Grabbing the Interest of the Impatient Knitter

Before my daughter started school she would sit on my lap while I knit, her hands resting on my lap.  “Look!  I’m knitting,” she would happily exclaim.  Soon she morphed into putting her hands under my hands.  “Look!  I’m knitting better,” she would boast.  Later she asked me to move my hands, “Look!  I’m knitting by myself!”

Given my experience teaching my daughter to knit, I assumed my granddaughter F would even be easier to teach as there was a generation separating us.  Hah!  My earlier attempts at teaching her to knit were not successful, and I decided to put her knitting aside.

The grandchildren love to hear me tell stories of when I was a little girl and when her mom was a little girl.  So I started telling F stories of how I learned to knit when I was 5 years old and her mother learned to knit when she was 5 years old.  F excitedly told me on her next birthday she would be 5 and asked if she would learn to knit then.  I told F yes.  Since then, every time F sees a knitter – in a magazine, on television, or in person, she rushes over to point it out to me.  F proudly tells people that this summer, when she is 5, she will learn to knit.

FiasNeedlesI have started picking up knitting tools and accessories for her.  I love these needles by Pony; as each is a different color, I will be able to tell F “put the tip of the red needle into the loop” etc.  (Far easier than instructing her to use the left or the right needle!)

LanternMoonIrisSpinningSackThis little taffeta and velvet Iris Spinning Sack by Lantern Moon is sweet, but I’m not sure how the taffeta and velvet would hold up.

My daughter and I will attend the Black Sheep Gathering in Eugene, Oregon in June.  I am sure I can find a more suitable knitting project tote for F.

I also will buy yarn spun from wool of a sheep at the show.  That way I can take a picture of the sheep and give it to F along with the yarn spun from its wool!

In the interim, F watches me knit and invariably says, “You’ll teach me to knit when I’m 5, right?”

Oh yes.  🙂

What tips can you share with teaching your grandchildren to knit?

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About sweatyknitter

Fiber art devotee, author, and amateur artisan bread baker.
This entry was posted in Knitting and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

46 Responses to Grabbing the Interest of the Impatient Knitter

  1. Pingback: Woolly thinking: Personality analysis through knitting | After the Kids Leave

  2. I am still working with my granddaughter. She gets impatient easily, and I want her to enjoy it, not fight with it. Your approach with your grandchild sounds great!

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  3. babywren says:

    When my granddaughter was 4, I taught her to knit with long needles by tucking one needle under her arm, giving her both hands free to manipulate the other needle and the yarn. We practiced IOOO (In,Over,Out,Off). She really enjoyed showing off her knitting skills any time she could get an audience. She is 10 now and the two of us recently taught her best friend to knit ( but with regular size needles).

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  4. It is so sad that our daughter don’t knit and we end up putting all our hopes on the next generation. Well, I hope I can make knitting fun for the granddaughter. I have planned a “special day” for her birthday (the day before her actual birthday party). Needles and yarn will be involved. 🙂

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  5. Playing with a yarn cake is a great start!

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  6. I guess I missed a few of these ‘grandma knitting posts.” Love them. My mother started us on horseshoe chains that my grandfather made with old wooden thread spools and short nails. I can’t wait to teach my granddaughter to knit. (she’s not yet 2). Neither daughter or the 2 daughters in law knit. Alas.

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  7. Gluing buttons on the ends – what a great idea! Thanks for sharing!

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  8. echobabies says:

    I recently started to teach my 8 year old daughter how to knit. We went to the store and she picked out her own yarn, and I helped her pick out the right size needles. I looked for cute kids’ needles but didn’t see any– so I got her some straight bamboo Takumi ones and had her pick out whatever buttons she wanted to glue on the ends! She chose dinosaurs. It really gave her the sense that these were HER needles, to personalize them like that. Now she’s knitting her teacher a scarf!

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  9. Marie-Adeline says:

    so sweet, I wish my little DD would like to learn to. for now she seems to be interested by the yarn cake, as a toy, and by what I make. Hope the interest won’t fade too quickly, finger crossed, when I’m not knitting.
    The two colored needles are so cute, and making them in different color is pure genius to help the little ones.

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  10. Pingback: Woolly thinking: Personality analysis through knitting | After the kids leave

  11. bekswhoknits says:

    It’s amazing. We have 5 generations in our family at the moment. It’s truly special.

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  12. I just checked out the link – thanks! What a great and simple way to make roosters, hens and chicks! Maybe granddaughter F can catch the knitting bug by starting with one of those those for her first project! Thanks for the ideas!!!

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  13. This is the very best (written down) pattern for a 5 year old.
    http://simplehomemade.net/simple-knitted-toys-rooster-hen-and-chicks/ I must post my own square animals one day. 🙂

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  14. I have read of people who learned to knit and couldn’t go out to play until they had knit an inch, etc. (My mother used to set the kitchen timer for music practice. I had to practice for a set time each day.) All of them knit as adults too, though perhaps they went through a stage of not knitting until one day as an adult some gorgeous hand knit creation catches their attention. Then there’s an “I could do that” moment and next thing you know they’re visiting their LYS.

    ___________________ Sent from my iPhone

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  15. textileshed says:

    Same here – both my daughters ‘know’ how to knit, but they have not taken to it. They are now 10 and 13, made their first teddy scarves years ago and now I would love them to do some bed socks or fingerless gloves, as it is turning nippy in the mornings, here in Australia. They are just not interested. And I wonder whether it’s because I knit all the time and they know they can get anything very quickly if they just ask nicely.
    Part of me wants to just ignore their disinterest and teach them anyway (‘against their free will’) because I have heard from many of my contemporaries that all off a sudden they got interested in knitting and – thank God they knew the basics – and off they went to knit and never stopped…

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  16. Oh dear … well, you know the phrase, “… die trying …” 🙂

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  17. Curls & Q says:

    Q – I tried to get my granddaughter interested too. No go! I did get her to like sewing. That’s a start. LOL!

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  18. I think they were made by a European company, so hopefully you should be able to find them. (Or you could always use nail polish and paint 7 inch double points!) 🙂

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  19. I am worried about that with my daughter too. She’s a very good basic knitter though … I’m hoping my granddaughter will catch our bug!

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  20. Thanks for the suggestion and link! I’ll check it out!

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  21. Yes and yes! There is always an amazing assortment of classes there, isn’t there. I am not taking any classes this time, though, but I will still learn LOTS. 🙂

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  22. Most definitely … I will be there with my daughter and grandson! (Granddaughter F has other plans with her father and other grandmother.)

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  23. I hope so! When I am at the Black Sheep Gathering event in June, I will be keeping my eyes open for other fun needles for children!

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  24. Yes, we all knit rather young. I know that girls tend to have better fine motor skills and earlier than boys, so perhaps that’s why we can teach our girls that young. My grandson (7-1/2) has not showed ANY interest in knitting, though he has tried weaving! He seems to have recently decided somethings are for girls and others for boys, though I try to counter that. 🙂

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  25. Yes to both! I frequently wish my grandmother were here to see my grandchildren. 🙂

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  26. I am hoping to pick up a pair of single point wooden needles about 7 inches long with ladybugs or something painted on the ends. I remember seeing some at a fiber event!

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  27. I think you are right on all counts. I am already plotting what sorts of clothes (she’s such a “girlie-girl”) we could knit together for her to wear. I am working on new outfit for her birthday, and I think that will help. I am going to design some sort of flouncy, lacy skirt to knit with the top I just finished. She loves to twirl and dance in dresses (though she has no trouble chasing her older brother, tackling him in the mud and pinning him down).

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  28. It is wonderful that you have your great-nan. My daughter was fortunate to have and know her great-grand-parents (my paternal grandfather and my maternal grandmother). She and my grandfather called each other “The Great Ones.” We lost them – her great-grand-father and great-grand-mother – when my daughter was 18 years old. Yes, we were all fortunate to have them with us for so long!

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  29. I started teaching her 6 months ago, and it wasn’t a rousing success. So this is my new approach. Also, granddaughter F has linked knitting with Norwegian, so when I talk about knitting I throw in Norwegian words “by accident.” So when I have my granddaughter, we have started to work on Norwegian vocabulary. My daughter works with her on phrases and accent (my daughter has an Oslo accent while I use a southern country dialect). So either we’ll totally confuse the girl or she will be an ace knitter my foremothers would be proud of. 🙂

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  30. The intent is sweet … now I will have to wait and see see how granddaughter F takes to it! 🙂

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  31. I’ll see how sweet I feel after granddaughter F throws her knitting to the ground and stomps off … 🙂

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  32. starproms says:

    Very loving thoughts. I hope that F takes to is. I love the coloured needles. I’m going to look out for those over here in England. I want to teach my grandson to knit as well!

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  33. Curls & Q says:

    Q – Wonderful story! Much to my dismay, knitting didn’t “take” with any of my girls. 8-(

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  34. That Black Sheep Gathering looks like big fun! I think with children it is good to have small easy to complete projects or ones you do together with them. I like square animals myself. It gives the child the idea that knitting is primarily about making a piece of fabric. Your little one might like this chicken. http://eileensplace.blogspot.com.au/2011/09/closely-knit.html. The grown up can pretty much turn the square into anything they like. 🙂

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  35. I live in Eugene & would love to meet! Tea, ice cream? I took a couple of great classes last year at Black Sheep, hope you’ll like yours, too. I don’t have grand kids (yet?), but my daughters can knit, wish we’d had those adorable needles! I’d love to find them for gr. nieces! hmm, onto the list for Black Sheep! My MiL spun & dyed yarn with my daughters, then taught them to make socks. 🙂

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  36. caityrosey says:

    Hey, my mom and I are going to be at Black Sheep in June as well. We should say hi.

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  37. misselletea says:

    Adorable! The knitting needles look brilliant too, I’m sure she will love them 🙂

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  38. Carina says:

    I tried to teach my son (8) how to knit and it wouldn’t work out (at all!) – even though he really wanted to learn it. Now he “knits” with a French knitting doll and is very pleased with the outcome. If ever he wants to try “real knitting” again, we’ll try finger knitting (http://www.wikihow.com/Finger-Knit) first, followed by knitting with these http://www.dibadu.de/Addi-Rundstricknadel-ADDILINOS as they are “golden” and “silver” and he really wants to work with them.
    Good luck with your granddaughter! 5 is really young to start knitting, but the “knitting genes” seem to be in your family 🙂

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  39. KnittyNana says:

    What wonderful memories to have and to be making.

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  40. cleo14 says:

    I taught my brothers when they were in junior high and elementary school and I would say definately say letting her have her own tools, which you seem to be all over (the needles are super cute by the way!).

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  41. My grandmother taught me to knit, and provided me with my own special drawer in her china/valued books/marbled eggs cabinet, where I could keep my knitting. She invited me to join “very special” projects, like knitting a baby sock for my cousin. We knitted one each, put on pink ribbon and wrapped it very nicely. Can´t remember what they looked like:) I also got to crochet a square or two in her “cushion project”. So I guess the clue was that she treated me as a serious knitter from the start. I have tried to apply this method with my own daughter, and got her to knit, but not for long. “I´m not as patient as you mum!” Guess she´s right, but this tells me two things: 1) you have to want to make things. There´s many kinds of creativity, but only so many of us wants to solve a specific challenge/problem by actually making things. 2) Grandparents most likely have a special place in a child´s life. You are allowed to skip the everyday discussions and jump right to the situations where you can keep the child´s attention.
    What you are doing for your granddaughter is very valuable, and she´s one lucky girl! Enjoy!

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  42. bekswhoknits says:

    Eep. I’ve just repeated the previous comment. It is a really sweet story though. My mum taught me to knit when I was young but she doesn’t knit any more. Neither does my nan or great-nan although I’m sure they have at some point.
    I’m not actually sure where I got the knitting bug from actually.
    My great-nan did have a sheep farm for many years and I with she still did (for selfish-yarny purposes). Though it’s better for her to live in the city, she is 97.

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  43. streepie says:

    My daughter is turning 5 in summer, and also wants to learn to knit. So far, she has managed 4 knit stitches ;-). I just gave her some very brightly coloured aran weight yarn, and my yellow 6mm double-pointed needles.

    She also knows how to weave – but at the moment, building with her lego bricks and puzzles is much more interesting.

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  44. bekswhoknits says:

    That’s really sweet.

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  45. HannahDavis says:

    That’s really sweet!

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