Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Yes, she can knit

With both a mother and a big sister that love crafting, it comes as no surprise that Lauren loves to do crafts too. When she was younger, it was fairly easy to give her a container of beads to string them on thin thread. Before long, however, she wanted to knit. I tried to convince her to crochet. For a few days she was content to make long chains of crochet. Unfortunately, the loops were all worked too tightly to be able to continue crocheting anything. (At one point, I thought I'd have to hand sew all the chains together to make the tablecloth she was dreaming of.)

Eventually she kept begging long enough that I figured out how she could knit. I started by casting on a row of stitches for her. I figured it was easier to just show her how to do the knitting and then tackling casting on later. I actually still do the casting on part for her -- it just makes life easier for all of us. (If you don't already know how to cast on, you can google a list of free videos. That's what I did when I was starting out several years ago.)

I took pictures showing me working in the middle of the row. It's the same technique even if you're working the first or last stitch in a row.

Putting the right needle into the correct stitch on the left needle. We're working the yellow stitch in this case.
One tricky part was helping Lauren handle a needle in each hand and still being able to move the yarn. We ended up putting the needles side-by-side in one hand. In the picture the needle that used to be in my right hand is on the bottom.
Take the working yarn and bring it between the two needles (from back to front).
Bring the yarn to the right side so that it wraps around the right needle.
This step is perhaps the biggest difference between Lauren's beginner knitting and traditional techniques. She uses her fingers to lift the original stitch (yellow) over the tops of both needle.
One stitch finished -- there's a new white stitch on the right needle and one less stitch on the left needle.
Now that Lauren's been knitting for six months or more, she's matured into a more traditional style where she doesn't always have to use her fingers to lift off the old stitch.

After many, many stitches and most of an afternoon, she ends up with something like this:

She says it's going to be a baby blanket for her speech therapist's new baby. We'll see. I am reminded often that craft projects for elementary children are about the process and not the finished project. She will happily knit on something for a day or two and then happily rip it all out so that she can start again.

4 comments:

  1. my five year old wants to learn to knit too. . . Actually she's wanted to learn since she was three! I think I'm going to tackle teaching her this winter. Thanks for the inspiration, and for the idea about the lifting the stitch over.

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  2. Thank you, Cristi! I'm definitely going to attempt to teach Taylor how to knit. I think she'd love it and she's been asking me to teach her.

    I also have a friend with an 8 yr old daughter who's enlisted my help in teaching her how to knit, too. I haven't knitted in...oh...over a year because of arthritis, but actually, when I pulled out my needles to teach my eight yr old friend, I realized I was able to knit without pain! I'm sure some days will be better than others, but at least I don't have to put away my needles forever. :)

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  3. I just think that is totally awesome. I want to learn! I don't have time, but I want to...

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  4. Thank you!!

    Celia wants to learn how to knit (I think I need a little more practice myself first), but this may help. I'd like to teach Jude (I think it would help his motor skills) but that will be a bit. We're going to start on a knot-together fleece blanket.

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