Those who teach

Does anyone here teach knitting?

I do 2 or 3 times per week.  What I'm really struck by is the amount of people (older than I am) who don't know their right hand from the left nor do they know the names of their fingers, such as index finger, middle finger and ring finger.  This gets frustrating when you're trying to teach.  I have people say "I use this hand" and show me their right hand or "I use this finger" and show me their index finger.

Any insight?


I teach kids 1st grade to 4th grade. They all know their left & right hands etc. However, when I taught at the Knit Out last September for 4 hours that was a different matter. You're correct a lot of adults just don't know those basics, which makes it difficult to teach them. Even one on one it was not easy. I had to hold their hands & manipulate them like a puppet to explain how to move the needles & or yarn!!!!!!!!!

Give me kids any day! 

Knit away, knit away

"They say best men are moulded out of faults; and, for the most, become much more the better for being a little bad." William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

You are a brave man, sir.  My hat goes off to you!  I have a hard enough time teaching adults.

Recently I had a very much Type-A 20-something girl burst into tears in my classroom because she couldn't do everything I had taken about 40 years to learn in 2 hours.  That's the only time I've ever had someone go to pieces like that; as a result I tell everyone before the class has started that we're not making a project -- we're practicing a technique.  That seems to calm everyone down.  I also no longer go around the room and take one of the needles out of their work as they're working.  I think I'm suffering from Stereo Scream; not only does the student scream when I do that but so does everyone else in the room.

I live in Oklahoma and I've only had 2 male students in all the years I've taught knitting.

Knipper's picture

I have been teaching knitting for over 5 years now.  Beginners classes and project workshops.  For the beginners class I let them know that it is just knitting and they should have fun.  If they get frustrated, put the knitting down, relax and come back to it.  I am also a big proponent of learning the foundation of knitting - the knit stitch, the purl stitch, casting on, ribbing etc.  From there the possibilities are endless.  Since I am right handed, I teach it that way.  At the start, I ask if anyone is left handed and give them the option of learning right handed or mirroring what I do.  So far I have not had any problems regardless of their choice.  The most challenging aspect for me is when I have a high maintenance personality who wants all of the attention.  They only get part of my focus - have to share the instructor with everyone else in the class.

Keep at it.  I find that teaching and working in my LYS (once in a while) make me a better knitter.  The questions they ask stimulate me to either think about it as to why I do it one way (when we all know that it can be done many different ways to the same effect), find the resource for the answer (either another knitter or a book or pattern). 

Hi there!  I dont teach.  But I do have 25 years customer service to my resume.  Still take my comments with a grain of salt.

I would suggest using humor.  It cant hurt to warm up the class with a little silly reminder on which hand is which.  "I know yall learned this in kindergarten, but for the sake of consitency, I will be calling this hand (hold up your right hand) the RIGHT hand..."  After all sitting in front of anyone weilding two pointy sticks can be a bit intimidating.  lol


Humor is a staple.  Everyone's nervous and intimidated at the start of class so I make it a point to go around the room to every person individually after I model whatever step I'm teaching.  It usually takes each person two 2-hour sessions to get around casting on, knit/purl stitch and binding off.  I think I've only had a few get everything in one session where I can also show them the difference between garter, stockinette, ribbing, etc.  I use a small Vogue beginner basics book and teach from it.

A couple of sessions ago these quiet elderly ladies had me rolling on the floor with their stories of when they were young girls.  Whenever they wanted to have a party someone would just dig up their moonshine out of the backyard, wash off the bottles and throw a bash.  It was a riot listening to these gals talk.