Tuesday, March 14, 2006


I Couldn't Be Happier!

Yes -- it is what you are thinking. And I can't put into words what I felt when I heard the words. It's nothing but life altering. And I hope someday you all experience the joy I did when I heard the words "Pop, would you teach me to knit?"

Such joy! Such naches! I'm verklempt!

Yes, Norbert wants to learn to knit. So Norbert, Mafanwe, and I packed into the car and drove to our LYS, Loopy Yarns, to buy Norbert his first pair of knitting needles (Brittany birch, size 8). (Note: This is the first time Mafanwe hasn't grumbled about going to a yarn store!)

I pulled out a half-skein of KnitPicks Wool of the Andes, cast on 20 stitches, and showed him the knit stitch, which he has been practicing for the last two days!

His first attempts were fraught with yarnovers and other odd mistakes, but I definitely see improvement. The first day I told him just to knit -- I didn't correct, I just offered encouragement. I wanted him to get used to the feeling of the needles and the yarn moving through his fingers.

Norbert is over the moon. He really loves it. He is already planning his first project -- we are going to kool-aid dye some of the KnitPicks worsted and he is going to knit a scarf. This is so exciting!

I took pictures of Norbert's first excursion into knitting, but Mafanwe isn't comfortable with posting pictures of Norbert ont he internet. So until I learn how to add a black bar across his face, we shan't have any more pictures of Master Norbert.

I worry about teaching him myself. I'm not a very good teacher with children who are not my own, and I fear that correction coming from me might be interpreted as criticism, which it is not. I don't want to squish Norbert's adventurous spirit by pointing out his mistakes. Oh -- parenting is fraught with peril!

Does anyone have any suggestions as to a curriculum I should use as I proceed with his lessons? Am I taking the wrong tack? I'd be greatful for any suggestions.


I've completed the first of the Baby Cable socks and have cast on the mate. The first one looks so good on the foot, I can't wait til I can wear the pair!

Tonight is Stitches in Britches™ , Chicago's premier group for Men Who Knit. I'm Looking into my crystal ball...and I see a stranger approaching...he's mysterious...he's...a blogger? Tune in again next time and find out more!


iowakitkat said...

Congratulations on your new knitter! I'm really enjoying your blog.

Brenda Dayne said...

Oh, that is so cool! A new knitter is born. How proud you must be. Congrats.

When it comes to teaching kids to knit, don't over correct. There's a process of learning to read the stitches. It happens to everyone. You remember it.

When mistakes happen, let Norbert be the one to spot them, and bring them to you. Let him be the one to ask for your help in correcting them. If he can live with them, then the wisest course is simply not to notice them.

Bottom line, he has plenty of time to develop notions of "craft." You know yourself that's not something you can teach anyway, so let him have fun with his knitting.

Can't wait to hear about your mystery guest knitter. Don't keep us waiting!

rebecca said...

Here is a helpful rhyme to recite while making the knit stitch: "In through the front door, once around the back, peep through the window, off jumps Jack!" While it doesn't appear to make any sense by itself, you will find that it works perfectly to remind a new knitter of the movements involved.

Elisabeth said...

Congrats on the "birth" of a new knitter! You must be so proud! I haven't taught any children to knit, so I have no advice to give.

Is Norbert named after the Harry Potter dragon? Just wonderin'.

Sweet Caroline said...

When I teach young knitters and they make "mistakes", I simply tell them that what they have done (which is usually a yarn-over, or a k2tog or ktbl, etc) is an advanced technique and that while I'm happy they have discovered it, they have to master the knit and purl first!

boobookittyfug said...

It was almost inevitable. I am so glad you got Norbert nice needles, and not those gigantic ones many people seem to think are easier for kids to use. Echoing Caroline -- I tell my beginners that someday they will use that (yo, m1, twist) in a pattern on purpose, but to notice the difference so they have a choice.

naches fun kinder -- the best kind.

Judith in Ottawa said...

I'm glad you handed him good wool to start with. Too many new knitters seem to think the novelty yarns are for them, then they have endless trouble seeing what they are doing with each stitch. Better to see the mechanics of how stitches happen and to feel that lovely bounce that only wool has!

How much fun to jump into dying, too! I wish I could come and play...

NeedleTart said...

Hope you check back, a good looking book for young, starting knitters seems to be "kids knitting" by Chris Hartlove. it starts with a garter stitch bean bag and works up to a sweater complete with shaping. Good luck to Norbert!

sahara said...

Since he enjoys doing it, he will want to get better. The best thing to do, is to show him how to fix mistakes when they happen. Knitting taught me that is there is nothing in life, that can't be corrected.