One question I get asked a lot is whether or not I’ll keep teaching online now that folks are gathering together again. One might assume that teaching knitting in person is better than online but, I disagree.
I LOVE teaching knitting. I especially love teaching knitting online. Here’s why: it benefits both the student and the teacher in numerous ways.
The type of class I currently offer are live, virtual classes. This means that the class happens in real time. (There are recorded, on demand courses that one could purchase and watch at any time, which can be great!) In the live, virtual classes offered, one gets the benefit of the class being tailored to the attendees. I’m there to answers questions and show techniques as the students need which keeps the momentum going and confidence high. There is also an opportunity to create community with the other students. Knitters and makers have a wealth of knowledge and their experiences, when shared, can elevate a class. If you’re struggling with a technique, chances are someone else is too. Need a suggestion for a next pattern, thoughts on yarn or needles? New knitters can learn from each other and more experienced knitters can shed light on a whole new way to do a skill. There is no right way to do knitting, only your way and my goal is to give students options and confidence to keep learning, try new things and grow as a knitter.
Before pivoting to teaching online, I tried to find as much information as possible on how to create a successful virtual classroom. I had the opportunity to attend the inaugural online CAN Retreat hosted by Annie Choi (Middle Brook Fiberworks) and Marceline Smith (Hey Brown Berry). Through this retreat I was connected to several key people who were very generous with their knowledge, especially Heavenly from Heavenly Knitchet. I also took Edie Eckman’s class for online teaching which was very insightful as well. Equipment was purchased (web, hand cameras and lighting), Zoom account created and then I built a virtual classroom through the lense of what I would like as a student. I get motion sickness, so a top priority was to make sure what students saw through the screen happened without any delay. Lighting was also very important part of the set up to present a clear picture of what would be demonstrated during class. Two cameras are used, one for my face and on for my hands which directs students to what they need to pay attention to and when. This limits distractions and keeps the students and content focused.
Teaching online provides flexibility for both teacher and student. I can teach from anywhere, provided I have my equipment. A student can sign in from wherever they are at class time. Teaching online require students to be very independent while they are learning. I can’t physically do the skill or stitch for them when they get stuck which may be frustrating at first but really a great benefit to both student and teacher. I’m challenged to explain things in different ways so my students can understand and do the skill that is being taught. The student actively works through the challenge and really learns the skill. Every class provides an chance to improve and refine what I teach and how I teach it. And yes, I can read knitting backwards and can coach the student to hold their knitting so I can see what is happening on the needles.
In person interaction will always be an important aspect of learning, community and life. We are social beings, afterall. But for those who are hesitant or believe that a live, virtual class is not as good as in person or that it’s not possible to learn to knit through a screen, I offer you these additional points:
- Students can see the skill that is being demonstrated – all at the same time- without having to crowd around or contort themselves to get a view. Everyone has a front row view.
- Class size is kept small and students receive 1:1 help and attention. Class can be tailored and paced to the students who attend.
- It’s easy to identify when student is struggling and immediately help them to get back on track.
- Student’s knitting confidence increases with longer form classes. Most classes are several sessions – not just one afternoon- so students actually learn the skills being taught, have a chance to practice and finish their projects.
- Students have access to Knit Work on the website, which is a portal that holds all their class information, resources and curated skill videos at anytime.
- Complimentary Knit Help Sessions are offered in between each class and on demand for a fee if a student needs, all online. Students can get extra help when they need or if they have to miss a class.
- No need to travel, find or pay for parking.
If you have a computer, phone or other hand-held device and a solid internet connection, you can take a class. I help you with the rest! My goal is build confident knitters and make a welcoming space for learning. There is a lot of value in virtual knitting classes and they’re here are here to stay.
If you have any questions about my classes and/or whether it’s a good fit, please send an email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Current virtual knitting classes can be found here.