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I learned to knit...

in 2001 out of boredom, really. A neighbor had invited me to work the two weeks of early voting. I had just closed my furniture studio months before and with nothing else to do, agreed. However, after staring at my coworkers (and my hands) for 8 long hours that very first day I decided that I couldn't sit and do nothing again for 13 more days so that first evening off to Barnes & Noble I went.  I found myself in front of the 'Crafts' section with the only prerequisite that I wanted to learn to make something with my hands.  There on the shelf was 'The Step by Step Needlecraft Encyclopedia' and I was intrigued. I opened it up and fell in love with the knitting patterns. I got the book and went to Walmart where, with the help of a clerk, got some cotton yarn and plastic knitting needles. The next day I showed up to work the polls and proceeded to teach myself how to knit out of the book. I started with the stockinette stitch, knitting a 6" x 6" square.  Then I bound off and moved on to the next pattern, and the next one - all the while getting positive feedback from co-workers and random voters.  I put each completed swatch into a binder for easy reference later.  I didn't finish all of the patterns during that two weeks but eventually did and haven't stopped knitting since.

The first male knitting group...

in Houston was created because there wasn't one in the 3rd largest city in America! A popular yarn shop at the time (that has since closed) had a regular sit-&-knit one evening a week but I was one of only a couple of guys in attendance. The women of the group were friendly but not as supportive to the guys as they were to each other. I thought that if the guys could meet on a night by themselves they might feel more comfortable, and more men might even attend. I approached the owner and she agreed to let us meet on a different night.  We named it Gents & Purls because there were women that were supportive of us and we didn't want to alienate them!  The night got popular and at one point we had as many as 17 guys in attendance. Unfortunately the yarn shop closed and our group had to find a different place to meet. Luckily a new yarn shop had opened locally and the owner was happy to let us meet on a different night than their regular sit-&-knit.  Over time the owner decided to close shop early on the guy's night and we were instructed to merge with the existing group - that group met on a different night, was exclusively female and took up the whole shop as it was.  There was no room for our group so we stopped meeting there altogether and that shop eventually closed as well.

The first muse of mine is...

Cat Bordhi because she saw something in me and I'll never forget it. She had been invited by the local knitting guild here in Houston (see below) to teach and though I had already knit several of her mobius designs, I decided to take her mobiles class, at a local yarn shop.  We got to talking on the couch during the class and afterward she invited me to apply for what she called her "visionary retreat". Little did I know but she had already had several retreats but wanted to put together an all-male retreat, which is what I applied for.  I was ultimately accepted and it was at this retreat, in the beautifully idyllic San Juan Islands, where I met men who shared my passion and they too have become friends and muses in their own rite: Franklin Habit, Michael del Veccio, Alasdair Post-Quinn, Steven West and Sean Riley. It was a magical time that I'll never forget.  Thank you Cat!

When I discovered the men's knitting...

retreats they were completely new to me and I was invited to apply for a scholarship to one of them. The scholarship was provided by Skacel, maker of the famous Addi needle line. I was chosen as the Rocky Mountain Men's Knitting Retreat (MKR) which was held just outside of Boulder, Colorado.  It hadn't been since Cat Bordhi's retreat that I had since felt such camaraderie among men.  During the retreat I gave a Tunisian Crochet presentation which was warmly received and learned about dying, weaving and so much more.  You can learn more by visiting their site HERE.

The knitting guild in Houston...

is called the Knit at Night Guild (KANG) and I learned about them through the local yarn shops.  Many of the LYS give guild members a 10% discount.  This perk, combined with the fact that the guild brings national teachers, has knitting retreats, charity knit-ins and several chapters with regular meetings and their programs - it's a no brainer to support them by becoming a member.  In 2015 they created and held the first ever Houston Fiber Fest.  I went and was so inspired with what I experienced that when there was a call to be on the planning committee for the 2016 event - I jumped at the chance.  I eventually became the Chair for the event and was proud to work with the other members of the planning committee and the KANG to make the 2016 Houston Fiber Fest a great event.  I have since left the planning committee of the Houston Fiber Fest but am still a member of KANG.

Currently I am working on...

working on level 1 of the Master Knitting Program which is given by The National NeedleArts Association, TNNA.  I have several new designs coming out but am always busy knitting on the bus, in the car, while on break at work, in a doctor's office - everywhere!