My youngest son attends a small country school that is fortunately able to accommodate a lot of creativity in its curriculum. This term, knitting and crochet have been incorporated into one of the learning programmes. No prizes for guessing who got roped into helping!
The students have started with crochet, and my friend Cris (an avid crocheter and knitter) is teaching them. The kids love it, and some are now crocheting at home!
This week, the knitting component started. I think it’s good that crochet was introduced first because it has got the children used to the idea of creating loops that then ‘magically’ become a fabric.
We started off by watching a couple of short clips on ‘how to knit’. Then the kids were each given short 5mm needles with a 10 stitch cast-on and a tiny ball of DK-weight yarn. (The teachers and I did the casting on for the newbies).
The children were very enthusiastic, and most of them had grasped the basic concept of knitting by the time their hour-long session ended. Most of them had even knitted 3 – 4 rows!
This little ditty was very useful for the children to learn the essential steps of creating a stitch:
“In through the door (needle goes into the loop), once around the back (yarn around the needle), peep through the window (needle through the loop), and off jumps Jack (stitch off)!”
I found that children who struggled with using both hands were able to cope a lot better if I held the left needle for them while they manipulated the right hand needle for stitching and yarn holding. Once they were comfortable with the right hand movements (and especially with holding the yarn), it was a simple matter of then giving them back the left needle to hold as well.
As the age range is from 5 – 12, and some of the children already have some knitting knowledge, I have put together a few small projects that the children can attempt once they are comfortable with the needles. These patterns have accommodated the absolute beginner as well as ones who already have a little knitting knowledge.
Each of the projects uses DK (or light worsted weight) yarn and 5mm needles (easier to hold than 4mm but not so chunky so as to be difficult to manipulate). It is small enough that it can be knitted from scrap yarn, and requires no more knitting knowledge than the ability to cast-on, knit and cast off. They need no shaping or special finishing, except where the children might need to do a bit of sewing to finish the project.
First up, I thought a bookmark would be a good starting point:
Use up your scrap yarn and have fun with texture to create a pretty bookmark! I’ve written the pattern for basic beginners. Download available here: Free pattern: A colourful bookmark.
Next, a School Monster:
In addition to about 10g of DK or worsted-weight yarn, you need a small amount of toy stuffing and two buttons. The pattern is here: Free pattern – The school monster. This one was very popular, needless to say.
Finally, for the enthusiastic, a pair of simple fingerless gloves:
All you need is 15g of DK or worsted-weight yarn and buttons for decoration (if desired). I’ve written the pattern for three age sizes (5, 7 and 10). Download here: Free pattern – Sideways fingerless gloves.
Lessons will be continuing for the next week or two. I hope that the kids will be able to come out of them with a little project that they will cherish and be proud of as their first knitting achievement!