or, rather, a kid. I’m staying with a friend in LA who has a little girl, and this morning I peeked out of my room as she was standing at the top of the stairs, ready to go down to the kitchen in her ruffled nightgown, yawning and stretching. I didn’t mean to be spying, but I became afraid that if I made a noise I’d startle her and she could have fallen. So I watched her do all the waking up kid things that my own kids do, and felt a huge empty hole inside which will only be filled when I get home and give Hannah and Maxie a huge squeeze. Staying with a family is so much nicer than staying in a hotel.
Last night I taught at Yarn Garden near Studio City. I don’t know the names of all of the LA areas What a cool shop! I had stopped by on my last trip, but that was more of a social visit with some wine and knitting – this was a real class.
I arrived late, which makes me nuts (I hate being late) but I hadn’t allocated enough time for traffic – who knew? (everyone knew, actually, everyone but me…) So I was about 15 minutes late and the women in the class were in RARE form! What a lively and fun class! Sometimes I feel so mean when I have to say, “I’m talking now…” or “You have to listen to me now!” – as if I’m such an attention hog that I can’t stand it when all eyes aren’t on me. And maybe that’s part of it, but also it’s just so hard for me to concentrate and remember the next part of the class (or think of where to take this particular class next) with the buzz of conversation in the room.
I don’t think I was always like this, I think I used to be able to concentrate and talk when there was noise and chatter, but I find in my teaching trips as I get near the end and become, perhaps, more tired, I need less white noise when I’m droning on. I’m also a little afraid of losing my voice if I try to talk over folks and teach in a stentorian chant. Evidently I still have some guilt over this…
At any rate, the class was great! There were folks in the class who are expert knitters, and folks who have just been knitting for a short while, but EVERYONE did beautifully! When I teach the class I stress that the point of the class isn’t to make everyone knit like me, but to open their minds to different ways of knitting and perhaps to allow them to comprehend exactly what is going on when they wrap their yarn – that the way you wrap in one row has everything to do with how the stitch wants to be knit in the following row. I’m afraid I got a little philisophical (moi?) because one of the students called me Buddah. It was a compliment. Which reminds me I really need to get a haircut.
It was a short class, but I pushed them on a bit quicker than I usually do and by the end of the class everyone at the table had turned a cable without a cable needle. Sometimes students get to a point where they have absorbed as much as they really want to in an evening, and to push them farther would be to screw up what I’ve already taught them, because we all learn in different ways and at different speeds. At first this used to make me feel that I’d done something wrong in my teaching, but as I thought hard about my own learning process, I realized that I do the same thing sometimes and it’s not a reflection on the teacher. So I try to put as much stuff out there as easily as I can, and allow everyone to absorb it at their own pace.
It was certainly one of the huggiest classes I’d taught! I think I’d hugged everyone once, and some two or three times, before the class was over. One of the most interesting things in the class was a student who was exceptional – she was just a terrific knitter – yet had the same compulsion we all have to doubt herself in a clinch. After I’d shown the cable, and everyone was chanting the story of the prince, the girls at the party and the sailor (you’ll just have to take a class to find out…) her first comment was, “I’ll never remember that!” Yet she just had. She had just been saying it along with everyone else, and she was an excellent knitter!
So of course I singled her out, embarrassed her (but she was tough, she could take it) and told her that yes, she would not only remember it, she’d be teaching it soon. I also brought up my own personal bugaboo that when someone who is really accomplished doubts herself out loud, sometimes she can create doubt in others who aren’t as far along in their knitting. They think, “If she’s so good and thinks she’s bad, then I must really suck!” She was so gracious in the face of my mini tirade, sat down and turned 5 beautiful cables. Just lovely. And soon she was showing others how to do it. She should be a knitting teacher, she has a gift for that.
We all should teach something to someone every day, it’s a beautiful thing. By teaching we’re able to really insinuate the lesson into our OWN souls, and we gain more than our students!
But when I got home (back to my friend’s home…) I was TIRED! They’d all gone to bed so I crept upstairs and had my banana and rice pudding and Green Monster juice, read a bit and fell right asleep. I was so tired on the way back, but I’m learning the LA roads pretty well and was almost on auto pilot as I drove along the freeways and streets. It was a long day – breakfast with a good friend in San Diego (Gwen Bortner of Knitability), then hung out at the Artyarns booth some more, saw Pam Allen – so good to see her again in person! – and Sally Melville for the first time in about 5 years! She’s such an exceptional designer and teacher. Her class on creativity was one of the best I’ve taken, it was very inspiring for me, and I urge everyone I meet who’s serious about knitting to try to take it at least once!
After that I called my LA friend to let her know when I’d be arriving, and immediately set my cell phone down and lost it. I feel like a fool – and I’m hoping that it will come home to me! I also feel like I’ve lost one of my appendages – it’s so vital when I’m traveling! Thank heavens I have my computer with me so at least I’m able to look up numbers and check in with folks! The drive up from San Diego to LA was easy, nice, sunny and beautiful. A VERY short visit with my friend here and then out to Yarn Garden for the class.
Today will be a relaxing day. The only think I must do is go to Knitters Studio this evening for a class. The day is mine – I’m free like a bird – and plan to have lunch with a friend (or is that tomorrow..?) and maybe get my hair cut. Maybe I’ll shave my head – Buddah indeed!