Amazing. That's how I describe the weekend with Tanis Gray. So often designers of this caliber are not the best teachers. Some teachers are not even the best teachers. Tanis, however, is not only a talented, prolific, and celebrated designer, but a wonderful and generous teacher, and a warm and genuine person.
It was a pleasure to get to know her, to watch her teach, and to learn from her. As students were leaving Sunday, I heard them all thank Tanis and say how much they'd enjoyed the class and how much they had learned. Ginni and I chatted afterwards about how these women, some of whom have been knitting for decades, attended the class and had all learned something.
I certainly learned a lot. I think we all did - even Ginni, the shop's resident guru and knitting technical expert, learned something. She and her husband, Chuck, a college professor himself, talked about how academics attend seminars to learn more about their subject, or just how to better teach it. They all agree that no matter how much we know, we can always learn something. And we can. As long as we're open to it.
Our collective knowledge is expanding at a staggering rate - there is always something new to learn and know. New knowledge is thrilling, but it can be scary too -- challenging long held beliefs, so we have to be open to learning on a variety of levels. When we first learn a thing, we believe it to be the right way - the only way -- the truth ever after, Amen. As we grow and learn, and discover on our own, we find that our way is actually just one of any number of ways, and we can embrace them all.
Knitting provides a tiny microcosm of this idea. Casting on, for instance. We may have learned the backwards loop as a child. Casting on that way works absolutely fine until it really doesn't, and someone shows us the long-tail cast on. Which is great until we learn the cable cast on. Together these three methods are quite enough to fill our cast-on needs forever and ever. Until we discover such a thing as a German Twisted Cast-on, and hopefully, we open ourselves up to learning yet another something new.
It's essential to continue to learn throughout our life because learning is growth, and growth is how it's supposed to be -- just look at the expanding universe. We must be open to new ideas and new ways of doing things. Like all creatures, we adapt or we die. Ok, maybe that's a little dramatic, we don't really die -- but our brain cells do. We stagnate. We stop looking forward, and we stop moving forward. We stop being interested, and we stop being interesting.
Fprtunately for us, knitting provides an endless opportunity to learn and grow. To stay interested and interesting. There are new stitches, new techniques, and new ways of doing things that we never imagined -- like socks two at a time on two circular needles - who knew? And so much more. Grab every opportunity to learn something new, and enjoy the journey!
I look forward to seeing you in the shop and around the table. You are always welcome here.