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Friday, October 22, 2010

Keeping up with my students

I am teaching knitting again after a long hiatus and am finding some new challenges. It has been quite a few years since I taught in a formal setting, as opposed to merely giving someone a little help with a ticklish problem. The language thing is very different in the two situations. Someone with a knitting question presupposes that someone already knows how to knit and has her favorite mode of tensioning the yarn and describing the stitches. Newbies are blank slates who come with a variety of dexterity levels and comprehension styles. It's the teacher's job to find the language that makes it all clear. I'm having to dig up descriptions and explanations that had rusted in the dormancy of my brain for long months. The challenge is good for me, though, and since I can always talk, I don't mind ferreting around in the dark recesses for aNOTHer explanation. 

Something else that has begun to fade is my sample hat - knit perhaps 7 years ago, hauled out for classes, grabbed, also, on frosty winter mornings to be pulled over tender ears before heading off into the woods. It just looks so sad. It's on display at the shop across the river where I am teaching and I'm pleased that it has still tempted students, longing to expand their needlework skill sets, into giving two sticks and some string a try. But each week when I visit the shop I'm disgusted with how shabby that poor hat looks. 

So I am knitting a new sample hat - which gives me the advantage of having exactly the same project in my hands as my students. I'm using stash yarn - I could not bring myself to purchase More Yarn, especially for something I shan't wear. Alas, with stash yarn, it's going to be in warm buttery autumn colors, not the L.L.Bean colors that are so popular down here. I am unable to follow Bess' Theory of Blue that claims that when all else is equal, people prefer blue. But at least I have something close to blue - something teal - and since I haven't any white worsted weight yarn, it will work well with this buttery yellow stuff -- label-less, but looking very much like Brown Sheep Lambs Pride. Heaven knows what the teal yarn is but it's somewhat fluffier and fuzzier. The pattern is my own design.

And isn't it wonderful to be able to feel virtuous about starting another project? After all - I need to be able to show my students what comes next, right? 

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