16 June 2010

design camp + knitting

This week I'm working as a teaching assistant at a design camp for a local twin cities school. The students I'm working with range from first to fifth grade.

Our design goals for the week are to teach the kids design principles and process, while at the same time, helping their teachers incorporate what we in the studio call "design thinking" into their teaching curriculum.

We're helping them to design and build "gathering places" on the grassy lot and nature area behind their school. First we'll investigate the site through sketching, photography and note taking, next we'll help them build study models out of collected materials, and finally we'll help them build full scale structures.

Should be a blast, these kids are so creative.

Anyway, the entire design process and thought behind it always brings me back to my knitting and spinning. Designers, whether of buildings or knitwear, (and I'd like to do both) go through the same process.

Knitting has helped me immensely in architecture school. I'm not afraid to take what I've learned from a project and set it aside to explore a new aspect of an idea. (Just like I'm not afraid to frog 3/4 or a sweater . . . well, I said I wasn't "afraid" but I do sometimes get frustrated.)

They say that "designers fail faster and better," and it makes me think back to some of the projects I've started and my own learning process to complete them has required me to rip them apart at several stages.

Anyway, this may be a tangent . . . but I can see the connections between design camp and knitting. You can bet I'll have a knitting project in my bag today and that I'll be working on it during my lunch break.

P.S. the images in this post are of a pair of socks that I was working on at a wedding I attended at a Wisconsin vineyard last fall. I've completely unraveled them and now I'm using the yarn to make a striped baby sweater. I'll have some images of that project in my next post.

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