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All That Yarn - Teaching Again

Updated on February 10, 2018

Finding other Teaching Jobs.

Since I have been “retired” from secretarial work I have explored other teaching options, besides my “regular” recreation center class.

I put in two proposals last year to the community college to teach a couple of classes. One would be a beginning knit/crochet class. I planned to be more “structured” in this class than I am in my recreation center classes. I wanted to cover more about gauge, stitches in different yarns and hooks or knitting needles, label reading, choosing yarns, and a variety of stitches. It was set to meet twice a week for an hour and a half, for a total of six weeks. (No one signed up so my first class was canceled.)

The other class I want to teach is making knitted or crocheted bears from various sources, including my favorite pattern from Patons Bevy of Bears (Book #743), Knitters without Borders, Mother Bear Project, and various online yarn sale sites that offer free patterns. Then my plan is after we make some bears we look for local or other places to donate them. The class meets twice a week for four weeks, so we would have time to make more than one bear per student. I planned this class around people who already knew how to knit or crochet and wanted to do something as a community outreach.

There are several requests in town for donations of knit or crochet goods. Just recently a request for hats, scarves, mittens, and other warm wear was in the newspaper. I whipped up a few super quick scarves from an old pattern that I also use in my 2-Hour Scarf class at the recreation center.

A few other ideas.

Scarves made with Red Heart Light & Lofty Puff (white) yarn. So fast and easy to make.
Scarves made with Red Heart Light & Lofty Puff (white) yarn. So fast and easy to make.

Free Pattern adapted from a yarn skein label.

Here’s that pattern. I’m sure it would work with any bulky yarn (#5 or #6) since the yarn I use is no longer in production.

From the Red Heart Bright & Lofty yarn label inside patterns: One Skein Scarf designed by Marilyn Coleman (copyright on label is 2004). Scarves measure approximately 4.5” x 64”
One ball per scarf (Bright & Lofty yarn is 95 yards, 4 oz., Super Bulky “6”, 100% acrylic)
{yarn discontinued in about 2007} Light & Lofty will work, but it was discontinued in Feb. 2016.
KNIT scarf:
Circular knitting needles size US 17 (29”), 12.75 mm
Knit Gauge: 5 stitches = 3”; 11 rows = 4.5” in pattern.
Cast on 106 stitches. Knit 11 rows. Bind off. Weave in ends.
CROCHET scarf:
Crochet hook 11.5 mm (US “P”-16)
Crochet Gauge: 5 stitches = 3”; 6 rows – 4.5” in pattern.
Chain 107.
Row 1 (Right Side): Single crochet (sc) in 2nd chain from hook and in each chain across; turn. 106 sc.
Row 2 – 6: Chain 1, sc in back loop of each sc across; turn. Fasten off. Weave in ends
October 2016 Pattern Note: I used Light & Lofty “Puff” (6 oz. skein, 140 yards) and was able to get 8 rows with crochet pattern and one skein. I quit after 15 rows on knit pattern with several yards left over. I was able to knit on 14” size 17 straight needles and not need a circular needle, but it was a very tight fit with so many stitches.

Super Simple Hats to Knit

Each hat made with part of a skein of Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick & Quick yarn. Grey Marble, Strawberry, Acai yarn colors.
Each hat made with part of a skein of Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick & Quick yarn. Grey Marble, Strawberry, Acai yarn colors. | Source

Find a lot of Free Patterns online. Just search by the type of Yarn you want to use.

There are so many FREE patterns online now a days. And lots of pictures of knitted or crocheted items. Blogs abound and YouTube videos of “how to” do almost anything knit or crochet. Anywhere from making a straight edge to finding the end inside the skein to start your project. Some from regular people, some from those with “channels”, and some from the Yarn Companies themselves (such as Lion Brand or Red Heart).

Where to Look for Free Patterns.

I find that if someone in my class wants to make something, I can probably find a pattern for them to make it. I use some patterns for class lessons so that beginning knitters or crocheters can learn the stitches. I have old “vintage” (now) books with how to knit or crochet and old Coats & Clark leaflets from my first teaching years.

I got those leaflets originally from my senior high school home ec teacher to teach others, and then I got an order form to get my own copies. These were published by Coats & Clark who was known for Red Heart yarn. They once put out an entire 3-ring binder (about 4” size) with all of their leaflets. Then I just had to add the new ones as they came out. Eventually things became digital and paper leaflets and patterns were no longer offered by mail order.

Websites for Red Heart and Lion Brand started offering their patterns for FREE. No longer did you have to track down a booklet or pattern book in a store to get what you wanted (and some of what you didn’t want as well). Lion Brand kept selling booklets until a few years ago when they switched over completely to online patterns in PDF format. Now they frequently update their patterns with ones to use with new yarns, or multiple patterns for just about any item.

Red Heart also added in free patterns to their website. They even have some of the older patterns (pre-2008) that used to be offered in stores on the shelves as a tear off near the yarns.

If you search in their site you can find all sorts of things to make. There are shawls, scarves, hats, cowls, leg warmers, sweaters, throws, afghans, and more available. You can also filter it by skill level (beginner to expert), the type of yarn or the brand of yarn, and by either knitting or crochet or craft.

Donations!

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Scarf made with 2 balls of Herrschner's Tulip yarn.Scarf made with 2 balls of Herrschner's Tulip yarn.Baby afghan made with Premier Parfait sample skein. Yes, that's all one skein with those colors.Black, white, grey yarns used together to make a scarf for Special Olympics Wyoming 2018 games.Black, white, and Lion Brand Country grey/white chunky yarns in a scarf for Special Olympics Wyoming 2018 games.Black, white and grey yarns in a scarf for SO WYoming 2018 games.
Scarf made with 2 balls of Herrschner's Tulip yarn.
Scarf made with 2 balls of Herrschner's Tulip yarn.
Scarf made with 2 balls of Herrschner's Tulip yarn.
Scarf made with 2 balls of Herrschner's Tulip yarn.
Baby afghan made with Premier Parfait sample skein. Yes, that's all one skein with those colors.
Baby afghan made with Premier Parfait sample skein. Yes, that's all one skein with those colors.
Black, white, grey yarns used together to make a scarf for Special Olympics Wyoming 2018 games.
Black, white, grey yarns used together to make a scarf for Special Olympics Wyoming 2018 games.
Black, white, and Lion Brand Country grey/white chunky yarns in a scarf for Special Olympics Wyoming 2018 games.
Black, white, and Lion Brand Country grey/white chunky yarns in a scarf for Special Olympics Wyoming 2018 games.
Black, white and grey yarns in a scarf for SO WYoming 2018 games.
Black, white and grey yarns in a scarf for SO WYoming 2018 games.

Donate!

I get newsletters in my email that mention different charity groups. One of the recent ideas I found was a request by a needle guild (embroiderers) that were looking to gather knit and crochet supplies for a rehab center. I got the address and sent them a big box of Caron yarn along with knitting needles, crochet hooks, and several Free patterns I printed off the Caron yarn site (and Yarnspirations).

The local paper was “advertising” in their community page for scarves for the Special Olympics 2018 games in February. Since they noted the colors for 2018 (which are different every year, and now different for every participating state), I ordered some yarn and gathered some friends to make scarves. The goal was 250 (per the ad) and in late December they had to put in an “ad” that they had exceeded their goal and had over 350 scarves turned in for their athletes. I think their idea to request scarves several months in advance helped out a lot. Last year for the 2017 they didn’t mention anything until November and then needed it all turned in by January 1st. That didn’t give the local and state knitters/crocheters a lot of time to make things. So I’m sure they were way short of their 2017 goal.

In 2009, 2010 and 2011 Red Heart was a sponsor and the scarves were all the same colors for all of the states. This made it easy to send scarves that were too late for one state to another state where the deadline was further in the future. I have in another blog about making red and navy scarves for the 2012 Special Olympics. We also taught some people how to knit and/or crochet in order to participate in that donation project.

One more thing...a word on Left Handed

One of my current students is learning to crochet, and she said a gal at her workplace was starting up a crochet group so she was excited to join that group. If I hadn’t had her as a student she may not have had the opportunity to join the group. Being left-handed is hard as there are few instructions online or in print for lefties. Most say to use a mirror image of things to learn. That is hard to do and a good teacher will help or find someone to help teach how to do crochet left-handed. For knitting I have seen and I recommend teaching that right-handed as there are so many knitting patterns that cannot be “reversed” by mirror image, and since both hands are used anyway it is just as easy to learn.

Hats made in an evening to donate to a teenager.

Two fast hats. Red Heart hat and Lion Brand chemo cap patterns.
Two fast hats. Red Heart hat and Lion Brand chemo cap patterns.

Overnight donation construction.

If you know how to knit or crochet, you can make items to donate. If people know you knit or crochet, they may even ask you to make something. I had walked into the small doctor’s office and was greeted with “slouchy hats!!” by the receptionist. I was confused by that as I make hats I don’t buy hats. She wanted me to make some hats for a teenage girl who recently had a medical problem that resulted in her head needing to be shaved bald. The doctor and the receptionist asked if I could make some hats for this girl. The receptionist thought that all teen would like the “slouchy” hat pattern.

I didn’t have that pattern, and couldn’t find one online that I liked so I went with patterns and yarns that I already had on hand. I used a chemo cap pattern (for the tan yarn hat) that used Moda Dea Dream which is so very soft I felt it would be a comfortable hat. Then I made a larger hat in kind of a jazzy design with Red Heart Curly Q (long since discontinued) that would be soft and comfortable as well. I worked on them that evening and had them ready to take back to the office the following day.

I followed up with the doctor a couple months later to see if the hats were appreciated and being worn. She told me that even though she (the doctor) had started a “hat drive” for this girl, I was the only one to contribute. The girl really liked the hats and wore them to keep her head warm.

Anyone can find free patterns, make and donate items.

Everyone can enjoy All That Yarn in whatever pattern they want to make for themselves or others. Consider making something to donate to a local or national or international group.

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