More Than Memories: Teaching Our Children to Knit

By Tabetha Hedrick

I have a beautiful friend who, after several years of illness, has made a hard realization that time might be much shorter for her. It’s a sobering thought, especially when one considers that it is true for all of us, regardless of circumstance. I’ve spent the past week thinking, deeply and heart-wrenchingly, about what I want to leave my own daughters with: a passion to chase after their dreams, a connection with the things that I love, and memories of something we share together. My first step is teaching my beautiful girls to knit.heart_2

Fortunately, they are eager beavers and want to learn! My youngest, Sophie, said at her kindergarten graduation, “when I grow up, I’m going to be a knitter.” Your own kidlets might not be ready yet, but when approached with the concept of enjoying something together, you’ll be surprised at how deeply they receive it.

When teaching children to learn how to knit, here are some tips to keep it relaxed and enjoyable:

Kid_2

–        Get comfortable. My girls and I squish together on the couch. In fact, the closer, the better! Research even shows that the more hugs, the more physical touch, the closer the proximity to parents results in smarter brains, easier learning, and stronger independence. Can’t beat that!

–        Set them up with easy to use materials. I like a simple 100% wool yarn because it has enough stretch and elasticity to make things easier with simple wood needles.

–        Be hands on. When I am introducing a new technique, I demonstrate several times and then guide their hands with my own to show things in slow motion.

–         Keep the lessons focused on one thing at a time. Start with just the knit stitch and let them work on that until they are comfortable. I don’t want to overwhelm them with casting on, bind offs, or purls; they’ll let you know when it is time to introduce a new technique.

–        Depending on the age of your child, their knitting time is going to be limited. My oldest at age eight will comfortably work 2-3 rows before she gets antsy. Don’t be offended or upset. This is a time for building your relationship, not a time for them to stress about getting it done.

–        Just have fun with it! Cuddle, pick out yarn colors together, share your own knitting, and involve them in the entire process. I take my daughters to the yarn store where we dream about different designs together.

This is an opportunity to establish something special in their hearts, in YOURS. Knitting is a portal that allows me to chase my dreams. My goal is to teach that same determination to learn, to strive, to believe that you can do anything. When I am in my last days, I want my children to know they were welcomed with open arms into a part of my world that means so much, and became even more meaningful because I got to share it with them.

Tabetha Hedrick

Tabetha lives by the belief that joy comes when fully participating in the present moment, especially when it comes to fiber. Surrounding herself with yarn through knitting, designing, spinning and teaching ensures that blissful continuity. Tabetha is a regular contributor to Creative Knitting magazine, and is the editor of the Creative Knitting newsletter. To learn more about Tabetha, visit www.tabethahedrick.com.
 
 
 
 

7 Responses to More Than Memories: Teaching Our Children to Knit

  1. Rosemary says:

    Written from the heart of a crafter. From one who shared all those experiences with her Mum before her early death – thank you. Your words have described accurately the treasured memories I have of her patience and passion for knitting and enjoyment as we plan projects and made the relevant purchases. With some of her stash I am due to embark upon teaching my 6 yr old son to knit as he has just started to ask if he can do so, in time I shall teach my daughter too. When doing so I shall remember your words as we go through the portal and chase our dreams. Thank you for sharing.

  2. ANTIGONI GEORGIADOU says:

    my mum is 75 years old and a great knitter.
    My concern is that I may lose her before she manages to pass on to me her knowledge. Any suggestions?

    • Kara says:

      Hi Antigoni,
      Have you expressed to your mum that you’d like to learn? Perhaps if you were to ask her to show you some of the basics it would be a wonderful experience for her to pass this on to you. I can’t think of anything better than a mother and daughter sharing their love of knitting together!

  3. Marilyn Rubin says:

    My granddaughter has always wanted to knit, and we even started when she was 3 with crocheting. Now she is 7, and this Christmas one of her gifts from me is the book about the scarf with holes. That will be accompanied by her own knitting needles (thanks for the tip about wood) and new yarn. I can’t be more excited. She is already very craftsy, and hope she will take to knitting. I will take all your tips to heart. Thank you.

  4. Kathy Muscat says:

    My two year old great niece is already curious and I can’t wait until she is a little older to share my love of knitting and crochet. I see that in England, they have reintroduced knitting into the national school curriculum. I am a retired teacher and would love to volunteer and share knitting with kids. Are you aware of any resources on teaching kids to knit? Is it best to develop a class project like an afghan from squares? Any thoughts are gratefully appreciated

  5. Sheri Martin says:

    Thank you for your encouraging article on teaching children to knit. One of my dear dear friends from Norway who has passed on and by the way was a man who enjoyed knitting. He was a tailor by profession, an avid skier, a great cake decorator and wonderful friend. In Norway and other european countries they teach knitting in school starting at a very young age. Some of my granddaughters have shown an interest in knitting and I do enjoy spending time with them when we or they visit. Thanks again, Sheri

  6. Carole van Luyt says:

    I have started teaching my granddaughters to knit just as my grandmother taught me. The oldest aged 8 is knitting “blankets” for the doll beds my husband’s woodwork group donate to children’s hospitals, the middle one is coming along really well and the littlest one will start her how to knit next winter. At only 4 she is very keen to do whatever her sisters do but I have told her 5 is the age to learn. Now it is summer here and too hot to knit but as soon as Autumn comes next year we will all be into our needles & yarn again.

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