Worth the CostWhen I traveled to Vogue Knitting Live in January of 2012, I proudly packed up my new set of Harmony interchangeable needles to take with me. I’d purchased the needles a few weeks earlier, using a gift certificate my husband had given me to to Cottage Yarn, my local shop. When I sat down to take a class with Debbie Bliss, armed with my neat needle case and its tidy contents, I felt like I’d truly arrived. Women seated on either side of me commented on my set, and I was able to easily find the correct size, screw on the cord to each needle, and begin to work on a practice swatch for the class.
Since that time, my needles, while not organized nicely in their respective little sections of the bag that came with them, have been an invaluable implement--allowing me to easily cast on whenever the whim strikes me . . . all too often, I have to confess.
Constrained by financial limitations, when I teach knitting to the students in my fiber arts class, I have the girls use a mishmash of metal and wooden needles I've scrounged up at yard sales, purchased at Wal-Mart, or had previous students make out of dowels and beads. The girls in the club are able to learn to knit and to create a few items, but sometimes I'll dig into my own supplies and loan them a set of circular bamboo needles--not interchangeable but not cheap to purchase, either--so that they can make a hat or fingerless gloves without having to seam them up afterwards.
It would be nice if each student who is genuinely interested in knitting were equipped with a case filled with interchangeable needles. Having the right tools, whether building a house, baking a cake, or knitting a sweater makes all of the difference in the world in the ease of completion and in the finished results.
Buyer's RegretConversely, the item (actually items) I most regret buying are the Knifty Knitter looms I purchased for my fiber arts club several years ago. While I have had a few students in my regular classes enjoy making some hats with them, ultimately the limitations of these looms in terms of the weight of the yarn required to complete garments makes them a bit financially prohibitive to use. Chunky weight yarns work best, but the cheapest yarns available tend to be worsted weight. Of course students can double up yarn, but sometimes even a small step like doing that will discourage them from starting a project.
Presenting teenagers with these looms is also underestimating them a bit. I taught a class of seniors to knit last school year, and only two students--a boy and a girl--chose to use the looms. The girl, after much instruction, had seemed incapable of learning to knit, so she'd switched to the loom, calling herself a "lazy loomer." However, a few days into the school week when I'd taught them, she arrived in my classroom with needles and yarn and several rows of completed knitting. She talked about her "mystery" male teacher and would never divulge how she'd learned to knit--but she worked away on a future scarf and retired the loom.
I think that this student's story reveals how we shouldn't underestimate our abilities or those of others. While the one boy remained a "lazy loomer," everyone else, male and female, learned to knit, albeit with simple inexpensive tools.
|Even a male student, who enjoyed playing rugby and cutting up in class, learned to knit (albeit a little sloppily).|