Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life

Knitting in school


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!


Author: kiwiyarns

Welcome to my blog where I talk about knitting in New Zealand and the beautiful yarns you can find here.

11 thoughts on “Knitting in school

  1. How lucky the children are to have patterns written for them, parents willing to give up there time to help. I think all children should be taught to knit on or chrochet at school, it is so relaxing as well.

    Needless to say I am typing this with my purr machine sat next to the keyboard, I swear it gets louder!!

    • It’s great to be given the opportunity to help. Knitting and crochet are such fulfilling activities and it is great to see the children’s excitement at being able to make their own cool project. So good for self-esteem and confidence too! The purr machine sounds gorgeous. I’m one of those people who’ve never had trouble sleeping through snores/purrs – I must treat it like a lullaby!

  2. that’s so cool! I’ve tried to teach my daughter but maybe the rhyme will help and the projects will motivate her to do more than one row every few weeks!

    • Don’t worry – now that you have taught her, she’ll not forget. That’s the most important thing! When the time is right, as Lily notes about her daughters, she has the skill to pick it up and do you proud. Do blog your daughter’s project if she decides to knit one! They are very easy.

  3. I think it’s wonderful that these skills are taught in your son’s school, I’ve never understood why, in this country, knitting and crochet has never been part of the curriculum. We have such a rich heritage of knitting, especially the Shetland Isles, it’s a shame.

    I taught all four of my children to knit when they were younger, even the boys, and although they never carried it on as children, my two girls have begun to knit again now they’re young adults, and are much envied by their friends, such a rewarding skill to have.

    I can see why the school monster would be a favourite project and now that I have grandchildren I think your first knits would be a great way to begin their knitting journey, thanks for the free patterns.

    lily x

    • Knitting is one of those things that is so enriching. It is a shame it’s not taught in more schools. It’s one of those great things like riding a bike – once you learn, you never forget. Good on you for teaching all your kids, even the boys!

  4. What an excellent idea to teach knitting/crochet at school! It’s a fun, productive, non-messy past time that even little ones can do with some practice. I love the little ditty you shared 🙂 I might have to borrow that sometime. Teaching children knew skills is such a joy, especially when it’s about a passion of your own! I’m sure you’re a wonderful instructor and the kids will continue to come to you for knitting advice.Thanks so much for sharing the excitement of teaching new yarnies!

  5. Hi, I taught my Grandaughter to knit recently, using the method you teach. The look of wonderment that showed on her face was brilliant, as her new found passion turned into a purse.
    Thanks for sharing patterns, those are her next project when she next visits.
    Pat from UK X

  6. It was nice to hear your knitting rhyme and love your little projects.
    I struggled to learn to knit as a child and it was my Grandad who finally taught me – the blood thirsty way!!!!
    Stab it – Strangle it – Noose it and Throw it away.
    Not very PC and probably not a method for teaching in the classroom! But it certainly stuck in my mind.

  7. This is a wonderful idea and I especially love the bloodthirsty GrandDad ditty from Rachel!