The Dark Side of Knitting Seminars
If your vicarious seminar gush-o-meter is overflowing from everyone’s ecstatic descriptions, I’m here to help flush the pipes with a dose of reality.
There is a dark side to knitting seminars.
With so much estrogen crammed into a single venue, personality quirks are bound to collide. No matter how hard you try to enjoy the differences, someone will likely push your buttons.
Over the years I’ve attended numerous events, big and small, hand knitting and machine, where I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing the following species.
The Mmm Hmmer. This lady can’t get enough of the instructor. Every sentence spoken must be acknowledged with a head nod and an mmm hmm of agreement. I don’t mean the occasional positive affirmation. We all do that during class. I’m talking 75 plus mmm hmms in a half hour. Yes, 75. I started counting once it became clear this woman was oblivious to how distracting her vocalizations were. No amount of sideways glances by those of us around her could cure her annoying habit. To maintain my sanity, I decided to tick mark each utterance in the remaining class time. It was either that or bang my head on the table. The incessant Throat Clearer and Knuckle Popper are closely related to the Mmm Hmmer and should be avoided as seat mates. Please ladies, sip some water, coffee, or tea. The hotel provides gallons for free. And you do realize if you keep popping your joints, your knitting speed will diminish.
Homework, what homework? Before you sign up for a class, the brochure will indicate if homework is required. When you receive the confirmation of your schedule, you will be reminded about the samples that need to be knit before class starts. When you run into fellow classmates, they will probably ask you what yarn you used for your homework. When you sit down at the class table, you will see what the instructor has planned for your swatches. With all this advanced warning, why do you come to class unprepared and then insist that the instructor help you to catch up?
Class prep, what class prep? I once had a teacher who couldn’t be bothered with class prep. Instead of samples, she passed out an old sheet of her main topics and read it out loud, verbatim for the entire class. She couldn’t even exert the effort to find a more readable font, since mono-spaced courier was plenty legible for her.
The Chit Chatter. I like meeting new people at seminars, but when I’m in class, I want to listen to the instructor’s stories, not my neighbor’s. Don’t get me wrong, I won’t bite if you make a comment or ask to borrow my scissors. I’ll probably even make similar banter in your direction. Please save the long stories for the break.
The Sitter. This lady is easily spotted. She is the only one not knitting. She is best described as the “I’ll just sit and watch. Please don’t make me do anything” student. It actually makes me sad since seminars are not cheap. Why would you pay all that money and then not participate? For some reason, these ladies just want to observe. If the class is asked to knit a sample, The Sitter purposely doesn’t bring any yarn or needles so she can’t cast on. If you offer her extras from your stash, she politely declines. “I’ll do it at home. I just want to watch right now,” is usually the response. As long as the instructor’s time isn’t sucked into her non-participation void, this species is only sad, not annoying.
The Sweatshop Overlord. Shhh, no talking allowed. Ok class, I’ve given you my 45 minute presentation. Now for the remaining 5 hours and 15 minutes, you will hunker down and knit my sample. There will be no talking. I realize that endless sample knitting can be difficult, but communicating, even quietly with your neighbor, may disturb a less experienced knitter on the far side of the room. Shhh, I said no talking.
The Nit Picker. I’ve actually been guilty of this one. It was one of my first seminars and I pointed out what I thought was a mistake in the hand out. Turns out it wasn’t technically an error, simply a different way of understanding the directions. I realized after I opened my mouth that I sounded like a know-it-all. To this day I still shudder at my stupid, unintended, nit picky gaffe. I’ve only made this mistake once.
The Late Arrival Enabler. Knitters who show up late don’t bother me. I figure they paid for the class, they can come and go as they please. However, I can’t stand it when I have arrived on time, homework ready to go, and the teacher, realizing a few seats are still empty, announces that she’ll wait another 15 minutes so we can all start together. I bet she’d reconsider if she had to refund money to those of us ready on time.
The Grandstander. This attendee is topic independent. She will complain loudly about anything because all she really wants is attention. The one that bothered me the most was a gal who went on and on, before class and during breaks, about how horrible her young adult kids were and how mad she was that they didn’t want to spend any time with her. Gee, I wonder why?
February 26, 2007