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Teaching the Beginner: Why its a cherished and necessary experience

Good day Crafties!

Today I wanted to broach a topic that has been heavy on my mind for quite some time. This topic has also gotten me quite a bit of criticism, believe it or not, and I can't fathom thinking any differently about it. That topic is, extensively teaching beginner level craft content.

Sure, there are other more lucrative and fancy categories that I could have gone into that would probably better bolster my skillset but that's never truly been where my heart lies. I believe that I was given a helping heart and the gift of teaching by God and so generally, I do all that I can to use that as a force for good.

For those reading this that may be new to my community. I have a background in art education! My love for the arts and my gift for teaching led me down a path where I wanted to influence and inspire young minds through their own creativity.

Obviously, over the years, this direction has changed but the principle remains: Teaching others to channel their creativity and do amazing things with it is a form of empowerment that I seek to offer. In 2018, I began to combine my teacher training in with my love of the fiber arts and sharing that with others in the form of the Infiniti Crafting Co. YouTube channel. Over the next 7 years, I'd go on to do just that with over 800 videos spanning continental knitting, Tunisian crochet, and regular crochet. Oh... let's not forget the Sentro Knitting Machine. 😅

This grand experiment led to my teaching a cumulative audience of nearly 70,000 people, over a million views and continually growing channels. Initially I thought that this experience was to strengthen my approach to teaching in a traditional classroom. And to some extent, that was true. Being a craft teacher on the internet led to some serious personal growth and for that, I am blessed.

Why Cherish Teaching Beginners?

Beginners and curious skeptics have a very special place in my heart. As an educator, we have two passions and that is to teach and be taught. For me, learning to crochet (my first love) was a big milestone. Not only did I gain a new skill, but I found a sense of catharsis in it. Not to be the emo anime protagonist but, my personal life had been... not the greatest and because there was no other escape from it, I took refuge in my faith and my craft.

There's a huge gap between being good at an activity and being able to teach it. I can remember the days when I was learning the mechanics and how I burned through many tutorials by well meaning ladies until I found the ones that fit my learning style. And after some years, I figured, why not join the fray?

At the time, I figured that if I could reach and help about 100 people, I'd be going a bit of good in the world. When the thankful comments started rolling in, that gave be a sense of intrinsic gratification that kept me going well before I started making ad revenue. Well. What can I say?

I fell into nearly 200 times that on YouTube alone and it was pretty much on accident. Imagine my euphoria and how it tripled as I expanded to other platforms such as Facebook and Rumble.

My main ambition never really changed over the years. To be able to give others that light bulb moment or that feeling of achieving something they struggle with is a fulfilling superpower, regardless to how insignificant others might think it to be. Everyone was a beginner at something once and it is human nature to learn off those who came before us. I would also argue that it is human nature to contribute back to the well in some fashion and that's exactly what I saw my content to be.

Now, certainly I did touch on more advanced stitches and techniques but the trend that I was seeing in my own sphere was that more people were trying out the fiber arts like some sort of modern renaissance. I loved that! Particularly from 2020 through 2022, the desire to be a crafter was grand and in some cases, a necessary move. Whether it be for mental health or business purposes, I'm glad to have been a part of that movement because there are SO many younger makers in the space now than there was when I first jumped in.

Which was a smaller part of why I started doing tutorial content. When I first started dabbling, there were virtually no younger people teaching online. I have nothing against the sweet grandmothers imparting their crafty wisdom! There was just a desire to see other people my age making stuff (I was 19 when I started the channel). Even though my channel wasn't the biggest or most notable, I am very happy to have found a sort of niche within a niche here.

A Nod Toward The Criticism

The most wild part of this journey has been people whining at me about my beginner how - to's. I have tried to blend my content coverage over the years because I realized early on that I couldn't thrive solely on beginner content. But I must say, I've never been one to try and blend in to any one community completely. That's never been me and I doubt it ever will.

There is a lot of snobbery among fiber artists, which is sad because the arts and the crafts are meant to build community. It's the slight (or very blatant if we're being so real) condescension and looking down the nose that certain sects of the community have toward new crafters or those who don't use $50 hand-dyed merino for every project that scares people off from being involved.

In the case of my content, I always have aimed toward people after my own heart. When I started, I just wanted to do something cool! I was about 16, no job and from a low income household. Red heart super saver and $2 aluminum hooks were my besties and ya know... I think those humble beginnings have taken me a long way.

I've never wanted people that view my content to feel less than or that something was unobtainable. And because of the nature of internet content, sometimes you have to hit a topic a few different ways, in different times to reach more people.

Now, while I currently am not producing video content, it's not that I want to get away from my founding ideas. Circumstances have arisen that are causing me to pivot. Ultimately though, when I do return (and hopefully my community still loves me), I intend to have the same helpful and kind spirit toward my core audience.

Why was it necessary?

This section ties into the first section a bit so I won't linger on it too long! This experience is was necessary. There's no telling exactly how many people and their friends whose lives I've touched simply by being myself and teaching what I love to do. At the end of every day these last 7 years, the one thing that I always wanted to do was to record more, to share more, to help more.

Very few people saw the 3am recording sessions, the 4am editing times or any of the emotional chaos that went into building what Infiniti Crafting Co. is today. While imperfect, it's still something bigger than anything I could have dreamed of building and that is because of all the beginners and hobbyists in my community. If I've learned anything from this journey is that teaching and helping others is definitely just programmed into who I am as a person.

I've had friends and associates to comment at how long I've been at this and how they'd have quite a long time ago if they had been in my shoes. But it is also one of my faith-based beliefs that our gifts are not our own. And while I still seek to eventually make this my career full-time, I can't see withholding all that I know for a price tag.

All that to say is, teaching others as job and as a volunteer of sorts is character building and it leads to a lot of self-discovery. To inspire someone that is new to the space with understanding will always be priceless and I hope that some day, I'll be able to do that again.

Feel free to check out my Back to Basics crochet playlist below!

Thanks so much for reading today!

Happy Making! 💖

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