Saturday, March 07, 2009

Girl Scout Knitting Part 1

Hi Knitters,
Yesterday I started helping The Collector's girl scout group earn the Yarn Craft Badge through learning to knit. I divided her troop into 3 small groups which I will meet with one at a time to teach them how to knit. The first group came over after school and we had such a good time. I love teaching kids how to knit and I hadn't done that for a long time.

Here is my plan and I think it is going to work. The first project for everyone, a baby hat. The girls are all 9 or 10 years old which is a good age to learn in my opinion. I set each girl up with a skein of worsted weight acrylic yarn (they loooove the rainbow yarn!), a pair of size 8-sixteen inch circulars, a canvas bag and some tools like a tape measure, a pair of scissors and a yarn needle. I put these little items in a baggie inside the canvas bag. The last thing I threw in the bag is a copy of Itty-Bitty Hats so when they get home they have a resource to answer any questions that may pop up. They were so excited about their new knitting supplies and they couldn't believe that they got to take everything with them. I love that, it was refreshing. They said thank you about a hundred times.
I wasn't 100% sure that a hat for a first project for kids this age would be good but they loved it. They caught on incredibly fast. I cast on the stitches before they arrived at my house because I wanted them just to sit and knit, literally do the knit stitch, for their first experience. I didn't want them to worry about casting on and purling, etc., this was perfect and that other stuff will come later. It was easier and comforting for them. After I cast on I knitted a few rounds for them (before they got to my house), wove in the end and placed a stitch marker on the first stitch. Their project was ready to go. Successful teaching is all in the preparation, no question about it.
Knitting in the round is the perfect way to start. You just knit and knit and knit, no turning and no worries. I just did a few stitches as a demonstration and they were chomping at the bit to get started. Who am I to hold them back? Off they went. I circulated about and sat next to the girls on the couches as they worked. It was so easy.
After each girl completed their first stitch on their own I always gave them a little round of applause and a smile of accomplishment always appeared. Just look at that pride and excitement, so cute. The hats are either going to be seamed across the top or knit a bit long and gathered at the top, no double-pointed needles just yet.
This sweetie, already crossing her legs in style, went to town. Working hands are fun to watch. This one wants to have an ongoing knitting circle and I agree. She has plans for her knitting. One thing I always notice about kids learning to knit is they think of all of the people they want to knit for. They always want to share and give their knitting. What is it about the knitting that does this?
The concentration was palpable at first but it faded quickly. Soon they were chatting away about school and other fun topics. By the end of the hour I was no longer needed and for the last 10 minutes or so I pulled out my current sock project and sat and knitted with them. Can you believe it? I was in heaven.
What an honor and privilege for me to teach this beautiful group of girls how to knit. The Collector had a ball hosting the meeting, just look at her. Coming up is the second group and I hope it goes as well as the first. I know that every group can be different, that's part of the fun of teaching.

When I told the girls it was time to pack up and go none of them wanted to leave. By that time they were chatting and knitting like a group that had been knitting together for years, it was funny to witness. Knitting brings out the "chat" in people for sure. I told the girls they could call me for help if they got stuck. My daughter told me later that no one was going to call me, that made me laugh. I just wanted the girls to know that I am available to help them in the future. So far, no calls.

Our last meeting is going to be a large group knitting get-together with the entire troop after everyone has had an initial lesson. I can't wait to see how that goes.

Knitters, have a great weekend. It is gloomy and raining here but it still feels good that it's the weekend for some reason. Everyone is home and I guess that's about all I need.
best, susie