Student Responses to The Knitting School
Thank you for your time and expertise during my visit to The Knitting School. I really enjoyed the depth of information covered in the technology class. It really was a great overview that ran the gamut from ply to plackets. I found analyzing and drawing out the technical renderings helpful in understanding how best to communicate structures. This was something new for me. I also liked the referencing to the industry and guidance on what some good practices might be with communication and constructing a successful garment.
The three days of one-on-one instruction was an amazing hands-on refresher as well as an opportunity for receiving new information that extended my depth of knowledge. I valued your expertise and experience for using the machine to create a variety of effects, guidance regarding the range of machines old and new and helpful advice when working with students.
I was very impressed by the machines and equipment that your studio offered. I enjoyed the opportunity to work on a couple different machines (standard and bulky) in order to experience the similarities and differences.
I also enjoy your blog for fun, helpful advice and explanations with some history built in too! It is another great resource. I will be awaiting your instruction book!!
Making the step to incorporate machine knitting into the MassArt curriculum is my goal. The Knitting School under your expert guidance was able to assist me to make that next step. It might be a gradual process to fully integrate it into the program, but the importance of this part of the fashion industry demands for it to be introduced and explored by students.
Thank you again for your willingness to share knowledge, your studio and experiences.
– Renée Harding – Massachusetts College of Art & Design
The Technology Class helped me immensely to understand knit structure, yarn size and how to properly communicate a sweater design to a factory. I have hand and machine knitting experience but didn’t feel confident designing sweaters at work. Taking this class, and tapping into Helen’s extensive knowledge of all things knitwear, answered all my lingering questions. The next day at work I was able to confidently call out stitch types, yarn size and fashioning techniques in my tech packs. Also the swatch binder we made in the class is helpful to our whole design team! I highly recommend this class!
– Rosie Casey – Filson, Seattle
I would run out of words to describe my sessions at the Knitting School with Helen Sharp. I learned of her from another machine knitter, and I booked airline tickets and flew out for the Beginner Intensive and the Pattern Intensive. I loved working with Helen because of her personality, but more importantly, she has a depth of knowledge that doesn’t seem to end. I learned so much in that session, from casting on to knitting, and then to binding off and patterning. She provides the supplies and examples of what she is instructing. I also was surprised by the breadth of the basics that I came back, four months later, to take the Ribber Intensive and Garment class . I learned even more in the second round than I had anticipated. I made my first machine knit sweater and came home to make three more. The amount of confidence she inspires and her communication skills make Helen a master teacher.
– Meg Turner – Wayzata, MN
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
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 – Baltimore
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 – Seattle
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 – Seattle
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 – Seattle
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