Most often sound surprised when we tell them we do not have a "fixed" curriculum -- we focus on personalizing the coursework based on each individual customer's learning style and pace. Others are miffed that we do not have a regular schedule of basic group knitting classes.
I mean, if basic knitting is about learning to cast on, knit, purl and cast off; sure, we do that. But we are more concerned if you are exercising proper and even tension with a comfortable posture. These ensures you are well poised for long knitting hours with a finished handknit that you would be pleased with.
Often customers who attempt to learn on their own or from store group classes come to us with no tensioning techniques so they mostly:
- have extremely tight knitting
- end up hurting their fingers with all that poking
However, as it is, we find that dedicated attention is required to ensure that customers pick up the proper techniques from the start. It's just so much harder for customers to correct their incorrect needle handling postures and more time is required.
I mean, if you have a child who is learning to write, I am sure you don't send your kid to a group class along with 5 other students and expect the teacher to spend individual time to monitor and correct his/her pencil handling and writing technique right within the limited class time? It is not impossible but it will certainly take several lessons to get there. (That said, it's my personal opinion; having been teaching knitting and crochet for the last 6 years.)
In fact just the other day in the MRT train, I saw a young teenager sitting several seats diagonally away from me who is a knitting novice. I wished I had taken a video to show you but it was obvious she hasn't learn how to handle the needles properly as her fingers were bunched at the needle tips, her shoulders tensed and hunched, as she squinted her eyes real hard; trying to manoeuvre the stitches across the knitting sticks. I feel really sorry for her as I wouldn't really call that knitting.
When Rina joined us, she was very specific. She had picked up knitting during her time in London. She described the place she went to as a quaint little local yarn shop with ladies sitting around and knitting.
While there wasn't any formal structured lessons, the ladies offered to help whenever needed. However Rina felt that she was still very much an outsider as the ladies often chatted amongst themselves and she found it hard to intrude to ask for help.
Even when she did, the help rendered were often done quite offhandedly. These made her more determined to master knitting the proper way.
Rina came with a specific pattern -- a baby blanket as she was pregnant and very much wanted to get a handknit gift ready for her baby.
The pattern looks deceptively simple as she discovered earlier. She realized there was no way that she could have attempted the pattern sheet on her own.
She initially opted for a 3hr trial lesson thinking that she could master the stitches and learn the instruction reading.
As the lesson approaches the end, she decided that it was impossible to get to completion on her own as she wasn't experienced enough to be able to fix any potential mistakes on her own. Also, there was the edging pickup involved for the final enclosing borders.
So she went on to sign on one of our lesson packages and continued on this blankie.
See all that striping randomness? In the beginning, Rina was quite concerned about adhering to the pattern repeats -- as everyone knows, pregnant ladies tend to be more forgetful. I told her to go ahead with the pattern randomness as she has a great eye for aesthetics so she can just switch the pattern striping as she pleases. What's the point of stressing and fussing over proper repeats?
That said, she was extremely relieved when I threw out the notion of pattern conformity.
This blanket is a good size that will act as a throw for her baby while in the stroller -- a definite essential in our air conditioned malls in Singapore!
You bet I am pleased!