Here’s a great way to become a better teacher: sign up for a class to learn something completely new that is outside of your previous experience.
If you are teaching knitting, you probably have been a knitter for a while and may have forgotten what it was like to learn to knit for the first time. One of the biggest mistakes we can make as teachers is to assume the knowledge we have about our subject is “obvious” and skip over important explanations and steps in our teaching.
So go take a class outside your comfort zone. Experience being a beginner taking a class from a subject matter expert. Notice what the instructor makes easier by adding details for the novice and/or notice where the instructor makes assumptions about what you should know that you don’t know. Where does the instructor go too quickly for the novice? When does the instructor ask questions to assess student understanding and how do they tailor their instruction due to the responses?
Then the next time you teach a class to beginners or you teach an unusual technique, put yourself in the place of the beginners. Think about what assumptions you are making about your learners and how you can confirm those assumptions are correct and what you can do if they are not. What knitting moves need slowed down so the novice can follow them? What details might you need to mention that the novice might not know?
Every time you teach a class, remember to put yourself in that beginner’s mindset. Your students will thank you! If you are using my teaching packs, you’ll find a list of common points of confusion for each lesson and how to handle it!
After getting the really great Japanese Knitting Patterns book, I’ve decided I wanted to explore some other Japanese pattern books. I signed up for a class at Stitches West in February but that’s a long way off!
So first I visited Kinokuniya, the Japanese bookstore in San Jose. I’ve browsed Japanese knitting books there in the past, but perhaps because it is summer, they didn’t have much of a selection this time. Then I remembered that I had heard about an Etsy shop that carries all kinds of Japanese craft books and magazines. I searched through literally hundreds of books and magazines and narrowed it down to six that I ordered.
The books and magazines have arrived and now I’m puzzling through the construction details for a few favorite patterns. I thought I’d share the resources that I’ve been using to help me.
In addition to the front material in Japanese Knitting Patterns, Twig and Horn have a great post on how to read Japanese knitting patterns. One of the most important things it explains is how to read the decrease information for armholes and necklines.
I also found a Japanese/English dictionary full of knit specific terms that has been useful.
Ravelry has a Japanese Knitting and Crochet group that is also very helpful.
If you have used Japanese knitting patterns, I’d love to hear your favorite resources!
It feels like I had a slow knitting month but I finished one major project. My On a Whim CustomFit pullover is finished! I modified the pattern slightly to have longer ribbing at the cuffs and hem. It’s way to warm for this sweater right now, but I look forward to wearing it this winter.
I started two new sweaters. Spanish Bay is another CustomFit sweater. I worked the ribbing by hand and did the stockinette portions on my LK-150 flatbed knitting machine. The pieces are assembled and I’m adding the lace border now. I’m doing a fun trick for the lace. The first three odd rows are yo, k2tog and the next three odd rows are ssk, yo. It’s over 200 stitches so that over 100 ssks to work. On the even (wrong side row) before the first yo, ssk row, I wrapped my yarn for the purls in the opposite direction. That changed my stitch mount so that all the stitches are “pre-slipped” on the right side so I just have to work them through the back loops. It was a bit of a trick to purl the “wrong” way for my usual knitting style, but it’s making things go much quicker on the right side rows.
My second sweater is a poncho/cardigan combo from Japanese Knitting (Pattern F). The yarn I’m using for this is Knit Picks Swish DK, which I think should be called “Squish” because it is sooo soft and squishy. I’m just getting started on this and it is my new endless stockinette pattern for social knitting.
I played a bit with working a lace pattern on my CSM and made a little cozy for a mason jar. I have to play with this a bit more and see if this would be a good use for leftover yarn from making socks.
In knitting I can’t show yet, I spent quite a bit of time working on swatches and samples for third party submissions. More info on that if/when they are accepted!
My Fidget Socks continue to move along. I’m ready for the heel in the second sock. No progress on the Star Wars Double Knit Scarf, but I will get back to it soon! I knit a few rounds on my Rose City Rollers while at a doctor’s appointment.
I have a new pattern out called the Seetang Cowl. I didn’t knit on it this month, but my lovely test knitters made all kinds of beautiful variations you can check out!