Monday, November 15, 2010

Designers - do you take other designers classes?

A friend asked me the question of this post's title privately some time ago.
I hadn't intended to write a blog post on this topic until I was asked the same question again later by someone else. That tells me that this is a topic that people just aren't sure what the correct etiquette should be. I've taken many classes from other designers. All were before I decided to take my chances in the professional Knitting world and launch my own patterns and teaching career. I love both taking and teaching classes, it is the ultimate in fun for me. Personally I would feel honoured if another designer wanted to take one of my classes. However, now that we are talking about this I think if I decide to take another teacher's class maybe I had better ask for permission from the instructor first. What do you think? Has anyone got any good advice to share?


  1. I take classes from other designers. My guild brings them in and the cost is minimal. I always learn something. sometimes it's how they work, sometimes it's a little trick that proves useful later.

  2. I don't get why you would ask. You're a paying student.

    Professionals take classes (continuing education) all the time with the expectation of applying what they've learned (as a vet, I'm required to have 36 hrs every two years).

    Now, if you were to make copies of the teacher's notes and use them in your own classes (without permission): that's wrong.

    If you observe the teacher, see what works/doesn't work re: teaching style, pacing, interactions with students, etc, etc, and try to apply those things to your own teaching, that would be fine.

    I think it's also fine and courteous to introduce yourself, and say you're a designer &/or teacher.

  3. I also love to take classes. I usually ask if it's OK for me to join the class if I know the teacher. But if I don't know the teacher I think the idea above about introducing myself is a good idea. Of course by then it's too late for the teacher to ask that I not be there.

    I have had a couple of bad reactions from teachers which make me a bit wary of doing this. It would dissappoint me greatly to think I couldn't take any more classes. But it can be tricky.

    Everyone does things a little bit differently and it's great to see other people teach. We can all become better teachers this way. I like having other designers in my classes because then I can ask them to participate in the class with a different point of view or an alternate suggestion. I will be interested to see what your experiences will be now that you are a professional designer Robin.

  4. I'm both a surprised and sad to read you've had bad reactions, Deb. How can someone mind if you're taking a class to learn something?

    (I wonder if these people had a bad experience re: theft of designs, notes, etc by student designers?)

  5. Rav thread started here:

  6. i have taken classes by other teachers/designers, both before and after I started designing/teaching myself. They've all been at the yarn shop were I teach most regularly. In hte last class I took over half the class had been on my workshops previously and found it hilarious to watch me attempting to knit backwards. it was a very good experience learning a completely new technique and gave me a better understanding of what my students go through. I'd be really offended if I was not welcomed by a teacher.