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Cherry and Copper Spinning Wheel Orifice Hook – in the shop now.

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It’s Monday. I have the day off.  I’m all alone.  Everyone is at school or work.  I’m just about to have an Buttered English Muffin for Breakfast.  Then there will be a few phone calls, errands run, a little tidying up of the house – and knitting.  I’m on the leg of the second pink sock and about to start the second sleeve of Wallaby.  Things are good. 

Here’s a question – and it’s about Knitting Groups.  I’ve been thinking about this for a day or so.  I love my Knitting Group.  I go there for the chance to sit and knit with my people.  To talk and chat about whatever – knitting, kids, news – you name it.  I love being able to “talk” knitting – exchange ideas, discover new patterns and the occasional tip or trick that we can all be glad we found out about.  But I don’t go there to “teach”.  I don’t mean this to sound as selfish as it’s probably going to sound.  I don’t mind helping someone who’s stuck on something – that’s a few minutes here and few minutes there and I think that’s what we should be doing.  But if someone comes and wants to LEARN to knit something new – scarf, sock, hat – I don’t think that it’s the right time to be teaching a “class” on something and using up a good 40 minutes of group time doing that – unless we’ve decided as a group that next meeting we are going to be learning such and such and everyone agrees.   I really thing knitting group is for the “group”.  Although I’m happy to teach someone and I have given classes and lessons – It was noisy.  I was trying to socialize.  I was trying to get some of my own knitting done.  I did not get a say in this – I wasn’t asked beforehand – “If I come next week with my_______, could you teach me how?”  I don’t think it’s right for someone to show up at knitting group and just assume people are there for the sole purpose of being a resource for them, when they haven’t picked up a book, looked on the Internet or attempted to take a class.  I felt like I was backed into a corner and really didn’t know what to say.   I really don’t mean to sound like a bitch.  I’m a very generous person with my knitting – talk to me and ask me if we can meet on our own and I’ll teach you whatever I can.  Just not at group.  I don’t think it’s fair to me, or the other knitters there.   What do you think?  I’d really like to hear your comments on this.

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20 responses »

  1. I completely agree with you. Knitting group is about socializing and having a good time. It is about discuss projects and techniques, maybe demonstrating and assisting, but not completely about teaching (unless as you’ve said it was established ahead of time that that is what would be taking place).

    I guess I’ve been lucky in that my knitting group has been pretty small and close that we haven’t had too much problem with that. I’ve helped show them how to short-row heels, but again the bigger lessons usually came after a “next week we’ll go over that” comment… and everyone in my group has a pretty good grasp of knitting fundamentals, that a quick demonstration is usually sufficient.

    I don’t think it is selfish to want to knit and socialize when you get together with your group. Sometimes we do more socializing than knitting! But you shouldn’t feel like you are the “teacher” of a class, or that you have to teach one person how to do something while everyone else chats and knits merrily on their own projects.

    (wow… that’s a long comment! I hope it makes sense, I haven’t had any caffiene yet today!)

  2. I think that it would be perfectly acceptable to tell them that the purpose of the group is for fun and friendship. If you want, offer to teach them outside of the group or point them in the direction of their lys.
    I understand how you feel, it happens to my group occassionally, and I always feel uncomfortable about it, like I have just been tromped on and my *me* time has been soiled.

  3. I don’t think you’re a bitch for feeling put upon. I know I’m always happy to share a stitch, share a technique, share an idea or whatever, but flat out TEACH? That’s an investment of your time, talent, and effort that should not be required at knitting group.

    Unless the knitting group has the word “beginners” in front of it, and you have the title of “instructor”.

    That’s my 2¢.

  4. I certaintly understand, but I don’t know if I agree.

    At my knitting circle last week several people showed up needing help in various levels: one needed help discerning some weird wording in a pattern, one wanted to learn how to purl and a third used to knit, but had completely forgotten how.

    The first and third of these people had gone to their local knitting stores, but the staff was unfriendly and unhelpful (according to them) and some people just aren’t book learners (though I am). I think craft, knitting included, is an inherited skill – passed on through friends and family and if the community won’t help them learn, then what’s the point?

    Of course, I like helping, because I’m a little shy at group and it gives me an invitation to start talking, and I can see that some people would rather not, and I think it’s totally okay to say “Tonight I’m here to work on XYZ, but if you come across a specific issue later in your project I’d be happy to help, etc..”

  5. I couldn’t agree more. Needing help with a specific thing, a how-exactly-do-you-do-that-cool-cast-on thing, is fine. But I’ve-always-wanted-to-knit-so-teach-me is not so good.

  6. You smile sweetly and say, “Oh sure. I’d love to help you with learning to knit. I have a few hours on Wednesday afternoon. We could meet at [my house, the library, etc.].
    That would give us a quiet place so you could concentrate on what I teach you. Would that work for you?”

    If they still don’t get the hint, you’ll just have to be more direct. “I’m really enjoying my personal knitting and visiting time right now. Can we schedule this for a different time?”

    And if that fails, just know that some people’s children never learned social graces, or how to take responsibility. They will likely blame you for being rude. In that case, as my mother used to say, consider the source and let it go.

    Just my .02

    Blue skies!

  7. I totally agree; I hate when this happens! Unfortunately, I’m never very good at getting out of these situations; I just end up bitching about it later behind the person’s back. I have also had a case where I donated a Learn to Knit three-hour class for a silent auction to benefit our schools… and am still dealing with the “winner” an entire year later, as she expects me to complete the sweater I showed her how to start (even though I warned her a sweater wasn’t really a 3-hour job and that a hat or a scarf were better first projects…) People drive me insane, basically. But I have no clue how to fix ’em.

  8. I’ve been in that situation and I’ve done what Lark suggested. Group time is way too chaotic to properly teach someone anyway. There’s just too much going on. You ain’t no bitch!

  9. I personally agree with you, generally I like my group/guild time for knitting, discussing knitting and well…a good gossip.

    However, many, many years ago I was guilty of asking someone to teach me to spin on a wheel as I was a spindler. She very kindly took me to one side during guild time and showed me. I remember her very fondly for helping me and a few years later I taught her to paint on silk.

    I am guilty as charged. At the time I had no transport and little money, I could just about manage to get to the meeting. I never even thought that I was being a pain in the butt.

    I think because of her generosity, it would depend on the person asking…

  10. Agree 100%. If I’m going to knitting group, I don’t want to spend the whole time teaching someone a technique or whatever. I’m there to knit for myself, to catch up with friends, to see what everyone else is working on. And I can’t do that if I’m teaching someone something. I don’t mind helping out with something small.

  11. Well, you know I agree with you since we are in the same group! I think you’ve gotten some great advice here….and I am going to take it and say something nicely. I think its important to encourage new knitters – but I also think there is a point where it is just too much. You are very generous, but maybe saying something nicely will be enough.

    Beautiful hook – I saw it yesterday and it was so tempting….

  12. I mostly agree. I have the same issues in my small knitting group. Mine involves mostly family members and I usually don’t mind helping out. Sometimes it is overwhelming when everybody wants help at the same time and I just really want to work on my own thing.
    And they acknowledge outright that they are taking me away from my projects and get me gifties in thanks. So I guess it evens out in the end!

    But I do understand your frustration!

  13. Hmmmm, I don’t know. Personally, I hate imposing on someone in an attempt learn something when I’m certain that I could probably pick it up online or from a book.
    On the other hand, my knitting group meets in a cafeteria style restaraunt for about 4 hours every week. On a fairly regular basis, people will approach and ask if we know where they can take a knitting class. Our usual response is to say “bring your needles and yarn and meet us here next Sunday at 4” It could be because none of us are really class takers, and it could be because our nearest yarn shop is an hour away . . . and the teacher at M*ch**ls. . . well the less said about her, the better. Whatever the case, my group has no problem teaching.
    In the end though, I think it boils down to personal feelings, anyone who presumes to ask should be prepared to be turned down.

  14. I actually agree entirely! I find it noisy and distracting enough at a knitting group that I save my simplest projects to work on. I would offer to help someone in a one-on-one situation away from knit group (like over coffee, with them buying as a thanks) the next time it comes up. P.S. I love the orifice hook!

  15. If someone needs help, the old adage, 2 heads are better than one applies….a question or two, an opinion – fine. But flat out knitting lessons? No way! It’s your time with your knitting friends not lesson time. I like Lark’s suggestion, ask her to meet you another time in a quieter place!

  16. I can understand how you feel because I’ve been there. For me, group knitting is all about those things you mentioned. With that said, I’m usually the person who offers to teach when someone shows up wanting to learn. I do remember one time wanting to just knit on my things rather than teach someone to knit but I think that was just the mood I was in. If it happened every week, I’d be a little bit miffed. Fortunately, it doesn’t so I don’t mind so much.

  17. I feel the same…and frankly I usually decline the “teach me” request regardless. I used to teach – ACCOUNTING. I do not teach knitting. Can’t. Won’t.
    (‘cept for the DD who is insistent – it will probably last less than one session and that will be it! lol!)

    But my knitting time is mine…I have another (similar) gripe. The younger mom’s who say “Can I bring my kids?”

    I reply, “Do they knit?” I have nothing against children – in their place. My knitting group is my social time. I don’t want little ones whining, crying, needing to be changed, running around unsupervised (Mom’s too busy knitting/spinning). I guess I don’t remember well enough what it was to be a young mom?

    Or maybe I remember too well. The need to get OUT of the house ALONE. Daddy needs to step up to the plate. Or ask a non-knitting friend to sit, and then return the favor so she can go do whatever HER thing is…or set up a young mother’s knitting group….

    (so now you know my own dirty, little secret – this Knitnana doesn’t particularly like being around little ones…I earned this Nana status – I can give them back when I’m tired…)
    lolol
    (((hugs)))

  18. Well-hells bells-I had a whole long response typed out and it disappeared into cyber space.

    Shortened version….I think when people see you knitting-you make it look so easy…they are hoping you can impart some wisdom that will make their stuff look better….without sounding cheesy…do you know what I mean? It is hard in the beginning and to watch you knit effortlessly….I am sure others in the group hope that maybe you can show them the “trick” when really-it is experience! : )

    I laughed at the kid comment-because 1. I just shared with you one of my reasons for not coming to knitting group anymore and 2. I dont really like other people’s kids much either!!! (don’t tell!!!)

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