knitting


When I began the Kid’s Camp at the corporate employer the goal was to get kids to knit stuffed animals (remember those horrible little arugurumi creatures!?). Every bout of kids turns up total failure: not a single child has finished a project. I’d blame myself, but I refuse to take credit for this failure: expecting 6-year-olds to learn the cast-on, knit and bind-off, plus the single crochet in two 2 hour sessions (with a week’s span between the two sessions, no less!) is RI-DIC-ULOUS! But progress was made: my first session resulted in one child crying, another jamming her needles up her nose and another somehow ending up with a skein of yarn in an IMpossible lump of knots. I’m really ashamed of this, I assure you. The second group of students ended with one girl completing a solid half of an octopus, all mastered the knitted cast-on and 2 of the (five? I think?) managed to successfully knit a few rows. This last class seems pretty hopeless, but we’ll see how I salvage it tonight.

You see, children under ten, I find, cannot focus for two hours straight: their small bladders give way, their attention-spans work against them and their motor-skills, especially under the age of eight, are antagonizing. Over ten? Few problems. I firmly believe that if the camp ran, say, two weeks, with an hour everyday, I could get some results. My theory is, though, that when at the end of two hours arrives, the kids are frustrated, confused and feeling pretty crummy about their lack of results. The last thing they want to do is go home and practice immediately: which is what they need to do, to commit it to muscle memory. By the time week 2 with another 2 hour block arrives, we mostly review what we already learned. Inevitably there is one mother who insists her child should master all the skills required for a sweater, and inevitably some student thinks she deserves all my attention (it’s never the child correlating with the demanding mother, either).

I’ve learned from this:

  • don’t push kids to do what they don’t want to do when they really are trying–let them be comfortable with what they CAN do.
  • DO push kids when they have needles up their nose–that isn’t something a kid should be comfortable with.
  • Definitely let the kids take bathroom breaks, but have a designated time in which EVERYone makes the trip to the bathroom. Also, make sure none of the children find an empty cart and go for “rides.”
  • Make sure the parents understand: everyone learns at different rates, and maybe they’ll have an octopus or cuddly fish for their room–but they very well may not.

I do have pictures of the spinning.

Ah, ah! Wait, first, I have to torture you with news in the way of Kid’s Camp at Corporate Employer, where I will be promoting (and then teaching!) children from the ages of five to fourteen the fine art of knitting.

Yes.

Five.

to.

Fourteen.

We’ll be knitting little critters, knit entirely in garter stitch (the good) and using simple techniques such as k2tog’s (the bad). I say that a bit sarcastically because I’m guessing a fourteen year old would get it–but, then, they’d probably also be bored to death with these lame little creatures.

Five-year-olds? Casting-on, knitting, knitting two together and binding off? Then crocheting little tentacle-legs for the octopuse and crochet circles for the poor Angelfish’s eyes? RIggggghhhhht.

even my critters look a little bit on the dorky side:

Oscar the Octopus & Andy the Angelfish hanging out.

Oscar the Octopus & Andy the Angelfish hanging out.

I’m curious about comments–lame? unreasonable expectations of the little ones? a total misfire of “cool factor” for tweeners? and teens?

I’ll be knitting into the wee hours, trying to improve poor Oscar and Andy, and attempting to have my example shape-swatches ready for tomorrow’s demo.

That’s me, shouting across cyberspace, because I have been so very far away from the blogosphere, the echoes are bouncing off the walls in the dark little cave I’ve been hiding in. Oh, sure, I tweet here and there, but mostly? I putter about and knit, spin, read and write–all are endeavors that cause me to neglect you, dear reader.

Ah–Purly News:

  • A woman would like to sell our NeedleBooks in her Needlepoint shop in New York. She thinks they’d be handy to hold thread! How clever–hadn’t thought of that use…
  • I’m working on a cozy+mug=Mozey. This Mozey is manly and uses sock yarn for a great, versatile fit… that is not why it’s manly. It’s manly because of the earthy colorway.
  • I finished my sock! Now I need to start on its mate… oh boy!
  • Our shop has made some sales! That’s really exciting–have a look-see, I knit a bit, but the hot items are the cool knitting gear, etc. that my mother makes.

I think that is all. I don’t even have pictures!

Oh, I finished that yellow scarf. I hope to have pics up soon. It’s Gorgeous.

Books are great, when I have time to read….

Well, a long time ago, I stumbled across this picture:

(Click image to go to the original blog-poster's site--more info there)

(Click image to go to the original blog-poster's site--more info there!)

Now I know a lot more–and though it was cool then, it’s cooler now. This woman, according to the blogger who posted this (and gives all the rightful credits) is Spanish… but my fun fact for today is actually about Armenian spinning/knitting:

According to Priscilla A. Gibons-Roberts, author of Spinning in the Old Way (I gave Amazon.com link here), the Armenians spun socks out of fine wool–but tiny little “barbs” that caused socks to be itchy and uncomfortable were unavoidable results of spinning the wool. The solution? Put the finished sock on a sock-blocker, inside out, and run the sole of the sock over open flame. The open flames literally singed the little slubby and uncomfortable “barbs” off of the sock–resulting in a comfier fitting sock.

Genius.

I wish I had a picture of this. I searched, dear reader, I really did.

All for now– I am still, unfortunately sick.

An interesting site

It’s all about the history of the spindle–how the “Great Wheel” came to be the “Great Wheel,” and how the drop spindle its self is thought to have come about. Information like this is fascinating–but where is the information about later histories? Social histories? I know it’s out there…

If you know of any resources, books, or what-nots…please let me know!

D recommended Knitting in America and a few others… I picked up Spinning the Old Way… we’ll see how helpful that is. Stay tuned… still researching!

Oh, and thanks to D for filling out the Spinner’s Questionnaire! That will be uber-super helpful… and thanks to those who have taken the poll… I’ve been simmering these ideas while I knit.

img_5848
The beautiful result of a trip to the LYS: Arucania sock yarn!

Ah! I told you I’d have pictures. And, yes, I have pictures. In fact, I’m importing them into my computer as we speak, then I’ll quickly crop and chop what needs be cropped and chopped, and then, my friend you will see the glorious (or not so) WIPs of the present moment.

Let’s see. We have a sock (shown on my arm; it would make a pretty armwarmer, though, wouldn’t it??). I’d show it to you on my foot, but I really hate my ankles cankles. sock: nearing the heel!!

And then there is the vest: a pink vest (that isn’t quite so pink in person).

Pink Vest: triple stranded with Cascade Pearls and two Moda Dea wool blends... loosely based on the Sloane Vest from YarnPlay.
The little person's sweater... so very simple, but so very sweet!

A little sweater for a little person–the back is finished, as you see here, but the front is not so.

The incorrectly pleated purse half.
img_5828And then a purse from Laura Irwin’s Boutique Knits. So, the pleating is correctly finished on the finished piece. The one still on the needles is only…well…half pleated. What thinks you, reader? To frog part of the incorrectly pleated piece or leave it?

Life’s funny. I’d been complaining that I was absolutely sick of being an unemployed college grad waiting to hear the verdict about grad school, waiting to get a job, waiting for life to begin. Life isn’t a waiting room, I complained, and I was tired of being more an observer, I wanted to be a contributor…

ENTER: My mother peeing at JoAnn’s Fabric & Crafts

She saw a sign advertising their need for knitting instructors. Knitting? Instructor? Knitting?

I jetted to the front counter where I immediately asked about the position. I was sent to the crafts room where I met the Director of Education…. and before I knew it, she was signing me up to knit at the Class Preview Day, and giving me several Knit 101 classes to teach.

This works wonderfully for me: I don’t have concrete hours from week to week, my work depends on, mostly, how much I want to do: I am, by nature, a self-starter, a bit the sort to lead, but I don’t mind following, either. This job will allow me to be the leader of my students, butI get the guidance of people who understand the business aspect of all of this better than I do.

Right now I’m working on samples of stuff to teach for the first few classes… someday I’ll have some pictures.  I am a woman of my word. Sometimes my word takes a detour, that’s all.

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