Teaching Knitting (and crochet)

I may have the opportunity in the near future to teach a few classes at a community center.
Of course I’m already thinking about how to teach and what to teach, materials and what not.
Those of you who teach do you put together a materials kit for your classes, or just a list? Are there suppliers who would be willing to give a bulk discount to assemble kits with needles and yarn and pattern book?
Also, what do you charge for your time?

A co-worker and I recently taught a knitting workshop on a professional development day.

She brought in chopsticks that she had sanded a bit. They worked out to be perfect size 8 needles, and were good for teaching because the stitches didn’t slide off, and they were purchased in bulk from a craft store. It worked out well, because there was no problem sending them off with the knitters, along with a ball of yarn that we donated from our own stashes.

As for getting paid, or where to get supplies, I can’t really help there.
Good luck with it, though!

Depending on how experienced you are at teaching knitting and crochet, you may want to seriously consider keeping the size of your class verrry small - like about 5 or 6, max.

This is because you can only demonstrate so much from the head of the table. Invariably questions come up - and each student makes his/her own brand of mistakes. Individual coaching is very much mandatory.

I’d also strongly suggest a list of supplies: knitting needles size X, knitting yarn xx weight, a yarn needle. For starters, nothing else is needed. And, IMHO, students will need to get used to buying their own supplies sooner or later, so it’s better to start off this way - with Teacher for questions.

I always make it a point to tell each to get his/her very most favorite color yarn.

And my first project is a potholder. One side a knitted square, other side a purled square. Sew together and presto! A very forgiving potholder that can be useful despite mistakes.

Hope this helps - enjoy your students!

Potholder and/or dishcloth are good ideas. I was thinking scarves, but we can move to that if the class does well.
I was just hoping there was a way to cut costs for the students by buying all the supplies at one place.
A yummy yarn, I think, is key. If I start someone off on yucky, scratchy yarn, they may give up right then and there :wink:

I am teaching a beginner to knit socks with the magic loop method. So I gave her the list of what she needed and I provided a pattern, which I wrote.

But if you want to keep your costs to a minimum then I suggest giving out a supply list to your “students”. I know if you take a class at Micheal’s you have to pay extra for the supplies and they charge $15/person for a 2 hour session.

Also Peaches & Cream cotton is a cheap starter yarn to learn how to knit with and a simple dish cloth pattern is a good starting point. Most dish cloths are knitted on size 7 or 8 needles.

I hope this helps.

Another easy source of practical knitting needles is to buy dowels. Take along a knit gauge to help you size the dowels. They come in 36" or 48" lengths & you can decide how long you want the needles to be. I put 1 end in a pencil sharpener to get the point. Some sandpaper to smooth it all out. I then glue wooden beads(from old beaded car seats) on the end. Definitely cotton yarn for a dishcloth to learn basic techniques-but try to stay away from dark colors or variegated yarns. Lastly, but most important-start with the PURL stitch. The yarn is always at the front of the work so they can see what is happening. The yarn/stitch is less likely to be pushed off the end of the needle because the needle goes into the stitch from right to left! If you purl every row, you still end up with garter stitch. Just a few students is also a must. Julianne

Oh my! I would never have thought of this! If only I had taught my granddaughter how to purl first, she’d be doing more things than just knit every row projects.

For the home made needles, you can also make end caps out of large buttons glued to the end of your dowels.

After I retired last year, I started teaching knitting and sewing at a JoAnn superstore in the San Francisco suburbs. I’ve also been teaching at a weekly knitting club of 15 members for the last 5 years. Teaching is a joy but it doesn’t pay much…but at least it pays for my hobby, which can be rather expensive considering the cost of yarn these days. Usually, the JoAnn classes cost the students $10/hr and the classes are either 4 or 5 hrs over 2 sessions. Quite often the classes are on sale at 25% off. Classes at local yarn stores cost about $15 or $20/hr. I think you should check on what your competition is charging, including your lys, and JoAnn’s and Michael’s and charge similarly.

As for number of students, I think it’s best to start out with no more than 4 in one class. After a while you will know how many you can handle (e.g., up to 10) and still give everybody their money’s worth of information and attention.

I would recommend a smooth yarn with plenty of elasticity, e.g., Lion Brand Chunky and size 13 needles. I think this is easier to learn on than Peaches and Cream, which has no elasticity. Do not use dark colors or novelty yarns which obscure the stitches. The students need to see the stitches and to recognize when they drop a stitch. A garter stitch scarf, with the ends folded up and stitched makes a quick pocket scarf. A stockinette rectangle, folded in half and mattress stitched up the sides, with the tops sewn around a set of bag handles makes a cute purse or bag. It can be decorated with tassels, buttons or yarn bows if desired. Another beginner’s project I’ve done is felted pot holders using 100% worsted wool and size 11 needles. With this project, I also taught them how to change colors to make wide stripes in the pot holders.

I haven’t taught a class, but I have taught one-on-one. My student and I went to Michael’s, she picked out her yarn and I recomended a needle size. Border’s was next door so we went there for our class. Bonus - really good coffee!
Her first project is a scarf.

Thank you for the information. Do the per hour costs include materials for the students?

I would definitely recommend making a list and letting your students buy their supplies. For two reasons, first, so you don’t have to find supplies and pay for them yourself, and secondly it will weed out people who are just there for a “free” class. If they have to invest a few dollars in supplies, they’re likely genuinely interested in being there and will be easier to teach.

Make your list detailed, using name brands if you can, but short. They only need a pair of needles, yarn and scissors (which maybe the craft department can supply the scissors). Stitch markers, and other notions can come later. Tell students which size needle and LENGTH (10"), otherwise they’ll be coming in with 14 inch long needles which can be frustrating for a newbie. Yarn should be a smooth acrylic, like Lion Brand Wool Ease (not sport, not chunky).

First things first, teach them a knitted cast on. This is best for adults because it introduces the knit stitch and is a useful cast on that they can use forever. Have them cast on 10 stitches (just a practice swatch), and then teach them to knit (which they already know how to do after casting on!) Have them knit every row for 10 rows, then show them the purl stitch. Have them purl every row for 10 rows. Then show them how to knit 1 row, and purl the next. Have them do that for 10 rows then point out the differences between the garter stitch and stockignette stitch.

After their learning practice swatch, teach them to knit a square with a garter stitch border. (You can stitch to just a stockingette square, or show them how to knit an easy pattern like a double moss stitch). Tell them once they finish a square, they can use it as a hot plate trivet or dish cloth (although acrylic isn’t a useful as cotton) or they can knit a few of them and sew them together to make place mats, or even a blanket.