I trained to be a teacher. Whether it's teaching children about languages, or adults about knitting, you need to be prepared. And focused. And attentive to the needs of the pupils. And never loose your sense of humor.
That is why I like other teachers. I like to learn from others, I am in awe of those who can teach me new things. New ways. Other points of view. People like Franklin Habit, who are so graciously willing to share their knowledge on the web. All the anonymous men/women who put together great YouTube movies, explaining patiently over and over again how to make those intricate stitches. I very much appreciate well structured classes on craftsy. A nice voice. Positive people.
What I don't like is when lessons are ill-prepared. When wrong or incomplete information is given. When chaos rules. When you are requested to 'just do what you like - because that's 'artistic'. When I regret the money I spent.
So, sometimes I treat myself to a workshop by 'a big name'. When I pay a lot of money for a workshop, my expectations are really high.
Usually I enjoy this very much. I like meeting other - like-minded - people, share information and absorb the classes.
But not always.
The latest workshop I followed can easily be compared to an episode of Fawlty Towers. It took me some time to digest it. I went from being angry (spent soo much money for nothing! ) to being upset (how can you mess up a workshop) to 'try and think positive' (met some very nice knitters) to finally see the humor of it all.
Let me share this with you.
We got a long list of 'items' to bring to the class. Did we use any of it ? No.
We received instructions to knit a homework. It took me a lot of time to knit quite an intricate lace swatch in 5 different colours. Did we discuss it ? No.
the 1st part of the class was all about pooling. That's what you get when knitting with hand dyed wool. When the dye changes after a certain amount of cm, and you knit swatches with it, the effect can change dramatically from stripes to diamond shapes. The reason can be the pattern you knit, or the amount of stitches you cast on.
|pooling explained : same wool, different result|
Knitters who knit with pre-dyed sock wool will have experienced this. It would have been very interesting if we would've received tips and tricks how to manipulate this. Sadly, we didn't...
In stead, we had to knit a swatch.... in the wrong wool.... and all the swatches looked the same : stripes. Nobody had the diamond-effect. The teacher explained that it was because the wool was dyed at too long colourchanges. Oops. Would that be like ordering lobster and receiving a hamburger instead ? That's what I felt... Also came to mind : preparation is the key to succes.
|we all had the same stripey effect|
|luckily, teacher had her own swatches with the pooling effect.|
Next, we were going to knit a swatch in ribbed intarsia : colour blocking. Not many of the knitters were familiar with this technique. In stead of taking time to explain, the teacher suddenly abandonned this - let's all do something completely different !
That something completely different was dying a machine knitted natural swatch with very intense blues and oranges. When you pay for a workshop 'KNITTING with hand dyed yarn' you somehow don't expect to be DYEING it yourself. I wouldn't have taken the workshop it I had known it was about dyeing. I'm not interested in dyeing. I'm a knitter who buys her wool - thank you.
And btw : I wasn't dressed to dye. I was wearing white. There were no aprons available. Again, thank you !
|ready to paint.|
The swatch was machine knitted in double thread - when you unravel this, you should obtain 2 equally neatly dyed threads of wool, and be able to knit 2 similar tiny little socks. That is, if you take your time to dye both layers of thread with enough moisture, so that the bottom layer can soak up enough dye. If you're not careful, you will end up with one dark sock, and one light sock. Logic. Only, she didn't tell us when we were painting à gogo. She told us afterwards. Yep.
And to my humble opinion, the swatches were knit at a much too tight tension. It may have been easier to dye both layers when they are loosely knit. But, hey - who am I ? Just getting a bit frustrated.... turning into a grumpy old woman here ?
While we were waiting for that swatch to dry (a tiny little remark : when making your pupils dye, do it in the morning : then the swatches might be dry by the time they go home. If you make them dye in the late afternoon, the chances are that the paint is still wet when goodbyes are said, and people might find it difficult to wrap them in a plastic container and put it into a handbag).
Because not everybody could paint at the same time, the others members of the knitting-turned-dying workshop were handed a few little skeins of wool and a pattern to knit. Ah - finally - knitting. Only to find that it was just copying written instructions, knitting with short rows, again, some kind of swatch. ok, nothing wrong with that. Only some of us were handed nice bright colours, others were handed more demure and dark colours. At the end of the day, half an hour was spend discussing these swatches. Apparently, some of the swatches looked very shy. Others were considered dull. When handed 5 shades of grey (pun not intended) it's difficult to knit a bright and happy swatch ! Half an hour of judging, criticizing and lamenting about these swatches. Was it because we were all ready at 16.00 hrs, and the workshop was supposed to end at 16.30 hrs ? Tssss.
Mrs. Loret Karman is an amazing hand dyer. She makes wools that are gorgeous. Especially the ones inspired by the paintings of Vincent Van Gogh. She knows about colours, and how they interact. Her knowledge is great. Her teaching skills are not. Maybe she had an off day. Maybe I'm too critical. Anyways, this is one workshop I will remember, and have a lot to talk and think about.
Notes to self.
Ok. What did I learn today ? Not a lot.
Did I meet nice people ? Yes.
Does everything always need to be perfect ? No.
Will you take one of her classes again ? Never ever ever.