About six weeks ago I issued a challenge to the room full of young knitters. I held two stuffed animals before them, a floppy looking “dog” and a bear in a ski scarf and cap.

“Knit something for them. ” I said. “It’s due to me on the second week of April. Prizes will be awarded.”

Other than pointing out a couple of new knitting books we’d ordered that had some patterns for stuffed animals, I really gave no further directions. I offered help, yarn, pattern assistance, and said that yes, it had to be knitted or crocheted. But I wanted to see what they would come up with without my guidance every step of the way.

On Tuesday, I saw the results. And they were stunning. Pictures are available here and I really suggest you take a look at them. Keep in mind most of these kids are under 12 and the majority haven’t been knitting more than a couple of years. I was blown away seeing a knitted boat, a dress with elaborate separate collar, dresses with trim and purses, a pullover hoodie, it was truly incredible.

This of course meant I got to go to the yarn store and fuss over what kind of prizes to get. It was supposed to be an encouragement competition so yes, everyone is getting something but for those who really made an effort and reached out beyond their comfort zone–I’m definitely recognizing that. And yes, they are all yarn focused prizes, what better way to continue to inspire them to knit? One is getting sock needles and sock yarn, another materials to make a really great purse (including handles). The prizes will hopefully inspire to help them grow at knitters.

And me? Pleased as punch and proud of their work.