Wednesday, 25 July 2012

This was unexpected

With all the field trips we've been on lately, it felt good to have a relaxing afternoon at home today.  I was finishing up a gift for my mom's birthday - the Grasslands Cowl that was featured in the Fall 2011 issue of Living Crafts magazine.  My daughter came over and asked if she could try to knit.  So, we took what was left of our yarn (Rabu Thick and Thin Yarn by luxfish yarns), decided that a bracelet would be nice, then took a deep breath, and started to cast on.

This may not seem like too big a deal at first glance.  But consider this - I'm right-handed and my daughter is left-handed.  She agreed to try learning right-handed, because I'm too much of a rookie knitter to turn it around and explain it well.  Luckily, Jaelyn has this remarkable ability to do some things better right-handed.  Today, we learned that knitting very well may be one of them.

I found it most difficult to explain the casting on bit, as it seems that I myself just kind of wiggle the yarn and the needle around, and somehow stitches appear on the needle.  Slowing it down to see the exact steps within each stitch was a challenge, and I had to do it in slow motion several (okay, more than 10) times to see what I actually do to cast on.  It was a short tutorial, as our bracelet only needed 5 stitches.

Then, I showed her the steps to knit, using key words (front to back, front to back, over, under and off) and working again in super-slow motion.  Then she got involved by being responsible for wrapping the tail of the yarn around the needle for each stitch.  After a bit, we traded, where I wrapped the tail around the needle and she did the rest of the work.  Finally, she was knitting all on her own, murmuring her own key words to herself!

I quickly showed her how to make a buttonhole, and we worked together to cast off, with her doing most of the stitches on her own.  She also learned to sew on a button for this project (which I now see she did right-handed as well).

And when she was done, she had a finished piece all her own!  What an unexpected project that we did today!

She's looking forward to taking knitting needles with her when she sleeps over at her grandparent's, and is even talking about teaching her little 3-year-old cousin how to knit.

And to think it all started just by hanging around together, each doing the things that we love best, and noticing what those around us are up to.  It's a good reason to bring out those knitting needles in the middle of the day, instead of late at night when everyone is asleep.

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