Before I get around to explaining what that title means, I’m going to start with a story.
My dear hubby (Tim) is Australian, where it’s hot, they drive on the left side of the road, and he was the owner of a lovely manual (stick-shift) car. We don’t own a car, so since moving to the US, he hasn’t had very much opportunity to drive automatic cars in snow on the right side of the road.
We borrowed a friend’s car to go to the Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival. For lunch, Tim would drive the car a few blocks to get lunch and bring it back while I worked the booth.
It snowed while we were in Pittsburgh, so this meant that Tim had to scrape the ice/snow off the car, etc. One time, he called me and said, “I can’t get the car out of park. Maybe it’s too cold?”. So I start running through a list of things to check: “Is there a warning light on? Are you pushing the button on the gear shift?”
Eventually, we figured out that in all the kerfuffle of the snow, he was forgetting to put his foot on the brake to get the car out of park. Problem solved.
What does that have to do with teaching knitting and crochet?
Teaching is about explaining all of those little maneuvers that you do automatically aloud and explicitly. Telling someone to ‘yarn over, pull yarn through’ isn’t amazing teaching- that’s basically reading the instructions out of a 1950′s ‘how to knit’ book.
I teach both knitting and crocheting, and the key to connecting with students is to explain every single thing you’re doing with your hands aloud. Because they’ve never done it before, and they don’t know! And it’s a hard thing to do, because we knit and crochet as second nature. Just like driving: when I drive, I hardly realize that I put my foot on the brake to get the car out of park. But, to help someone unfamiliar with driving, that is the level of detail you need to use!
Give it a try!
It’s your turn! Try explaining aloud every step that you do while knitting or crocheting. How close do you let the stitches get to the tips of the needles when knitting so that the stitches aren’t in danger of falling off?
Are you tensioning the yarn (that is, holding it so the yarn doesn’t go loosey-goosey)? How do you do it? What’s your trick for making sure you aren’t holding the yarn too tightly?
I think it’s a great exercise even if you aren’t planning on teaching. You may even gain some new insights into how you work!