Last week the women in my family began Crochet Club, an idea borne out of Kate Jacobs’ Friday Night Knitting Club. Barbara is an accomplished crocheter and the rest of us are not. We thought the rest of us should learn from her while we could and we knew we’d all enjoy each other’s company. So after a quick supper Barbara pulled out a few pattern books for us to choose projects from. “Wait a minute,” I thought. “How we will all learn if we’re all working on different things?”
Courtney chose a pocketbook made up of a fleur -de-lis pattern. (Not what it’s called in the crochet world, but I both don’t know what it’s called and wanted to give you a visual image.) Rosa chose to make circular potholders made with three different colored yarns. I decided on a poncho. Each pattern came with instructions, which we read, and we were off to the races. Barbara showed each girl how to get started. I was okay initially. I know a smidge more than they do, having worked on the same afghan for almost twenty years. What can I say? I get bored easily. But then I forgot how to perform a very simple stitch. I trusted my fingers’ muscle memory would kick in if given the chance. After a bit of practice, it did.
And did chaos ensue while we three worked on completely different projects, their only commonality that they all started with the letter P? Of course not. Barbara as I said before is a master of her craft. She was able to step in and show us when we’d gone astray, answer questions when posed to her, and offer encouragement at our fledgling attempts. Because we’d each chosen something we wanted to work on, something we would be able to use in our lives, motivation for learning was high. Come to think of it. This happens in workshop classrooms all over the country. Kylene Beers in When Kids Can’t Read, What Teachers Can Do says “A workshop approach does not mean the teacher doesn’t teach. It does mean that you provide specific information that students need to help them accomplish whatever they are working on at the time.” When given time, choice, a real reason to read and write (or crochet), and a knowledgeable teacher, deep learning takes place. If only we’ll let it.
So it shouldn’t have surprised me how well we all learned that night or how eager we all are to sit with yarn again. It seems I need to learn what I already knew over and over again.