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.
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.
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.
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).
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: 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
We asked you on Twitter recently about who taught you to knit. There was a tremendous response about the great people who started you on your yarn craft journey. So here we are celebrating them and some of the stories you shared
There were lots of mentions for grans and mums who, along with the occasional auntie, seem to have been the mainstay of knitting teachers – there were plenty of memories of being sat on someone’s lap with yarn as an excuse for cuddles. Let’s hope it continues in future generations.
But there was also a great story of a knitting dad from @TraceyTodhunter who said:
“I learnt to crochet by copying my Dad as he taught himself from the Golden Hands which came in weekly parts!”
School was another place to learn – but only it seems for females:
“I was taught in infant school. Boys did basket weaving and girls did knitting. Never regretted it one bit!” reported @KathleenEvaRyan and @Alterknitive said: “Mrs Jones taught all the girls garter st at primary school (the boys played with Lego). I taught myself the rest from the Ladybird book.”
@romobooks told us that she learned at age nine while at boarding school in India and that her first project was a conical hat with orange and brown stripes. Sadly there don’t seem to be pictures of these early efforts.
It seems that the first project was a major factor in whether you took to knitting. “Being forced to knit horrid beige gloves at primary school put me off for a long time,” @janewendy4 told us.
And then there were those of you who learned by yourselves such as @lauramum who says: “I learned from a book in 2004 when I was pregnant with child 1. I still have the book and the tragic scarf I made.” Or @kazpetal who confessed: “I learnt from a book when I was supposed to be revising for A levels. I ended up with a lovely, pink mohair jumper & dismal grades.”
It says something about the pleasure so many people gain from their knitting and crochet that they have such strong memories of learning. We’d love to hear more of your learning stories so please share some below.
You can find some tips on helping children learn to knit here and useful links on our website.