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Old 09-24-2007, 12:58 AM   #1
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Teaching knitting ... so frustrating!
On Sept 20, I was helping to teach our group how to make the Star Christmas Ornament -

I am one of the coordinators of our group, for I volunteered to help.

Teaching knitting like this is new to me, and we had 11 in the group that day, including me. It was our second largest turnout since the group formed in late June. There were 3 in the group who are still working on remembering the very first basics. They are easily confused and have only tried knitting while in the group for they haven't the confidence in themselves to knit at home on their own yet. Four of the group were very advanced knitters, two of them, like me, are helping to coordinate the group. The others were at varying skills in between.

One of the advanced knitters made this session a nightmare for me.

I was explaining the two double decreases in the pattern, listed as WSD and RSD (wrong side decrease and right side decrease). For this pattern, your decreases are what makes the pattern in the stars themselves.

While most of the group was working, trying to grasp the unique stitches, (everyone had said they had not done a decrease like the WSD which requires you to move a purled stitch back to your left needle after stitching), this one woman kept trying to change the way the decrease was completed to "make it easier."

She kept harping on the fact that I am a beginner, which I never denied, but I also didn't write the pattern. She kept demanding that someone else teach it instead of me, and no one else had tried the pattern prior to that day besides the librarian and me.

Although when the librarian asked for others to help lead these projects this woman never volunteered, having her constantly interfere and refuse to do what the group was doing was just so frustrating. She had some of the beginners in the group so confused, because she was countering the pattern so the pattern itself wasn't working.

The other advanced knitters all were following the pattern with me. They started helping new knitters near them even, which helped greatly. Although two of them had been given patterns to try to teach to the group, like this, both were scrapped. They liked this one, and were making it for the first time with the rest of the group.

I have to teach this again on Oct 10, for the meeting on the 20th was a daytime meeting, and the one on the 10th is night time. Although a few join both, there are a lot who attend one or the other.

Does anyone have any suggestions please? I know this woman will be at the Oct 10 meeting too. I just don't know how to handle this woman. Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 09-24-2007, 03:11 AM   #2
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I have no idea how to handle her... but I want to offer you good luck! She sounds like a total pain! Maybe just keep stressing, "Sometimes patterns present difficulty, and while one option would be to change the pattern, if we press on, we might just learn something we'll enjoy or use in the future...and isn't it going to be better to work through this in a group setting so even those knitters who aren't experienced enough or comfortable with changing the pattern know how to do that stitch if they ever encounter it while knitting on their own?"
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Old 09-24-2007, 04:36 AM   #3
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It doesn't sound like anyone else had a problem with doing the pattern. I would point out that it is better to learn these new skills rather than dismiss them as being too hard. It isn't fair to undermine you when you have volunteered to do this and everyone else is having a go, especially if she won't come up with something to teach herself.
Perhaps if she tries it again you could suggest that if she would rather not do the pattern she can find one she likes better to teach at the next meeting? If it is just that she has a problem with you teaching the group because she thinks you are a beginner, rather than a problem with the pattern, then maybe she should find a different group to join, or just stay at home and stop making things more difficult for the rest you.
Try not to worry about her, if everyone else was happy with the pattern and the way you explained it - even if they had to ask you again about some parts, then you can be confident that you are doing a good job. You will never be able to make everyone happy, some will like the pattern, some would probably like a different pattern more. All you can do is teach the pattern you have chosen and help them when they have problems. If this woman thinks she can do a better job let her try teaching her own pattern another week, then she might have a little more respect for what you are doing.
I don't have the confidence in my own ability to be able to teach a class of people about knitting. I admire what you are doing, don't let one ungrateful person get you down.
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Old 09-24-2007, 08:47 AM   #4
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Just yesterday I heard from a friend who was teaching a quilting class, and she had a similar student. Everything she said, he argued with or made comments to his neighbor about how that wasn't the 'right way'. By the end of the class, she was at wits end and didn't have a clue what to do. She asked several friends what they would have done and the responses have ranged from -

"Sir, it sounds like you know what you're talking about, would you mind coming up and teaching the class?"


"Excuse me sir, I would prefer you hold your questions and comments until the end of the class."


"SHUT UP!!!!!!!!!"

There is always someone like this to much things up. My suggestion would be this - if she wants to try to do it her way, just let her. She'll find out it doesn't work. Make her think she has a great idea - she'll run with it and then it won't work and maybe she'll be quiet.

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Old 09-24-2007, 08:50 AM   #5
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What a b****! I'd be fuming pissed off at her!!! If she starts again during the next meeting, I'd ask her straight up, "Do YOU want to teach the class?" If she says yes, let her do it and walk away! If she says no, then tell her "Then would you kindly let ME teach it?" If she keeps interrupting you, ask her to leave! It's not fair to the other students!

I am a knitting teacher and thankfully I never have other "advanced" knitters with me, but if anyone started complaining about how I teach, or even interrupting me, I wouldn't hesitate to ask them to leave.

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Old 09-24-2007, 09:07 AM   #6
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Is there a way to talk to her before the class begins? You could say something like I hear that you don;t like the pattern but since there are beginners in this class I think it would be best for all of us to keep to the pattern and when folks have more confidence we can stray from the pattern. Or something like that. Or turn the problem into a question that she has to solve. Or ask her if she can help the people having more trouble like "I notice you have more advanced skills, can you help the ones who aren;t advanced as you?"
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Old 09-24-2007, 09:08 AM   #7
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I have a mental image of you holding up a Big sign with Ingrid's motto:

and just silently pointing to it each time this woman opens her big mouth.

some people live to cause conflict. and they NEVER take the hint and go away.

I would probably appropach the situation with some sort of humor: "Ooh- you're teaching again! does this mean you are teaching the whole class?- great! I'll go get a latte."

or hand her really chewy caramels each time she tried to talk.

When I had 2 troublemakers in my lab who were from different parts of europe, and it got really bad (they were tormenting each other) I came in wearing a soccer referee T-shirt and had yellow and red index cards in my pocket. When either did something eggregious, they got a colored card left on their workstation.

Everyone laughed and things slowly improved.

It is impossible to please or appease someone like that woman in your class. even if you gave in and changed to a different decrease, she would find another problem to harp about. I'm sorry you have to deal with it. but you can't let it get to you personally. she would do this to anyone in the group so the problem is with her, not you.....
did I say one project at a time?

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Old 09-24-2007, 10:08 AM   #8
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i used to attend one crochet class and i am intermediate student... i just enjoy the company and never create a scene ... i am sorry that you had to encounter such bad behaviour in a class ....

maybe you can ask her is there a better way to knit that ...maybe that would shut her up...
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Old 09-24-2007, 11:27 AM   #9
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It's seems like a symptom of a personality disorder to me: why the heck would a normal person sacrifice the social pleasantry of a knitting group obnoxiously making herself look superior?! I mean, come on, it's only knitting! So what if someone is not teaching up to her "standards"? She should leave the group if she doesn't like it and start her own FASCIST knitting class.
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Old 09-24-2007, 04:03 PM   #10
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Its so hard to be in those situations and know what to say then and there. If it happens again, I would acknowlege that you know what you know but that you have worked this pattern through and you know that it works the way that you are teaching it and that that is the way you feel comfortable doing it. Ask her not to interrupt as it disturbs your train of thought.
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