Monday, September 8, 2008

In Which I Teach

Several months ago, I embarked on an interesting new adventure. Little was I to know how quickly I would fall in love with my undertaking, and how much I was truly to benefit from it.

I became a knitting teacher.

I teach classes now at Hillcreek Yarn Shoppe, my favorite local yarn store. The owner, Joan, is an old friend of my mother-in-law, and has been very good to me over the years. This last spring, I asked if she needed teachers, and volunteered my services.

At first, I taught classes on specific techniques. My very first class was on the very scary subject of steeks - which was good fun. There's nothing like the thrill of cutting into your knitting for the first time to get the laughter going! My next big technique class was to be a two-weekend workshop on advanced lace techniques. We didn't get to knit much in that class, but my students went home with a solid understanding of how to knit lace, and the courage to get started on some projects they had wanted to try for a long time.

I've also done project-specific classes, which seem to be more popular at this time of year. I personally love adding beads to my knitting, and as Joan wanted an intro to beading class it seemed only natural to do something simple like beaded mitts. Never one to do things the easy way, I decided to develop the pattern for the class on my own. The result is my very first pattern, and I'm pleased with it. My mitts are customizable, and the pattern comes with options for three different cuffs and instructions on creating your own beaded patterns.

The sample was done with Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend and size 6/0 seed beads. It now lives at Hillcreek, and I am considering whether or not to sell the pattern. Here it is, modeled by the wonderful Rose.

This last weekend I taught a beginning shawl class. Joan and I selected Two Old Bag's Garden Party Shawl for the class, and I worked up the sample in Elsebeth Lavold's Silky Wool. (The yarn is a favorite of mine.) This shawl is a basic garter stitch triangle, but it uses the rate of increases to curve the top line so that it drapes nicely over the shoulders and stays put. In our first class, students learned how about yarn overs, paired decreases, shawl construction, keeping track of stitch markers and how to read your knitting. We will need to do a second class in a month or so to do the ruffle edges, but that one hasn't been scheduled yet.

Pretty, isn't it! I have a drawer full of shawls now, so this one will live at Hillcreek. I have to admit that it was a bit tough on my hands to knit - being on much larger needles than I am used to - and it was a tad on the boring side for me. However, the end result is so nice that it was definitely worth it. Plus, I was extreemly glad that I had this project to work on when the vertigo hit last month because it was the only thing I could work on without getting dizzy!
I have loved every minute of teaching so far, and can't wait to do more!

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