Three years ago, when I first came across Knit Stars (www.knitstars.com), a series of online classes, my heart skipped a beat. The idea of bringing all the stars to your own home, at any given time, was fantastic and – in my opinion – deeply touching. It was an act to bring the knitting community closer together, to help us gather and learn, despite all those thousands of miles between us.
Knit Stars is co-founded and hosted by Shelley Brander.
”As a LYS owner, I saw the life-changing impact that a great teacher could have on a student – but many people never have a chance to experience that. So, we figured out a way to bring the excitement to everyone with an annual, all-online learning event. The first person who signed up for Knit Stars 1.0 was from Singapore and the last from Dubai! I have come to realise that we are quite spoiled in America and Europe, because we have lots of opportunities to learn from amazing teachers. But for many knitters in the world, that is not even a remote possibility,” she says.
For Shelley, the Knit Stars filming process is a wonderful blending of her two careers.
”Not everyone knows that I worked in the branding business for over 20 years before starting my LYS, Loops – as a writer, creative director and broadcast producer. One of my favourite things to do is to interview people and understand what makes them tick. We fly our production team around the world, so we can give knitters behind-the-scenes access to the Stars, direct from their personal workspaces.”
The first Knit Stars introduced us to teachers like Stephen West, Hannah Fettig and Julie Asselin, the second group of stars included Andrea Mowry, Nancy Marchant, Michele Wang and Beata Jezek – just to name a few. This time there will be 12 teachers, which translates to hours and hours of online classes, valuable tips, free patterns... Knit Stars 3.0 is dedicated to Nordic knitting. The idea came from the students.
”After each event, we ask our students who they would like to see in the next event. We couple that with my knowledge of current topics, trends and rising stars in the fibre world, gleaned from my ongoing experiences as owner of Loops, LoopsClub and LoopsLove.com. For Knit Stars 3.0, we decided to focus on Nordic knitting. Also, I selfishly wanted to visit Norway, Finland and Denmark – so I got my wish,” Shelley laughs.
Shelley's goal is simple: to knit the world together.
”We want to inspire knitters to stretch their skills, to connect them to one another in a positive, supportive community and to collaborate to grow our craft. I find that we are helping younger knitters put down their phones and pick up the needles – while helping older knitters embrace the technologies that can really open up the world to them. I have also learned how much the world needs this – not just the yarn world, but the whole world. We need more inspiration, more connection. We need to slow down and experience the things that give us joy. I feel incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to help move that needle.”
I could not agree more with Shelley. For me, the most valuable thing – along with the new skills that I have learned from previous Knit Stars – is to be able to belong to this warm-hearted community, build valuable friendships and keep this beautiful tradition alive. Our world is digitalising, and so is knitting – but in a good way: we still have our yarns and needles, but the education comes via our computers and phones. I cannot wait for November 26th, the first day of Knit Stars 3.0: three weeks of joy of learning from such talents as Veera Välimäki, Mary Jane Mucklestone, Andrea Rangel, Ann Budd and Arne & Carlos.
Knit Stars 3.0 starts November 26th. The sign-up period is October 25th – November 1st.