Winter Park / Knitting class: The Zen of knitting a good yarn
January 22, 2009
Like many artists in Grand County, Tanya Stern wears many hats. Many of them were homemade by her own talented hands.
Zen, she felt, encompassed all the sewing skills she has to offer as she begins to teach classes at the Winter Park Market.
“We do a little bit of everything,” she said, “catering to what the class wants to do.”
She said she thinks of knitting “as a form of meditation, as a form of making something beautiful.” Knitting, creativity and spirituality are very similar, she said, “very contemplative.”
With a smile that could pierce the toughest leather, Stern is eager to thread in talk of life along with lessons in the fabric arts. Among the whole grains, the organic foods, Stern lets her students learn everything from the basic skills of felting, crocheting and knitting, to troubleshooting sewers out of some of the hardest pickles.
“It’s all just a series of knots,” she said.
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At River Song Waldorf School, a private school in Fort Collins, she said students learned to sew before they learned to read. Stern, a former handwork teacher from 1999 to 2006, said teaching kids “was pretty cool.”
There are a lot of basic math and hands-on skills in sewing, she said. It also teaches counting, and the use of both hands helps connects the synapses in the brain, which helps kids read faster. The school, she explained, was based on the physical and psychological development of children. It was founded on the principle of Rudolf Steiner, who believed that sewing and the use of both hands helped stitchers “connect the symbolism to the meaning” and “building the bridge between hemispheres of the brain.”
Stern estimates she has put her mind to the creation of about 200 products ” many of them are hats. Two of the hats, her favorites, she’s allowed herself to keep. One of them features a hole for a pony tail ” special hats of her design she’ll custom make for customers.
“I have to sell the rest,” she said. Other creations, some of which are available at the Winter Park Market, include scarves, dolls and quaint felted purses. As a fan of natural fibers, many of Stern’s pieces are made of alpaca, bamboo (her favorite and the softest) and wool.
Stern’s works can also be found at Singin’ Dog.
Sushi chef by night at the Sushi Bar in Winter Park, Stern said she loves being an artist.
“Creating is really the essence of my delight,” she said. When she needs to cleanse her palette, so to speak, she said she eats “moguls for breakfast on my snowboard.”
Her company, Mtn. Kats, Wildly Beautiful, plays on her passion for a good yarn, in life or on her needle.