Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I crossed the Nihon Finish Line!

Sorry for the lack of posting! I was busy getting all my homework done!

This past weekend was the final class for our the Nihon Vogue level 1 course. Joni has some good photos of the weekend. Go to her blog and check them out.

Here I am with Jean and my certificate. Do you know how much this certificate means to me? It feels better than when I got my CPA certificate/license! Honestly this course work was much harder than studying for and passing the CPA exam!!

Coming into the weekend I was determined to turn in all 8 projects and have them approved by the end of the weekend. I really longed to have a summer break!

I dedicated many hours in the past two weeks working on my projects. I still had quite a bit of knitting to do. The biggest task was filling out my design notebook. This notebook shows your designs on paper - the design is drawn 1/4 scale and you need to document needle sizes, guage, how many rows to the armhole, how many stitches were cast on, the calculation of armhole and neckline decreases, etc. It took me, on average, 3-4 hours per design to do the documentation. I wish I would have done the design notebook earlier because it helped me find mistakes in my designs. I think I would have carried my learning further into future projects if I had taken the time to do the design notebook as soon as I drew up my designs on the life size patterns.

Honestly I had a moment of panic when I turned in my projects for Jean to review. As I watched her look over my projects(turning them inside and out, looking at details, etc), and at my design notes/calculations I began to sweat. It wasn't workout sweat, it was fear sweat! Here she is checking my work.

Saturday night, Suzanne hosted a celebratory dinner for all students and loved ones. It was a fabulous way to end the year. We all displayed our completed projects around the room. It was amazing to see everyone's designs. This is a talented bunch of artists!

Here is a sampling of my fellow student's work.

Isn't it amazing what we all have produced in the past year?

Saturday night after the celebration dinner I had to go home and continue finishing my projects. The crochet project was a killer. I spent all day Saturday during class and I stayed up till 2am to make as much progress as I could on this crochet project because I knew I still have the front closure on the final project to complete before I could turn in the last two designs. I was determined to make my goal and I did what I had to in order to make sure I came home with my certificate.

In all honesty, the past week was as much work and as stressful and exhausting as actually doing a software upgrade. I'm not kidding you. In 2001 I actually did the work to upgrade the City of Seattle's financial system. Me and another person did around the clock work to get the database upgraded over the span of a week. Like the upgrade, I had this Nihon deadline and I was going to make the deadline come hell or high water! :)

Jean showed me this super cute edging for my final project(picture will come soon - too lazy to photograph it right now). It is just a chain 3, slip stitch crochet edging. So simple and so cute. I think this is the only crochet I will be doing in my future...edgings only!

Man, when Jean signed off on my last two projects I had to just jump up and down and say some loud works of excitement! Boy was I happy!!!

I'd like to take a minute to say a bit about this course. All 15 of us(I saw someone out there on the web term us THE NIHON 15) struggled at the beginning of the course. We were overwhelmed and not sure where Jean was going to take us. Jean has taken us on an amazing journey. She has stretched us, she has encouraged us, she has laughed with us and she has taught us SO much. Jean, you are wonderful!

Anything this hard comes with a tremendous feeling of accomplishment. This has been an awesome experience. I am so grateful to have been given this opportunity.

I also want to thank Suzanne Pedersen at Madrona Fiber Arts for bringing such incredible teacher's for us to learn from. (I took a 3-day spinning class two weekends ago from Carol H. Rhoades - tech editor of Spin-Off - I will do a post on that soon, I promise). Without Suzanne's commitment to us, we would not be able to continue with year two. You all know I was wavering about continuing on with year 2.

You know what? I wouldn't miss it for the world.

Here is a photo of the Nihon 15(Shiori and Meredith are not photographed). I have so enjoyed the journey with these incredible women. Not only do I learn from Jean, but I learn from these women as well(and it isn't always knitting related!).

I joked with a fellow student that we all need t-shirts that say "I survived Year One of Nihon Vogue". Not only did we survive, we thrived. Isn't that what learning is about? They don't call it growing pains for nothing! We all survived with the help and support of each other. I have established a very special bond with these women.

Bring on Year Two!


moiraeknittoo said...

Wow! Those pics are absolutely amazing. Reading about this as you've gone through your projects has been fascinating, and I can't imagine how how fabulous it must feel to be done. What a huge accomplishment Bravo!!

punkin said...


I have been inspired by your experiences and challenges with Jean's course, and so I had to buy her DVD last month. For now, it is the closest I can get to taking a class from her.

Heather said...

Congratulations! and good luck with year 2. Thank you for posting all your experiences with this course, it has been wonderful to read about it, and I would love to take the course some day if I can work out the logistics!

Thistledown said...


Mags said...

Congratulations! It has been a learning experience for me just reading about all the work you've done throughout the year. You'll do awesome in Year 2!

Purlwise said...

We did it!

I'm sure you've been celebrating by knitting socks, shawls and anything else but homework.

I can't help but think about the first Y2 project. I've got an idea forming ...

Rhonda said...

Congratulations Naomi - what an achievement in only one year. I'll be in Seattle in a couple of weeks for a month - Will there be an exhibition? Can't wait to watch year 2 unfold.

TMK said...


bizyhands said...

Congratulations, Naomi! Wow, have you been a busy girl. Now you really need a vacation.

Gail said...

What a great photo collection to celebrate the graduating Nihon class! (Now we know who to go to when we need knitting help!)

As always, I am in awe of ALL of you. What commitment and love of the craft you all demonstrate with this challenging course.

(Sorry about my syntax: it's late at night.)

Darin said...

Congratulation!!! What a great accomplishment. I may just have to do this someday. Best of luck.

Stephanie said...

Congratulations! I'm remembering seeing your patterns and math and thinking what a big undertaking this was...

Good for you!