How to Teach Knitting & Crochet Online

Thanks for joining me for How to Teach Knitting & Crochet Online!

Here are some of the things we talked about (or may have talked about depending on which class you attended). If you have products or links you find helpful, please let me know so I can share them here.

Here’s my current desktop setup. It’s not always this orderly, but I had to clean it off so you could see the relevant elements!

Some of the following are affiliate links, which may provide me a small income if you buy something, but don’t cost you anything extra.

I adore my Ikea Bekant sit/stand desk, although it doesn’t get great reviews on the Ikea site. My husband and I have both had ours over five years with no problem. Your mileage may vary.

I didn’t label everything in the photo. For fun, see if you can find:

LED clip-on ring light
stylus for Wacom tablet (which is off-camera)
Know Your Cuts of Lamb magnet
“Nose” glasses holder

Cameras and Holders

Arkon Mounts has a ton of useful tools for online teaching.

You can get 20% off any purchase from Arkon Mounts when you use coupon code edieeckman.

I use the Arkon Mounts weighted base phone holder and my iPhone camera for my overhead shots. It adjusts to a variety of heights and angles. I like this version because I don’t have to find a tabletop the right depth to clamp it onto.

Arkon’s Remarkable Creators 3-in-1 Bundle Tablet (pictured) is what I’d get if I were starting from scratch.

For the camera on my face, I just use the built-in camera on my iMac. It allows me to face the camera straight-on and still reach the keyboard. I end up moving the wireless keyboard to the side when I’m demonstrating.

Depending on the quality of your cameras on your computer/tablet/phone, you may find it necessary to get a dedicated webcam. Be sure you get one that offer high resolution, since you’ll want to be able to show detail.

Hue HD Pro Document camera

The Hue HD Pro document camera shown above was suggested by some as another good option for showing hand shots. It has a manual focus and built-in microphone. This is the camera used by teachers at Virtual VKLive.

You may be able to get by using a wire shelf like the one shown. Make sure the shelf is tall enough for you to get your hands under it comfortably. Place your camera/phone on the shelf, facing down. This is a good option for your students to use when they are trying to show their hands.

Lighting

10" LED Ring Light with tripod

Good lighting is an ongoing challenge. After some research, I’m trying out this budget-friendly UBeesize 10″ LED ring light with tripod.

I also use the Arkon Mounts rechargeable clip-on LED ring light.

Headphones/Microphone

In my opinion, a comfortable headphone/mic combination is important if you are going to be teaching. They can be more comfortable than earbuds if you are going to be spending a lot of time online. The ones I use are from Logitech and I’ve had them forever.

Throughout the various sessions of this class that I have taught, we have discovered that wireless (Bluetooth) mics and headphones are not as reliable. Several people have had trouble with staying connected via Bluetooth. I’m now recommending that you use a wired headset if possible.

An Amazon search for “headset with microphone” results in a lot of choices, with a huge range of features and price points. This mPow headset looks similar to the one I use, but click around and see what works for you.

Be sure that the ones you get are compatible with your devices; some are specific to Windows or Mac only.

Adapters

Don’t forget that you’ll need to keep things charged while you are teaching. Video uses a lot of power! A multiple port USB charger is nice to have.

USB multiple port charger

I’m also a big believer in good surge suppression, especially with a lot of stuff plugged in!

Why? At one time I worked in an office on top of a mountain, and it was subject to lightening strikes. I had an APC protector that gave its life by jumping between the outlet and my computer, twice. APC replaced the unit for free both times.

APC surge protector

Backgrounds

For the dark grey and light grey backgrounds, I use a 15″ x 20″ foam core board that I cut down from a 30″ x 20″ sheet. The black/black version is more readily available, such as this 3-pack of 16″ x 20″ foam core sheets.

Elmer's black foam core

For the white background I use a remnant of fleecy white fabric I picked up somewhere. I like the texture it adds to the images, and the fact that it muffles noise when I hit it with the end of my knitting needles.

Other Tips

For showing garments and how they fit, consider using mannequins. Barry Klein recommends these mannequins in both a black version and a white version; pick the one that shows off the sweater best. They are quite reasonably priced. He also suggests buying a cheap tank dress so the mannequin isn’t “naked” when you are changing it!


Synchronous (Live, Real Time) Teaching Platforms

Helpful Links about Teaching

Tips & Tricks: Teachers Educating on Zoom

How to Be a Better Online Teacher

Universal Design for Learning

Do you know other resources you think other teachers would find helpful? Let me know and I’ll add them to this page.

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