June is for.......
Men Who Knit & The Woman (and store) who Love them!
That would be us - all the women of Knitty City. So much so, in fact, that we've decided to devote our June windows to "Men Who Knit". We thought it fitting, what with father's day being just around the corner and our knowing so many neat men who knit.. We take great pleasure in hosting a really great men's group at the store so our interest in the point of view that men bring to the craft is strong. Every Wednesday, from 6-8 pm, men who knit meet up and join forces to learn ( and occasionally unlearn) about the craft. There is really nothing at all unusual about males knitting. Some of our schools teach it to their students, both boys and girls, to facilitate small motor coordination, and the learning of basic math principles. For generations before sexist nonsense about "women's work" intervened, fishermen knitted - whether it be in service to their nets or as part of a cottage industry that helped them get by during the months when fishing was not possible. Our Knitty City Men's Group has become very popular. We even rated a story in the Wall Street Journal not that long ago, which you can find here:
With all that in mind, then, we thought that focusing our monthly profiles on one of the men with whom Knitty City has a strong relationship made sense, so here goes:
We first came to know Alphonse when he graced our store with his kind personality and prodigious talent quite a few years back. From the outset, it was obvious that he was a master knitter with a great grasp of color, technique and design. Such ability usually comes from years of experience, as was the case with him. We instantly fell under his positive spell, and in short order Pearl asked him if he would lead our men's knitting night group. The day he agreed was a good one for our stalwart group of male knitters, as well as the rest of us, since he's proved to be as generous as he is talented. Always ready to share his knowledge, he is as quick to praise and appreciate the work of others.
Alphonse Poulin learned to knit at the hands of a parochial school nun when he was 10 years old. Almost immediately, he felt an affinity for the craft but put it aside until he was l8 and began studying at the Boston School of Ballet, where he had won a scholarship. There he noticed that everyone knit - a really valuable way to use time while waiting to practice and perform. It was also a way to make needed garments for rehearsals, so its practicality and portability added to his attraction to it.
His success in the dance world led to many trips touring with the Boston dance company and those trips proved instrumental to his learning a variety of techniques, dance and craft-wise. . Every time he and the company visited a new city or capital, Alphonse would use free time to seek out the best knitting stores. Marriage to another dancer also increased his repertoire of knowledge since both she and her mother were accomplished knitters. His success as a dancer and choreographer took him to multiple cities in countries such as Portugal, Brazil, and Switzerland where he worked with the best contemporary dance companies in Europe. He spent a number of years in Geneva, where he served as the Dean of Dance in the Conservatoire of the Geneva School of Ballet.
During one of his dance related sojourns in Scandinavia, Alphonse met Inge Fredholm (in a knitting store, of course), whose exquisite work in Scandinavian stranded knitting led to her authorship of a knitting book classic, "Knitting with a Smile". Alphonse was instrumental in the production of the book, translating editorial into English. All those years of travel had led to fluency in multiple languages as well as multiple knitting techniques.
In the late 90's, he came to NY in response to a job offer from Juilliard. The shock of settling into a new community, country and culture was leavened by his knitting and the books he has collected over the years (Current count: approximately 600). Gradually he became acclimated to the pace of New York and credits his interest and abilities in knitting as being a valuable gateway. When asked his favorite titles and types of projects, he cites, first: The Principles of Knitting by June Hiatt, and Elizabeth Zimmerman's titles. He's studied with Shirley Paden and greatly admire her recent book:
"Knitwear Design Workshop" His knitting of choice is fair isle and lace, but laments the fact that he doesn't have the opportunity to do much lacework. He likes working with Scandinavian yarns and classic knitter's yarns such as Jamison & Smith. When asked if he had a particular philosophy that informs his daily life, his response was " I Never Go a Day without a Stitch". As you can understand, we like his philosophy as much as we respect and like Alphonse and we consider ourselves privileged to have him be a part of our world. He'll be taking off for his home in Maine for a part of the summer, but he will continue to lead and instruct our men's night workshops. If interested in partaking in the men's night meet-ups, call the store to see what's happening and when.
....One more thing: We are planning to display the work of our male knitters in the window. If you would like to contribute something to display for the month of June (we promise to take good care of it and return it), we ask that you bring it to the store this week. Our window wizard (Melissa) will be creating the June window this coming weekend.
What's Happening In June
Please Don't forget to Join us for:
World Wide Knit in Public Day
date: Sun, Jun.10, 2012
time: 2:00 PM — 4:30 PM
Location: Bryant Park, NYC
Celebrate World Wide Knitting in Public Day by doing what else? Knitting or crocheting in public! Come to Bryant Park with your newest project. Take the B, D, F, or M train to Bryant Park; 7 train to 5th Ave; 1, 2, 3, N, Q, or R train to Times Square; or the 4, 5, or 6 train to Grand Central.
Bead Crochet a Necklace with Dana
date: Tues. Jun 5, 2012
time: 4-6 PM
fee: $60.00 (Includes a $40.00 kit, outfitted with all materials)
Learn the basics of beat crochet and complete a necklace that you'll love and wear. Must know how to do a chain stitch
Entrelac Knitting with Susie
date: Sat, Jun15, 2012
time: 4:30-5:30 PM
Learn the technique of entrelac's diamond pattern. Students must know how to cast on, knit, purl and read a pattern. Note: No 7 (US) needles are required; yarn will be provided
Knit An Infants's Raglan Sweater with Diane
date: Wed.June 20, 2012
time: 6-7 PM
Springtime brings new babies and every new baby needs a new sweater. Learn how to make a darling raglan sweater that requires minimal finishing. You must know how to cast on, knit, purl and read a pattern. Materials needed: Cotton yarn and appropriate needles
Learn to Read Crochet Charts with Amanda
date: Thurs., June 21, 2012
time: 1-2 PM
Let Amanda show you how to read and use universal crochet charts and open a new world of creativity. Student must have a basic knowledge of crochet and bring with them (or buy) DK or worsted weight yarns and appropriate crochet hook.
Crochet Lessons for Lefties with Jane
Date: Mon., Jun. 25, 2012
time: 1-2 PM
Let Jane show you the subtle differences that make left handed crochet successful. Students must bring or buy DK or worsted weight yarn and an appropriately sized crochet hook.
New Yarns in Store
Summer is the ideal time to pick up light weight yarns and projects.
Just in is a fascinating and pretty cotton tape from Lang: "Sol de Grade"
You might also wish to consider some perennial warm weather favorites, such as these:
Cotton Classic Lite from Tahki Stacy Charles
Skinny Cotton from Blue Sky Alpacas
Euro-flax Linen from Louet
Cotton Tweed from Rowan
Provence from Classic Elite
New Patterns & Magazines in Store
New Jane Austen Knits
New Piecework Lace Issue
Sunday, June 3rd, at 8:05 PM is Stitch 'n Pitch Day
Mets. vs. Cardinals @ CitiField, in Queens, New York
Sit together with family, friends and fellow Stitch N' Pitch Fans
Ticket Cost: $22.00
Available at Game