Monday, October 10, 2011

Each one teach two! Will you accept the challenge?

It's not too late to join Blogtober Fest... click on the link and add your blog, and then put up a post daily for the rest of October. Perhaps you want to see if you can grow your readership or maybe you want to add to the list of bloggers that you follow?  Consider jumping in... visit Tinniegirl's blog to see who is contributing.

Photo from visualphotos.com

In August, while sitting on the beach, I got a call from the director of our neighborhood's community center. Beth wanted to know if I would teach a knitting class, just knit stitch and then purl... it should be easy right? Being one who doesn't seem to be able to say no... I accepted the invitation. I would be teaching a class of about ten students, and the sessions would last for one hour over the course of seven weeks.
The Last Knit...Cute short film about knitting...

I have been knitting like a fiend for the past four years. Before that, I knit in spurts on garter stitch scarves made with novelty yarns. Now, thanks to Ravelry and an inner drive, I attempt many things and share the success or frustration with online knitter friends. No one in my social circle knits; in fact no one in my circle can understand why I love it so much.

I had no one to use as a sounding board as I thought about where to begin. I tried to recall what steps I myself took to resurrect my knowledge of knits and purls. I had been taught to knit when I was around eight years old, but I needed a recap on what to do, so I refreshed my skills by getting a book and following the diagrams. The book that I found so very helpful is this...

Knitting the Easy Way
For a newbie or someone needing a refresher on knitterly knowledge, I highly recommend Knitting the Easy Way. It can be found on Amazon for $10.00 new, and $1.28 used. This book has great illustrations, is spiral bound so it stays open to the page you are working from, and it has many easy projects. There is a hat pattern, knit in the round, that I made dozens of times. It gave me the courage to try sweaters and socks.
Possum Hat

About three weeks before the sessions were to begin, I did some sleuthing on how one would actually teach knitting. What I found in my Google search was a great resource at the Craft Yarn Council site.

Each one, teach two!

They have a challenge where they ask knitters and crocheters to consider teaching two friends in order to spread the craft. They give lesson plans, illustrations, and certificates of completion. They have a tab on their home page for learning to knit that gives line drawings of the garter stitch, purl, casting on and off.  The instructor can even register to win prizes for spreading the love of knit and crochet. They offer a course that you can take in person or through correspondence that, upon completion qualifies you as a certified instructor.


So, for the class, I made a brief tip sheet. I packed up my MacBook,  I brought needles and skeins of worsted weight yarn for them to begin with. I brought some items I had made to inspire them. I was nervous, because I had no idea how I would teach a large group if we had a lot of people sign up. But my worries were for nothing....

Two women arrived for the first session. After introducing myself and asking them about their fiber experiences, I showed them the wonders of Ravelry and urged them to join. I explained how they could go to YouTube if they needed help in the time between classes. I also counseled them that learning to knit takes patience and persistence.

So I started them off by doing a cable cast on. I had been advised that they would need this skill if they wanted to start over during the time between classes. One woman had taken a knitting class about a year ago and she was getting on fairly well. My other student had trouble holding the needles and following my example. I am anxious to see how she is doing when we meet again on Wednesday night.

So are you up to the challenge of teaching two friends to knit?
Have you any tips you can share with me on strategies you have used while teaching?
Perhaps you have a favorite YouTube video or book to share with me?
My next lesson will be covering the info on a yarn label and how to follow a pattern.
We meet Wednesday night; lend me a hand if you have tips to share.

9 comments:

Patricia said...

Nice post. I have never taught anyone to knit...but am open to the idea! I learned from my grandmother (crochet) and the a friend (knit) when I was expecting my first baby. I am forever indebted to her. You are right...Ravelry certainly does raise the high water mark!

Marie/Underground Crafter said...

Congrats on teaching your first class!

Amy said...

That's awesome! And I love the little video. I tried teaching a friend of my aunt's to knit, and I do think that teaching someone to cast on is the hardest hurdle.

Evelyn said...

Sounds like you are off to a great start! BTW, I'm a huge fan of that adorable little knitting movie and was so happy to see you include it here in your post. As for taking the challenge, I think it's a great idea. I've taught my kids to knit and it makes me happy to know that the craft will live on. In knitting, showing, not telling, is the key (but you're a teacher so you know that already!). Enjoy.

Inky077 said...

This just blew me away. Informative, creative, productive, practical - wow!

I have decided to take the challenge to teach another to knit. Now who is the victim? LOL

Erin_in_Boston said...

Inky077, aka Julie, as for your victim.... hmmmm, I really should have alluded to studies which have proven that squirmy kids with ADD or other learning disabilities are calmed by the rhythm of knitting. It is indicated that the kids are better able to attend to lessons and retain material if they are allowed to listen and knit. How close is your elementary school? You could create a brigade of young knitters...... :D

Cathy {tinniegirl} said...

I never really made it past garter stitch. I knitted myself a gorgeous colourful garter stitch scarf a few years back now and then left it at that. I used to crochet granny blankets as well but these days I mostly seem to paint.

autumngeisha said...

Thank you for the link to the Craft Yarn Council site. I love the lesson plans and certificates...makes it seem like an actual course. I taught both of my nieces to knit. The younger one has continued to enjoy it, while the older one has (temporarily I hope!) lost interest. I am thinking of drawing her back in by showing her some cute projects that she might want to make. For young knitters, the finished product is often the appeal.

Erin_in_Boston said...

There is a little coin wallet that is like an origami box. Pattern is on Ravelry, but I can't open that site at work.... lucky for my employer eh? I will try to remember to send it to you tonight, long day of meetings and may not get home til 6!!