Over the summer holidays there are bound to be days when the weather is bad and the kids are bored so why not occupy them with a fun learn to knit session.
There are a few things to remember when teaching children to knit:
Finger knitting – this is a great way of getting kids interested in knitting and achieving quick results. It requires no equipment beyond a few balls of leftover yarn. You get great effects using two balls together and children love deciding on the colour combinations. Plus because have finger knitting races to see who can make a scarf to stretch across a room. You can find video instructions on finger knitting here.
Needle size – choose needles that work with DK yarn, so 4mm or 4.5mm. These are a comfortable size for children but also think about the length of the needle. Full sized straight needles are very difficult for small folks to negotiate. You can buy child length needles but you may have something suitable in your needle stash – for example from a magazine cover mount. Or you could add plasticine or Fimo ends to spare double pointed needles.
Have a plan – lots of us remember learning to knit and then asking “what are we making”. The answer might have been “a square”, “we’re just knitting” or perhaps it was a scarf – that never ending first project.
To keep kids’ interest think about small items that can be made using squares or strips. Decorative chains can be made by knitting strips and stitching them into loops. You also could have square bunting. Strips of knitting can be gathered and rolled up to make flowers with pipecleaner stems (above left).
Or make a finger puppet (above right) – cast on 10-12 stitches, knit until you have a rough square, cut yarn and thread through stitches, pull tight and sew up the back seam, then decorate with buttons, googly eye, felt and other yarn.
Cast on or not cast on Some people advocate casting on for kids when they start to learn. But you can get them started with the knit cast on and by the time they have 10 or12 sts on their needle and are ready to try a row, they discover they already know most of how to knit stitches.
Knitting rhymes These are a great way to teach the knitting stitch (to adults as well). You can find lots on the internet as they are often regional but I like:
In through the bunny hole (needle into stitch)
Round the big tree (yarn round needle)
Out from the bunny hole (needle draws loop back through stitch)
Off hops she (stitch off left hand needle)
Try saying it as you knit.
Share your knitting rhymes with us in the comments below