Side note: This tutorial of mine originally appeared in the Editor’s Blog over at Creative Knitting. I’m a regular contributor there (on the blog, newsletter, magazine… GRIN!), so I hope you go check it out and support us! 🙂
I have a beautiful friend who, after several years of illness, has made a hard realization that time might be much shorter for her. It’s a sobering thought, especially when one considers that it is true for all of us, regardless of circumstance. I’ve spent the past week thinking, deeply and heart-wrenchingly, about what I want to leave my own daughters with: a passion to chase after their dreams, a connection with the things that I love, and memories of something we share together. My first step is teaching my beautiful girls to knit.
Fortunately, they are eager beavers to learn! My youngest, Sophie, said at her kindergarten graduation, “when I grow up, I’m going to be a knitter.” Your own kidlets might not be ready yet, but when approached with the concept of enjoying something together, you’ll be surprised at how deeply they receive it.
When teaching children to learn how to knit, here are some tips to keep it relaxed and enjoyable:
- Get comfortable. My girls and I squish together on the couch. In fact, the closer, the better! Research even shows that the more hugs, the more physical touch, the closer the proximity to parents results in smarter brains, easier learning, and stronger independence. Can’t beat that!
- Set them up with easy to use materials. I like a simple 100% wool yarn because it has enough stretch and elasticity to make things easier with simple wood needles.
- Be hands on. When I am introducing a new technique, I demonstrate several times and then guide their hands with my own to show things in slow motion.
- Keep the lessons focused on one thing at a time. Start with just the knit stitch and let them work on that until they are comfortable. I don’t want to overwhelm them with casting on, bind offs, or purls; they’ll let you know when it is time to introduce a new technique.
- Depending on the age of your child, their knitting time is going to be limited. My oldest at age 8 will comfortably work 2-3 rows before she gets antsy. Don’t be offended or upset. This is a time for building your relationship, not a time for them to stress about getting it done.
- Just have fun with it! Cuddle, pick out yarn colors together, share your own knitting, and involve them in the entire process. I take my daughters to the yarn store where we dream about different designs together.
This is an opportunity to establish something special in their hearts, in YOUR heart. Knitting is a portal that allows me to chase my dreams. My goal is to teach that same determination to learn, to strive, to believe that you can do anything. When I am in my last days, I want my children to know they were welcomed with open arms into a part of my world that means so much to me and that it was as meaningful as it was because I got to share it with them.