This being “Back to School” crochet month I thought this was a perfect time to talk about passing on your skill to others.  I have found the only way to keep crochet alive is to pass down our experience to others by introducing them to the wonderful world of crocheting.

What started out as a hobby has over the years become a part of who I am.  Everyone in our town knows at least three things about me:   that I am a Christian, that my husband is a Chaplain in our county jail, and that I crochet. 

I have found that if you are passionate about something it is impossible to hide it from people around you, and that there is nothing more contagious than what people truly love.

The most important thing I can tell you when teaching someone anything  is to fully know what you are teaching obviously  you cannot teach someone else till you understand the topic yourself.  So before you teach the single crochet, master it yourself. 

Make it fun and let your passion show:

You are the best advertisement for your class.  You must love crocheting or you could have never gotten to the level where you can teach others.  Take your crocheting with you everywhere you and show the enjoyment of the craft.

Preparation and course plan:

When I first started teaching I taught a beginners class on how to make a dishcloth.  It was nice everyone did go home in a few hours with a dish cloth and they seemed quite happy.  However, I found out that I was giving people  “ a fish,”  but not teaching them how “to fish.”  

Let me explain.  Students would go home knowing the chain and single crochet, but were unable to really read a pattern.  I found that I was basically teaching them a few stitches that they could not really do much else with.  So after a few months, I designed a beginner’s class that was twelve weeks long where we crochet a square a week, and at the end whip stitch them together to make a small afghan.  

Over the twelve weeks I would make sure the beginning crocheter would in addition to knowing the crochet stitches, more importantly, had a basic knowledge of reading a pattern.

I believe it is my job as a teacher to make sure that this will be the beginning of their crochet journey. Keep in mind the student will only travel as far in crocheting as we equip them.  

Make sure when you design your lesson plans you also add with it the basic skill every crocheter will need to succeed.  For example:  gauging, reading patterns, the basic crochet tools explained and the stitches demonstrated.

Always start with the basic stitches:

With the beginner I always start with the basic stitches,  The single crochet, the chain, double, half double, treble, increasing and decreasing.  With these stitches as a foundation they can crochet over thousands of stitches.  But first they must master the basics.

Even if a student tells me they know some stitches, I treat them like they know nothing.

Be patient and encouraging:

I have found over the years that some students learn quickly while others need to be shown the same thing four or five times.  It is important to be patient.  If I need to show someone the same thing a few time, it is alright.  That is my job, to make sure they understand.  When I am correcting someone I always tell them two good things they are doing to every thing I need to correct them on.  

Be as kind as you can and your patience will win out in the end.  Just remember how hard it was for you when you were first learning.  I personally crocheted an entire square of what I thought was a single crochet only to discover it was the slip stitch.  No wonder it took me so long.

I have only two class rules:

Whenever I start a class I always tell the new students it is my job to teach them to crochet and their job is to learn.  So I have only two rules in my class.  The first is you can bring any beverage to class as long as it has a leak proof lid (for obvious reasons).  The second is, the only stupid question is the one that you do not ask.”   Finally before I say goodbye at the end of every class, the last thing I ask is, “Are there any questions?”

My goal as a teacher is to make sure they all leave the class with basic crocheting skills.  In short, teaching is not about you, best pattern or designs, it is about the students and the ability to continue when they leave your class.

Until next time, keep those hooks flying!