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The basics are not always basic

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The basics are not always basic

The other day Andrea brought me a bag of fresh turnips.  I have never cooked turnips, so I consulted with my pal, Google, and went to the recommended a recipe site.  Above the recipes was a series of links to helpful videos, one of which was "How to salt water for boiling..."  Okay.  I remember learning that from my mother when I was fairly young.  She always said that the water you cook things in should taste good and told me the only way to really tell was to taste it myself.  A subjective approach, but quite effective, and it's the method I still use for anything that gets cooked in water. Certainly you could measure it out-- so many teaspoons per so much water or whatever, and I wondered which approach this video would take. But there was none of that.  This was a thoroughly tongue-in-cheek spoof of videos that examine this or that technique or some renowned chef's spectacularly perfect plate. 

It was kind of funny. As I was telling my family about it at dinner, my son Colton said, "Well, how do you know? I wouldn't know how much salt." Of course he wouldn't. He has no culinary experience other than microwaving leftovers.  So I started thinking about the video, and it kind of made me angry. For those who know, a video on something this basic is a big joke, but it would probably make someone looking for legit guidance feel foolish. This kind of video is what keeps us from asking questions about basic things.  It can keep us from learning because no one wants to be the person who doesn't know this really obvious thing. 

Basics are basic, sure, but none of us is born knowing even the most basic things.  It all has to be learned.  It's this way in knitting.  A slip knot seems obvious, but it's not. If we've never done it before, someone has to show us. Every step is learned and together these steps form the foundation of our understanding, and if we don't know, we have to ask.  Please ask.  We want to show you.  We want to help.  I think that's why we love teaching so much at the shop.  It's wonderful to share information and see the light bulb go off as knitters suddenly understand a particular concept. It's exciting all the way around, and it happens with newer knitters as well as with those who've been knitting for some time.  Just as we can cook without really knowing how to salt the water, we can knit without really understanding the basics. But when we do, it's amazing.  Suddenly we're in control of our work, of our fabric, and our project.  It's so liberating! 

If you are struggling with a concept that seems basic, come and ask.  We'll show you. I remember learning how to knit - it was thrilling and exciting -- so much to learn. But there were things I didn't know, and things I didn't know I needed to know. I didn't even know how to ask.  I remember that so well, and the frustration that went with it.  That's why we've put together some awesome classes to help you get the basics and the not so basics. No matter how long you've been knitting, I promise you'll learn something new. You'll learn stuff you didn't even know you needed to know, but will help you become the competent, confident knitter you want to be.  I'm excited to share all of this with you. 

I look forward to seeing you in the shop and around the table.  You are always welcome here.

~Ellen

Comments on this post (2)

  • Mar 04, 2020

    My first time into the shop a few years ago, I was just starting to work with really nice yarn instead of craft store yarn. I had no idea how to wind yarn and Ellen took the time to show me and let me wind one of the skeins I had just bought. I’ll never forget that and will always be grateful!

    — Nicole

  • Jan 29, 2020

    I never google about food anymore. I use Pinterest to find new ways to cook different foods and if it’s not a food that I cook often like turnips I would check Pinterest in how to cook them. I do however remember my mother used to put them in soups or stews.

    — Patty Mattingly

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