In 2023 we are running a very special campaign spotlighting one of our amazing teachers each month. This means that we will be sharing information about their business, finding out what makes them unique, and interviewing them to find out more about them and what services and products they offer. We are so proud of our teachers and really want to show them off whilst giving them the opportunity to promote their businesses. In March we are spotlighting experienced Knitting For All teacher Alison from Woolaston who tells us all about her background and business in the interview below, read on to find out more. Also stay tuned for a blog post from Alison later in the month!
Hi Alison! Can you give us a bit of background about yourself, where you live, family etc.
I was brought up in Stirling, have lived in Dumfries and Monifieth, before coming nearly 30 years to Kirkintilloch, north of Glasgow. I have 4 children, now in their 30’s and three grandchildren. My granddaughter is a keen KidsKnitter!
Can you tell us about how teaching knitting came about for you?
I had been asked to help a couple of friends to knit, and enjoyed that, and thought of teaching knitting as a way of making some money in retirement, which was approaching at that stage. As I was exploring what was available I came across Knitting For All, met with Kerry, and the rest is history!
Where do you teach? What and who do you teach?
I teach KidsKnit in Lenzie and Kirkintilloch, and adults in and around Bishopbriggs, outside Glasgow.
Can you tell us a bit more about your work with community groups?
I very much enjoy working with community groups. Knitting is ideal as an activity which supports the work an organisation may be doing in a community. It is a very sociable activity; folk can chat and share ideas, and I always find that participants are very encouraging of one another's work. A community knitting group is a great way to combat loneliness and enhance self esteem - two of the headlines workers often use when applying for funding. It also makes a knitting group accessible for those who could not afford to pay for an “extra” like this.
What do you love about being a knitting teacher?
I love seeing people realise that knitting is not as complex as they originally thought, and discovering that, once they have learned to knit and purl, every other technique is just a variation of these.
What has been your experience of working with Knitting For All over the years?
Initially I was a franchisee, and that was very helpful in the beginning as there was a lot of direction. I was pleased, though, when the business model changed to its present one as it enables us to be less restricted in what we do, mainly in the geographical area in which we work, and in my case, it enabled me to combine teaching with the little business of knitting hand knitted items which I was developing.
What do you enjoy about being part of the Knitting For All team?
I really enjoy the community of Knitting For All teachers, have learned so much from our training sessions, and enjoy the benefits of our link with Rowan.
How do you think being part of the Knitting For All membership helps you with your business?
It continues to provide lots of ideas, training and community. Having “colleagues” is great as there is always someone to ask when a query arises.
What other aspects are there to your business apart from teaching?
I sell small hand knitted items- an idea born in lockdown! Knitting was my coping mechanism and as I knitted my way through lockdown my children’s friends started requesting the beanie hats I was making (remember when we did everything outdoors!). Now I enjoy this aspect of my work, as I can be sitting in the sun in the summer, or in front of the telly in the winter, and yet still be being productive, knitting away at another item to sell.
What are your future plans for Woolaston?
I hope to carry on for a few more years as I am just now, but plan eventually (as I get older!) to concentrate more on the knitted items for sale, rather than the teaching. I will probably carry on with one off workshops and facilitating community groups longer than teaching regular weekly classes, but it all very much depends on what the future holds.
Do you have any other yarn related interests that aren't knitting?
I do a little cross-stitch - but I need to look at it constantly, so can’t watch TV at the same time as that!
What are your other non-fibre related interests?!
We have a caravan and visit lots of places in that (knitting comes with me!). I also love cycling and we are very lucky in this part of Scotland as there are lots of canal paths and cycle networks suitable for my little battery powered bike.