4 things to consider when deciding how to learn to knit

So you've decided that you want to learn to knit. You've probably already thought about why you want to become a knitter:

Knitting with Gran
  • You want to honour and continue the tradition, perhaps knitting is something your grandmother did

  • You can take your knitting anywhere, on buses, trains and even planes

  • You can sit through hours of sport on TV quite happily, knitting is very good for multi-tasking

  • You are aware of the mental health benefits: reduce risk of dementia, keep your mind agile

  • You want to do something away from the digital world, spend less time focused on your phone

  • You want to make clothes, accessories and things for the home!

You might have even done a bit of research into what is involved in learning to knit. If you haven't already, read these other blogs of mine to get a feel for what is involved:

But now you're wondering, what is the best way to learn? Should I join a knitting class with a group of other people? Or have some private one-to-one lessons? Or even teach myself using online tutorials?

The answer is: it depends! Think about the following four things to help you make a decision...

1. What do you want to learn?

What do I do now?

Are you a complete beginner, wanting to get to grips with the basics? Or are you a more experienced knitter wanting to learn a new technique? Are you trying to solve a problem with an existing knitting project? Or have you looked at a few online tutorials but none of it is making sense?

If you are a complete beginner, I think it is often beneficial to learn one-to-one. My Gran taught me. By having time focused with my Gran, I was able to watch, learn, practice and ask her lots of questions without being distracted by others. That's not to say group classes don't work for beginners. It does depend on the way you learn best (your learning style).

If you are stuck on a knitting pattern, again it's often best to get a quick bit of individual advice.

I offer a 30 minute session, which is ideal for getting some help with something you are having problems with. Ideally you would do this in person, but you can also have a session over video-call (Skype, FaceTime, etc).

If you want to work on a project to make a specific item, or you already know how to knit but want to learn a new technique, it is often great fun to do this in a group setting. Because you already know the basics, it's easier to relax into the group environment and enjoy making new friends at the same time as learning.

2. How do you want to learn? What is your learning style?

Each person prefers different teaching methods and learning techniques. And sometimes they like different styles at different times to learn different things.

You might be predominantly a visual learner, needing pictures, diagrams and demonstrations to help you understand. You might be a social learner, preferring to learn in groups and with other people. You might be a solitary learner, preferring to work alone and self-study.

It's worth spending a bit of time working out what type of learner you are. You probably have a fair idea how you learn things most effectively from past experience: studying for exams or trying to take in something new at work.

There are some useful resources on the internet to help you work out your predominant learning style. I took this self-assessment test:

http://www.educationplanner.org/students/self-assessments/learning-styles.shtml

It confirmed what I already suspected: that I am a visual learner. I learn by reading or seeing pictures. I understand and remember things by sight. I can picture what I'm learning in my head. I like to see what I'm learning. I often close my eyes to visualise what I'm learning.

I know from my own experience that I often learn better if I'm alone, taking time to absorb information at my own pace. But I also know that I expand my horizons if I learn with other people. I find I take in different perspectives better if I learn alongside people with different outlooks and ideas. So for me, a blend of one-to-one tuition and group learning suits me well.

3) Where and when do you want to learn?

If you want to have face-to-face lessons, how easy is it to get to where the classes or lessons are being held? Do the times of the classes fit with your busy schedule?

It's quite common for group classes to run in the evenings, to give people chance to attend after work. Some classes do run during the day too.

One of the advantages of private one-to-one lessons is that the timing can usually be tailored to meet your needs. Group classes will be at the time stipulated by the teacher or learning centre, so you'll have to pick a group class that meets your learning objectives and at a time you can make.

4) Who do you want to be taught by?

How do you know if the tutor you want to use is a good one? Check out reviews about them on their website and social media sites. Speak to people who have been taught by them to get their feedback.

When you have decided on your teacher, it's a good idea to to have an introductory session with them. Spend a bit of time discussing what you want to learn and what you are aiming for. Agree what your goals are and how you will work together.

I offer a free introductory consultation for all of my classes and lessons, by email, phone, video-call, or in person. I would rather we spent some time discussing what you want to achieve before you spend any hard-earned cash. This is so we can think about whether we can work together, and that I can help you achieve your goals. There's nothing worse than paying for a class or course and realising that it isn't what you were expecting or wanting.

From that first discussion you'll get a feel for whether or not you can work with the teacher. If you feel it isn't going to work, you don't have to have any lessons from them. We're all different, and sometimes two personalities don't align. The teacher would rather you were happy you can work with them, than have a situation which isn't going to help you. I would expect the teacher to follow up with you after an initial conversation to see if you are interested, but not to hound you for business.

Sometimes it might take one or two lessons to really know whether you connect with your teacher. Often, when booking a course of lessons, it is for several weeks and you need to pay upfront. If you don't gel with the teacher it's unusual to get a refund for the lessons you don't want to take. With private one-to-one lessons you rarely do them as a course. It's more common to work lesson by lesson, so if you realise it's not working with the teacher it's easier to stop having lessons.

Some signs of a good teacher to look out for:

  • They have a good subject knowledge

  • They have good communication skills

  • They have planned your lesson

  • They give feedback on your progress

  • They answer your questions confidently

  • If they don't know the answer, they find out

  • If something isn't sinking in, they'll find a different way to teach you

I provide one-to-one tuition to learn how to knit or improve your existing knitting skills. I think it's really beneficial to have the undivided attention of your teacher and to learn at a pace to suit you. I also think one-to-one tuition can be far more tailored to suit your needs.

www.fredamossdesigns.com/knitting-lessons

I offer a free consultation to discuss your needs and goals and agree how we can work together.

I provide paid-for lessons that are tailored to suit your needs. You might need some advice on how to solve a problem you're having or when you are stuck on a knitting pattern. I offer a 30-minute session for this.

You might want to learn the basics or a new technique or two. I offer hour-long or two-hour sessions. You can have just one lesson or multiple lessons. We can agree what you want and need in our initial free consultation.

My prices are published on my website.

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