Teaching 3rd Graders to Knit

I am an internet/self-taught knitter.  I tried to learn from others in a traditional class and failed pretty miserably.  I learn best from up-close video with good verbal directions rather than a picture in a book or in a class with more than a few people.

I was asked by a colleague to teach a group of 3rd grade girls to knit.  Even though I am a teacher I never really thought to combine it with knitting.   It was harder than I thought.

As an adult I don’t think very often about the fine motor skills I need to do things like write, type, or knit.  Those skills are still developing in 3rd grade and that was hurdle #1.  The girls also insisted on learning from me not a video which made it hard for me to give each girl the attention they needed (hurdle #2).  Attention span became hurdle #3.

I won’t lie; it took me several attempts and help from another volunteer to actually get these girls knitting.  English style knitting seemed to work best for them.  The second aide to my success was teaching a backwards loop cast-on instead of the long tail and a little poem I found on Pinterest.

 In through the front door;

Around the block;

In through the window;

Off jumps Jack

Even though the beginning was bumpy the girls eventually got the hang of it and knitted determinedly on their scarves.  The whole experience was fun and inspiring to me!  These girls chose to knit with the softest and bulkiest yarn they could find at Michaels.  The colors were also just what you would expect an 8 year old to knit with:  pink, purple, yellow, and orange variegated yarn.  They reminded me how much pure fun it can be to just knit.

Sometimes knitting becomes something I have to do to de-stress or because I have to finish a gift.  But knitting is FUN!!!!  Choosing crazy yarn is also FUN!  Sometimes I get too wrapped up in whether or not a yarn for a project will match my wardrobe.  Sometimes I get caught up in impressing others (knitters and non-knitters) with complex projects, stitches, or color work.  These girls reminded me to be PROUD of what I knit; even if it is simple or has a few mistakes (we called them design elements).  I can create something; not everyone can do that!

Who knew such inspiration could come from 3rd grade girls?

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