Dw i ddim yn rhugl…

…yn Gymraeg, ond dw i’n dysgu! (I am not fluent in Welsh, but I am learning!)

Yesterday I hit a big milestone in my Duolingo progress – a 365 day streak! That means I’ve been learning Welsh for a whole year. Some days it’s only a quick 3-minute lesson, but that’s balanced with days where I focus for quite some time.

I am still really enjoying it and that is from someone who thought they weren’t that good at languages. I ‘did’ French and German at school to GCSE and got As in both, but it was never something I actually enjoyed – and I certainly wouldn’t have practised every single day for a year by choice!

But I’m motivated. I want to understand the adverts and signs around us when we’re out. I want to be able to watch S4C and listen to Radio Cymru! I want to read stories in Welsh, and continue to find relevant Welsh things for knitting inspiration and pattern names.

Living in Wales all signs and official communications are bilingual. It was quite funny when I bought my new car as my V5, being an official document, was bilingual, and the chap doing the hand-over had to keep turning it over to find the English sections.

So, I’m quite proud of my one-year achievement. It doesn’t say anything about how much I’ve learnt or how ‘rhugl’ (fluent) I’m getting, but it does say quite a bit about the importance of regular practice.

When you’re learning anything new, you need to keep doing it, over and over. That’s one of the reasons that my absolute beginner’s workshop sends knitters away with a project bag, needles, more wool and more stuffing and the pattern they’ve just used, so they can make more little creatures. If they were to just borrow the needles during the workshop and only have enough yarn to make the one creature in the workshop, they would need a lot of extra motivation to then go out and buy the materials to knit more. But if they’ve taken everything home with them and it’s right there? Making it easy for people to practice and repeat the new motions of knitting helps them to become fluent knitters. Just like Duolingo makes it easy for me to practise Welsh every day.

Tying in with this idea of practising new skills to help embed them through repetition, I’m going to be linking upcoming workshops with relevant patterns of mine. I’ll take the samples with me to the workshops along with copies of the printed patterns and talk about them on social media in the lead-up to the workshops. Some of my designs even came about as a result of developing workshops!

For example, Jodie Scarf was designed from the three slip stitch patterns I teach in my slip stitch workshop, and Small Acts came from the swatch I created for my Knitting Cables workshop.

I had been hoping to be well enough last Thursday to teach the first part of Twisted (the 2-part moebius brioche cowl workshop at Yarn O’clock), but unfortunately my cold had other ideas, so it has all been moved back two weeks. Part 1 of Twisted is now on 16th November and Part 2 is on 30th November. So, you still have time to book if you’re interested in learning this combination of techniques (ring Anne at Yarn O’clock on 01352 218082).

This is an unusual one to tie other designs in with, as it’s the only moebius brioche or even brioche-in-the-round design I have so far, but I do have two other moebius designs which folk may well be interested in, and I have plenty of brioche designs that are worked flat!

Coming up in December I will be running my Knitting Cables workshop on Dec 6th and Introduction to Lace Knitting on Dec 13th, both at Shaz’s Shabby Chic in Buckley.

The flyers say that the skills needed for each workshop are to be able to knit, purl, cast-on and cast-off, and that really is it. Everything else is taught during the workshop. So, if you’d like to develop your knitting skills and become more fluent in the language of knitting – now’s your chance!

And, by the way – Branwen is out now as a single, self-published pattern!

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