Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Passing the torch

Greeting from Jamaica! My friends and I are playing lots of tennis and enjoying the local culture and sights. I've bought some Blue Mountain coffee and the required Bob Marley t-shirt, but it hasn't been all about hedonism. Last week, before we left Denver, one of my tennis buddies requested a knitting lesson. How cool is that?

It did get me to thinking, however. Am I a good enough knitter to try and teach someone else? Am I a good teacher? I've really focussed on my knitting the last couple of years--classes, knitting workshops, books and videos, a vast number of projects. Yet, there's still so much I don't know. Until last week, I had never even heard of the Italian cast-on. Am I kidding myself here?

I brought along a basic book, some yarn, and an assortment of needles. We had a bit of rain yesterday, so my friend and I found some comfortable chairs on a covered veranda, and before we knew it, two hours had flown by. She already knew how to cast on, and also the knit stitch. I taught her to purl and the two-by-two rib. We talked about gauge and swatches and staying relaxed. Tomorrow she's going to try knitting in the round and maybe start a hat, and I think she's really enjoying herself. She told several others in our group that I'm a good teacher, which made me happy. I hope I did a good job.

Teaching someone to knit is such an enjoyable experience--satisfying in a way that goes beyond knitting itself. I'm glad I'm able to help my friend with her knitting, even if I'm unsure of my teaching abilities. I know I'm not even in the same universe as the Yarn Harlots or the Ann Budds of the world, but it gives me a sense of belonging, a sense of giving back to an art that has given me so much. I like that.

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