I have posted a few pictures of Hunter and her knitting on Instagram and there have been a lot of questions about how I taught her to knit, how old she is, etc. Let me tell you all about it!
First, a little about Hunter and her knitting. Hunter is 4 years old and showed some interest in knitting. I got her some needles (I think they are 6mm needles and the important thing to Hunter is that they have flowers on the ends), and some yarn from the stash (SweetGeorgia Worsted in Glacier, that spoiled girl). I was also gifted a copy of Annie and the Swiss Cheese Scarf by Alana Dakos. What a fabulous book! All about a little girl learning to knit. Hunter loves it.
I taught Hunter to knit shortly after she turned 4 with pretty low expectations. I really thought we would knit ‘together’ for a long time, but, boy did I sell her short! At first she was in charge of inserting the needle, I would wrap the yarn, and she would bring it through (we did the last step together at first, but she mastered it quickly on her own). One lesson later and she was doing the whole thing by herself. I find, when I teach grown ups to knit, bringing the loop ‘through’ is the hardest part, but she picked that up immediately. This rhyme helped:
In through the front door
Around the back
Through the window
Off jumps Jack!
Now that Hunter has been knitting a few months, she is kind of bored with her project. She originally wanted to knit a cowl for her brother (it’s a scarf right now and I will sew together the ends together when she is done), but now she wants something new. It may have been too big a project for a 4 year old, since their attention span is pretty small.
I knit a few rows for her here and there, calling them ‘clean up rows’. I fix the odd dropped stitch and get her a row further on. It is a fine balance because I don’t want to do it for her, but I know she wants to move on to knitting something new.
Here are a few tips for teaching kids to knit:
- Wait until they show some interest, no sense in trying to teach them something they don’t want to know (in this case).
- Age: when I taught kids to knit in the shop I started with kids who were 7 years old. If the lesson is 1 on 1 you can start younger on a kid by kid basis. I think 4 is pretty young, I hadn’t planned on teaching her until she was 5 or 6.
- Start them with some worsted weight yarn and needles to match (more or less). Sometimes it seems like the bigger the better, but I think it gets a little unwieldy if you have super bulky yarn and giant needles.
- A little at a time. Hunter knits for about 5-10 minutes at a time, a row or 2 and she’s off to something else.
- Small project. I learned this one the hard way. Hunter is dying to get onto something new but I have this feeling she should really finish one thing before starting another. The end of her scarf will likely have a few more ‘mum rows’ than the beginning.
- Fix it. A few mistakes and weird tension are totally fine…maybe help pick up the dropped stitches though. You don’t want the whole thing going totally off the rails.
- I took some advice from Elizabeth Zimmerman: when they hand it to you to fix, do a couple of rows. While you don’t want to do it for them, you can certainly help them along!
- Local shops are a great resource for teachers! Whether in a class setting or a private lesson.
There you have it! Have you taught wee ones how to knit? Any tips or tricks to share?