Posts tagged ‘kid knitting’

A Terrible Teacher

When I was trying to decide what to do with my life and pick a major in College, my mind briefly landed on the idea of education. I even went so far as to apply and get accepted to a secondary education program at Penn State. I’m very glad I changed my mind. I’m a terrible teacher. My knitting, and the lack of sisters and friends I’ve converted to knitting proves it.

This is the scenario. I have a crafty friend who eyes me enviously as I knit away at church events, over coffee, and while watching movies.  One thing leads to another and I offer to teach them. Within a week, we hit obstacle #1: TIME. I have no time these days. I barely have time to crank out a sock or two, and you all can see how much I neglect this blog. In my dream world, we make it past that obstacle. I may even have the chance to teach them to cast on, and knit their first row. If I’m very, very lucky, which does happen sometimes, they catch on quickly, and knit away on their little swatch or scarf for a few years. Then I hit obstacle #2. They’re hooked on knitting. They love working on their scarf, but they’re bored. Now comes the more time intensive part of teaching (See Obstacle #1), teaching them to follow a pattern. There are multiple components to teaching someone how to follow pattern for the first time.  Picking a pattern, walking them through the techniques used by the pattern, and serving as a knitting help desk when something goes wrong.

This is where it is very, very obvious that I’m a terrible teacher. I think I’ve only managed to find a decent beginner pattern once. This is the problem. I was 7 or 8 when my Gramma taught me how to follow a pattern for a pair of mittens. I can’t remember not knowing what a k2tog meant. I’ve not always done it well, but I’ve always known what the gibberish that is a knitting pattern meant, and if I didn’t, I enjoyed looking stuff up and beating the challenge. I’ve never felt intimidated by knitting. So when I’m helping someone pick a pattern, I always pick ones that I know in my head are easy enough, but then when my student gets beyond the first row, their absolutely lost. What the heck does YO mean? What’s the difference between ssk and k2tog? I always feel like I’ve handed a calculus textbook to a math-loving 10 year old. He loves working fractions, and can do long division in circles around his classmates, but when he opens that textbook and sees millions of graphs and letters (he thought math was about numbers), he’s so overwhelmed he never wants to touch the stuff again. That’s what I feel like I do when I try to teach.

But I will not be deterred. I may not be a natural teacher, but I’m pretty logical. So I’ve started thinking. What makes a good pattern for a new knitter? I realized that it’s not how the pattern is knit up that makes them seem like calculus textbooks (k2togs are not that hard). It has to do with how the pattern is written. If you’ve never made mitten before, the pattern should explain that as you do these seemingly random K2togs, you’re actually increasing for the thumb gusset. If you’ve been knitting mittens since you were 8, that’s a very obvious concept. If you knit your first swatch yesterday, it really isn’t.

The catch is, I’ve found very, very few patterns written this way. Another catch, I’ve rarely found that the patterns that do seem to be written this way are anything I would want to labor on for hours. So if you actually want to knit something you’re excited about and in the absence of finding patterns geared for beginners, I would look for the following in a pattern for a new knitter:

  1. It only uses one or two new techniques
  2. If it is a garment, it has an easy to understand structure.
  3. It’s small
  4. It has a good glossary of knitting terms

Use a pattern you can read-all the way through first. Don’t just rely on pictures. Make sure you have a good knitting reference book or website handy. I love They have little videos for everything you could dream up.

If you take it slow, and have a little faith in the designer of the pattern, you should be able to muddle you’re way through it. Even if you have a terrible teacher like me.


August 4, 2010 at 9:31 am 1 comment

Occupying Myself

Hat almost done. My husband had an errand to do so I plan to write up the pattern and make it available as soon as possible. This picture doesn’t capture it, but the curved raised lines are amazingly cute, and the texture and color of the yarn are giving it an adorable bohemian look. Grr… I can’t decide what to name it though. Any suggestions?

The other project I’m using to kill time till my yarn arrives is a simple doll sweater pattern written for kids. I’ll get on my soapbox for a sec. Why the heck aren’t there any good kid’s beginning to knit books? The one I used when I was growing up wasn’t even a kids book… it just had kid friendly illustrations…and even that one is out of print. So I’m trying to put together some patterns that are specifically designed for the new child knitter.

Here’s how I’m coming on the test knitting…

On another random note…. we saw this on our way home today.

January 18, 2010 at 2:13 am Leave a comment

Visit My Ravelry Page Follow on Twitter Follow on Facebook Subscribe with RSS Follow Me on Pinterest


July 2018
« Nov    

Blog Stats

  • 51,033 hits

%d bloggers like this: