Returning from a trip where I introduced Thor to camping, I was struck with the similarities between introducing someone to camping and introducing someone to knitting.
Knitting: When teaching a new knitter, make sure she is physically comfortable. An environment that is warm, inviting and friendly allows your student to relax – a useful condition when learning an art that can be intimidating!
Camping: A good, comfortable night’s sleep is of critical importance. While Thor already had a good sleeping bag, he had no sleeping pad. A friend loaned us his MondoKing – Therm-a-Rest’s luxury open-cell foam, self-inflating mats.
A little whimsy is good.
Knitting: My favorite needles – Addi Turbos – look boring (at least, that’s what Granddaughter F told me). Try a fun pair, such as those on the left made by Peace Fleece or on the right made by Pony that I bought for Granddaughter F. (She gave each needle its own name – Olav and Marlene. Yes, odd, I know. According to my daughter, “Olav” is my granddaughter’s new favorite name, from a character in the feature-length cartoon “Frozen.”)
Camping: At a sporting good stores, I discovered a close out sale on six piece BPA-free outdoor meal kits made by Swedish company Light My Fire. I bought two kits – one in green and the other in red. (In this picture, I left the red kit packed up but unpacked the green kit so you can see what fits in a single kit!) When I pulled them out of a pack, Thor’s face lit up with a grin. A great combination: both fun and eminently useful!
Strength goes without saying.
Knitting: Be sure to have your knitter use a yarn that doesn’t pill or shred. One of my favorite yarns to use with beginners is Brown Sheep‘s Lamb’s Pride worsted (85% wool, 15% mohair). The yarn’s strength and its single ply means your new knitter is less likely to be frustrated by breaking the yarn or splitting the ply.
Camping: Through the 1980s and ’90s, my daughter and I camped a lot and in all seasons. After a couple of uncomfortable camping trips on the Pacific Coast, in 1989 I invested in Sierra Design‘s excellent 4-season Prelude tent (now discontinued). I bought it when Sierra Designs was still making its tents in Berkeley, California – about a mile from where we lived at the time. (Now the tents are made oversees and imported.) Our tent has a beautiful blue rain fly. After almost 30 years, our Prelude continues to be a wonderful tent; it certainly kept Thor and me warm and snug when the evening temperatures plummeted.
Camping: To ease Thor into camping, I took him to the Rogue-Siskiyou National Forest. We camped at Natural Bridge Campground, on the banks of the Rogue River and about 20 miles away from Crater Lake. That’s Wizard Island in the middle of the lake. (It’s hard to take a bad picture of that lake!) Scenic hikes and walks called to us! How could a new camper not enjoy such landscapes? And lest I forget, the night-time star gazing was jaw-droppingly beautiful. Except for the occasional shooting star, it was a bit like gazing upward at innumerable diamonds on black velvet. It was hard to take our eyes off the stars and go into the tent to sleep.
Do not overwhelm.
Knitting: Do not start your new knitter on a long project that might become either overwhelming or boring. Better for the new knitter to start and finish a project that will not become the dreaded “never-ending project.” Good projects for the new knitter include a pair of wristlets, a pair of fingerless mittens, a headband, a hat or a baby bonnet.
Camping: Don’t take the new camper on a marathon trip, even if where you camp offers all the “amenities” (e.g., flush toilets and hot showers). We camped at a “primitive” site (vault toilets, no running water), but our camping trip was only three days and two nights.
Don’t rush; enjoy the saunter.
Knitting: Give your knitting student some time to practice between knitting lessons/sessions. This lets her find her way, as it were.
Camping: It took us about 3.5 hours of drive time each way, but the scenery was so beautiful the drive was enjoyable too. Our route took us through multiple national forests, and, binoculars in hand, we stopped at many viewpoints along the way.
Thor’s favorite mountain peak was Mt. Thielsen (9,182f/2,799m). Mine too. 🙂
Knitting & Camping: On this trip I finished my fourth Pineapple Stacks hat (pattern by Rebecca Marsh)!