A week from today, I will be packing to drive to Syracuse, New York, where I will be teaching 3 classes over the weekend of March 25-27 at the Yarn Cupboard’s Winter Retreat. (There are still some spots left in some of the classes, so check it out! There will be other folks teaching workshops in various yarn crafts plus a market. Fun!)
I’ll be teaching two half-day sessions of “Knitting A Sweater That Fits You” and one half-day session of “Sweater Triage,” where folks bring in their Problem Sweaters and try them on and I show them (and the class) how to diagnose and rehabilitate things-that-don’t-fit-or-look-right. (I love Sweater Triage. LOVE.)
Thus, it is time for my traditional week-before-teaching Freakout. I really ought to just go ahead and block this out on the calendar for every single event at which I teach or speak, because it happens like clockwork, and yet, every single time, the worst part of the Freakout is wondering how on earth I will manage to get through it. The fact that I always get through it, and enjoy myself immensely in the process, PLUS the fact that I always, always, ALWAYS meet at least two cool new people every single time and usually more than two…those facts always seem to escape me during the actual Freakout Event.
But here’s the thing: I have taught these particular classes before. In fact, they are my specialty. I’ve not only taught them, but spoken on the topics in formats ranging from a fifteen-minute quick overview to a full-on all-day let’s-get-our-hands-dirty marathon. I’ve written about these topics; I knit my own sweaters based on these topics.
Do I really need to spend an entire week fussing with my presentation? AGAIN? Do I really need to worry about what I am going to say, and how I am going to say it?
That’s crazy. At some point, one has to learn to trust one’s experience, one’s knowledge, and one’s SELF, methinks. I’m not the world’s most experienced teacher; but on this particular set of topics, I think I’m good to go.
As a matter of fact, I ought to know better. I KNOW that I’m good to go. A year ago, I had the ultimate test of any teacher’s knowledge: A 20-minute speaking engagement turned into an impromptu three-hour master class, because everyone was simply too interested in what I was saying to stop and do other things. They asked for more info, and right then and there, with no preparation, no materials, no notes, no slides, no anything, I gave them the entire spiel without blinking.
Tell me: Does a woman who can give an impromptu 3-hour class with no notes and no slides and no prep need to continue the traditional Freakout Week prior to teaching engagements?
Or can she simply trust herself?
Inquiring minds want to know.
Teacher, Know Thyself
Whew. I feel better, more solid, just writing the above. I think part of me is thinking I “should” freakout, because Good Teachers Are Super Prepared. Good Teachers have Handouts and Slides and Lists and Every Single Minute Planned.
Except…I’m not that kind of teacher. (Shocking, I know.) Each group of students is different; each group needs different time spent on various things. I can’t know that until I’m there in the middle of it. I like to stay flexible so that when I teach, I’m not just running through a robotic presentation, I’m listening to the students and seeing what they get and what they don’t get, what they are interested in and what they are bored with. Teaching is about the STUDENTS not about the teacher.
And I LOVE LOVE LOVE being there when someone lights up with the “I got it!” look on their face. Wooooot for students!!
Actual fibre content
I finished the Endless Cormo!
That’s about 450 yds of 2-ply fingering-to-sport weight yarn, spun and plied on my Schacht Matchless wheel. I love it. It’s smooshy, and soft, and springy. The colour isn’t my favourite ever, and the yarn is
rather very inconsistent, but I love it anyway. It’s sitting on my top shelf, while I contemplate its future. Knitting? Weaving? Skein object d’art?
Spinning that was a wonderful project. The cormo was beautifully prepared by Alice Field, and every second of handling it was a joy. And like any good project, it taught me something. This project taught me that even the best prep is no substitute for solid spinning technique and enough discipline as a spinner to spin a consistent singles.
I’ve signed up for Abby Franquemont’s two-day intermediate/advanced spinning class at Stringtopia at the end of April; between now and then I am going to focus on spinning more consistently from the beginning to end of a project. I bought a spinner’s gauge last time I ordered from Morgaine, because sometimes it’s helpful to have something to refer to that isn’t just my own handspun.
Actually, I’m finding that spinning the yarns for the prayer flags is helping me practice this; small batches with all different sorts of fibre mixes in different preps; all of which have to be spun to approximately the same grist. Good, challenging practice.
I’m working on a teaching dress!
Well, actually, the teal fabric is the super-inexpensive broadcloth I bought to make a muslin before cutting into the more pricey fancy stuff, but time-wise, I will be lucky to get this one dress made before next Wednesday. I’ve spent a little time on it each morning, and that’s been a great way to start the day.
I had to alter the pattern pieces, of course. That’s part of the joy of making clothes in the first place, isn’t it? Making things that fit? So I spent a happy few mornings taping on extra tissue to the edges of things and measuring and extending curves and making room for my curvy little self.
Nicholas wandered over, and after observing what I was doing for a few minutes, pointed to a marking on the bodice pattern piece said, “Hey, is that, like…a bust dart?” He was delighted to find out that he was correct, and that led to him happily examining the pattern pieces for waist shaping, armhole shaping, and all the other things he has become used to seeing in knitting patterns. It was a lightbulb moment for him, to see that garment shaping happens in similar ways whether you are working with the actual fabric or shaping stitch-by-stitch.
Chispas means “sparks” in Spanish; so here, I am throwing out random sparks to set your imagination alight!
A vintage lace tablecloth reclaimed…into a graceful blouse.
A girl, a skein of Wollmeise, and an electron scanning microscope. Sock yarn, up REALLY close and personal. Fascinating.
Well. You see…um. There is…wellllll…OK, I really am not quite sure what this is, beyond the fact that it involves riding a hairless cat wearing a cowboy hat, and it’s in Austin, TX, somewhere.
The companion animals of Japan need your help too. If the devastation is just too much to contemplate, and you want to help but don’t know where to start, perhaps start with some of the small and furry victims of the earthquake and tsunami. (No upsetting photos or details, just links and info on how to help.)
If you really like to fall asleep with a good book…this here is right up your alley.