Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Interview With A 2010 Beans For Brains Recipient

The Sassy Classy Myrtle Cardigan
A short while ago, I had the privilege of interviewing one of last year's recipients of the Beans For Brains Scholarship, Snowden Becker. One of the five scholarship winners chosen in 2010, Snowden submitted her Mrytle Cardigan, the pattern for which is available on Ravelry along with many of her other fabulous designs! As it turns out, Snowden is not just a supersweet gal to chat with on the phone, she is also a very intelligent knitwear designer extraordinaire! Snowden is currently working towards her doctorate with the School of Information at the University of Texas in Austin. Her studies and research are centered around audio-visual materials, such as amateur films and home movies, the documentation and preservation of these materials and their importance as historical references in a digital age. Of course I was curious as to how Snowden managed to find such a unique calling, especially one she seemed so passionate about. Snowden happily obliged to give us the scoop.

After getting a BA in Fine Arts and deciding she probably couldn't make it as an artist (she hadn't quite discovered knitting yet!), Snowden got a job working at the UCLA Library School and realized libraries might just be where it's at. "Everyone I met seemed to really enjoy their jobs and no one had anything bad to say about the program," she told me. It just seemed right. So, she went back to school in pursuit of her Master's in Library and Information Studies and never looked back. It was when she moved to Austin, Texas with her husband that Snowden re-discovered knitting. "My mom tried to teach me when I was nine at out LYS," she reminisced, "They had angora rabbits there and I think I was more into the rabbits than knitting at the time". A stranger in a new city, Snowden was on the lookout for ways to meet people and find a social circle outside of the university. Always an artsy crafty person, she found a knitting circle at her amazing LYS in Austin and the rest is history. Spending time with a diverse group of young and old, experienced and newbies, Snowden not only gained a new group of friends, she discovered a place that pushed her as a creator and inspired her to develop her designs. "It is like training for a marathon," she analogized, "when you are supported by a group of people it is easier to go that extra mile". Like running, knitting is great because it can be your social time with friends and fellow creators and/or it can be your alone-time as a relaxation activity.
Snowden wearing her Thundercloud Cowl

Having no aptitude for designing anything other than garter stitch scarves, I couldn't help but drill Snowden on the finer points of sizing and design. Where exactly does one come up with the idea for a pattern? Snowden's reply: "Vintage stuff, I love vintage clothing. But a lot of times there is only one of something, and it might not fit you." So what do you do? Make your own! Ok, that seems pretty straight forward, but then there is the question of sizing. It is one thing to make custom sized garments "for you" but creating garments for other sizes can get tricky. That is where the knitting circle really comes in handy. Whether it is real world models or the voice of wisdom, "My knitting circle is probably my greatest resource," says Snowden.

And don't forget math! I'm sure you remember while taking algebra and wondering, "when am I ever going to use this?" Well, in your knitting...that's when! Snowden pointed out that "patterns and knitting are all about math". And it is so true! X stitches over 1 inch, decrease every Y row to get Z stitches...ta-dah! Simple algebra. "I'd like to thank my 8th grade math teacher, Rita Gary," Snowden laughed, "I might have been skeptical then, but I now am a total believer in the practicality of algebra."

As mentioned before you can find Snowden and her delectably knittastic designs on Ravelry, or follow her blog, tt820classyknitting.blogspot.com! She has even blogged about us once or twice so you know it is worth checking out! ;)

Like you are doing right now, Snowden found out about Beans For Brains on our blog! For those unfamiliar with it, Beans For Brains is a college scholarship Jimmy started last year for deserving crocheters and knitters. Six finalists will be chosen (five from the States and one international) to receive $3,000 to use towards achieving their goals of higher education! This scholarship is awarded based on academic merit and all applicants must knit or crochet. The deadline for applications is April 1st, so if you haven't already applied, pick up that hook or those needles and get crackin'! And if you aren't thinking about school but know a hard-working student/fiber artist who is searching for some extra cash, let them know about Beans For Brains. You can find more information and applications on our website :)

Happy knitting and crocheting!
Leanne





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