Machine Knitters Flocking to Cortland

Did you know that the Finger Lakes has a growing community of machine knitters? This is the 10th year that the Silver Needles Machine Knitters Club has presented the Finger Lakes Machine Knitting Seminar, attended by knitters from the area and neighboring states. Demonstrators this year come from Minnesota, Illinois, Virginia, and Long Island to share their amazing technical skills. If you’re curious, don’t miss this opportunity to learn and be inspired. Morning and afternoon demonstrations, a banquet and fashion show, a lively market, and raffle opportunities will all take place Friday and Saturday, September 23 & 24 at the Ramada in Cortland.

Interest in crafts and DIY is on the upswing, and we see local examples of handmade quilts as well as knitted and crocheted items in galleries, shops, and at special events. In Ithaca, you can find luxurious mohair, alpaca, and cashmere products of Laughing Goat Fiber Farm at the Apple Harvest Festival or Cornell’s Ag Day. At the Ithaca Farmers Market, Pear Tree Studio of Spencer offers beautiful fair isle hats. The Finger Lakes Machine Knitting Seminar in Cortland offers live demonstrations of how it’s done!

Machine knitted items can be indistinguishable  from either hand knitted or commercially made items. They are not made by robots, but by skilled craftspeople who operate a carriage that controls a whole bed of needles instead of 2 pointed sticks. The process is similar to using a sewing machine or a loom, and the results achieved in a few hours can be satisfying and rewarding, for yourself, friends, family, charity, and commercially.

Demonstrators at this year’s seminar will include something for everyone interested in learning about machine knitting:

Sandee Cherry, who has taught extensively in the US and Canada, has written 49 books and also produces CDs that make it easy to recreate her classy, comfortable designs. Deb Oswald has been traveling around the country and teaching for more than 30 years. She also spins, hand knits, and loves using circular sock knitting machines. Lora Kinnan’s designs have appeared at Barney’s in New York and Disney characters at theme parks, but she’s best known for stylish designs for home knitters. Marcia Hauser uses the knitting machine, wire, and other unusual materials to create jewelry and sculpture. Her 12 books and more than 200 patterns include garments and accessories with details and techniques not found elsewhere.

A highlight of the weekend is a fashion show where machine knitters strut their stuff, and prizes are awarded. Prepare to be dazzled! You can see talented instructors demonstrate a wealth of machine knitting knowledge on large TV screens at the seminar. Register for classes only, or classes and meals, and find more details: http://www.fingerlakesknitting.com/seminar_info.

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