Student Responses to The Knitting School
Oct 28th 2012
I was thoroughly researching sweater classes in New York City when several of my fashion industry colleagues recommended The Knitting School in Seattle. I decided that I would go, take the sweater class and explore Seattle in one go. From the very beginning, Helen was incredibly helpful and informative and worked with me to tailor the class to my needs. After 2 intensive days of her instruction, I could identify various knitting structures, design my own fair-isle, understand the workings of several types of machinery and felt confident about communicating on a more technical level to overseas factories and development partners. As an added plus, Helen is an absolute treat to be around and her studio is charming! If you are interested in learning or enhancing your skills whether for personal reasons or work, I highly recommend The Knitting School!!
-Temis Galindo, menswear designer, Perry Ellis
July 5, 2012
I came across Helen Sharp’s Machine Knitting School during an online search for workshop-style classes on machine knitting. I had not heard of her school before, but I am so glad I discovered her! A year ago, I needed brushing-up on my machine knitting skills for a course I would begin teaching at a new school. I first took two classes with Helen: Patterning Intensive & Ribber Intensive. These two-day intensive classes were exactly what I needed: focused individual instruction in a variety of techniques on the machines. Pure technical information in a condensed format in the cozy setting of Helen’s studio. I liked the classes so much that I came back this past summer for the Garment Intensive course, which Helen usually offers over a six-week period, but condensed to just three days to accommodate my out-of-town schedule.
In contrast to larger group workshops I have attended, these are by far some of the most pleasant workshops I have ever experienced. Truthfully, there are so few other classes like this in the country—I had to travel from Baltimore to Seattle! The best thing for me is the individual attention available when instruction is one-on-one. Helen is a natural teacher with MUCH PATIENCE for forgetful and anxiety-prone minds! She truly offers more than is described in her class descriptions, offering copious amounts of advice, and recommending everything from knitting books and machine manuals to small tips and tricks with hand tools. Naturally, Helen’s designer instincts kick-in, and you often get the added bonus of her aesthetic and functional criticism. Helen is also a kind and sharing person, inviting me up her hilltop garden to take-in gorgeous views of nearby mountains and the downtown Seattle skyline. The pace of the classes is relaxed but serious, and Helen’s ability to keep you on task ensures that days with her are productive. I clearly cannot sing enough praise for Helen Sharp. I recommend her to my Fiber students and other professionals in the field.
- Aaron McIntosh, Full-Time Faculty , Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD
The Knitting School has proven invaluable in my understanding of machine knitting and sweater design. I came to Helen with a desire to add knitwear to my forthcoming clothing line and couldn’t be happier with my experience. Helen expertly guides her students through each class; She’s forever patient and always willing to get you out of a knitting jam. Thus far I’ve had the pleasure of taking the beginner, pattern, ribber, and cable classes and have always left satisfied and anxious to learn more! Luckily, there’s plenty to learn so I’ll have more opportunities to learn from Helen in the future. Thanks to The Knitting School, I’m confident I’ll have the skills necessary to design and create samples for my line. What can I say, I’m hooked!
–Erin Roby, graduate, The New York School of Fashion
The Ribber Intensive is an amazing class taught by Helen Sharp. I’ve been machine knitting for many years and Helen helped me expand my knowledge in a fun and relaxed atmosphere. She is an extremely talented designer and a well organized, patient teacher. Starting with the basics on the first day, we worked our way into some beautiful fabrics by the end of the class. Helen uses an excellent “building block” approach that makes learning easy. The class far exceeded my expectations and I look forward to attending another class soon. If I had met Helen sooner, I wouldn’t have spent years struggling through the instruction manuals. Thank you Helen, for a wonderful experience.
–Michelle Goodhand, Michigan
The Knitting School is a dynamic, highly detailed, hands-on setting for everything that you’ve ever wanted to know about machine knitting. I was so thrilled to find it! Helen creates a very easy, inviting learning environment that allows individuals with lots of different skill sets to converge in one classroom. She also has an amazing background of knowledge and experiences in the knitwear industry that adds yet another level of sparkle to the entire adventure! I took a beginner intensive and a patterning intensive over a weekend and two weekdays. The hours and days seemed to fly by as we were immersed in a world of creativity and skill discovery. I will go back for a ribber intensive and cannot wait! Thank you Helen for this opportunity and invaluable experience!
–Kira Frankenfeld, owner – charlesisabella.com
Helen is the definition of an expert in the field and I left her studio with the impression that I had gotten a world-class education in the knitting machine. Her class was intensive and the best learning experience I’d had in years! I can’t imagine how long it would have taken to learn as much on the machine with a manual, but I can say with confidence that the time saved alone was worth the money. What made Helen’s class invaluable was how open and generous she was with her knowledge and how much of the information she shared with us could not be found on the page. Thank you Helen for a wonderful experience!
–Carrie Mather, student, Michigan
I have been fortunate enough to work for a great company that highly recommended Helen’s knitting class! I was thrilled to be able to take the class in hopes that I would just have a better understanding of the things I would be communicating on a daily basis with factories. Little did I know that I would actually enjoy knitting as much as I did! I looked forward to every class and was always so excited to have the hands on experience with a knitting machine, which could NOT be done without Helen! She is very patient, very talented, she’s able to teach in a way that everyone can understand and she’s really open about letting you experiment as much as you want. She’s an excellent teacher and she’s the reason I’m hooked to machine knitting!
–Leila Brett, Designer, Nordstrom
I heard of Helen’s Knitting classes through a co-worker, and as a Technical Designer for sweaters I just knew I had to take her classes to learn more. What I wasn’t expecting was falling head over heels for machine knitting! Helen is a wonderful, patient and very talented teacher. She has so much skill in machine knitting and was even able to answer questions I had about factory settings (as I have not yet been to a factory!) She was able to help me better understand how a factory works with their machines while teaching me to knit my own sweater! It was such a wonderful feeling to finish a sweater that I had made myself, well; Helen did plenty of “life saving” along the way!! I STRONGLY recommend her classes whether you are in the industry or knitting is a hobby.
–Nicole Alexander, Technical Designer, Nordstrom
Helen Sharp is not only an awesome teacher. She’s also an inspiration and a has become a role model for me. I’ve completed the basic knitting, ribbing, and garment construction classes from her and found that from them I had gained not only a surprisingly deep understanding of machine knitting, but also the confidence to design my own garments. With no small amount of credit due to Helen, I have been inspired to pursue fashion design as a career, whereas before I found the Knitting School, knitting was merely a hobby I felt passionate about.
Her teaching methods are just the right balance of demonstration and supervision, and her classes are simultaneously productive and laid back. Her energy, attitude, and experience make her an excellent teacher and, to me, a trusted mentor. I recommend her classes with utmost sincere enthusiasm!
–Wren McMurdo, fashion student, Los Angeles
I was fortunate to hear of Helen’s school over dim sum one Sunday afternoon. I signed up right away and have enjoyed several classes (and even a road trip) with her. Her knowledge of the industry, keen eye and technical expertise make her an invaluable resource. She is a kind, methodical and phenomenally patient instructor, with the uncanny ability to salvage most knitting mishaps. Her classes are well structured, with clear progression, but allow for plenty of experimentation. Take a class. If you’re really lucky, you might get to try her zucchini bread. It’s fantastic.
–Tom Milewski, SCCC Apparel Design student
I met Helen when I did a summer internship for her company, then proceeded to work as her assistant for a few years after that. It is through learning from Helen that I have developed the majority of my skills as a knitter.
She is a patient teacher with knowledge on the most wide and varied aspects of machine knitting and finishing, as well as many more handcrafts that are related to textiles. By learning from Helen you can see her passion for knitting as well as the enjoyment she gets from passing on her knowledge.
When explaining new techniques, Helen takes her time and is very thorough making sure you are comfortable in the task before moving on. Her working space is fairly relaxed and her attitude very natural which makes Helen instantly likable and very approachable as a mentor.
–Kim Strang, graduate student from Heriot Watt University, Galashiels, Scotland
Helen is an excellent teacher and she is always thinking of the next step when she’s knitting with you. As I was finishing casting off my knit down, she was ready to coach me through changes to my pattern – adding a pleat, or re-calculating how much fashioning for the side seams. It was great to have her help when I was stuck on a problem, like accidentally losing a stitch or wrapping my yarn in the wrong direction when learning intarsia! It is moments like those when you really value her expertise.
Helen was very encouraging and offered up new techniques to successfully achieve my design. She is easy-going but she won’t hesitate to push you to the next level and more importantly she is organized, patient and is great for one-on-one sessions to develop a new sweater idea.
–Anne Baker, Eddie Bauer