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Shandeh 07-27-2010 11:17 PM

Teaching Kids to Knit
I've been a piano teacher now for about 10 years. During that time, I have learned to knit. My students have often heard me talk about my knitting, or how I just came from the yarn shop to buy more yarn. Now, some of them have asked me to teach them to knit! :)

So, a few weeks ago, I started teaching private knitting lessons. Fun! :cheering:

Before starting to teach, I decided to educate myself a little on how to go about teaching them. I had a few books and videos in my craft room to help.

Kids Can Knit

Teach a Group of Kids to Knit

Kids Easy Knitting Projects

Art of Knitting 4 Kids

I also went online, and read everything I could find about teaching kids to knit. In Ravelry, I found a group that was just right for my purposes. Teaching Kids to Knit

After reading for a while, and watching the video, I decided to make some projects to use as samples for my students. I chose very simple, garter stitch projects, that would be fun for them to make.

Hula Hand Puppet

Ponytail Scrunchie


Can Cozies

Simple Ball

Bean Bags

Thick Washcloth

For my first lesson, I was teaching two girls at the same time. I took my computer and the kids knitting DVD, and let them watch a little of it. Then, we sat down and learned to cast on together. It took a little while just to learn that.

When they figured it out, we moved onto the first row of knitting. This is when I learned that one of them was left-handed, and had already been learning to knit that way. She is a very intelligent girl, and I didn't want to discourage her. So, I figured out how to knit left-handed for the very first time in my life, and taught her how to do it at the same time. What a challenge! It was very interesting to do.

Here's a video I found online that I used to help us both learn:
Cast On and Knit Left-Handed
It was fun to knit that way! Stretched my brain a little bit, I think. :thumbsup:

We were so busy just learning the basic stitches, so we didn't have time to actually make a project. So, I just had them knit a few rows, then bind off, and seam the sides together. I told them it was a napkin ring. :wink:

Next, we cast on enough stitches to start a Hula Hand Puppet, and I told them to knit every row until it was 8 inches long. This gave them a project to work on until we met again. When their moms came to pick them up, I was happy to hear their excitement. The left-handed student told her mom, "She's a good teacher!" cloud9

At our next class, they brought their 8 inches of knitting, and I showed them how to bind off their stitches again. Then, I brought out a hair scrunchie I had knit, and told them this would be our next project. So, we cast on stitches for that, and I told them to knit them until they were 10 inches long.

Then, we set aside the scrunchies and added the final touches to our Hula Hand Puppets. They were so proud of their work! I didn't take any photos that day, because we were so busy. I think I'll ask them to bring the puppets in one day soon, so I can take photos of their work for you all to see.

The next week, they brought their scrunchie knitting, and we put the elastics in them and seamed them up. They quickly put their hair up with their scrunchies and laughed. :teehee:

This was the week before July 4th, so I brought some red, white, and blue striped cotton yarn for them to make a dishcloth.

I also showed them how to knit a Drop-Stitch Scarf, using chunky yarn. They LOVED that design! They really liked the way the yarn-overs and dropped stitches worked.

The following week, I brought everything we would need to dye some wool yarn with Kool-Aid in the microwave. I let them wear some of my hubby's old t-shirts, to protect their clothes from the dye. They had a great time squirting the dye all over their yarn! Then, they took a break while I did the harder work with the hot water and microwave. I didn't want them to get burned. They watched the whole process, and thought it was so cool. :woohoo:

Then, we hung our yarn out to dry in the back yard. Their yarn was so nice! (I did the solid orange, and the pink and blue yarn on the right.)

I told them I would take the yarn home to finish drying, and wind it up into center-pull skeins that would be easy for them to use. They took their drop-stitch scarf projects home, and got to work on them.

The next lesson was an easy choice for me. We started felted bags, using the yarn they had dyed the week before! :cool:

I had tried to make a sample felted bag for them with the yarn I had dyed. But, silly yarn did not felt. It was superwash! :roll: My yarn was was in a bag of old wool yarn in my craft room. I used a different wool yarn for the handle, and it felted fine. So, I was able to show my students the difference between felting and not felting.

I explained to them that their bag would felt just fine. Their yarn was DEFINITELY feltable wool. (Stitch Nation Full o' Sheep)

The first week, we were only able to knit the handle on their bags, because they were learning to knit in the round for the first time....on 16" circular needles.

For our next lesson, I showed them how to bind off stitches in the middle of a row, and cast them back on for the next row, to make the holes for the handles. They loved seeing that happen! Now, they are back to knitting every row in the round until the bag is long enough. Next week, we will be finishing up the knitting on the bags, and throwing them in the washing machine to felt. Exciting!

At that lesson, I also taught them the purl stitch, and we made a little napkin ring using knit and purl stitches. Now, they have TWO napkin rings. Ha! I also brought a stitch design book, to show them all the fabrics they can make with knit and purl stitches. They lit up like fireworks when they saw all the designs.

It has been SO MUCH FUN teaching them to knit!! I've also taught 3 other students to knit as well. Their lessons are going well also....but I decided to just give the details on the two girls I started teaching first.

Several of my knitting students have expressed an interest in charity knitting. I think I'll teach them to make baby hats for the hospital next week.

Baby Hats in the Round

Jan in CA 07-27-2010 11:56 PM

That's great, Sandy! I'm sure a few people will find this info very helpful! :thumbsup:

hyperactive 07-28-2010 04:06 AM

when seeing my knitting project lately and while wearing a pullover his grandma had knit for him my god son lately walks up to me (7 years old) and demands: "knit something. I need to see how you make a coil into something." If I would see him more often I would teach him knitting.
But I think I would have to teach his mother more of that. She wanted to try if she could still do it, cast on a million stitches and knit 2 rows of "no-project". then she put the gigantic coil aside. That's that for endurance :D

I guess, though, teaching kids to knit is rewarding because they are just open minded about trying new stuff. I learned knitting when I was barely 4 and just loved it. I did crochet a year earlier.

But to this day I have not made my own dye.

Those girls are lucky to get good and expanded teaching from you! Keep up that class!

margz3 07-28-2010 09:57 AM

What lucky girls to have such a great teacher Sandy! You are really making it fun for them! I imagine they LOVED the kool-aid dying and now knitting something from their own handiwork!!

Shandeh 07-28-2010 05:52 PM


Originally Posted by Jan in CA (Post 1295750)
That's great, Sandy! I'm sure a few people will find this info very helpful! :thumbsup:



Originally Posted by hyperactive (Post 1295757)
Those girls are lucky to get good and expanded teaching from you! Keep up that class!

:muah: I'm loving the knitting classes! And it really helps to have such smart, fun students. :wink:


Originally Posted by margz3 (Post 1295785)
What lucky girls to have such a great teacher Sandy! You are really making it fun for them! I imagine they LOVED the kool-aid dying and now knitting something from their own handiwork!!

:heart: Thanks for the love! :)
This week, one of the girls kept going on and on about her "handmade" yarn. She is definitely proud of her Kool-Aid yarn!

linknit41 07-28-2010 07:11 PM

teaching kids to knit
Shandeh, I was looking at the can cozy patterns--is there a bottom? Or are the cozies just tight enough they don't fall off? I've made several carriers for water bottles and just crocheted a round piece then picked up stitches for the in-the-round part. Did see a knitted one done on circular needles, but found 2 stitches on each of 4 needles was too wiggly for me! linknit4i1

Shandeh 07-28-2010 07:46 PM

Hi linknit41! :waving:
The can cozy pattern does not have a bottom.
I wish it did, because the can could fall through if you're not holding it tight. I'm adding a bottom for the kids by cutting out a piece of felt and stitching it on at the bottom. :thumbsup:

sgtpam 07-28-2010 08:16 PM

Hey, Teach!........awesome how you're challenging them early in their learning. WOW! They sure won't have time to be bored!

As to hear your stories. I'll be following their progress.

Shandeh 07-29-2010 10:55 AM

Thanks Pam! :)
I'm hoping that eventually these new knitters will help me finish up those large Oddball Blankets sitting in my craft room! :thumbsup:

Yesterday, I started teaching two new knitters. One of them "got it" right away. The other kept saying, "this is TRICKY!"

Now, I'm teaching 7 students, and loving every minute of it.

hyperactive 07-29-2010 11:06 AM

keep it up! Knitting is in fashion these days. "Old warriors" llike us may have thought that it was a dying art among people, but I read some article that was saying that the number of young knitters increases immensely lately.
The more knitters there are, the more variety of yarns we get, the cheaper it is - because everybody makes good business of it. The more patterns there are out there and the more challenges to our immagination.

I don't have many people to teach, but my secretary and me already got one of the apprentices to start up and be fascinated. Good thing for her and she just LOVED her baby gifts being received with so much awe!

Keep those kids happy and let them do a really fancy garment soon. As a kid I tired of "accessories" soon and wanted to move on. A strap-shirt or a vest? Easy, cool, fashionable. Or a winter hat?

One more accessory of fashion I know though: cell phone socks. They are the hot sales item of the day. You can make them any design, just knit them in the round or flat, maybe with a middle-cast on or any other... to your heart's desire.
They also make a great gift.

You can also make them bigger, line them with soft fabric and make them protectors for reading glasses. Great x-mas gifts, or mother's day... or so.

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