Tuesday, March 18, 2008

In Before Snow

As we were driving home from the airport it started to snow. Gerry said it had been snowing off and on all day, but not sticking.

Now it's sticking.

It's 5:00 am, I went to bed SO early yesterday as I was just bushed, so now I'm up early. And it's a winter wonderland outside!

is our neighbor's house at 5:00am in the snow.

I don't think it will last long, it's been warming up here in St. Paul. But it's pretty until the sun comes out and scares it away!

So now I'm home for a bit. Time to dust off the projects I've been talking about and GET THEM DONE! Enough of this 'holding pattern' existence, time to roll up the sleeves and accomplish one or two of my goals!

It was great to be in Virginia Beach, the Knitapalooza event was so well organized by Bobbie & Ayesha & Ewe Knit - all of the attendees I met were enthusiastic and EXCELLENT knitters! I've seldom taught so many really DIFFICULT classes back to back with so much skill displayed by the students.

Teaching is fun (and exhausting, but anything worthwhile is going to be a bit of work!) but now it's time to get some projects out of the twilight of 'almost finished...' into the bright sunshine of COMPLETE!

New Strategies
I keep thinking that teachers and designers developing their own fiber related workshops in a neutral setting (like an airport Hotel) is the direction to move in the future. I'll never stop teaching at yarn shops (and I don't use the word "never" lightly) but bringing in teachers is a big expense for one shop.

If one shop can't afford me, it can be hard to find multiple shops in an area that are cool with sharing a teacher (and expenses.) This also involves a dance of soothing fears and convincing owners that classes will fill (or at least balance out...) So for those areas where there may not be shops able to host a teacher, a traveling teacher/designer based workshop may not be a bad idea.

Teach the Children Well
Some folks teach their kids about fishing, or cooking, or how to speak a foreign language. I teach my kids comic delivery. As usual, once I was in the car at the airport the kids were nuts to tell me new jokes;
Max's joke:
One muffin turned to another in the hot, hot oven and said, "Is it getting warm in here?" The other muffin screamed and said, "Aaah! A talking muffin!"

Hannah's joke:
One cow said to another, "Have you heard about this Mad Cow Disease? Apparently it makes cattle insane, and it really has me worried!" Her friend replied, "Worried? I'm not worried! I'm a helicopter!"
I explained to Hannah that a funnier punchline would have been, "Worried? I'm not worried! I'm a talking muffin!" But only if her joke follows Max's joke.

And this is how we instruct the children the development of leitmotif in humor.

Knitty Call
While in VA I was chatting with a guy in the business center (ie, closet with computer & printer.) He and his wife were in town for her brother's wedding (she was marrying her brother... she's a minister.)

It turned out that learning to knit had been something on this guy's list of 'things I'd like to do someday' so I offered to show him the basics. We made a tentative appointment to meet in the lobby the following day after classes.

I joked with my afternoon group that I had a "knitty call" to make after class. Unfortunately, the timing for our lesson didn't work out - when I called I spoke with his wife, who was lovely, but they were on their way out to dinner.

That evening when folks asked, "How was the knitty call?" I'd answer, "Not good. His wife answered the phone..."

When I got to the airport early for my flight, who should be at the next gate waiting for their flight but my new friends!

An impromptu knitting lesson for both of them ensued, and I left them with a small ball of wool and some bamboo circular needles so they could practice. It really brought home to me the difference in teaching men and women to knit. I don't like to make generalizations based on sex, it's not usually useful or true, but I have noticed that men just seem to have less fear about jumping into something.

Many women aren't fearful, it's true. I don't want to make sweeping generalizations. But I do believe that on the whole we [women] have been trained to doubt ourselves - or act like we doubt ourselves - and this is a hard habit for some women to break.

Men haven't had this same training in forced modesty. In the case of my new friends, she seemed to be an incredibly intuitive knitter, but he was definitely the more confident knitter.

I'm hoping to see them again when I'm in their town in a few weeks - isn't life funny?
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posted by Annie at


Blogger Geek Knitter said...

Please tell Max and Hannah that their jokes cracked my husband & I up this morning! A great way to start my day!

March 18, 2008 7:22 AM  
Anonymous Nicole said...

I love jokes! Those were good ones... I will have to remember them. I think comic delivery is the best thing you can teach your kids!!! Not everyone can be funny you know.

By the way. I have decided you have to be the nicest person I have never met. Your ability to make friends anywhere is amazing!

March 18, 2008 7:45 AM  
Blogger Annie said...

Hi Nicole,

You're sweet, but I definitely have my DAYS when I'm probably the LEAST nicest person you'd every meet! Remember, I get to write and edit this little blog version of my life...


March 18, 2008 7:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last Monday while driving from MSP to work I happened to hear a talk by Dee Dee Myers about her book - "Why Women Should Rule the World"- on KNOW. It was fastinating. I thought of it after your description of male and female knitters.

Pam in Denver

March 18, 2008 8:06 AM  
Blogger Helen said...

I've always suspected that a lot of that female apparent self-doubt was actually attention-seeking behaviour, designed to promote fussing and reassuring on a grand scale, but maybe I'm just a cynical, hard-hearted old trout :)

March 18, 2008 8:18 AM  
Anonymous Cathy said...

I taught myself to knit out of books, mostly, and I guess I've never really been a timid knitter. I'm smarter than those sticks and strings, so I can make them do what I want. Even socks when I'd only been knitting less than 6 months. (They're kind of big, but I still wear them with pride--I made them.) After all--what's the worst that could happen? I'll have to rip the whole thing out, and then I'll have sticks and string again.

March 18, 2008 8:23 AM  
Blogger Nancy said...

I'm always trying to convince my husband that he would make a fabulous knitter. He has great creative intuition.
Love the jokes and I'm glad you're home for awhile.

March 18, 2008 9:50 AM  
Blogger Marseille said...

Annie, in addition to the men vs. women thing.....I've had the wonderful experience of helping a friend (and fellow tech nerd) learn to knit (she had the basics....). We communicated on a good level, and she sees things the same way I do. (there's a math-y element, as well)

I've found that personality type/mindset/chosen career kind of factors in....fellow engineers and tech nerds tend to learn one way, and other groups learn different ways. I've seen teachers who are sensitive to that and some that aren't.

It's kind of neat--I wouldn't have thought about it much, but my dad made me read a couple of work/management style kinds of books--some on communication style were quite key, and translate well to the way knitters communicate.

March 18, 2008 10:38 AM  
Blogger Archiknist said...

This makes me think of a book review I read which argued that although many people perceive women as needing more reassurance/praise than men in order to excel, in fact men and women need similar amounts. The difference is that people are more likely to praise men than women, so women either don't excel or tend towards behaviors which encourage people to reassure/praise them (both by focusing on activities for which they are praised, and by acting as though they doubt themselves). I've forgotten what the book was called, and I only read the review, so this may have been one point among many, but it's stuck with me.

March 18, 2008 12:39 PM  

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