Saturday, 15 December 2012

Missionary Work

Yesterday I reprised my beginning knitting lesson for about 15 students in a Fashion Design course for Continuing Education. These are (mostly) young adults who are working towards getting all their credits so they can graduate from high school with an Ontario Secondary School Diploma.

Erin, their teacher, first contacted me last May and I did 2 classes (5 hours) of instruction and several of them completed their little cell phone cozies by the end of the 2nd class! Here are the pattern and instructional materials. They are free; I just ask that you ask me for my permission if you would like to use them for teaching purposes.
A couple of weeks later I dropped in unannounced and happily noticed that several students had continued knitting; some completing their class project, one was knitting a blanket and one gal had knit a headband with a daffodil on it for her daughter. I felt like a knitting missionary, having converted some Muggles to emergent knitters.

Erin contacted me a few weeks ago asking if I'd come in and teach her new class again. So we set it up again for a Friday (yesterday) and Monday so the students would have the weekend to work on their project and possibly finish it up by the end of the second class.

The class went very well. One student had been in the class last time and jumped right in to knit another cozy, remembering all my previous instruction. Here are most of them beavering away.

There are 4 gentlemen in the class all of whom tackled their task without complaint.

Melanie picked up the concepts very quickly and had progressed this far by the end of the first class.

When I complimented her on her progress, she exclaimed, "You taught me everything I know about knitting!".

There was actually a time when I asked, "Does anyone need my help?" and NO ONE ANSWERED!!! Erin and I were impressed. (For you non-educators out there, that hardly ever happens, especially when the class is learning a new skill).

Doesn't this student look relaxed?
Erin (a fairly inexperienced knitter herself) was very proud of what she accomplished during the class, too.
Erin was also pleased with how the whole class went. By the end, everyone was knitting independently and not requiring much if any help. Erin reminded me that last time I had brought in a helper on the first day. I had forgotten that and was then even more impressed with this class. When I told them how well they had done, some of them thought they had asked too many questions or asked for my assistance too much. I reassured them that when learning a new skill, it is always tricky at first but with practice, it gets easier.

FYI, I always teach the *knitted cast-on to beginners. Although somewhat tricky at first, once they have cast on the required number of stitches (in our case, 14) they have already mastered the techniques for the knit stitch and are quickly on their way to completing their garter stitch project. 

*for best success, teach the long-tail cast-on. It is  LOT easier for most beginners than the knitted cast-on.

I'm looking forward to seeing the students on Monday. I know there will be several who will be excited to show me what they accomplished over the weekend. Then we'll finish the strip of knitting (complete with decreases and a buttonhole), sew up the sides and sew on a button. Pics to follow on Monday.

For any eager beavers, I whipped up this dishcloth and have written up the pattern which Erin can distribute to any interested knitters.
It is based on Grandmother's Favorite dischloth pattern found here.

It is very rewarding for me to be able to combine two of my passions, knitting and teaching, and share my enthusiasm with other potential knitters.

If you knit, you will never be bored. You might get bored with a particular project, but you'll always be thinking of what you'll want to knit next.


  1. Hello! I'm actually getting my teaching certification through the Craft Yarn council and I have to write lesson plans. I came across your cute little cell phone pouch on ravelry and what a perfect beginner project! May I use your pattern as one of my lesson plans? I teach as Micheals and they provide me projects so I may never actually teach your pattern, it will just be used for my certification. Thanks!

    1. Hi Amy. You certainly may use my cell phone cozy pattern for your certification. Thanks for asking. If you ever do use it to teach, I'd LOVE to get photos of your students and/or their projects. Good luck! You can send me a message through Ravelry. My Ravelry ID is 'geri'.

  2. Hello Geri,
    I love your cell phone pouch! I'm starting a community free knitting class in Crowley Lake California and this would be a perfect beginning project for our little group. May I use your pattern for this purpose? I think the ladies would find it not only beautiful but fast and easy as well. Thank you!

    1. Certainly, Diane. I'd love to get photos of the completed projects. Feel free to message me on Ravelry. My ID is 'geri'.

  3. Hi Geri, love your cell phone pattern. Could I have you permission to use the pattern for a class of adult novice knitters. Thank you.
    , Trish from UK

    1. Yes, please do! I would love to see any photos of the finished products or your adults at work. I'd love to blog about them.

  4. I am teaching a beginners class in knitting at our Local Community Centre and I'd love to teach them your cell phone pattern for their first project. Could I have your permission to use your cell phone pattern. Thank you.
    Vicki from Oz.

    1. You certainly may use my pattern! Please send me photos of them and/or their finished projects. I'm 'geri' on Ravelry.