On Saturday I gave the first in a series of free basic knitting lessons. I thought I was totally prepared even before I arrived because I had gathered my favorite knitting instruction books, I had a collection of yarn and needles, and I had copies of basic knitting instructions for my students to take home. I was ready!
I arrived 20 minutes early hoping that would give me time to set up supplies at each station, and maybe place a few instruction manuals around the table. Unexpectedly, there were a bevy of women who descended on the reserved table as soon as I arrived. I had no time to set up, and collect myself. Soon there were over ten ladies sitting at a table designed to comfortably hold six.
Luckily, many of the women already knew how to knit, and just needed a refresher. One woman was a little hopeless, having done no handwork at all, her hands were very clumsy. Although she could perform knitting movements while supervised, she immediately forgot everything as soon as I wasn’t watching. I could have spent all my time at her side, but that would not have been fair to my other students.
Most of my students picked up the concept of casting on quite quickly. Because it’s stable and looks nice, I started with the knitted cast on. Some struggled, so I taught them the backwards loop cast on instead. Backwards loop isn’t my favorite. It looks nice, but it’s easy to make it too tight. I also don’t like it when I turn the work to knit the first “real” row, and the loops sometimes don’t remain evenly spaced, and don’t move together on the needle. One woman saw the printed instruction sheet and immediately remembered the long tail cast on. Yay!
Over the two hour class we covered the cast on, the knit stitch, and finally the purl stitch. I was hoping we would have time to learn the cast off, but that proved to be an overly ambitious plan. Even if we would have had time, I realized we really had struggled through and accomplished quite a bit.
It was a fun challenge to have so many students at one time. I have never taught so many. I had a great time, and apparently so did my students. Many of them asked the library staff to hold another class, and we will. I am scheduled again for January 8, 2011!