I had a knitting class to teach today. It was a sock class. I decided to teach a mini sock, ornament sized, because it has all the same skills as a big sock, but with a tiny fraction of the stitches. (I like minis as teaching tools in general. Here are a few in front of our very small fireplace at the shop.)
I know some people want to come to class and get right to work on their garment or project, and although I get that, there's a reason I don't teach that way. Each project contains it's own group of necessary skills. In this sock, as an example, we have cast on, knit, purl, ssk, psso, k2tog, picking up stitches, knitting in the round, knitting straight (for heel flap), and of course toe grafting. That's a lot of skills. I try to reinforce all the skills in a single class rather than have students come back. The only way to do this and accommodate all the different knitting speeds and skills is to work on a mini project or swatch. Otherwise I would have to assign homework, and ask people to come back when they are ready for the next step. This would make fast knitters as crazy as slower knitters. So, swatches and minis. You can make the big projects at home.
On a more personal note, my daughter was really happy with her hat and mittens. I'm thinking of doing a fair isle skull motif on mittens for my 18 yr old son. After two more pairs of socks and my vest, of course. **fingers crossed behind my back**