I don’t consider myself a great teacher. I lack patience and sometimes it’s just really difficult to get certain points across. So when my friends Heather and Theresa asked me to teach them to knit, I had slight reservations. I’d tried teaching some other friends to knit a few years ago and it really didn’t seem to go that well. Still, I figured at worst we’d have a fun afternoon, and quite possibly I’d introduce/indoctrinate two more obsessive knitters into the world!
How to Teach Your Friends to Knit
1) Prepare your lesson in advance. I tried to keep the first lesson as simple as possible, with an emphasis on the basics and reading knit patterns. In retrospect, I never even got around to teaching the purl stitch, and most of our time was spent on casting on and knitting the first row. I’d forgotten how much practice it takes just to learn these two basic steps!
2) Prepare materials. Originally we were going to go to Wildfiber, my LYS, and pick out yarn, needles, etc. together. Somewhere a long the line we decided we’d just use scrap yarn I had around the house. I didn’t like that idea though so I decided to surprise them each with a knit kit comprised of a skein of Manos del Uruguay variegated wool yarn, a tote bag, a tapestry needle, and size 10 straight knitting needles. I also threw in a Jughead digest for good measure, which was an impulse buy at the supermarket check out. I printed out copies of my "lesson plan" and put them in the bags as well.
3) Get snacks.
4) Drink wine.
5) Begin the lesson.
The first thing I did was to explain that yarn often comes in hanks and that before knitting with them, you need to wind them into balls using a ball and yarn winder:
Next, I began the lesson in the obvious way, by explaining the cast-on. I taught them the long-tail cast-on since that’s pretty much the only way I ever do it.
My plan was for us to complete a small square, then I would teach them how to bind-off. Unfortunately, we didn’t even get that far! There was a lot of unraveling and starting over going on, which is an integral part of the learning process.
We ended our lesson with a plan to get together again soon so that I could teach them more of the basics.
All in all, I think it was a successful afternoon, and both of them promised me they’d practice so our next lesson would be more productive. We’ll see!