What is Legitimacy?

I am a self-taught knitter.  My mom showed me the basics, and more importantly, how to shop for yarn with a pattern, but I taught myself how to read a pattern, how to use the glossary, how helpful a reference book is, and why it's okay to rip out and start over.  

When I was asked to teach classes at the yarn store where I worked I balked.  I didn't know how to teach what I know, I wasn't a legitimate instructor.  I didn't have training.  I'd never even taken a knitting class.

Legitimacy.  We get so hung up on credentials.

The truth is that I have at least 25-30 sweaters that attest to my skills as a knitter.  I have knitted dozens of hats, several pairs of mittens, quite a few skirts, multiple scarves and shawls, and one pair of socks.  I know the traditional pattern process inside and out, and what I don't know, I know how to find out.  When I sat down with my very first class, a seamed sweater class, I told them I wanted to demystify seaming a knitted garment so that they wouldn't be afraid to knit a garment in pieces.  I showed them how the knitted stitch creates legs and ladders and how those become the basis of seamed edges.  I taught them to incorporate a selvage stitch at the edge to make it easier to seam a garment.  I talked about designers who write patterns that make seaming easier.  

And then I taught them about fudging it.

In handmade items, there is no such thing as perfection.  It is rare, oh so rare, the maker who can craft perfectly symmetrical edges that fit together within a fraction of an inch.  And since none of us will probably ever be that anomaly, you learn how to make it work.  In knitting, you learn how blocking a garment makes it easier to match up edges, how easing one section will eliminate the need to reknit a piece when edges don't match up.  You learn how to work with imperfection, which, as part of the human race, is a very good skill to learn and master.

Sometimes, you have to rip out and start over, and learning to recognize when that's your only real option is important too.

When we were talking about this school, we wanted instructors who are makers first, who know intimately the process of their craft because they love it so much that it's what they spend their free time doing if they aren't already doing it as a full-time job.  Craftstitute's neighbor, Jesse of Copper Horse Coffee, will be teaching classes on both roasting and brewing.  He is passionate about his coffee, extremely knowledgeable about his craft, and endlessly curious about all there is to learn about beans and roasting temperatures and brewing techniques.  He will be sharing process.  And while he is a legitimate expert, with accolades and prizes in his field, he is as approachable about his passion as I am about mine, even with all his credentials.  

And that's what we want Craftstitute to be, ultimately.  A place to learn skills, to make beautiful objects, and to connect with passionate and talented people - both instructors and students.