Learning in CommunitiesPosted: October 24, 2009
I’ve scored a couple of days work relief teaching. I did a day on Friday and I’m doing another day tomorrow. It isn’t a lot but it is a start and I’m hoping to get my foot in a few doors.
In the meantime, I’ve been on another learning journey altogether. When I was a child we were taught to knit. We made coathanger covers out of horrible nylon yarn using metal needles. I think my sister was more successful than me and she went on to teach herself how to crochet but I just had that bit of knitting experience.
Since then I’ve taught myself to cross stitch and I’ve become reasonably skilled in that medium. I started going to Threads and More when they opened their store in Sherwood and doing cross stitch but the siren call of the beautiful yarns and materials they have there worked its magic and soon I was signing up for my first knitting class. I’ve done a couple of classes since then (last year) and alternated knitting with cross stitching.
I’ve learned and in some cases re-learned:
- cable cast on
- cast off
- plain knitting
- purl knitting
- stocking stitch
- moss stitch
- knitting into the side of a knitted piece
- changing colours
- weaving in ends
- assembling a garment
- knitting “in the round”
I’ve made a garter stitch geometric blanket, a patchwork Noro top, a face cloth, a hand towel amd I’m currently working on the bath bag. And it has all been a pretty painless process. So what contributed to this being such a positive learning experience? And can this be replicated in schools?
Learning environment – I can go and do a class or participate in one of the social groups that meet at the store. There’s good coffee on hand and the staff and fellow knitters are always friendly and helpful.
Just in time learning – I can ask a question almost any time. I’ve waited till Saturday morning but I’ve also dropped into the store during the week and there is always someone who can point me in the right direction. If I really can’t wait I’ve been pointed to the Ravelry community which is like Face Book for knitters.
Encouragement for new ideas – there are lots of different people doing lots of different things and they are all willing to share what they are doing or what they have learned.
Empathy when mistakes are made – everyone has ripped things out and tried again and apparently I am becoming a “real knitter” if I can do so.
I’m eagerly anticipating new learning and thinking about how I might pass it on to others. I might teach Eric to knit but he’ll have to tie his shoelaces first!