Pennsic 41

August 14, 2012 at 9:55 pm | Posted in Miscellaneous | 2 Comments

Pennsic 41 has come and gone in the traditional blur of activity. My A&S activity was restricted to a single instance of teaching a class. It was a bit of a fiasco, but I learned a lot. Most of the students said that if I were to teach it again next year they would take the class again so as to get a better handle on patterned netting/mezza mandolina. Since I knew going into the class that I am a terrible hands-on teacher, but had wanted to teach the class largely to encourage interest in what I consider to be a sadly neglected art, I’d consider continued interest to be a qualified win.

The students gave me a lot of feedback, and I think I will do things very differently when I give the class again next year.

1.) I will ask for 2 hours instead of only one. A single hour was not nearly enough time to talk and try to do hands on stuff.

2.) If I can get the time, I will teach a beginner’s netting class before the mezza mandolina class. The majority of the people who attended either didn’t know how to net or hadn’t done it in so long they couldn’t remember the details. A huge portion of the class time was co-opted by trying to get people started on the basic beginning of the net, so that we didn’t have enough time for the more complicated patterns. I’m glad a few people learned to net though!

3.) One of the students recommended having netting needles to sell at both classes.

4.) It would be a lot of work, but if I could have some nets started so that we wouldn’t have to waste time starting the net before we could jump into the interesting patterned part, that would speed things up a lot.

5.) Be strict about the class limits. I made extra handouts thinking I could give them to people who couldn’t take the class, but then I couldn’t bring myself to turn those people away. I think six is about my limit, maybe ten if I had a helper. It might seem “nice” to try to include everybody, but I end up not having the ability to do a decent job. Everyone loses if I try to stretch myself too thin, and I have to remember that.

6.) Make sure that all of the handout prints out! This seems obvious. Sigh.

7.) Create a handout that features more process pictures.


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  1. I’m not into SCA though I have some good friends who are. I’m wondering which stitches you included in your patterned netting/mezza mandolina class. I’d love to post some patterns and stitches on my site that are definitely SCA approved.

    Good suggestions. I need to remember them when I teach my next in-person class.

    • Oh there’s no such things as “definitely SCA approved.” We’re like all academics, in that we like to argue and nitpick. :-}

      I only really talked about the floating square/large diamond pattern and the scallop shell pattern that Lady Cecelia Bartoletti discusses on her website (and whom I believe you have had a correspondence with in the past.)

      I’ll post a copy of my handout (complete with the bibliography that was missing from the printout) when I get the chance in the next few weeks. I gave your website a shoutout during the class, and I should probably add a “helpful resources” section to my bibliography.

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