Last night after a long day at work a few of the gals from the office (sadly, we had no luck recruiting some of the guys) headed over to a nearby outdoor café where I tried for the first time ever to teach knitting. A good time was had by all, but I did realize how drastically under-prepared I am to teach knitting. First of all, I had three very willing and eager students. My friend B did some knitting once before and once I cast on and knit a row for her, she was off and running with a 7×9 inch garter stitch square. Wanting a challenge, Miss V, who’d never knit before, decided to tackle a square with alternating strips of garter (knit every row) and stockinette (alternate between knit and purl rows) stitch. In spite of her claims that she’s something of a savant at physical tasks like sports (and knitting, clearly!), I was quite impressed with her progress, both learning the techniques and figuring out how to fix her mistakes. By the end of the evening, she’d gotten through her first two “stripes” and was starting again on the garter stitch.
And then there was T. She started out strong, but pretty soon it was clear she was having a bit of trouble. B and Miss V were both working with KnitPicks Swish superwash – a simple yarn, easy to work with, and with only a mild inclination to splittiness. T, on the other hand, chose some Lion Brand Wool-Ease in a heathery color. I know I’ve said before that I’m the world’s biggest yarn snob – just the touch of acrylic gives me the heebies – but this poor girl’s struggle with the ridiculous and borderline-unusable frizziness of the yarn was enough to swear me off Lion Brand permanently.
It was something of a struggle to get these knitters going and keep them on track. There must be some (Oh my goodness . . . in the wake of Little Miss Law’s plea for proofreading today I caught this . . . yeah, knitting is “contagious,” but not like that) mnemonic
pneumonic (something along the lines of loop, swoop and pull – I’m sure there are many) for the basic knit and pearl stitches. I found myself clumsily grabbing and twisting people’s hands quite a bit, and there were a few really silly moments when I was just shouting encouragement like a crazy soccer mom. Once we got going though, the knitters seemed to get the hang of things except for the occasional and fevered “help me!” pleas. I vacillated between simply fixing the knitting myself and trying to encourage self-help. There were certainly some crazy mistakes. T even managed to get the yarn completely wrapped around her piece of knitting about half-way through a row. I didn’t have the heart to explain that she’d discovered a technique it took me a week to figure out as part of the Frost Flowers & Leaves edging. B is an extremely careful knitter and, the most experienced of the bunch, seemed to have the easiest time making her way across the rows. My little star, Miss V, figured out how to slip her stitches to the other needle, making her way to mistakes and frequently fixing them.
The four of us, then three, then finally just two sat out in the open courtyard enjoying our meal, our knitting and some fun girl talk. Yarny goodness bringing people together . . . just the way it should be!