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To knit or not to knit!

(39 Posts)
GrandmaB63 Sun 24-Jan-16 21:14:27

Help - I bought my 6 year old GD a craft kit for Christmas. It consists of materials to knit and decorate a penguin and is very cute. I'm not the world's best knitter and failed miserably when I tried to teach my daughter as she is left handed and I am right handed. GD is right handed but I am getting cold feet as I'm not sure if 6 is still a bit young to learn this skill. Any advice please?

Luckygirl Sun 24-Jan-16 21:40:36

I think it might be too young, unless you go for huge fat needles and some very thick wool. Things like penguins are very hard as a start as they can be fiddly. A scarf is best for a first project - or a pot holder for getting things out of the oven - just knit a rectangle and fold it over into a thck square and sew it together.

Can I suggest a better starter might be a child's tapestry kit? - they are very easy indeed, small and grow quickly. And with a very satisfying quick result.

tanith Sun 24-Jan-16 21:43:09

I think she's old enough , a good tip is to sit the child between your knees and hold the needles with them and just keep it simple. If you use a thickish wool and needle maybe let her choose the colour she wants to use.. give it a go at least.

Alima Sun 24-Jan-16 21:44:24

I am left handed and my right handed mum taught me to knit with no problems. They occurred when she tried to teach me to crochet so we gave up on that one. I wouldn't have thought that a children's craft kit would include any difficult bits of knitting, give it a go. If your DGD enjoys it you could set her up with a skill for life.

GrandmaB63 Sun 24-Jan-16 22:41:45

Thank you for all the advice - duly noted. Yes I think the penguin may be a little tricky to start with but the age on the pack says 3+ ????? We have done a little sewing together and she has mastered that ok.
ALIMA - I think your mum was probably a more accomplished knitter, as I said I'm not nor ever have been that great.

Jalima Sun 24-Jan-16 22:53:57

Could you knit the penguin and then teach her how to knit a scarf for him GrandmaB63?

mumofmadboys Sun 24-Jan-16 23:18:33

I remember knitting a dish cloth as a child!

Jomarie Sun 24-Jan-16 23:28:00

My feeling is that you should definitely help her to start to knit - but do so with some double knitting wool and needles that are not too long - to knit a scarf in garter stitch only. Once she sees this grow (and you can easily pick up on any mistakes if it is only double knitting garter stitch) she will gain confidence and you and she can go from there. It's gaining the confidence that's the most important thing surely. Leave the penguin for later - or get a friend to knit that up so she can see what can be achieved later.

NanaandGrampy Mon 25-Jan-16 09:17:14

For left handed teaching my Gran used to say that you both sit in front of a mirror and then the child learns from the mirror which reverses all actions. Never tried it myself but makes sense.

We always start with french knitting with a little 'dolly' and then once they have the dexterity to manage that we move onto small children's needles and scarves.

Good Luck , its something we need to pass on to our grandchildren . Neither of my DDs showed the slightest interest!!

Nonnie Mon 25-Jan-16 09:43:00

I agree with Jomaire use double knitting, anything thicker may well be too thick for her little hands.

I taught a class of 5/6 year olds to knit with success. Started with garter stitch and moved on to stocking stitch. One of the mothers was so pleased that her son had succeeded at something, she couldn't stop thanking me. He was much bigger than the others and not as bright and everyone always seemed to expect too much of him. I like to think I did something for his self confidence.

Does anyone do French knitting these days? I still have some wooden spools.

annodomini Mon 25-Jan-16 10:34:47

My aunt came to visit when I was five and was getting over measles but still confined to bed. She was a very good knitter and took advantage of a captive learner. I learnt the basics in minutes and still remember the mantra: IN, OVER, THROUGH and OFF. When I was seven, we (girls only, of course) were taught to knit at school, but I had an advantage.

trisher Mon 25-Jan-16 10:42:42

I learned when I was about 7 but I was never good at it. Some children have the dexterity to do it and some don't. Start teaching her but if she is struggling just put it away until she is older.

inishowen Mon 25-Jan-16 11:54:14

My granddaughter has just turned four. She is dying to knit but I think it's too soon. She runs off with a ball of yarn and says she's going to knit trousers! I'm looking forward to teaching her in about a years time. She comes from a long line of very good knitters, but it missed her mum somehow.

SwimHome Mon 25-Jan-16 12:01:05

I wanted to knit when I was small as my Grandfather (my idol!) knitted. However I simply couldn't learn from anyone in the family; it wasn't until an elderly maiden 'Auntie' came to stay that I was able to 'get' it. I don't think her teaching was any different, just that I could accept it from her. I still tend to be defensive if partner or anyone close tries to help me with anything, much better from a stranger! I imagine I'm not alone in this.

Greyduster Mon 25-Jan-16 12:04:06

I tried to teach my grandson (8) to cast a fly line. When he'd finished, it looked like knitting!! Took me an age to untangle it. I tried to teach DD to knit when she was about ten but she never quite got it, so we gave up. I asked her recently whether she'd like to learn again. She gave me a look!

grandMattie Mon 25-Jan-16 12:28:37

Aged 18 and a Brownie leader, I successfully taught a little girl to knit left-handed. What i did was to put her opposite me, so she followed what i did in, a mirror so to speak.

I don't think 6 is too young, if she has the concentration and staying power. If she does get bored, just put it to one side and try again later.
Good luck flowers

grandMattie Mon 25-Jan-16 12:30:31

PS don't use the horrid plastic needles in that type of kit. get her some good circular needles - you can go back and forth on circular needles - I only use them these days and the weight of the knitting doesn't pull at my [now weak] wrists.

Maywalk Mon 25-Jan-16 12:47:35

I was taught to knit in the "Sisters of Mercy" home when I was five although I could hardly see what I was knitting due to having my good eye covered up.
In 1935 they thought that the best thing to do to help the bad eye get working but it never worked out that way it did nothing for me.
God help me or anyother inmate if any wrong stitches were found because the so called "Sisters of Mercy" were certainly NOT merciful and would rap the child with gusto across the knuckles with a ruler to MAKE them understand.

NO I definitely do NOT recommend that sort of teaching.
Have the child standing between your knees and both you and the child have knitting pins and some yarn, it helps if the child can SEE it from the angle that the garment is being made, from the casting on to the beginning of the said item which in my opinion would be a dollies scarf done in garter stitch to start off with, with about 16 sts casted on. Not every child likes knitting so if this is the case dont force the bairn to learn.

As you may have worked out I will be 86 this year and when at school during WW2 all the children including the boys had a session each day of knitting balaclavas for the troops on 4 needles. Many of them liked to do it because we felt important to help with the war effort and were doing our bit.

Greyduster Mon 25-Jan-16 13:03:43

We were friendly with an American Air Force family, and i was admiring a lovely fairisle sweater one of his children was wearing. "Did your mom make it?" I asked. "No", he replied, "my dad did. Mom can't knit." Dad had been knitting since the age of six, taught by his granny.

Blondehedgehog Mon 25-Jan-16 13:31:00

When helping out at school I was asked to teach little boys how to knit. They were about 7, We made sweat bands for the wrist. About ten stitches, thick wool and big needles. These boys thought it was great, and very proud when showing off their own made sweat bands.

Worth a try

Nonnie Mon 25-Jan-16 13:40:03

I read that knitting was started by fisher*men*.

Apparently knitting patterns is equivalent to coding so a good idea to teach all children but, just like any other skill, some will find it easy and some hard.

mrsmopp Mon 25-Jan-16 13:54:55

One idea might be to get a French knitting kit. As a child we used a wooden cotton reel with four tacks in the top, but you can get them in kit for these days. We called it cork work, but I'm not sure what they are called nowadays. Keep the penguin kit for when she is a little older.
It is definitely a skill well worth learning.

M0nica Mon 25-Jan-16 14:58:22

I am a cack handed knitter, in a family who generally knit quite well. I have never let it stop me and have a long list of dolls clothes to my credit.

However last year DGD pushed me to my limit. Please could she have a Katy Morag sweater for World Book Day. Swallowing hard I agreed - and I did it. To my eyes the knitting is not at all even but DGD thinks its wonderful and that is all that really matters.

I have been teaching her to knit and she can do it, but prefers sewing.

NotTooOld Mon 25-Jan-16 14:58:44

I tried the French knitting with my elder DGD when she was about six and it didn't work. I think she was too impatient even though I gave her a six inch start. Later we tried knitting with proper needles and bright double knit wool. She was better at that but soon lost interest when she kept making mistakes. When my youngest GD was three she asked me to teach her to knit, so we started on real knitting with her between my knees. That worked quite well. I don't think she's done any since but I'll have another go with her now I've been reminded. I did also try to teach my DD when she was young but that didn't go very well although she says she can knit now. I do think we should at least try to pass on skills such as knitting, crochet and sewing to our GC, both girls and boys, because otherwise they will be completely lost. Some primary schools ask grandparents to go in and teach small groups to knit and that seems a very good idea.

Bijou Mon 25-Jan-16 15:23:27

I could knit at the age of 5, my daughter and son from 6. When my husband saw us all knitting he decided to have a go. The first thing he knitted was a layette for his sisters baby. He knitted all his pullovers and socks.