Wednesday, February 05, 2003

Great Expectations

Am I expecting too much from my begining knitters class??
10 class members - 3 of whom knitted before, but took the class to learn the combination method and just generally to learn different techniques.

Of the 7 new knitters, several had knitted before, but felt they wanted an entry level class to build up their skillls.

Of the brand-spanking new knitters - well, ALL of them are doing amazing things so far.
  • They're knitting and purling
  • They've twisted stitches
  • They've made 2 and 4 stitch cables
  • They've done garter, stockinette and ribbing
  • They're on the way to understanding decreases and the way they slant

  • So, because the class is so good, I let them choose projects that are more challenging than a scarf - they are beyond scarves (not that scarves aren't great - but after the first 20 rows they can be pretty boring!)

    It's a long class - 10 sessions - and we have 5 sessions (6 weeks, we skip a week) to go. I want to take advantage of this luxury to guide my students through a first project that they can really treasure - that will be a mind opening experience!

    My philosophy is that when someone learns something, they're excited. This excitement fuels the learning curve so it zooms up faster than usual. In a great class with lots of energy, everyone's learning curve grows because no one is afraid of making a mistake in a fun and supportive atmosphere. I want to take advantage of the terrific learning curve by having my students reach a little farther than a simple scarf for their first projects. Here are a few of them:

    Three students are making sweaters from the winter VOGUE knitting - two are intermediate sweaters (one has cabling, one has waist and neck shaping) and the third is easy, but BIG - it's a huge swing coat, but a terrific design and something I really feel she can accomplish.

    One new knitter is making Fuzzyfeet from the current Knitty. It's true that heel shaping and working on double pointed needles can be a challenge, but this is a very thoughtful and methodical knitter - this is someone I really want to introduce to the concept of sock knitting! I think once she absorbs the process it will really enlarge her knitting imagination!

    Two of my other begining/intermediate students are making the felted bag Suki, also from Knitty. Aside from being a terrific exercise in knitting in the round, it will be very exciting to see the felting process!

    Two of my students are making sweaters that I'm designing for them - they're more advanced and want more of a challenge.

    Another student is making a vest from Interweave Knits. It was a terrific exercise in gauge - she got a yarn that seemed so much thinner than the pattern called for, but when she knit it up she got the same gauge. She will have the vest in the magazine, but with a lighter fabric that will work well in the Spring and Summer.

    Another more advanced knitter is making the beautiful long lace scarf from Interweave Knits - my goal is to have her realize how easy it is to 'memorize' a lace pattern when you're working it on a very narrow and very long scarf.

    The only fly in the ointment was when this class visited a local yarn shop to buy their yarn they all were advised by the shop owner that their projects were just way too advanced for a 'beginner' - one of the students came to class so dejected I thought she was going to cry! I know this shop owner, she's a great person - but not someone with the broadest knitting imagination.

    I know my students can meet my own expectations - and develop a few of their own!
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    posted by Annie at

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    Alison's Scarf
    Link to pdf file of cable/trellis lace scarf


    Hannah's Poncho
    Link to pdf file of multi-sized poncho



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