Knitters are more and more often, learning on their own. Grandmothers and mothers didn’t have the art or didn’t share. The effect is a group of knitters without teachers or mentors. They guide themselves through the murky world of YouTube, knitting books and videos, to try and find their way. It takes a hell of a lot longer, and unless they are a ‘natural’, they can get frustrated or quit, when all they needed was a little push.
The nearest knitting group, meets a good distance from where I live. I could go to Sacramento or San Fran. The time and effort might not even prove worth it, as knitting groups tend to have their own atmosphere. Some are laid back, but cliquish. Others are open.
The local yarn stores are also a distance from my house. They also have atrocious hours. It’s quite frustrating. I not only have some terrific yarns that I don’t get to see, but I am cut off from valuable resources.
Right now, I have goals. I know where I want to be, but the getting there is a bit challenging. Coffee guy has been encouraging, but he says that I should find a mentor, to get me going in one direction, instead of 20. For a guy moving on, he’s full of a lot of shoulds. Of course, I told him he should try knitting, so touché, I guess.
A mentor is usually a teacher. The relationship starts with the dominate character. The student must have respect, but there is also mutual respect. It’s more than that, tho. There are lines that have to be defined in the roles. Rules that both have to accept, and be willing to give a little. Mentors usually build trust and friendship. Both sides have to be willing to listen. No one knows everything.
Most people don’t set out to find a mentor. You don’t just up and say, I need a mentor. It starts with a longing for information. Looking for someone who can teach you. Looking for someone who is willing to be open and willing to stretch, themselves. Most mentors develop. They see something in the student worth taking forward, beyond the end of class. They encourage and guide.
The student has to be able to see the value of what the teacher offers. The willingness to submit to criticism, and the ability to moderate their thoughts to follow the teacher. Both need a steady hand. Balance.
Yup, I’ll just go shopping for a mentor. Ha!
As a teacher, I’ve taught people how to do the things they want to learn. Some times, I have mentored in knitting, navigating channels to get help for their kids, or simply helped in life skills, when they get mired in the bogs and pitfalls of who they are. Teaching and instructing are not wholly different, but the playing field is different for a mentor. It’s not something you just quit. It takes as much dedication from the teacher as the student. You can’t force it, and it has to be natural.
I attract broken people. Seriously, it can be a pain in the a$$. Most of the time, if I can, I provide an ear, encouragement and advice. It is rare that I go further than that. A good cup of coffee and an ear, is all that most of them are looking for. Sometimes it’s teaching them to tink* back and redo some stitches. Other times, it’s pulling out a crochet hook, and finding the dropped stitch. Mentoring only comes into play, when they want to go forward, perhaps on a different path. You might get that, and you might not. I’m just a little different. It works in knitting and life.
So you see, finding a mentor for me, would not be simple. Teachers have to prove they aren’t idiots, to me. I take them at face value, then wait for them to screw up. It’s how they handle the screw ups, that counts. Also, I can’t ask. Supposing I did find a teacher I could trust and respect, I would want them to see the merit in me, the worth. I don’t believe you can force them to see you. I believe in Serendipity.
I’m still here, where I am, because the powers that be said to wait. So I wait. Change comes at its own pace. Soon, tho, change will come. Maybe I will walk into it, or maybe it will just hit with the force of a hurricane. Mentors and teachers start with a first step.
Creed had it in their lyrics for their song “Higher”. Taking that step, and a bit of asking for help. Good for pensive thought, fast paced enough to get a few rows done.
*Tinking is when you back track, stitch by stitch vs frogging, which is ripping out a section.