Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Knitting with Kids

I volunteer at a lunch time knitting group at the local middle school once a week. We have two boys and from 10-15 girls on a regular basis. This week was the first meeting after spring vacation, and we met in a new room, so there were only two students today. There were actually four, but two hadn't brought their projects. It was a good thing.

We had given most of them a little felted bag project to work on over the break. The group was started by a teacher at the school, and we have different helpers each week (mostly knitters who come to my weekly night time group.) The bag pattern we gave them has eyelets for a drawstring, so we showed them how they will be making the yarn overs. I showed them my Petticoat socks, which have lots of eyelets in a very defined pattern. I just looked at the pattern link and think I must have continued the pattern (a variation without the purls) down the instep of my own socks, because the pattern shows a stockinette instep and my feet show a patterned one.

I was sitting across the table from one girl, whom I had never helped before, so I could only see her knitting from the back. I had already helped her with the issue of yarn strands going down to the bottom of the rectangle and then going back up into the knitting. Since the bag will be felted, I said that it wouldn't be problem this time, but I showed her what she was doing wrong. We'll just cut off those loose strands! I also noticed that her knitting was really tight on the needles. She said she had tried to loosen up but it wasn't working. I was watching her knit from the back of her work, and I noticed that she was (trying to) knit into the back loop. The lightbulb went off. She was twisting every stitch and making it very hard for herself. I showed her how to knit into the front of the stitch (leading edge, as Merike Saarniit says). She left after knitting "just one more row" feeling much better and happy with her knitting.

The group has many low income students, so they have limited access to yarn and needles. When the group started the teacher had them all make their own needles from wooden dowels, and many knitters donated yarn (mostly acrylic). We were also given a very generous donation of yarn and needles by the US distributor for Garnstudio (her warehouse is right down the highway). I found a flat knitted bag pattern that uses worsted weight wool and size 10 US needles, and we had the right size needles from her donation for 10 knitters to make bags. The teacher bought some wool yarn at Michael's, and I wound each skein into two balls to make it go further. The variegated yarns were more popular than the solid colors (surprise surprise).

Tune in next week for the further adventures of Cunha School's lunchtime knitting group.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow! That sounds like fun and a very worthy project. I am always trying to switch on new knitters!

love, Your Treat Pal