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Old 07-27-2010, 11:17 PM   #1
Shandeh
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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!

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


Headbands


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.

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
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Old 07-27-2010, 11:56 PM   #2
Jan in CA
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That's great, Sandy! I'm sure a few people will find this info very helpful!
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Old 07-28-2010, 04:06 AM   #3
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Hi!
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!
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Old 07-28-2010, 09:57 AM   #4
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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!!
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Old 07-28-2010, 05:52 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Jan in CA View Post
That's great, Sandy! I'm sure a few people will find this info very helpful!


Originally Posted by hyperactive View Post
Those girls are lucky to get good and expanded teaching from you! Keep up that class!
I'm loving the knitting classes! And it really helps to have such smart, fun students.

Originally Posted by margz3 View Post
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!!
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!

Last edited by Shandeh : 09-10-2011 at 06:10 PM.
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Old 07-28-2010, 07:11 PM   #6
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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
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Old 07-29-2010, 09:43 PM   #7
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Knitting (and crocheting) is definitely more popular again. I went into half-price books the other day and there was a full "end-cap" full of K and C books right there in the very FRONT of the store...pretty cool
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Old 09-10-2010, 06:01 AM   #8
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Here's the latest news on my knitting students!

We enjoyed our trip to a nice yarn shop - Cottage Yarn
I told them that my cousin Sara owns the shop, and they should feel free to ask her any questions. When we arrived at the shop, I took them in, and walked them around to give them a quick tour of everything.

One of my students was especially amazed by the shop, and asked my cousin, "How much would it cost to buy the whole shop?" My cousin replied, "About five million dollars." My student seemed to take her seriously, and quickly went to tell the other girls. They were a lot of fun.

Soon, they were busy choosing yarn for their projects.....with intent looks on their faces. One of them pulled out her cell phone to use the calculator, and the others quickly did the same. (So funny to see all those little girls with their own cell phones.) They LOVED the bargain porch, where everything is 40% Off. They parked themselves in that room, and kept asking each other for advice. I stood by for the occasional, "Miss Sandy! Will this work for my project?"

When we went to the register with their purchases, they were surprised to see that some of their yarn was less expensive than they thought it would be! They were so happy....just glowing about their yarn.

On the drive back to their house, I stopped to get them each a cool drink at Dunkin Donuts. Pretty soon, I had a loud group of laughing girls in the back of my car. They had a blast. One of them said, "This is the BEST DAY I've ever had in my life!"

Now that school has started back, I don't get to see them as often. I miss them, and send them emails occasionally just to say "Hello", and send them links to fun beginner projects.

Recently, I found out about a Saturday Open House at a local alpaca farm....so I have invited them to come with me to that. I want to show them where yarn comes from. They have all agreed to come!

Now, I'm looking forward to seeing the girls again, and looking at the sweet furry animals together. One of them has already asked if they can buy yarn at the farm. I told her that they only have the fiber to MAKE yarn, but I am willing to spin some of the fiber into yarn for her on my wheel if she wants. If time permits, I will take them by my house to show them how I spin.

Until our next update.......
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Old 09-10-2010, 12:17 PM   #9
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Thanks for teaching a new generation the art and fun of knitting. Sounds like you have a fun group.
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Old 09-10-2010, 07:36 PM   #10
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Hi!

those girls are SO lucky. That is a really great project you have gotten into there.
I wish there was an alpaca farm near me anywhere. Oh, I want some knitters to teach! Really!
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