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“I did it.” It was simple and confident. A statement of pride in her accomplishment and I felt a glowing of pride for her and for her willingness to try and struggle and learn. This from the girl who last week threw away her shuttles in frustration and refused to try. But now, at the end of only the second class, she announced confidently to the whole group, “I did it.” Lookie what she did:

citizen_schools_tatting_class_2_pic_1The green is the core thread and the purple stitches are made correctly. She had some difficulty flipping stitches at times, as all of us did when learning, but the majority were made correctly! I was also impressed that when she wasn’t making the flip correctly she began noticing it and correcting herself. That is exactly what she needs to get better.

The second class of my Citizen Schools tatting apprenticeship went really well. I remembered most of the students’ names, which I was very concerned about. My time management was much better, i.e. there was such a thing as time management. The students seemed relaxed and excited to learn, and the best part was that they were really getting the hang of the double stitch! citizen_schools_tatting_class_2_pic_2To be more precise, just about everyone was making the second half of the double stitch correctly just about all of the time, (e.g. the long chain of Josephine Knots above) and I started showing several of the girls how to make the first half.

I decided to teach the second half of the double stitch first because it is easier to explain: no scooping of thread to raise the loop up. I think this worked well, as when I did begin to introduce the first half there was only the scoop to learn, and not the whole hand-position-and-flip-and-shuttle-direction-all-at-once on top of the scoop.

Here is another girl’s chain of complete double stitches:

citizen_schools_tatting_class_2_pic_3Look at those lovely double stitches! The straight ones are both the first and second half!

Okay, bear with me while I brag about my students for a minute. I’ve taught a lot of adults to tat, both individually and in classes. I’d estimate that it takes most adults an average of about three hours of dedicated concentration to more-or-less get the hang of the double stitch. Here I have a group fully twice as large as any class I’ve taught before, which means they get much less individual attention, with only about an hour of actual practice time each week, probably loosing a good of learning in between lessons, yet in just two classes most of them are successfully making double stitches most if not all of the time. YOU GUYS ROCK!

This is one thing I love about teaching young people; they don’t know what they can’t do, so they do it. Most adults arrive in my classes with baggage from former failed attempts at learning tatting, or having heard that it is hard, so they expect it to be hard and, to no one’s great surprise, it is. These teens have never heard of tatting before and rock it. I claim no credit; I’m not doing anything appreciably different than in my adult classes, it is all these wonderful young people who put to shame my hours of struggling to learn.

Okay, off my soap box. Next class we’re going to make rings and picots, so stay tuned, and celebrate the butterfly!

N.B. This is the butterfly in action.

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