Monday, April 14, 2008

Speakin' Their Language

Once the students finish their dishcloth, I have them work on the "Advanced Sample." I implemented this a few quarters into this job as I was pulling my hair out trying to teach K2togs and YOs one at a time to students who were trying new patterns a bit above their level. So I decided to put some common stitchery into this one little swatch and it has really paid off. Now when they graduate on to a pattern of their choice, they shouldn't get too stuck with some of the basic stuff. The advanced sample actually is based on the sample from the Sweater Workshop, by Jacqueline Fee. In her book, she takes the reader through a series of ribbing, increases, decreases, buttonholes, and more. The idea is that when you're done with her sample, you have all the skills you need to make a sweater.

So our sample is scaled down, but same idea.

We have a cabling section, ribbing, color change, increases, decreases, fairisle, and YO buttonholes.

As one of my students was on the decrease section, she pointed at the pattern and said, "I don't know what that is." The pattern read: k1, s1, k1, psso. So I slowly read it to her pointing to each letter: "knit one, slip one, knit one, passed the slipped stitch over." Her response? "OMG! It's like IM!" I was actually very impressed with myself for knowing what she meant, though I have never texted anything in my life. But it got me thinking. This junior high group of kids, so quick to learn new technology--even when it means learning a new language like text messaging--will learn this knitting technology in the same way. Once they complete their advance sample, I can speak to them in knitting language. When a student asks, "What do I do now?" I can reply, "You will K2tog at the end of needle one and SSK at the beginning of needle 3." And they will understand MY language!!

I enjoy their look of understanding as I speak this new language and also the look of confusion and awe from the newbies, which, in turn, adds to the esteem of my more advanced students.

Well, got to go, talk to you later. Oh...I mean GTG TTYL!

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