At In Sheep’s Clothing Thursday nights are knitting nights. This is the evening when I have mostly beginners that come in to take knitting class. For the rank beginners, the project it usually a scarf so they can learn to cast on stitches to the needle and then learn the knit stitch. If all goes smoothly, we can proceed to the purl stitch, and then work a combination pattern. Sometimes students pick up quickly and move right along; sometimes it takes more time and practice. I like to look at each student as an individual, and don’t propose a cookie cutter class. As I have learned over the years, one size does not fit all, nor should it.
In school, I did well in all classes except for math, which terrified me. It wasn’t until I got into high school — when an algebra class was offered, that basically took a one year algebra class, and broke it down into two; and at the slower pace, I not only could understand and keep up, but excel. This is my approach to knitting as well. It’s not a race to get the project done, but to enjoy what you are doing without stressing out over it.
Every knitting group is different depending on the personalities involved. I’m lucky that I have some of the funniest ladies that ever decided to knit join my class. There is always joking about adding some wine to the mix, but I have said more than once that they already have too good a time!
In between the jokes and funny observations of life in general, there are the occasional evenings when things just aren’t going as smoothly as one would hope. Sometimes it’s the yarn or pattern that is troublesome, and sometimes, it’s just been a really long day.
One particular evening, nothing seemed to be going well for some of the “girls.” You know — it’s one of those nights when there’s a lot heavy sighs, as well as muttering. I would hear a sigh, and go to check out what was amiss.
Even my help didn’t seem to be of help. Stitches were being knit, only to be ripped out, time and time again. There was laughter, but it was the tense kind. From a young age, I was and still am the person that will always come into a room, and take the emotional temperature of its occupants. Let’s just say I want everyone to be happy, and this night there was no real happy to be found.
One student was working a technique that involved a good deal of finessing, but tonight it felt like simply hellish tedium, and she wasn’t in the mood for it. I knew she was capable, and had done it before, so I would just have to deal with the whining. Yet another student was questioning, “Who ever said that knitting was relaxing in the first place?”
Oh, yes, this was what we were all up against, on this lovely winter’s night of knitting fun and relaxation. Edgar Allen Poe couldn’t have described a more melancholy atmosphere. As the class drew to a close, I laughingly told them that the whining was over and I hoped to see them and their work in a better place next week.
The following week, the troublesome hat was worn in, and the devilish button band for the mohair sweater had not only been picked up, but bound off. Of course, the bind off was another story, but it was later dealt with — and I can happily say that the outcome is outstanding.
Brenda’s sweater is pictured here. Knitting class can be fun, a great way to meet new friends, as well as learning and enjoying a new and productive hobby, but like all things in life we have to learn that learning isn’t always so easy.