We've just given birth to a new Arm Knit Triangular Shawl.
At least that's what I felt like during our last Arm Knitting workshop in my downtown Greenville Studio!
I wasn't even sure if if anybody was even going to show up. It was cold, and snowing, really snowing!
But by 10:00 am they arrived and were ready to learn something new!
We started the morning talking thru the handout packets, and readying people to learn how to arm knit. "It's not easy," I told them. "Your brain is going to hurt at some point today." The thing about learning something new is, it's a process, quite a process!
"And now, the most important statement of the day. . .you're going to want to go pee now, because when we get into arm knitting, you'll literally be tied down with yarn!" They all giggled, not really understanding. Just wait, I kept thinking, just wait.
"It's time to go shopping!" This is the best part! Everyone typically rushes to the yarn table, as if we were at a Trace Adkins concert and he just walked out in the crowd!
Now that we've picked out our yarn, it's time to knit. If you are a regular knitter, this is the hard part. Your brain is so used knitting with needles that it gets stuck. Muscle memory tries it's hardest to take over but doesn't really know what to do.
When I teach people how to knit, or anything for that matter, I always try my hardest to make my instructions rhythmic, making it easier to remember the steps.
1. with your right hand grab your working yarn
2. with your left hand grab the first stitch (pointing to the first stitch on the right arm)
3. now all the way over and off (using your left hand lift the stitch over your right hand, which is still holding the working yarn, all the way over your hand and drop the old stitch while holding onto the new stitch) and
4. thru the loop (place your left hand thru the new stitch you are holding in your right hand.)
Sometimes your brain is so confused that it takes a bit to remember which is your right hand and which is your left. So I tell people, using a ball point pen, write "R" on your right hand and "L" on your left hand. This way you just have to look at the "R" and "L" to tell you where you are.
And, now, see what I mean about going pee before starting, now that you're covered in yarn!
It takes a lot of concentration to learn something new. And a lot of talking to yourself, working thru each step. Sometimes you just have to let out your frustrations.
"Why did I let you talk me into this workshop!"
"I don't know what I'm supposed to do here."
"This is too hard!"
In a gentle voice, I remind them of the steps, and coach them along the way. "You can do this! You've done a great job so far, keep going! With your right hand grab the working yarn. . ."
Usually it's when we get to the mid way-point, that things start to click. People begin to understand what they are doing, and start knitting faster,
And then finally, when we've cast off the last stitch, there's a great sense of accomplishment, smiles, giggles, oohs and aahs. Everyone should be proud of what they've done. It was tough in the beginning, confusing, and frustrating. But with persistence, and sometimes a few f-bombs, we've created a beautiful, original, arm knit triangular shawl!
We have another Arm Knitting Triangular Shawl event coming up on Wednesday March 27th, at the Ranch House in Chester. This is a Knit and Sip event, which is always the best, that's because there's wine involved!
And we also have a Needle Felted Easter Egg event happening April 6th.
Let me know if you are interested in attending either event.