Thursday, March 29, 2012

Kid knitting

You may already be aware that there is knitting going on at Marshall Lane.  It is the brain child of the lovely woman who is responsible for the blog My Material Life.  She's also a mom at our school.  She approached me some time ago to find out if I'd be interested in helping with a knitting class that she wanted to launch.  Of course I was game to be a helper and I let her do all the footwork to get it going.  She's done an amazing job!  Today was the third day of class and I've been enjoying it immensely!  We've got 23 kids in the class (nearly twice the original limit we intended!) and they've been great.  The first week we showed them how to make toilet paper roll knitting nancies and got them started on knitting long tubes.  This was an instant success.  They have been bringing their projects to school and inspiring other kids to make their own toilet paper roll knitters!

The second week we introduced them to needles.  Colleen put together project bags for all the kids and gave them a pattern I wrote to knit a small coin purse.  This project will teach them how to cast on, garter stitch, make a button hole, cast off, weave in ends, sew up seems, and attach a button.  These are a lot of skills for a beginning knitter.  Turns out, 8-10 year olds need lots of one on one instruction to get the hang of knitting and I was afraid that some of the kids left the class pretty frustrated.  But a few caught on.  And the best part, some went home and got help from their mothers and grandmothers.  It made me really happy to hear that some of the kids were giving their mothers and grandmothers the opportunity to share their knowledge and experience.

After last week's session, Colleen and I talked about how we could clear some of the stumbling blocks the kids were having so we started our session with a story to get us all in the mood.  I read Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen and showed them the picture of the author and illustrator with the finger mustaches that I made for them.  Then we split into small groups, gave some intensive one on one instruction, and we had a lot more clicking this week.  We used the old verse for teaching kids to knit:

In through the front door
Run around the back
Out through the window
And off jumps Jack.

One girl was having a hard time getting her head around the 'Out through the window' part.  I pointed to the loop between her needle tips and said, "That's your window.  The tip of your needle goes through there." And that's all it took!  It clicked for her and she was off to the races!  She was so pleased with herself.  Most of the kids had this kind of 'A-ha!' moment today and it was very satisfying.  I look forward to seeing the kids progress and help them improve their skills.

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