t wait to see what you do next! Stay tuned for another exciting scholarship winner Q&A next Thursday.

Thanks for joining us today!

2 thoughts on “Q&A With A Scholarship Winner

  1. How does one qualify to receive a scholarship to the Yarn Fest? I live in Oregon and it’s expensive for me to get there. I’ve always wanted to go to one of these, but the expense was too much. Thank you

    1. Hey, Brenda! We’re so glad you’re interested in heading out to Interweave Yarn Fest. The bad news is that we aren’t able to offer a scholarship this year for the show 🙁 We are looking into some other options, but not sure what we will be able to do in the future. If you sign up for our newsletter, though, you’ll be the first to know about any info like that!

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