Announcing the Premiere of Stitch Makers Live Virtual Crochet Conference!

It’s been hard to keep quiet about this one, but now I can tell you about it!

What is Stitch Makers Live?

This post contains affiliate links, which is how I make money from teaching. Please buy your tickets from this site.

Stitch Makers Live is a 3-day virtual event for crocheters. It’s all the fun of a crochet conference from the comfort of your home!

Join 11 crochet bloggers and teachers LIVE on Facebook throughout the event. We’ll be hanging out with you, teaching and answering questions.

The LIVE portion runs Thursday, September 19 through Saturday September 21, 2019.

What Do I Get?

  • 15+ LIVE virtual classes with industry experts
  • Exclusive bonus crochet pattern with each class (15+ patterns)
  • Discussion and socializing with other attendees and teachers
  • A virtual party at the end of the event
  • Full access to the recordings for one full year

And you’re invited!

Early Bird Tickets are only $55 now through Monday, September 2.

After Labor Day ticket prices will increase to $80, so buy now to lock in the lower price.

Tell Me More

Our experts are passionate about sharing their love of crochet with others. Whether your goal is to improve your skills in hat making, gather the bravery to begin your first sweater, or dive into short rows, our goal is to help you. We have handpicked these teachers and designers to bring you the best instructors on a variety of crochet topics.

Getting to an in-person conference can be a barrier for some crocheters. You want to improve your skills and meet new people, but work, family life and budget constraints can make that impossible. Stitch Makers Live is the affordable alternative, because you’re only paying for the classes, not for flights, hotel rooms, restaurant food, and so on.

Stitch Makers Live is the only crochet-only online conference, and we’d love you to be part of the excitement.

How Does Stitch Makers Live Work?

When you buy a ticket to Stitch Makers Live you’ll get access to a private Facebook group that is only open to Stitch Makers Live participants and teachers.

The event runs September 19-21. The live video classes and interaction with the teachers will take place on the private Facebook group. Instructors will be teaching and interacting with you from 11:00 am until 8:00 pm Eastern each of those days.

And we’ll be having a virtual party from 7:30 pm until 9:00 pm Eastern on Saturday night, September 21!

Edie, What Will You Be Doing?

I’ll be teaching techniques from The Village Hat pattern. You’ll learn my tips for great-looking crocheted motifs and join-as-you-go techniques. The Village Hat pattern includes both charted and text instructions, and it’s free with your Stitch Makers Live attendance.


Want to buy a yarn pack so you can make the hat using the same yarn I did? You can! It’s available now from Wonderland Yarns.

Buy the Yarn Button

Other teachers and topics include:

Teacher collage
Logo collage
  • Tamara Kelly of Moogly: Plan Your Projects Perfectly with Weight and Gauge Basics and Fabulous Crochet Sweaters are Simple with Finishing Techniques
  • Mary Beth Temple of Hooked for Life Publishing: Hop on the Tunisian Trend with Basics from a Professional Teacher and Level Up Your Projects with Surface Crochet Techniques
  • Alexis Middleton of Persia Lou: Build Better Crochet Baskets with Rope or Cord and this Crafty Star
  • Marie Segares of Underground Crafter: Conquer Amigurumi with Tips and Tricks for All Those Bits and Get Slouch Hat Savvy with Crochet Tips from an Urban Designer
  • Andee Graves of Mamas 2 Hands: Master the Tricks to Create Easy Perfect Crochet Spirals
  • Jessie Rayot of Jessie at Home: Produce Perfect Granny Squares Every Time with these Clever Tips
  • Pia Thadani of Stitches n Scraps: Stretch Your Crochet Skills with Elastic Waistbands for Wearables
  • Linda Dean of Linda Dean Crochet: Fall in Love with Crochet Short Rows for Wonderful Shaping
  • Julie Desjardins of Accrochet: Success with Crochet Socks Can Be Yours – Start with the Basics
  • Courtney Whitehead of Creations by Courtney: Handy Help for Hat Makers – Both Top Down and Bottom Up

Join Stitch Makers Live

Have I convinced you about how excited I am to be a part of this brand-new venture? After all, I get to share my love of crochet from the comfort of my home, too!

Won’t you please join us? I can’t wait to see you there!

Buy Tickets Now button

Where to Put the First Stitch of a Crochet Row

Most new crocheters question where to put the first stitch of a crochet row. It’s not always clear from reading a pattern where that hook should go. If you don’t get it right, you may gain or lose stitches and have uneven edges.

Knowing where to put the first stitch of a crochet row in every situation will help you maintain the same number of stitches and keep your edges straight!

This article uses American crochet terminology. I’m assuming you want to keep the same number of stitches on each row, and to have straight sides. Be sure to watch the videos listed below to get a good close-up look of where I’m putting the first stitch of the second row in different situations.

Turning Chains

The key to knowing where to put your hook lies in understanding turning chains. Turning chains are the chains at the beginning of a row that bring your hook up to the level of the next row, ready to work the new row.

Your pattern will tell you how many turning chains to work, and whether that turning chain counts as a stitch. If the pattern doesn’t indicate whether the turning chain counts, you can decide for yourself.

Type of
Stitch
Typical
Turning
Chain
Does Turning
Chain Count
as a Stitch?
scch 1usually not
hdcch 2sometimes; you can decide
dcch 3usually but not always
trch 4usually but not always

When the Turning Chain Counts as a Stitch

If the turning chain counts as a stitch and you don’t want to increase or decrease, the second stitch of the row or round (the first “real” dc, for example) goes into the stitch that is one stitch to the left of the stitch at the base of the turning chain. Or one stitch to the right if you are working left-handed.

The last stitch of a row goes into the top of the turning chain from the row below. The last stitch of a round goes into the last stitch of the previous round.

Here’s what that looks like in a stitch charts and on a swatch. This swatch and stitch chart begins with a foundation chain of 13 and has 11 stitches across each row, because the turning chain counts as a stitch.

Photograph showing where to put the first stitch of a row when the turning chain counts as a stitch.

Watch How to Work Double Crochet to see me transition from Row 1 to Row 2 on a swatch, and count the ch-3 turning chain as a stitch.

In How to Work Treble Crochet, I also count the ch-4 turning chain as a stitch.

Photo showing location of last stitch of row when ch-3 counts as a stitch

When the turning chain counts as a stitch, if you put the first stitch into the same stitch as the base of the turning chain, you’ll increase. If you don’t remember to put the last stitch into the top of the turning chain, you’ll decrease.

Photo showing same number of stitches on each row using turning chain as a stitch
There are the same number of stitches in each row, counting the turning chain on each row as a stitch.

When the Turning Chain Doesn’t Count as a Stitch

If the turning chain does not count as a stitch, and you want to maintain the same number of stitches, the first stitch of the second row goes into the stitch at the base of the turning chain because you completely ignore the turning chain.

The last stitch of the row goes into the last “real” dc, because the turning chain is ignored. Here’s what that looks like in a stitch chart and on a swatch. This swatch and stitch chart begins with a foundation chain of 14 and has 11 stitches across each row, because the turning chain does not count as a stitch.

Photo showing where to put the first stitch of a row when the turning chain is not a stitch

Watch Single Crochet with Edie Eckman starting at about 3:32 to see me transition from Row 1 to Row 2 on a swatch, but not count the ch-1 turning chain as a stitch.

In How to Work Half Double Crochet, I do not count the ch-2 turning chain as a stitch.

Photo showing end of row when turning chain is not used as a stitch
Photo showing same number of stitches on each row not using turning chain as a stitch
There are the same number of stitches in each row, not counting the turning chain on each row as a stitch.

When the turning chain does not count as a stitch, if you skip the stitch at the base of the chain and work into the next stitch, you’ll decrease. If you put the last stitch of the row into a turning chain, you’ll increase.

Reminders: Where to Put the First Stitch

Remember: When the turning chain counts as a stitch, treat it like one.

It has magically become a stitch (because the pattern told you so). Why would you put another stitch in the same place? And why would you not work into it on the way back?

Remember: When the turning chain does not count as a stitch, ignore it completely.

Your edges will be straight, your stitch count will stay the same, and you’ll stop worrying about where that stitch should go!

For more about turning chains, read 5 Ways to Prevent Gaps at the Beginning of Crochet Rows. To learn more about this and other ways to improve your crochet, check out my Improve Your Crochet: Essential Techniques on Bluprint.

Join-As-You-Go Crochet with Flat Join

Two granny squares joined with flat join using join-as-you-go

Using a join-as-you-go method to join crochet motifs is a great way to save time and effort.

With join-as-you-go, you don’t have any seaming to do at the end of the project, because you have joined all your individual pieces as your work. The flat join method of join-as-you-go gives a particularly beautiful and smooth connection.

Flat joins can be worked into chain spaces or into the top of stitches. With granny squares, the joins are usually worked into the chain-spaces.

Follow these step-by-step instructions, or scroll down to the bottom of the post for a video explanation.

This post contains affiliate links which don’t cost you anything but may provide a small income to me. The yarn pictured is Red Heart Chic Sheep by Marly Bird.

Join-As-You-Go Granny Square

We’ll be joining a classic granny square that has chain-2 corners and chain-1 side spaces. My sample square has three rounds.

Begin by working the entire first square. Weave in the ends.

Crochet the second square, stopping before you work the last round.

Two granny squares: one complete and one incomplete

Begin working the last round of the second square, stopping when you get to the half-way point of a corner. In other words, stop after “3 dc in corner space, ch 1”.

Stitch diagram for joined grannies

Flat Join Join-As-You-Go

To work a flat join, draw up the loop on the hook until it is a bit longer than usual, then take the hook out of the loop. This is known as “dropping the loop”.

flat join, step 1: Insert hook from RS to WS into first square

Pick up the first square with the right side facing. Insert the hook from right side to wrong side (from front to back) through a corner chain-2 space.


flat join, step 2: Pick up dropped loop and pull it through

Pick up the dropped loop with your hook and draw it through to the right side of the first square.


Flat join, step 3: Continue on current square

Continue working on current square: ch 1, 3 dc in same space.


Completed joins

Continue working flat joins in the chain-1 spaces along this side, while working (3 dc, ch 1) in each ch-1 space of the current square. The last flat join will be in the chain-2 corner space.


Completing the Square

Once the squares are joined all along their sides, keep working along the remaining sides of the current square to complete the round.

Learn More About Join-As-You-Go

Join-as-you-go is such a time- and effort-saving technique! There’s a lot more to learn about this topic. If you want to make your crocheting life happier, check out my books and pattern page, as well as these resources:

Bluprint Craftsy Joining Crochet Motifs
Connect the Shapes Crochet Motifs
Join As You Go Seamless Crochet Techniques

The Most Misunderstood Thing about Knitting & Crochet Patterns

Row 1 (RS): *K4, p6; rep from * a total of 5 times, k4.

There’s one thing that can tie a knitter or crocheter in knots: confusing wording in a pattern. And the most misunderstood thing about knitting and crochet patterns is how pattern repeats are described.

There are some commonly accepted ways of describing repeated sections in a pattern. If you don’t understand this conventional “patternspeak”, you might be confused. But even if you understand it, sometimes the pattern writer doesn’t follow the conventions, leaving you to figure out what they mean.

The problem occurs in both knitting and crochet patterns. I’ll show examples of both.

When the Pattern Creates Confusion

Row 1 (RS): *K4, p6; rep from * a total of 5 times, k4.Here’s an instruction you might see in a pattern:

Row 1 (RS): *K4, p6; rep from * a total of 5 times, k4.

Row 1 (RS): Ch 3 (counts as dc), dc in next 4 sts, *sc in next st, dc in next 2 sts; rep from * a total of 5 times, dc in each st to end.

As an experienced crafter, I’ve got to say this wording drives me absolutely crazy. How many times am I supposed to “k4, p6”, or  “sc in next st, dc in next 2 sts”?

From experience, I think the pattern writer intends you to do the sequence of stitches—k4, p6 or sc in next st, dc in next 2 sts—a total of five times. But that’s not what the pattern says.

Using Brackets & Parentheses to Show Repeats

Brackets or parentheses can be used to group a sequence of stitches and to tell how many times to do that sequence, as they do in these examples:

Row 1 (RS): [K4, p6] 5 times, k4.

Row 1 (RS): (K4, p6) 5 times, k4.

Row 1 (RS): Ch 3 (counts as dc), dc in next 4 sts, [sc in next st, dc in next 2 sts] 5 times, dc in each st to end.

Row 1 (RS): Ch 3 (counts as dc), dc in next 4 sts, (sc in next st, dc in next 2 sts) 5 times, dc in each st to end.

Using Asterisks to Show Repeats

Asterisks are used to show a point of repeat, and are usually used together with “rep(eat) from * “to show the full repeat.

Row 1 (RS): *K4, p6; rep from * 4 times, k4.

Row 1 (RS): Ch 3 (counts as dc), dc in next 4 sts, *sc in next st, dc in next 2 sts; rep from * 4 times, dc in each st to end.

Here, the number of times to do that sequence seems to have gone down, but in reality this is the exact same instruction you’ve seen above. How can that be?

In these examples, you do the sequence of stitches once, then you repeat that sequence four more times, for a total of five times. You can’t repeat something you haven’t done before.

Another Point of Confusion

You can't repeat something you haven't done beforeSometimes you’ll see asterisks used this way:

Row 1 (RS): *K4, p6*; rep between * * 4 times, k4.

Row 1 (RS): *K4, p6*; work between * * 5 times, k4.

Row 1 (RS): Ch 3 (counts as dc), dc in next 4 sts, *sc in next st, dc in next 2 sts*; rep between * * 4 times, dc in each st to end.

Row 1 (RS): Ch 3 (counts as dc), dc in next 4 sts, *sc in next st, dc in next 2 sts*; work between * * 5 times, dc in each st to end.

As an experienced pattern writer and a tech editor, I steer clear of this construction. It offers the same opportunity for confusion as previous examples, and it adds more *’s than the eye can easily track.

However, if you do see this “between **s” construction, pay careful attention to the wording used to make sure you are following the repeats correctly.

The “Repeat” Paradox

Let’s go back to our original confusing instruction:

Row 1 (RS): *K4, p6; rep from * a total of 5 times, k4.

Row 1 (RS): Ch 3 (counts as dc), dc in next 4 sts, *sc in next st, dc in next 2 sts; rep from * a total of 5 times, dc in each st to end.

Can you see the contradictions? If you repeat the sequence of stitches a total of five times, you’ve done that sequence a total of six times. But if you do the sequence a total of five times, you’ve only repeated them four times.

You’ll have to use clues to figure out what the designer means to happen.

In the knitting example:

If you have 54 stitches on the needle, you can work the k4, p6 sequence five times, which will use 50 stitches, then knit the last 4 stitches, for a total of 54 stitches.

If you have 64 stitches, you’ll work the k4, p6 sequence once, then repeat it five times, then knit the last 4 stitches, using up all 64 stitches.

In the crochet example:

This one is harder to figure out, because the row ends with “dc in each dc to end”, which leaves the number of total stitches unknown. You will know how many stitches you have in the row. You’ll have a good idea of whether you are supposed to be working all the way across the row. Using this information, you will have to figure out what balances the stitch pattern on the row, and how many total repeats you can fit it, then go with that.

See? It’s not ideal wording.

A Solution

Row 1 (RS): Ch 3 (counts as dc), dc in next 4 sts, *sc in next st, dc in next 2 sts; rep from * 4 more times, dc in each st to end.There’s an easy wording solution that helps clear up all of this confusion, and that is using the word “more”:

Row 1 (RS): *K4, p6; rep from * 4 more times, k4.

Row 1 (RS): Ch 3 (counts as dc), dc in next 4 sts, *sc in next st, dc in next 2 sts; rep from * 4 more times, dc in each st to end.

See how easy that was? It reminds the crafter that they are doing the thing then repeating the thing a certain number of times.

Even if the word “more” is not included, now that you understand repeats you can head forth confident in your knowledge of how many times you’ll do those instructions.

Let’s spread the word that you can’t repeat something you haven’t done yet. It will clear up the confusion for everyone!

20 Tips to Make the Most of Your Next Knitting or Crochet Class, Part 2

In Part 1 of this article, you read about how to prepare for a knitting or crochet class, and you’ve gotten yourself to class. The things you have done to this point will enhance your ability to learn new skills .

Now let’s explore what you can do during and after class to learn as much as you can, and to remember what you learned long after class is over.

During Class

Tip #11 Relax

This isn’t rocket science. It isn’t school. There are no grades or tests. It’s not a race, so it doesn’t matter how slow you are. You can’t fail; you can only succeed to a greater or lesser degree.

The teacher is there to help you. They want you to be happy. Your fellow students want you to be happy. They aren’t paying attention to what you are doing or how fast you are going, because they are too worried about the same things you are.

Breathe. Relax your shoulders. Breathe. Roll your neck. Breathe. Stand up and stretch. Smile. This is going to be fun.

Tip #2 Be a good neighbor

If you are chatting with your friend or seatmate, you may not be paying attention when the teacher says something important. You may be distracting others or making it difficult for others to hear.

Limit side conversations and comments to times when the whole class is working quietly. Keep those conversations low-key and low-volume. Save the chatty catching-up talk for after class, over a cup of tea—or a glass of wine.

If you need help, it may be fine to ask your neighbor a quick question, but don’t expect them to teach you.

If your neighbor is bothering you, let them know politely. Rather than accusing them of being too loud, try starting with a “me” statement – something like, “I’m having trouble hearing. Could you please speak more quietly?” If they keep asking questions and distracting you from your work, say, “That would be a good question to ask (teacher’s name).”  If that doesn’t work, have a private word with the teacher; they may not have realized that there was a problem.

Tip #13 Ask for help the best way

The teacher wants to help you, but there may be a lot of people in class needing help at once. If the teacher is making their way around the room, you may be able to wait your turn until they get to you. You may need to raise your hand to get the teacher’s attention.

If you can’t see or hear tell the teacher, let them know.

If you are frustrated or don’t understand, don’t stew in silence! Teachers try their best, but they aren’t mind readers; let them know your needs. Chances are, if you have a question, others have the same question. Asking it aloud and having it answered will help the whole class.

At the same time, this isn’t a private lesson. The teacher is there to teach the whole class and has limited ability to help each individual student, depending on time and class size. Teachers can’t do remedial technique instruction for unprepared students. That’s what the prerequisites are for!

Tip #14 Be patient

Be patient with yourself. You’re learning something new, and you won’t be perfect at it the first time—or the second, or even the third. You learn more by making mistakes than by not making mistakes.

Learning as an adult is frustrating. We’re used to being competent in our daily lives. Typically we are not in a learning mode. Learning requires being vulnerable, and that’s an uncomfortable feeling. It’s OK not to master something immediately, and to feel unsure of what you are doing.

Realize that every time you do something new, you’ll be achieving a new personal best. The “perfect” student knows this and revels in their mistakes, because they know they are learning!

Tip #15 Pay attention

When the teacher is speaking to the whole class, stop working. Listen and watch.

Stay off your cell phone. Don’t record audio or video of the class without permission. Recording is not only impolite and sometimes illegal, it also distracts you from the instruction being offered. If you are taking notes on your phone, let the teacher know that’s what you are doing.

If you know much of what the teacher is saying, listen anyway. There is always something new to learn. It may be in the way the familiar information is being presented. You may pick up tips and tricks that refine a technique that you thought you knew well.

After Class

Tip #16 Use what you learned.

Don’t just read the handout, do hands-on practice. Even better, start—and finish—a project using the latest technique you learn. That will cement the knowledge in your brain.

If you enjoyed the teacher and think they have more to offer, look them up online. Depending on the teacher, you may find a robust social media presence and a blog or website. The teacher might be teaching additional classes in your area or online. They may have YouTube, Creativebug, or Bluprint (formerly Craftsy) videos. They may have a newsletter you’ll want to subscribe to. 

The more you love on your teacher, the more likely they are to be able to continue to create the kind of learning content you enjoy.

You paid for a class, you attended the class, and you got a lovely handout that will help you remember what you learned. That handout is protected both by copyright and by ethics. The teacher spent hours preparing the class and writing and designing the handout. It is their work. Photocopying and sharing the handout (or using it to teach a class yourself) is not only illegal, but wrong. Please don’t do it.

If you want to share what you learned, give credit to the teacher.

If an evaluation form was provided, please fill it out to the best of your ability. Both the teacher and the class sponsor benefit from constructive criticism. The better the feedback, the better the teacher becomes over time.

Here are some phrases to get you started:

I appreciated it when the teacher …
It would be helpful if …
Would you consider …
I’d like to see …
The meeting space was …

If you learned something new, share your success with others. Grab a friend and explain what you learned in your own words. When we teach, we have to process information differently than when we learned, and this helps cement the information in our brains.

Announce your new-found knowledge on your social media channels. Share where you learned and who taught you. However, do continue to respect the intellectual property of the teacher(s) and other resources you learn from. If you have any questions about what you can and can’t (or shouldn’t) teach or share from a particular class, contact the teacher for clarification.

20 Tips to Make the Most of Your Next Knitting or Crochet Class

Keep these tips handy! Download a free pdf poster of all 20 Tips.

What’s Next

Now that you’re ready to maximize your learning efforts, what’s your next step? What kind of class do you want to take? Do you have any classes scheduled?

Talk to me in the comments.

About Edie

Edie headshot

I’ve been teaching knitting and crochet in person for over 25 years, at all levels and in all sorts of venues. I’ve taught one-on-one, in small groups, and in large classes with 30 students or more. During this time, I’ve observed thousands of students, and I’ve talked with my fiber teacher colleagues about what they have observed. I also take every possibly opportunity to be a student. This article has grown out of my own experience and those of my colleagues.

20 Tips to Make the Most of Your Next Knitting or Crochet Class, Part 1

In this two-part series, you’ll find 20 tips to set yourself up for success in any knitting or crochet class you take. Wouldn’t it be awesome to make the most out of class? To squeeze every bit of knowledge you can from it? To nail that new skill? To be full of new knowledge and excitement for where your skills will take you?

These tips are aimed at in-person fiber arts classes, but they can apply to online learning as well. Learn what to do before class, when you get to class, during class, and after class to make the most of your experience. Find out how to learn in the most relaxed and enjoyable way possible.

Before Class

Tip #1 Read the class description carefully.

Every class should have a description that specifies what is being taught. The teacher puts a lot of effort into making sure the class description tells you what you need to know.

If the class description says, “set-in sleeve shaping will not be covered”, don’t come to class expecting the teacher to slip in a lesson about set-in sleeve shaping.

Contact the event organizer or email the teacher if you have questions about what is going to be taught or if the class is right for you at this time.

Tip #2 Make sure you meet the prerequisites.

This would be Tips #2-6 if I were giving you ten tips instead of five. Skill prerequisites are there for a reason. Master the skills you need before coming to class because the class is going to proceed from that point.

If you are told you “must know how to knit on double-pointed needles”, that doesn’t mean you own a set of double-pointed needles. It doesn’t mean that you knit with them once upon a time five years ago. It means that you are comfortable casting on and knitting and purling in the round on double-pointed needles.

“Must be familiar with single crochet and double crochet” means you should know how to do these stitches without thought. Practice before class to make sure you know what you are doing. Don’t rely on looking up techniques on YouTube during class!

Tip #3 Do the homework before class.

Teachers assign homework for two main reasons.

The first reason is that you will be using the homework in class. If your homework isn’t complete, you’ll be scrambling to finish it while the rest of the class moves on. You’ll miss half of what the teacher says, and you’ll be feeling left behind. That’s never a good feeling.

The second reason is to make sure you are up-to-speed on the techniques used in class. Those prerequisites? The homework gives you the chance to brush up on them. If it’s been a while since you knitted on double-pointed needles or did anything beyond single crochet, now’s your chance. Use all your resources—books, videos, friends, yarn shop employees—to refresh your memory before having to use those skills in class.

If you struggle with the homework, reconsider taking the class. Instead, study more until you have mastered the technique. Or take an easier class.

Tip #4 Use the right yarn.

The right yarn makes learning so much easier, both in preparing your homework and while in class. Your best bet is a smooth, light-colored worsted weight yarn (CYC #4-medium) in a color or colors you like.

Navy blue, dark grey or black may be your favorite colors, and you may be able to see the stitches perfectly at home. However, you don’t know what the classroom lighting conditions will be. Your teacher may not be able to see those dark colors well enough to help you. Stay away from variegated yarn for the same reason.

If the class materials list specifies a particular yarn weight or a specific yarn, take care to follow those instructions. If the yarn is supposed to be 100% wool, use 100% wool. The teacher had a reason for assigning it.

Some of you have dark, splitty, scratchy, fuzzy yarn in a color you hate. You’d never use it in a project, but you’ve been saving it for a special occasion. This class is not that occasion. You’ll still hate the yarn. You’ll be unhappy with yourself, your yarn, and everyone around you as you struggle to learn a new skill. You have my permission to throw away that yarn.

Tip #5 Collect the proper supplies.

Bring the supplies specified in the class materials: yarn, needles/hooks in a certain size, and other materials specific to that class.

Assume you’ll need scissors, a pencil, paper for taking notes, a tape measure, yarn needle, stitch markers, a calculator, and so on. These basic tool kit items should travel with you at all times.

Bring a variety of needles and hook sizes. Students sometimes use a crochet hook or knitting needle that is not the ideal size for the yarn. Having a selection of sizes to choose from allows you to change to a more appropriate size.

If you need reading glasses, magnifying glasses, extra lighting or other aids, bring them with you.

When You Get To Class

You’ve done all the things you could think of to prepare for a successful class experience. Now the big day is here, and it’s time for class.

Tip #6 Come early.

Leave yourself enough time for traffic and parking. If you are at a large venue, allow time to register and to find your classroom; sometimes it can be a 10-minute walk.

Get to class early enough to find a seat, get unpacked and settled in. You’ll probably want to get a drink of water and use the restroom so you’ll be comfortable and ready to learn.

If you have special needs such as extra lighting or special seating, coming early allows you time to get the space you need and the time to set up appropriately. Be sure to let the teacher know before class starts if you have vision or hearing disabilities. Offer suggestions of how they can adapt their teaching style to help you.

It’s better to be a bit early than to get stuck in traffic and blow into class after it has started. Coming late to class means you miss important information. It can be difficult to catch up with the rest of the class, and you’ll feel stressed, which makes it harder to pay attention.

Tip #7 Don't come too early.

Or if you do come very early, don’t chat with the teacher. Before class, the teacher is unpacking class materials, making sure they have everything they need, passing out handouts, and getting any audiovisual equipment set up. After all that, they need a quiet space to think about details they may have missed, and to take a breath before starting class.

A quick “hello” or “good morning” is fine, and if the teacher starts a conversation, they may be ready and willing to talk. Don’t be hurt if the teacher doesn’t appear super-friendly in that 30-minute period before class.

Tip #8 Wear layers

Classrooms can be hot or cold, especially in hotel conference rooms, so dress in layers. You’ll be sitting still so you’ll feel the cold more than if you were moving around. Plus, you can show off your beautiful hand-made creations to others who will appreciate them!

Tip #9 Turn off your phone

Do I need to explain this one? Get your last-minute social media fix and texting done, then put the phone in your bag and ignore it. You are here to play with yarn. Everything else can wait.

If you have to be available because of work or family situations, turn the phone to vibrate. Put it in your pocket. If it rings, you’ll feel it and can run out to answer. Leaving it on the table is too much of a temptation to get distracted.

Tip #10 Wait for the teacher

Even if you have the handout in front of you, don’t start working before the teacher gives the go-ahead. The handout probably doesn’t tell you everything you need to know, and the teacher will have additional instructions for you.

During and After Class

In Part 2 of the series, you’ll learn the all-important things to do during class and after class to help you make the most of your class experience.

About Edie

Edie headshot

I’ve been teaching knitting and crochet in person for over 25 years, at all levels and in all sorts of venues. I’ve taught one-on-one, in small groups, and in large classes with 30 students or more. During this time, I’ve observed thousands of students, and I’ve talked with my fiber teacher colleagues about what they have observed. I also take every possibly opportunity to be a student. This article has grown out of my own experience and those of my colleagues.

Let me know your thoughts. Have I missed your favorite tip? What do you do to get ready for a fiber arts class?