This weekend, I revisited knitting lessons with my daughter. I first attempted them in the summer of 2012 and discovered that neither of us had the patience for it. I asked if she wanted to try again and her response was, ‘kind of, but you’re just going to get mad at me again.’ Oh boy, time to swallow my pride. I admitted that I was less than patient with her, but I felt that I’d do better this time. She agreed to try again and the lessons began.
During our first lesson (this time), she learned how to cast on and count stitches. She had the sense to start easy and make a scarf. I had the patience to explain it and show her with my own needles and yarn repeatedly, without snapping whenever things went sideways. I explained that it takes practice and there will be times that she’ll just have to start over – as I, and most knitters, have done many times. After some trial and error, she got it down. She decided how wide her scarf will be and got enough stitches cast on to start the next step.
I showed her how to hold the yarn and do a basic knit stitch. I explained that there are 2 ways to hold the yarn and the way I learned has its issues. She may go visit our neighbor to get a lesson in the other (probably better) way. That’s as far as we got, but it was further than the first attempt.
I’d love it if she learned to knit because it’s something she’d have in common with me, her Nana, and our neighbor, not to mention a few of our friends. It’s a skill that used to be a given for children to learn – girls AND boys. Perhaps less critical a life skill than it used to be (given the general availability of socks), it is still a very valuable skill to develop. It exercises fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, concentration, creativity, and generosity – since a knitter is likely to make gifts for others. It’s a skill she can continue to hone as she grows and offers the satisfaction of accomplishment with every project finished.
I’ll keep offering lessons and demonstrating my ability to be patient. I’ll continue to encourage her through her triumphs and mistakes, showing her the extremely awkward and probably quite humorous way I held my needles when I started my first project. She’ll hopefully see that she’s already further ahead than I was at this stage in the learning process. She’ll also learn that I have limits to my knitting prowess, which will likely motivate her to improve beyond me so that she can become the teacher and I, the student.
Perhaps my son will want to learn too.