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
So, a few weeks ago, I started teaching private knitting lessons. Fun!
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
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.
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.
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!"
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.
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.
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!
I had tried to make a sample felted bag for them with the yarn I had dyed. But, silly me.....my yarn did not felt. It was superwash!
My yarn was unlabelled....it 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