Summer knitting projects for kids

As the schools break up for the summer, many people’s thoughts are turning to how to keep their kids occupied for the summer.

One way is to teach them to knit or crochet – see our tips here – but what if they have already mastered the basics? How do you keep them interested when the everlasting scarf for teddy no longer cuts any ice?

Projects that are relevant to them and aren’t too overwhelming are a good idea. With this in mind we’ve put together a few project suggestions.

Toys

A simple garter stitch teddy, or even a dinosaur (like the ones pictured below), can be a good project introducing a little shaping and new techniques without being a mammoth project.

Some children may think they are too old for a toy but they can be encouraged to make a present for a new baby you may know or a younger sibling. Not only do they get the satisfaction of completing a project but also some appreciation for their work.

Gadget cases

Basic rectangular knitting or crochet is great for making gadget and pencil cases. They are a way for encouraging children to practice but they also offer opportunities for them to add their own style through stripes and embellishments.

Homewares

Older children might want to put their own stamp on their bedroom. One way would be to encourage them to make their own cushion covers (chunky yarn is a good option here) or starting a granny square blanket (if they run out of steam, the square might become a cushion cover instead).

Yarn choice

Involving kids in the choice of the yarn for their projects will also help engage them. Think about interesting yarns such as self-striping, tape and chainette yarns and different materials such as raffia or making their own T-shirt yarn or “plarn”. Unusual colour combinations and vivid neons might also prove popular and keep interest in a simple scarf.

Garter stitch dinosaurs from Sirdar would be a good first toy project http://www.sirdar.co.uk/designs/funknits/4632 : If the kids don’t want to knit for themselves how about for a pet as with this dog coast from Stylecraft http://www.stylecraft-yarns.co.uk/Life+Chunky+Pattern+9179+Striped+Dog+Coat/0_CAFA110/PRNC360.htm : These cookie and cupcake cushions from James C Brett might be popular with developing knitters: These Wendy cushions could be adapted to many colour schemes http://www.tbramsden.co.uk/catalog/patterns/Accessories-1/5974:Yarns like this Lolli chainette from Conway+Bliss might keep kids interested in their projects: Crochet gadget cases from King Cole will lend themselves easily to embellishments such as buttons and badges

Garter stitch dinosaurs from Sirdar would be a good first toy project: If the kids don’t want to knit for themselves how about for a pet as with this dog coat from Stylecraft: Cookie and cupcake cushions from James C Brett might be popular with developing knitters: These Wendy cushions could be adapted to many colour schemes: Yarns like this Lolli chainette from Conway+Bliss might keep kids interested in their projects: Crochet gadget cases from King Cole will lend themselves easily to embellishments such as buttons and badges

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Books to help you crack crochet

When we’ve been out and about at craft shows recently, we’ve found that lots of people want to learn to crochet or have crochet queries they need help with.

As much as we like helping you on our stands, we don’t think everyone who needs help will make it to a show we’re at so here are a few books we think you will find useful in cracking crochet.

Woman’s Weekly Guide to Crochet by Tracey Todhunter, Search Press

crochet guide ww

This new crochet guide is what a lot of new or occasional crocheters have been looking for. The chapters build up from the basics of learning each stitch through working in the round to more complex stitches and clever finishing techniques. Each chapter ends with some projects to help you practices the techniques covered and ideas for future projects.

It is clearly laid out with lots of photographs and clear explanations.

What makes the book such a good resource are the frequent “clinic” and “Five things” panels that address the common queries and problems familiar to any new crocheter including counting your stitches, too tight chains, how to turn and much more. Together with some fun patterns this is a book designed to help you enjoy crochet and inspire you to try more.

For £1 off and free P&P for Woman’s Weekly Guide to Crochet from the Search Press, click here and enter the promo codeSP8843 at checkout. And see below for a special giveaway.

Ultimate Crochet Bible by Jane Crowfoot, C&B Crafts 

ultimate crochet bible

An excellent resource for anyone wanting to develop their crochet skills, this book does exactly what is says on the cover – “A complete reference with step-by-step techniques”.

There is plenty of detail here on everything from yarn and hook choice to understanding crochet symbols. And, very handily, it includes both UK and US crochet terms – translating between the two stitch naming schemes is one of the big headaches new crocheters report.

A large section of the book is a stitch dictionary, with plenty of detail on how to do different stitches which will help readers understand patterns and design their own projects.

This is the sort of crafting book that will live on your shelves for years and can be referenced again and again.

200 Crochet Blocks for Blankets, Throws and Afghans by Jan Eaton, David & Charles 

200 crochet blocks

One way to improve your crochet is to create a sample square blanket. An individual blanket square is a good way to test a new technique or stitch. So you could decide to on a yarn weight and hook size and work through all 200 patterns here to create a sampler blanket.

If you don’t feel like being that freestyle, there is lots of advice in the book about combining different square patterns and colours as well as a series of blanket designs.

Dipping into the book will also provide plenty of ideas for crochet projects and how different stitches and patterns work together.

We have two copies of  Woman’s Weekly Guide to Crochet by Tracey Todhunter to give away. Leave a comment below about what you plan to crochet to be included in the prize draw. We will pick the winners on 22 April.