by Cristina Cousins

I’m happiest when knitting. Curled up on my recliner with some New Girl or Parks and Rec streaming on Netflix, maybe a cat in my lap, probably a glass of wine on the end table. According to a recent NYT article, my hobby also improves my health and
wellbeing – added bonus. I’ve knitted on planes (yes, you can bring knitting needles through security), on buses and subways in several major cities, on ferries in Norway and Canada, in doctor’s offices, at Cardinals’ games, at summer concerts, at the beach, and the list goes on.

Over the last decade I’ve progressed from making scarves and hats to teddy bears and cardigan sweaters. There’s always a new technique to be learned, and I love the endless challenge. I’m pretty sure all of my closest friends have a hat made by me (and wear them regularly, I’m proud to say!).

When you’re as passionate about a craft as I am about knitting, it’s not unusual to hear your friends and family say things like, “You could sell these for so much money! You should open an Etsy shop!” While I’m very flattereKnitted red heart on needles. Vector illustration. Isolated on white.d, the numbers just don’t add up. The items I make tend to be intricate, made of high quality (expensive) fibers, and take hours and hours to complete.  I’d have to charge big bucks for items that people are used to getting for cheap at big box stores. And aside from the cost issue, if I were making inventory for a store, I wouldn’t have time to make things for myself or my friends anymore – and that would take the FUN out of it. So forget that.

No – if I was going to make some kind of profit on my knitting talents, it would have to be in a different way. Teaching, perhaps. But while I had informally taught many friends to knit over the years, I never made any money on it, and I didn’t know how to find students that weren’t people I already knew. 

Then I found Dabble.

My introduction to Dabble came as a chance meeting at a fundraiser I was attending where Dabble was tabling. I approached the table and heard the Dabble representative’s spiel – a website that hosts and promotes classes taught by members of the community about the topics they know and love – and instantly a lightbulb went off. Here was a chance to broaden my reach, formalize my teaching process, and make a little extra cash in the process. I was sold.

The classes I’ve taught through Dabble have been a blast. I LOVE teaching.  My students have been enthusiastic and friendly, and tend to stay in touch with me about their knitting progress. I’ve refined my lesson plan after each class, and I have a pretty good system these days. Most importantly, there are a bunch of new knitters out there in the world! 

And my favorite thing to hear?  “I’ve tried to learn before, but could never get it.  You’re so patient.  I can’t believe I’m knitting!”  It’s pretty rewarding stuff. Way better than selling a million infinity scarves on Etsy.

If you’ve ever wanted to try you hand at knitting, I’m currently teaching Knitting For Beginners and Upcycled Knitting: Bath Mats. I hope to see you there!

DSC_0024(5)-Cristina is an east coast native who moved to St. Louis in 2011 and fell in love with the city. Her first career was in musical theater which gave her the opportunity to tour the U.S. by van and knit her way through almost all 50 states (teaching all of her fellow actors how to knit and purl along the way). She now makes her living as a social worker in the area of health care policy. A founding member of the St. Louis Mindfulness Sangha, Cristina is also a devoted practitioner of mindfulness meditation and studies the teachings of Zen Buddhist Master Thich Nhat Hanh. She lives near Tower Grove with her husband Patrick and two cats, Maya and Harley.