Sunday, November 8, 2009

Knitted Mitten Class

Yesterday (Saturday) was the first of two classes I'm teaching for learning to knit mittens using 4 double-pointed needles. The pattern we were using for this class would enable the knitter to make a mitten custom-sized for their hand and using any weight of yarn, consequently it was necessary to knit a gauge swatch before the students could even start their mitten. After asking the yarn shoppe owner to find out from the students whether they would need extra help with knitting a gauge swatch or using double-pointed needles, I volunteered to come to class an hour early to help the students who were also willing to come in early.

There was a total of 4 students and I was really pleased to see young Megan in the class (who had learned to knit from her mom). I think she was about the same age as I was when I learned to knit.

I can't remember how many years ago I learned to knit on double-pointed needles, but the ladies in this class did an excellent job learning something new. For any readers who are knitters, you may recall how awkward it was the first time you learned to handle 4 needles and knitting in a circle vs. knitting back and forth on 2 needles. It's not easy and you can probably sense that by the intense concentration my students are showing to their knitting project.

We didn't get quite as far as I'd hoped for the first class, but we'll start a half-hour early again next Saturday. My hope is that the students will be able to complete their first mitten next week and feel comfortable enough with their new knitting knowledge to go home and finish the second mitten on their own.


Gaelyn said...

I remember the thumbs being hardest. Although I loved knitting sweaters in the round with circular needles. How fun for you to pass this skill along Ruthie.

Kelly said...

...I can handle two needles, but four--in a circle, wow. Very cool that you can teach it. I bet the class was fun!

Judy DeBoer said...

Ruthie -
Thanks for posting the photos. My mom used to knit this way often - I miss seeing her do it so you brought back good memories!

RuthieJ said...

Hi Gaelyn,
I don't have a fondness for thumbs either--sometimes I'll have 3 or 4 pairs sitting around with thumb stitches on holders. Then I run out of stitch holders and am forced to go back and knit the thumbs.

Hi Kelly,
I know you could do it. Of course the cast on row is always the hardest, but once you get used to knitting on multiple needles it's so much fun, and the best part -- no seams to sew up!

Hi Judy,
So good to hear from you. I always like it when people talk to me while I'm knitting and share their memories of a family member who used to knit.
Am I correct in remembering that perhaps you were a recipient of a pair of my knitted mittens a few years ago?

Meggie said...

I so respect all you dedicated knitters. Hope your students get their mitts done next week.

RuthieJ said...

Thanks Meggie. I hope so too!

Anonymous said...

I remember you crocheting before you took up knitting. In grade school you made things for your friends especially ponchos with granny squares. They were very colorful. I don't even remember who taught you to crochet or knit, or did you learn from a book?
Judy De Boer is a friend of brother David.


Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, we can use a few thumb lessons on your blog! Nice to see the young people there!

Tell your mom thanks for getting back to the blog!

Julie said...

How fun that you're teaching a class! How fortunate you are that I'm NOT in your class! :-)

RuthieJ said...

Hi Mom,
You showed me how to cast on and knit the garter stitch. Everything else I learned from books. I am one of the lucky ones who can learn from a book....some of the knitters in this class were not comfortable with following a printed pattern. Fortunately for them, the internet provides plenty of videos to help with knitting technique questions.

Hi Mary Lee,
Yeah, I don't know why thumbs are such a big pain....they're way smaller than the mitten and I'm usually done with one in about 10 minutes.

Hi Julie,
I'm only teaching for the money. The fact that I might get some new knitters revved up about learning a new technique and giving swell handknitted Christmas gifts is secondary.

dAwN said...

I wish i was around..I would take your lessons..would love to learn how to make gloves..

RuthieJ said...

Hi Dawn,
You can make gloves on 4 needles too. Same technique as mittens only with 5 thumbs! (much more tedious, so I only make gloves for very special people, or myself!)

Heather said...

That's so cool that you're teaching this class. I've never knitted on DPN's. Oy, it's been SOOOO long since the last time I knitted - almost 10 years, I think. I don't have much desire to do it right now, but I could see myself getting back into it in the future. One of my co-workers is a knitaholic, and she's ripping out a shawl that she didn't like, and it's made of mohair. She curses it every day b/c it's so hard to rip out (she wants to reuse the yarn on a more "worthy" project)!

jo said...

Thanks Ruth for a wonderful knitting class! You are a great teacher and I would like to take a class from you in the future (socks? hats?). At first, knitting with 4 needles was very difficult but it is different and I am getting better. I did finish my first mitten and am working on the second. Megan is now knitting a scarf for her friend and I know the class helped her become more comfortable with different stitches and fun things she can try out. Good luck to the other students and thanks again. JC