My day at school

2 Jul 2008

I had such a good time today at school.

Along with three other mothers we taught the twenty or so children to knit.

Three of the children, including Kate could already knit but the rest were novices.

The teacher's original plan was to have all the children knit a scarf.

I don't know about you but I remember starting a scarf when I was a young girl and I never ever finished it.
Much too big a first project for the likes of me.

I suggested instead we make a knitted ball, basically a very small scarf, sixteen stitches and sixty rows of garter stitch.
They can do it all in one colour or football team stripes or random coloured stripes.
When it's done stitch the two short ends together, then thread one long edge and draw up tight and secure.
Turn right side out and stuff with wool fleece then thread through the remaining edge, draw up and secure.

I think the key to success with learning a new skill like this is to choose a project that can be finished.
It requires some perserverence but the end is always in sight.
It is also the kind of project where when you have finished one, rather than heaving a sigh of relief and burying the knitting needles at the bottom of a drawer you just might want to make another , maybe in different colours , or for you brother or sister or dad or gran.
And when you knit the next one you can see how you have improved and you can appreciate the advice you were given as it starts to make more sense to you.

The children were so excited, especially some of the boys.

When Kate arrived home she reported that everyone had really loved the session and I must say that I did too.

Mind you the mind boggled as to how they managed to make some of the stitches I was asked to help with.

I think it is so wonderful that Kate's teacher grabbed the chance to teach a handcraft and appreciated some of what knitting could teach her students: good posture, ability to maintain a still posture as needed, concentration, self assessment, eye hand coordination, fine motor skills,following verbal instructions, persistence, decision making, cooperation, teaching from your own experience, an appreciation of colour and texture, planning, maths and on it goes.

I know it's something that Steiner/Waldorf schools have always done but has been lacking in mainstream schools and I'm happy to do anything I can help develop all needle crafts as a useful and meaningful part of the curriculum.

14 Responses to “My day at school”

  1. I love the idea of teaching needlecrafts at school. When I taught 5th grade, my children learned to quilt and do simple weaving. Years later, I still have former students tell me that that was the best thing they ever learned in school :0) Many still have the small quilts and rugs they made. I learned to crochet this year and now have more dishcloths than I will every use. Fortunately they are wonderful gifts! I am trying to learn to knit as well. My 3 year old and two 6 year olds are fascinated with everything I make. This year, a big part of our homeschooling will be learning simple needlework. The next thing I hope to learn is how to make simple dolls. I may be emailing you with questions!

    Have a blessed day!

  2. That is a great idea!

    I am off to keep on learning how to knit!

  3. I teach at a Waldorf School in the US and have witnessed the effects of handwork for five years now. My students just finished 5th grade and, with it, sock knitting. It was delightful to see them (in 80 degree weather!) pulling on their wool socks the minute they were done and refusing to take them off until it was time to go home. I'm so grateful to teach in a school where this is part of the curriculum and am delighted to hear that mainstream schools and homeschoolers are taking it up!

  4. Good for you! What a great way to widen the horizons of a child. Motivation and creation go hand in hand. I enjoyed your post...the pics and clip art are delightful. The knitted ball sounds like a wonderful first project...if I can find the time I'll try one for my new baby grandson. I do way more spinning than knitting right now.

  5. that's a lovely thing to do, jenny, both for the children and for yourself. We teach knitting at our Centre, as well as sewing, and it dissapoints me that we don't get more people come along.

    I think the ball was a great idea. It's difficult to keep boys interested but that ball would do it, I imagine.

  6. What a great idea to make a knitted ball. All children seem to love a ball and also love making something attainable themselves. I do vaguely remember having some very rudimentary knitting lessons at primary school - and amazingly, as this was the 1960s, even the boys had to have a go. However, I would never have learnt to knit from those basic attempts. Luckily for me both my mother and my grandfather were excellent knitters and taught me to knit at home.

  7. I've had the opportunity, last term, to help the kids with some machine sewing, in Mr Busy's year 1 & 2 class. I had an absolute ball and the kids were so chuffed with themselves. They also had a go at hand sewing and sewing on a button. Since Mr Busy comes from a long line of sewing women, he knew exactly what to do and was able to help other kids with their work.

  8. Jenny, I agree with you in regards to teaching crafts in school. I have started to teach my boys how to knit - they are certainly enjoyin it... Right now they are off for the summer (USA) but they would like to begin again for the new school year.

    Thanks for sharing as always...



  9. Oh, how wonderful! What a great thing to do.

  10. We were taught an awful lot of craft at school, but my daughters do very, very's all "Design and Technology"...model making, but no sewing or knitting and definitely no cooking. What a shame! I'm glad your daughter and her class had this opportunity, such a lot of fun and really good for their development as creative and patient human beings.

  11. We got taught all sorts of needlecrafts in school, and I still benefit from learning those things now. My mother has kept many of my projects, and still displays my embroidered Christmasornament every year. :-)

    Christine from the NL

  12. My first knitting project was a scarf and I never finished it either. I got frustrated, buried the knitting needles in a drawer and didn't come back to them until much, much later.

    With crochet, on the other hand, I started with a small placemat that I was able to complete in just two days. It got me motivated to make more and more - and as a result I'm still more skilled with my crochet hook than with my knitting needles, though I do hope to catch up.

  13. That is a wonderful first project! I completely agree; being able to finish a project is key to the new knitter's enjoyment and is more likey to lead to them wanting to knit more.

  14. I really liked your idea (and agree wholeheartedly with it) about knitting a ball for your first project. I also was one of those kids who never finished their first scarf. Oh well. I did one thing right tho - I had taught my daughter to knit when she was young, and when she was in high school a few years back, she took a sewing class, and was allowed to show quite a few of the other students how to knit. And at that age, there were quite a few scarves that were finished! I was delighted!

    Hugs from Michigan - Diane


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