If diversity prepares one for life, Dale
is prepared. He has experienced being: Western Union messenger
boy, movie theater doorman and marquee changer, shoeshine boy, sailor,
police radio dispatcher, undersheriff, actor, stage manager, legal secretary,
paralegal and is now office manager of a small law office in New Orleans,
Louisiana, a long way from growing up it Walla Walla, Washington.
Rick's whole life has been creative -- whatever materials were available he had to create something out of them. He, too, loves the tactile part of knitting, the rhythm, the feel, the relaxing quality of the yarn becoming cloth. His 20 years of being a florist allowed creative energies to have an outlet.
"As I have grown, knitting has taken a
larger role in my life. Knitting was once a means for me to have
a garment in exactly the right size and color I desired. It then
became a way to soothe my heart and soul. It is now my vocation.
It is a constant in my ever-changing life. I can pick it up for a
few minutes or spend a full day developing an idea."
From that beginning to his residence in Germany where he progressed through many jobs: upholstery, interior design, and then advertising for a clothing store where when wool (yarn) was introduced for sale, the customers clamored for in-store instruction. Horst volunteered. As the knitting problems appeared, Horst saw the challenge and worked out solutions. Colors fascinated him; other knitters had problems working with colors and now 12 years later, he is know for his color-work.
Yarn store owners wanted him to teach his techniques, a book editor convinced him to write two books about his methods. They were published in five languages, the last being in English.
In 1999 Bill and Irene York (The Knitting Basket in Tahoe City, California www.knittingbasket.com) invited Horst to do a United States workshop tour. An invitation to teach at Stitches (Knitters' Magazine sponsored event) in 2000 and 2001. His work is variously described as patchwork, modular, mitered and whatever you call it he seems to be able to make small patches joined one upon the other into works of art. A paper cut to the wearer's sweater or vest measurements serves as a template as the fabric is made.
Another self-taught knitter, Leigh's knitting
swatches bring a poignant reminder to those of us not in New York City
on September 11, 2001. Leigh is the founder and artistic director
of Dance As Ever, a dance company ready to open a new production five blocks
away from and the week after New York City's disaster. The chaos
of dealing with the cleanup of all the details and rescheduling the performance
left no time to select a knitting item from his work. He had handy
two swatches which he sent to be displayed. His swatches also illustrate
how designers work. Using the swatch to explore designs and colors
often takes more time than the actual knitting of any finished work.
Designers love to experiment with color and technique and
Another interesting fact: Part of the support of his company, Dance As Ever, is from the sale of items contributed by other artists, many of them knitters. A website for this purpose and to detail Leigh's vast experience in dance can be seen at http://members.aol.com/lwitchel.
Photos by Lori Berg
Copyright © 2001.
The Dining Room at 209 Main
Men Who Knit