Thursday, February 08, 2007

Thoughts On Learning


Have you ever met someone that didn't consider themselves a very good student, but anytime they need to learn something, they used every resource they could lay their hands on to become practically an expert in their new area of learning?

Just In Time Learning
When Thaddeus wanted to know more about the kinds of mushrooms his father picked, he bought books, researched the internet and joined an amateur mycological club.

When he wanted to know about the heart condition that eventually took our little Gage's life, he ended up knowing more about it than most vetinarians.

Now that he's into acclimating Nico into the house, he's become a veritable expert on how to best raise a cat. He can tell you an enormous amount about what the best feed for cats is. He knows a boatload about methods for encouraging cats in using scratching posts instead of furniture. He has even researched the best ways of introducing a house visitor to the cat in a way that will be least disturbing to the cat.

While I've had similar level of passion for knitting and fiber-related hobbies for decades now, I don't know that I would have the energy to do this on a multitude of topics. It's amazing what an inspired learner can learn when he puts his mind to it.

Current Knitting
First of all, I wanted to show you that I am making slow, but steady progress on the colorblock sweater.



Now that I've made it past the arm hole shaping, it's going a little bit faster (emphasis on the "little").

I've also finished the front of the dark tweed pullover.



I ended up going with a slightly more shallow opening than you'd find on most commercial sweaters. I've also done a slight shoulder shaping using short rows.

Current Spinning
Finally, I was able to finish plying the second large hank of multicolored Merino.



It appears that when I finish plying the remaining singles, that I will have enough of this yarn to make a decent size men's sweater, as long as I don't do any fancy cabling or pattern work. I think it will soon be my favorite sweater.

8 comments:

ted said...

There's a difference between being a "student" and a "learner", after all. And adults can learn very well if they push the right motivation buttons: usually if something is important to them, they'll learn. If it's not...uh...why bother?

Geraldine said...

You've done the right thing making the neck-shaping shallower on the tweed pullover. I always think a slightly higher crew neck is more comfortable and looks much smarter, particularly on a man.

It is interesting to think about peoples' different learning styles. Some people just get into one thing in a very single-minded way and keep at it for a whole lifetime even, while others of us flit from topic to topic like humming birds. neither is 'better' or 'worse', for example we need scientists (single minded) to discover stuff and we need journalists (humming birds) to tell us about it. As a long time humming bird I can get really annoyed with my boffin-style husband who never seems to know even the most basic ordinary stuff about what is going on! But he certainly knows his field inside out!

As they say, 'It takes all kinds...'

JoVE said...

Your remarks about learning resonate with a lot of the books I am reading about "unschooling". Anyone (child or adult) will learn what they need to know if they think they need to know it. The difficulty that leads to people thinking they are not good learners is that they don't learn much in structured, school-type learning situations. I recall an education professor telling me once that research shows that students retain less than 10% of what you say in a lecture, for example. I suspect Thaddeus is retaining a much greater percentage of what he's read (or learned from talking to people, or however he has learned these things) than that.

Marilyn said...

One of the reasons I love Thaddeus is for his amazing sphere of knowledge. What he knows about mushrooms always astonishes me. I do love obscure things like that and admire anyone who is an SME, as he is.

I should talk to him about his thoughts about cat food. And maybe how I can convince Cleo that Boo, the other female cat, really isn't treading on her tail, rhetorically speaking.

jacquieknits said...

Mmmh, I think you, and I actually, are very much like Thaddeus. Do you knit the same thing over and over again. Of course not. There's always another pattern, another technique, and another yarn to buy, make, spin, dye. Patterns to follow, make up, patterns that are useful, playful, downright stupid. Books to read, magazines to check out. And when you're all done with the mechanics, how about focusing on the materials, hence spinning, fiber, roving, S H E E P wool, silk, alpaca, tencel. Let's try new wheels. New spindles. New classes. Don't forget the fairs, the LYSs, the S&Bs. The tribe, the kingdom, it is big. It is big because curiousity feeds it. Curiousity keeps it growing. That's what Thaddeus has. Curiousity.

And you!

anne marie in philly said...

have you ever visited www.DoverPublications.com?

spouse’s uncle told us about it. they have reprinted knitting/crochet/tatting books under the “crafts” heading.

check it out!

Anonymous said...

ARRAGH!!!

I hate it when it eats up my learned comment!!

Jamie Fritz said...

that's gorgeous yarn. And you have my admiration on the color block sweater.

Thaddeus sounds like a typical Mensan... we tend to geek out on areas of interest, immersing ourselves in it until we either know everything there is to know about it, or we lose interest, whichever comes first.