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The CardiKnits Academy 2007

The CardiKnits Academy 2007

Pat Holbrook owner of Cardiknits, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada invited me to lecture at her 2007 Academy at the end of April. I had previously lectured at a Cardiknits Seminar, but it had now been downscaled to an Academy which would run over 2 days. The venue was a huge Church Hall which had been built on the side of a quaint church with churchyard in Ancaster which was a short drive from Cardiknits in Hamilton.

'The aim of the Academy is to present classes that would concentrate on techniques that all machine knitters can use on whichever machine they use. Offering classes by Ann Brown which should interest and educate knitters who know the basics of their machines while Chris Judd would provide instruction to beginners or returning knitters who need to learn or relearn basic techniques'

I flew to Toronto on the Tuesday, a few days early to get over the Jet Lag (you loose 5 hours). After organizing patterns, Pat took me to the nearest HandKnitting Yarn Store in Ancaster were I drooled over all the Italian Yarns in stock, then gulped at the prices !! One of my workshops was 'Using HandKnitting Yarns on the Standard gauge' so I needed Yarn that was available in Canada. My base yarns had come from Yeomans, CardiKnits are the Canadian Importer. As you all know it can be difficult to work different yarns into your favourite patterns, so using the yarns available to the Canadians seemed to be an ideal solution.

Thursday evening was set up Day, and it Rained !! One never needs rain when you are loading cars and unloading into a venue. Pat had a stream of helpers and the job was soon done. CardiKnits were the only company with a stand, as this was purely a teaching 'seminar'. Pat had organized, at my request, a screen plus camcorder so everyone would be able to see my demo's on the knitting machine. A very helpful gentleman arrived with a webcam and slide projector plus screen. Unfortunately the webcam did not have a stand so it was attached to a microphone stand with sticky tape !! We had brought an overlight with us as 'a just in case' I needed extra light.

Friday arrived, and the rain had stopped but the weather was cool 10c compared to the UK, because if you remember we had 'our UK summer' in April. There were 60 attendees on the Friday sadly no one from the USA as it has been made difficult by customs to cross the border. Muffins and Coffee was served to start the day off.

I started my first lecture to find I needed a microphone ! and the webcam was attached to the microphone stand. So there I was demo-ing Weaving on the machine with the webcam on my left, the light over my head to the right (because we needed to turn the lights down so the screen could be viewed) and a lovely lady holding the mic over my right shoulder !!! I later returned the mic to its stand and the webcam was attached to the light. After lunch (very nice) I taught 2 classes, Frills and Designing you own Knitwear, finishing at 4pm.

Day two, Saturday, went very well with my classes on Pants (trousers) and Skirts, Playing with handknitting yarns and Professional finishing, also there were classes run along side mine for the beginners. Ladies went home with bulging bags and lots of new ideas to try out on their machines along with a handbook explaining all the techniques they had been shown during the two days of tuition. Everything then was packed up and a stream of loaded cars returned all the unsold goodies back to Pats. We all then ordered in Pizza…. And Salad… And of course a glass of local wine.

On the Sunday Pat held an open day on her shop, where ladies could buy any yarn they wanted which wasn't available at the Academy. At the end of the day the Sun came out and we went to an Ice cream parlour for a delicious Sundae, we felt we had earned it !!

The following week I lectured at 2 clubs. The first (and most memorable ) was the Burlington Club where I was demo-ing trims on a Brother machine. During the opening 'speeches' the members were told there would be no 'Show and Tell' this meeting, were upon I stood up and offered to stand in and show my garments (21 kilos of them). I was then given the most wonderful introduction I think I had ever had, so up I jump, wheel the halls' rail full of my garments to the front…AND the rail tipped over as one of the castors fell off……….

The next club was in Pats basement, in the evening where the girls had requested a demo of Book 23 a 4ply lined jacket featuring woven pick-ups, apparently just right for Canadian weather.

On Friday I was whisked way to 'the country' to take a one day class with Ellen of the Erin Knitting Club. There I met a group of very enthusiastic ladies, eager to learn as many new tricks as possible. On my return to Pats, my partner Steve arrived to see Canada as he had plans to ride the Rockies on his motorbike. (The Rockies are 2,000 miles from Hamilton)

That week I taught a couple of classes, the first proved slightly difficult as I had lost my voice due to a cold. Fortunately we were beading, so I didn't need to talk too much.

My last weekend originally was going to be spent attending a one day Knitting Show, but we hired a car and drove to the Lakes of Muskoka, Steve was hoping to see Bear, but was unlucky. Sadly the Knitting Show was very badly attended, and according to Pat I made the right decision to take the weekend away.

Here in the UK everything is so near, in Canada you have to travel a long way to find different scenery it is such a huge country…………. In the 3 weeks I was in Canada I experienced cold weather which turned into Spring which gave temperatures 27c. It's a country of extreme temperatures, hence natural fibres are top of the list for machine knitting.

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