View Full Version : Teaching a kid to knit. Where to start?

05-25-2007, 11:23 AM
My little sister (she is 11), is always wanting to do what I am doing. Now she wants to knit. For christmas, I bought her this plastic round loom to "knit" but she never got into that. She's a bit on the immature side for 11, but I still want to try to teach her. I tried to start with a crochet chain but she wasn't really into that either.

Anyone have any ideas on where to start? I'm not even sure I will be able to teach her to knit at all, but I will sure try my best~

Thanks in advance~:??

05-25-2007, 11:28 AM
I am in seventh grade and this week my sister came to visit us because we havent seen her in two years. she is 25. well, she wanted me to teach her how to knit so i did and she is doing great! she is even left handed and learned how to do knitting right handed. she is making a belt out of really pretty yarn right now and is doing awesome!!! and i just taught her the other day. i am so proud of her. :) i have also taught my mom and my best friend how to knit too. i guess i was the first person in my family to learn to knit. :D

05-25-2007, 11:32 AM
Well if she isn't interested, it's a lost cause. Knitting takes practice and if kids aren't going to practice on their own, what's the point? I tried to teach my daughter, but she *gasp* doesn't really *gasp* want to knit. *ugh*

But, if she does want to start with something basic. Teach her the long tail cast on, then the knit stitch. Show her how to knit a rectangle, seam up the sides and make a little purse. She'll likely LOVE a purse and if her first project is something she loves, you'll make her a knitter for life. :)

05-25-2007, 11:33 AM
Also, it is pretty easy to teach someone how to knit... you just gotta have patience! you may want to get her a knitting book how have her take a class to, to inspire her even more to sit down and learn.

05-25-2007, 12:04 PM
I taughe my brother how to knit and he didnt' really want to do it, but a few days ago, he picked up his yarn and needles and tried it, and now he's making garter stitch squares to sew together into a throw this summer. He's really coming along.

But, along to tips, if they don't want to do it, don't even try. Sometimes little kids dont' have the attention span yet.

Try bigger needles and worsted yarn in light colors, and use needles in a contrasting color from you yarn, so they can easily see the stitches.

If they find a way they like to hold the yarn/needles/ etc, don't correct them if they're making a knitted fabric. This only makes them more stubborn and indignant. Ask me how I know.

Hope that helps.

05-25-2007, 12:16 PM
I generally cast on 10 stitches and knit the first row then sit right next to them and have them do as I do on my own knitting. It usually doesn't take too long to get them going with garter stitch.

Then I let them decide if they want to keep practicing or learn to cast-on themselves and learn the purl stitch. I teach them the knit cast-on since they already know the knit stitch.

I just found out that my 7 yo niece, who I just barely got started at Christmas and who I haven't seen since then still has her swatch and periodically takes it out and adds some more rows. I really can't believe that that she's actually retained that brief lesson, now I can't wait to see her again and see if she wants to learn more.

BTW, for kids I like the Lion Brand kids needles, I think they're a size 10 and some chunky yarn. Not to difficult to handle but big enough to see results.

05-25-2007, 01:35 PM
I did it about the same way Deb did... Last summer I taught my boyfriend's two nieces (9 and 11, respectively). These girls are having huge problems with socialization because of many family issues not worth going into here. Suffice to say that in a family situation, they were getting on everyone's nerves; acting up and being generally rambunctious for attention. I had brought along my knitting and they seemed interested.

Taking the bull by the horns, I brought them to a local Michael's; I picked out their needles -- size 10 each -- and told each one they could pick out their own yarn. The three of us sat on a couch for almost three hours. I had cast on ten stitches and showed them a basic knit (no purl).

After the weekend was over, the Grandmother thanked me profusely. I had given the rest of the family several hours peace to talk amongst themselves - something they hadn't done in a very long time. It was fascinating for me as well as I am in my mid-40s and never had much to do with children.

I have no idea if they kept up with their knitting or not - but they have the tools if they ever decide to continue.

05-25-2007, 03:18 PM
I agree with all that's said so far. I teach kids to knit at schools where I sub all the time--especially SP-ED kids. I keep an extra (easy) project going and let them try knitting on it. It's in the round, and they like how the stitches look.

I usually start teaching by showing them how to hold the needles and yarn. Then I show them how stitches are made--sometimes I even take a few stitches off (TINK) and show them the anatomy of the stitch.

Depending on the kids, I sometimes teach them a mantra, like "In through the front door, once around the back, peek through the window and off jumps jack."

I would also suggest you have them start with yarn that's easy to see the stitches, but make sure they LIKE it and that it FEELS good! Keep it light, have fun and make sure they understand that mistakes are expected! Knitting is for the process. Taking it out means you get to Ribbit....and have MORE fun knitting! (okay, that may be a little sappy, but you DON'T want them feeling like mistakes are unusual and have them end up:waah:!

We want them to:knitting::knitting::knitting:

Hope this helps! I love to spread the fun of knitting!

05-25-2007, 03:35 PM
Emily (rainberry) taught herself in her room, with the door shut, while watching the videos on knittinghelp.com! LOL! She made a dishcloth and then showed me the finished project. I had no idea she was doing this! Now that she is out in the open, she is knitting all the time!

05-25-2007, 03:55 PM
Emily (rainberry) taught herself in her room, with the door shut, while watching the videos on knittinghelp.com! LOL! She made a dishcloth and then showed me the finished project. I had no idea she was doing this! Now that she is out in the open, she is knitting all the time!

:rofl::rofl: A closet knitter:rofl::rofl:

I am going to TRY to teach of kids this summer how to knit.. I hope it will go great. I keep thinking that I might want to "cast on" before they get started so it won't make them mad. because they can't get it.

05-25-2007, 03:55 PM
That's awesome!:cheering: How old is she?

My niece knits like crazy and has since she was 7 or 8. Now she's doing cables, intricate sweaters, intartia, etc. I call her when I need knitting help! It's a great way to stay connected!:heart:

05-25-2007, 04:05 PM
Have you tried teaching your sister finger knitting? Then if she is still interested you could move up to "the sticks." Knitty's Summer 2006 issue has a featured article if you want to check it out or you could probably find something at Amazon.com or by googling. Good luck.

05-25-2007, 04:54 PM
I started teaching my Granddaughter to knit when she was seven, now she's 8 and is still knitting. I cast on for her, as it is too difficult for her little fingers and could make her feel like she's failed, I also ignore the mistakes and dropped stitches because its practise that she needs. Every once in a while she brings her knitting and asks me to sort it out, which I do. I give her praise for what she has done NEVER CRITICISM. I have found that larger size wooden needles are the best as the stitches don't slip. I remember how long it took me to learn the basics and she is doing well.

05-25-2007, 07:02 PM
Finger Knitting?? I have heard of Crocheting with your fingers.. I might have to google that one.

05-26-2007, 12:14 AM
I would suggest a variegated wool in favourite colours: the stitches are easier to see because they are different colours, and successfully completing a swatch is even more exciting when you have done a pretty pattern, compared to a solid colour. Also, some knitters do prefer wood/bamboo, but not all: I hate it and love metal needles, so if you have more than one kind, have both available for them to try.
If you have leftover Noro or something, how about knitting a rectangle that can be seamed up later to make wristwarmers? They might like those... and to be able to knit an item rather than a practice square, or a scarf that has 6 feet left to go.

05-27-2007, 03:39 PM
My 2 cents worth:

1) Bamboo Circ needles, no smaller than size US 9
2) Worsted Wt or Chunky Wt yarn
3) Long tail cast on... no more than 18 stitches
4) The "Knit Stitch" only...creating garter stitch
5) Learn to count the stitches at end of every row
6) Recognition of a 'dropped stitch'
7) Casting off

If they can stick to it and master these steps, then we progress to purl stitch...creating stocking stitch; next: seed stitch. BUT NOT ALL AT ONCE.

If I teach an adult: I insist they purchase ALL OF THEIR OWN SUPPLIES. I don't loan anything. I give them a list and send them to Joanns, Walmart or a similar affordable crafty shop. I think it demonstrates their appreciation. Or teaches appreciation maybe. I think someone is more likely to "stick-to-it" if THEY have an investment. I give of my time for free. I don't believe everything should be free. I also give them this knittinghelp.com website...so they can learn to help themselves when I am not available.

If I teach a :heart:grandchild:heart:: I GIVE THEM ALL THEIR SUPPLIES... that will belong to them if they decide they like knitting. (I give them an upfront "out clause"...I say "if you decide you like knitting, these items will belong to you") I only give them what they directly need: the needles, the crochet hook to pick up a dropped stitch, the yarn, and a knitting bag.

I successfully taught a 19 yr old college-bound granddaughter, who successfully finished a 3-color scarf! :cheering: Perfect stitches too!

I successfully taught an 8 yr old granddaughter, who is knitting a super chunky scarf! :cheering: No missing or lost stitches!

BOTH GRANDDAUGHTERS asked me to teach them. I was reluctant to teach the 8 yr old. We scheduled 4-2 hr lessons over two weeks. Not too much on any given day. I was amazed to hear from her mother that the first thing she would do each morning is practice her knitting!

Final thoughts:

KEEP IT SIMPLE and don't allow your student to learn too much too fast. Insist that they master each fundamental before progressing to the next. They don't know any better. We do. It is our responsiblity to help them master something and gain confidence before moving on to something more difficult or complex. Even the progression from knit stitch to purl stitch can throw a newbie for a loop. It's that yarn-back-for-knit...yarn-forward-for-purl thing. And SEED STITCH! Just more agony of gained stitches IF they have not mastered the purl stitch like clockwork, like a mantra!

05-27-2007, 04:55 PM
You must have experience in teaching! I'm going to have to use those instructions, as I'm giving knitting lessons this summer.

05-28-2007, 04:58 AM
Hey there ContiKnitter!

Thanks for the kudos!

It is amazing how proud new knitters are when they finish a garter stitch scarf. A new knitter will just knit and knit and knit away at garter stitch scarves...one after another, never seeming to tire of it! Well, the more garter stitch they do, the more their fingers become accustomed to gauge, the look of a dropped/lost stitch, etc. I taught several young women from my congregation to knit this past winter (volunteer basis/friend-to-friend) They knit so many garter stitch scarves, it was humorous! They made each one look a little different by the yarn choice and a bigger needle size! When they finally progressed to the purl stitch, and seed stitch, and color changes...they were certainly ready! I also taught them the simple concept of a 4 stitch aran cable so they could run a cable up the middle of a scarf! They did very well. Most of them also used this KH website for help when I was not available. Getting our schedules to coincide was challenging.

Keep me posted how your knitting classes progress! Will you be donating your time, or will you be teaching a paid class?

05-28-2007, 08:51 AM
I taught my daughters with a worsted yarn and big needles.

Then, to give them a view from a knitters perspective, we sat on the floor, and they sat right in front of me on my lap and I showed them what they would see. They were quite young (7 and 5) and it seemed to do the trick.

05-28-2007, 12:52 PM
Hi LeslieRR! Thanks for sharing that wonderful tip! I can see you and your daughter...knitting together on the floor, her is your lap!

Ya know...that I why I like Amy's video clips. The person holding the camera is filming over her shoulder...so we can see what she sees!

So, the video clips are like we are sitting in our mother's lap, too!

05-28-2007, 01:48 PM
Artlady, the lessons will be free. It's already very rewarding to pass the craft on to another person, isn't it?

05-28-2007, 02:21 PM
Hi ContiKnitter!

Yes, it IS very rewarding to pass the craft along to others! Very rewarding to see their friends and family wearing the "knitted art" that they have created! :happydance:

I had one "savant" student...well, almost a student...we hadn't been able to coordinate a date to get together...the offer was out there....I told her how useful KH is...a while later, I found out she taught herself xxxto knit watching Amy's video clips! Who knew?

In her favor: she is a crocheter...but scarves and hats only. Sort of a newbie crocheter. So, she already possesses the tactile skills and eye/hand coordination...as well as motivation! I don't know how much she is doing with her knitting.

05-29-2007, 10:48 AM
I would suggest these:
Head band: http://www.freecraftunlimited.com/knit-headbands.html
Neck warmer: http://alison.knitsmiths.us/pattern_beginners_scarves.html
Wrist warmer:

My Mom taught me to knit when I was in 3rd grade.
We made a garter stitch neck warmer as my very first knitting project. :happydancing:

06-04-2007, 01:28 PM
thanks guys! I taught her to cast on. I did the double cast on (because that's really the only one I know..lol).

we're trying to learn the knit stitch at the moment and so far she's struggling just a bit ;