I recently met with Issy from the Stitch Factory here in Las Vegas, and am all set to start teaching some knitting 101 classes. I am excited to say the least, but a bit nervous. Not bad nervous...good nervous. I've been going over and over how to format the class so that it appeals to the most green of knitters and even those who have never held a pair of needles. I try to place myself in the seat of the student. What would I want or expect from a true knitting 101 class? Some of the things I came up with are:
- A patient and quality teacher (Got this covered. Duh! I do it for a living! :))
- An introduction to the basic lingo and technique--not an intimidating, knock-down, drag-out race to an actual pattern. Slow and steady. A building of skills.
- Plenty of opportunities to practice (and occasionally fudge things up) without feeling rushed to "get it."
- Constant feedback and positivity from the instructor.
- Snacks and beverages for break time. Oh! That reminds me...plenty of breaks to help ease any frustration and allow students to mingle.
- Perhaps the opportunity to leave with evidence of my newly learned/partially learned skill. Perhaps a cute swatch that can be used as a pot holder?
I'm thinking that after I have taken the students through a few of these classes, I would introduce a project. I have been doing a lot of reading on what types of projects make good first projects for beginners and have seen many adorable patterns, but one piece of advice stuck out from the Craft and Yarn Council. They mention that scarves are great patterns for beginners because they do not require gauge but that it can be daunting for a beginner to feel as if they aren't really getting anywhere. They recommend a pattern that can be worked up in one two or three hour class and that can show the student what they are capable of right away. That immediate gratification for which we all strive. I found one option for a quick knit that would appeal to any fashionista here. This little headband is adorable and if I choose a more chunky fiber, it will be even faster to knit; and in my opinion, more fun. I am also working up a scarf using a broken rib stitch pattern. I'm using a bulky weight yarn, so it's working up fast. I also think that the pattern will be easy enough for a beginner, but a bit more visually interesting than the basic garter stitch scarf. However, if one of the students isn't ready for the broken rib, they can always knit it up with garter stitch. I'm working the pattern as I go. Once it's finished, I'll publish it if you'd like to give it a try. It's super cute!