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Some Thoughts On Learning

A few weeks ago, I posted a photo of a book I just got that day on my Instagram account and was really excited about it. It was a book on sweater design that had been on my wish list for literally YEARS. I was at that time taking a class on grading sweaters and that class confirmed that I needed to bite the bullet and order the book. (And I can tell you I page through it almost every day! I am finding so much good info that reinforces what I learned in that class)

Shortly after I posted that photo with a comment about how excited I was, someone posted a comment on the photo that told me that it was a waste of money, that the (late) author was wrong, and mentioned that they would have discussions where the author would concede to her. She mentioned another book that I should have spent my money on (which I already had)

I was taken aback by this negative comment – by a fellow designer no less. While I can agree that as years go by, we all learn and grow and find new ways of doing things, I truly feel that there is nothing wrong with going back to where we started. But the comment that made me pause and think about how I teach and how I learn was that “she [the author of the book] is old school”.

As most of you know, I learned to crochet from my Nonna. She learned to crochet from her Nonna in Italy. My Nonna was born in 1903. Her Nonna was born in the mid-1800s. Since we were both taught in word-of-mouth fashion, I would argue that I was taught to crochet “old-school”.

Because Nonna only spoke Italian, I am self-taught in reading and writing patterns. I learned from Leisure Arts Leaflets from the 1960s and 70s. I expanded my knowledge through many of the original Annie’s Attic magazines from the 1980s, and finally, through the internet age, I learned even more from blogs and video, more modern books, taking classes, and just my nature of trial and error in everything I do.

Every one of us has our own way of learning. Some are visual learners and need either a person or video to show them the way. Others are auditory learners who listen to someone speaking and do what is being said without looking at what is being taught. Others like books- digital or physical- because they can digest the information easily.

As a teacher, I tend to share how I do things. I have many students like myself who take many classes on the same subject because there is always new and different information to glean from each instructor. I have never said to any student that my way is the “best way”, “the only way” or “the right way”. I share what I feel works the best for me and my style of crochet, but many times I will pull other ways of doing things out of my arsenal to help a student who is struggling.

I hope that as we go forward as a community, you never feel that I think my way is the only way to do things. I do hope, however, that you take what I teach and maybe pull a couple of ideas or new thoughts (which might actually be old school thoughts) and add them to your arsenal of tools you can pull out when you need to. In every class I teach, every video I create, and in every blog post I share, my goal is that you will gain new knowledge about something or even find a tidbit of information you may have never known before.

It’s all about growing in our crochet knowledge, and I hope that is what I am fostering here at Karen Whooley Designs.

How do you learn?  Do you combine what you learn from multiple people? Let me know in the comments.


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3 Responses

  1. Well, you finally got me curious enough that I have just requested this book from the library, though I don’t think I’m ready for this type of design. I look forward to seeing what you create.

    Yes, I like learning from different people. Well, depending who they are — what they are teaching and how professional they are. I think the best teachers understand the ‘old school’ ways, because it’s not all about taking shortcuts.

    Now, eventually maybe you will write us a ‘how to design’ book for crochet! 😊

    1. I’ll be upping my game with Garment design later this year!!

      The how-to designs book? Well, there are so many others who teach that better than I could so I don’t think that will happen any time soon! But it is on my list of some day possibly items.

  2. I have tons of Craftsy classes and Annie’s classes as well as other classes from various designers. I like learning how to do things several different ways. For instance, I learned American style knitting but learned Continental style so I can give my hands and wrists a break when they get tired. I love your style of teaching because it is clear and concise, plus I have learned a ton of new techniques that I haven’t seen in my other classes. I have a problem with someone who bad-mouths the dead! I don’t know which books you are talking about, but if I could look at what you learned in your newer book and compare it with what’s in the older book, I might choose one method over the other. It doesn’t mean one method is better or worse! My late Aunt Josie taught me a lot about crocheting, but she couldn’t explain things so they sank into my brain. Actually, I learned more by watching what she was doing. My next-door neighbor taught knitting and crocheting at a store, but she was kind enough to let me visit her in the evening when I got home from work so she could teach me how to knit a vest. She had a wonderful way of explaining things that put a picture (or video) right into my brain! She explained as she demonstrated. I miss that dear lady and our lessons so much! When I teach someone, I try to remember that everyone learns a different way – some learn by the spoken word and some learn by demonstration, and some need both. I don’t teach very often and certainly nothing advanced; but I can say that I have never had a student that left without knowing how to do what she came to learn!

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