Kids’ Knitting Group: Beyond the Basics

Kids Knitting for the fall ends next week and it’s been gone well. New thing implemented this fall: a six week, half hour Advanced Knitting Techniques. I finish the second round next Tuesday and overall I’d say it’s been quite a success. I have patterns selected that I’d use again to teach the basics and I’ve got some ideas on what to change and do better should I tackle this again.

The regular kids group is chugging right along. They bring projects, ideas, and enthusiasm. I show up with yarn, how to knowledge and piles of books for them to read. We average between 10 and 12 kids per week, not a shabby number.

The advanced tech was about growing the kids who were moving beyond the basics. I taught I-cord, different types of increases and decreases, cables, lace, and we went over (in detail) gauge and reading a pattern. The general goal was to make them more confident and self-sufficient. Up to this point, most of them had good basic skills. They could do one type of increase, maybe two. They might pick out a pattern but they weren’t confident about reading it and the concept of pairing yarn to pattern wasn’t quite kicking in.

Now–they’re doing better. Several of them have moved on to more difficult patterns, coming to me only to read parts of it aloud together. At least three have/are tackled/ing clothing and all of them are learning. I want them to be able to go out and do without me. I’m here to help, certainly, but I don’t want them to feel like they can’t if I’m not available to get them going.

I set up pretty strict parameters to do AKT. It had to be kids I’d worked with for at least a few months–I needed to know their level. They, along with a parent, had to come in and talk to me about what we’d be learning, my expectations of them showing up and doing homework, etc. I wanted commitment and I’ve gotten it. I also had to call one kid out of the rug in front of a parent when homework wasn’t done–but while I came down pretty hard, it was done with the intention of reminding expectations that were previously agreed to by the child and parent.

Watching the kids blossom is incredibly rewarding. They have the skills, they use the skills and twenty years from now, I’m confident that some of them may still be knitting (and probably kicking my tush in the “difficulty” levels). I packed three of them in the car on Friday for the Ewetopia Fiber Shop open house. (Different three from last year) As always, watching their eyes when they see just how much cool stuff is in a really good yarn shop is amusing and exciting. The possibilities and potential leap off the shelf at you–and it’s in ways I can’t even imagine.