Stacey Herrera Wants to Know
Your recollections on beginning your knitting career at 4 years old sparked this question. My 6-year-old granddaughter watches me knit and eagerly awaits a time when she can learn. Do you have any suggestions of how she should start? I'm just a beginner myself, and she is definitely of this generation and wants immediate gratification. Someone suggested the Knitting Lilly, and another friend suggested teaching her to crochet first. Thanks.
I use a couple of handy rules of thumb to tell me if a child is ready to learn to knit: Can she tell her left from right hand? Can she tie her own shoes routinely? If she can read, it's a big help, although I was not reading at age four.
If she wants to learn to knit as you are doing, I would not attempt to teach her another craft, i.e. crochet, spool knitting, etc. I like to use a 24-inch circular needle size 7 or 8 and some solid-color worsted weight yarn in a color she has chosen in a good quality acrylic or wool/blend. Cotton is not a good choice in my opinion because it seems to fight the knitter at first. I think circulars are easier to begin with as the shorter needle ends seem to be simpler to grasp for kids.
I would cast on for the first lesson and use a long-tail method so the first row behaves. Emphasize having fun rather than perfecting stitches. Keep the lessons short, no more than 30 minutes or so at a time. Expect frustrations, but tell her that no one was born knowing how to knit. Resist the temptation to "fix" her errors; it's good for her to see that she's improving as time passes. Also, understand that, of course, you know this dear child and I do not. Feel free to ignore any of my suggestions! -- Editor
Fill out the easy feedback form
and let me know your thoughts, questions and ideas. I may feature your letter in an upcoming issue of Creative Knitting