Simple Knitting Tips: Take a Class

I love teaching people to knit. It's something I've done for a long time (not long compared to say, my friend Joyce, who's been at it for multiple decades, but still, long-ish) and when I take a break from it like I did last summer, I miss it. I try to keep an array of classes scheduled to make sure that I hit something that will appeal to just about anyone. I also like to create new classes from time to time to keep myself fresh and to answer the requests I get from students to learn certain techniques.

Need some reasons to take a class? How about these:

1. Meet new people. This being a fairly transient society we live in, I am always teaching folks who are relatively "new in town" and are taking classes to meet new people. This is also true of people who are in transition periods of their lives--the kids are going off to college or the streamers from the retirement party have just been taken down. Finding a new hobby means finding a new tribe (something I wrote about not long ago) and that leads to lots of good things, including the fountain of youth...

2. Stay young. We've all heard the scientific studies that prove that the more we stay mentally active, the longer we retain our mental faculties. Knitting is a fantastic way to keep your mind sharp, because having a hobby and staying connected to other people keeps you interested in life. Excitement about learning something new keeps you wanting to get up in the morning. So take a class, because if you do, you just might...

3. Learn something new. If you never do anything but the knit stitch and are deliriously happy with it, that's great. But if you find that working only garter stitch has made knitting lose its panache, then try adding some new knitting know-how to your repertoire (also, try saying "new knitting know-how" 3 times fast). When you learn to purl, for example you can then learn to incorporate things like cables and lace. When you learn to knit in the round, you can then learn to knit socks and hats. It's a slippery slope, people, and I'm here to push you over the edge.

4. Improve skills. I've had students who have taken the same class from me more than once, in an effort to solidify the skills they were working to master. Sometimes repetition is truly the key (and sometimes a class is the only time they know they can have uninterrupted knitting time!). I encourage practice, because I know that it took me years of practice and steady work on my techniques to have skills that showed improvement. Heck, I still have a freakishly large number of skills that I need to practice, so taking classes recently at the SC Knitting Guild's Knit Inn was a welcome change for this teacher! Improving your knitting skills can also lead to improved concentration and manual dexterity. Teach your muscles something new so they don't get bored.

5. Pad the resume. No really. Maybe you're not a knitwear designer or knitting instructor, so this may not seem obvious, but bear with me a minute. Remember what I said before about meeting new people? Y'all, it really is WHO you know in this world (AND how you treat them, but that's another blog post for another day...) and networking among knitters is just as legit as networking at a happy hour business mixer. Plus you gain those awesome new knitting skills, to boot. Think of it as golfing with potential clients, but with less pressure and in an atmosphere of learning and fibery goodness and less dependance on the weather. You never know whom you'll meet in a knitting class and how far that new friendship might take you.

6. Keep me on my toes. OK, yeah, I admit that this one is personal. I want you to take my classes to keep me on top of my game. Selfish of me, but y'all inspire me to stay sharp and focused and keep learning new skills and improving my teaching techniques. I love to teach knitting and I love my students (I have the best ones anywhere, so they're easy to love).

How about you? Have you found that taking a knitting class is sometimes about more than just knitting? What have you learned, and what did you learn that you didn't expect to learn?