Thursday, January 01, 2009

Assistant Knitting Instructors

Today I'm training Helen and Sophie to be Assistant Knitting Instructors. Suzie and I just wrapped up session 1 of the "Learn to Knit for 3rd & 4th graders " in Williston, run through the rec department, and sponsored by the shop. We have a second session coming up - it starts in January. This time we've added 5th graders, and we're going to focus more on small projects... so the kids can learn different skills, and get lots of practice with each skill. My girls are learning to knit with eyelash yarn today, so they can be helpful to kids in the class when we teach that skill. (Helen doesn't look too happy here... it got better after a few rows!)
So I'm knitting up a few small projects so that we can have examples to get the kids excited. First project will be a fun bookmark. A small one, that can be completed relatively quickly. They will learn knitting, adding in a fun yarn at the top for several rows, binding off, weaving in ends, and putting on a few pieces of fringe.
Second project is going to be learning to cast on (knitting on). We've found that kids do better by learning to knit first... then taking what they know about the knit stitch, and applying it to the cast on. It's not my favorite cast on, but some 8, 9 and 10 year olds have limited dexterity, and loads of frustration... so this is what we'll do. Once they've got the cast on down, they'll make "fuzzy wuzzies" (thanks to Helen and Sophie for the name!) which are sort of little creatures, the size of a mouse. They'll cast on the stitches, and then work in garter stitch using Plymouth Encore and Plume (eyelash). It's not that easy to use 2 strands of yarn when you are first learning, but kids LOVE to mix differet yarns together, and BOY DO THEY LOVE EYELASH!!! They'll drop those two yarns and use just a solid for the face, and learn decreasing. Then they'll fold it in half, learn seaming, stuffing, sewing on some beads for the eyes, and they'll finger knit a chain for the tail. I will post a shot once the girls have completed theirs... they are test knitting them for the class today.

Of course I'm not sure how long either of these projects will take the kids to complete. Some kids don't do any knitting outside of class - so those kids will not learn as many techniques. Others, who love to knit at home, will have a lot of skills at the end. They may even move on to a cell phone bag. And we can always do a doll hat - teaching them stockinette and working on the seaming again.

In the last class, they were just working on scarves, and a couple of the kids wanted to start a new project each time. Don't we all have a million things in our unfinished bin? For this next session, we're going to stress "start something, finish something." Otherwise, they leave with nothing really done.

Hope you all had a wonderful New Year's! We braved the FRIGID temps and wind chills here and went into Burlington last night for a very early dinner. We caught a bit of the Church Street parade - very cute:
and then hit the newly remodelled Ben & Jerry's for desert.I was going to be good and not have an ice cream... but that never works. So we all indulged in cold ice cream on the coldest day of 2008. On the way to our car, we passed a newswoman for one of the local stations, getting ready to film a segment. She was being blown to bits by the wind and snow - several gusts almost pushed her over.
We headed to our car, which was luckily parked in THE BEST spot on the top of the parking garage. So we were able to sit in our car and watch the early fireworks show out over the waterfront. It was hard to photograph with the basic camera I had, but I had some fun with Photoshop, and put about 7 different shots together, to bring you an idea of what it WOULD have looked like, had they all been going off simultaneously. Wouldn't that have been something to see?


Kristen said...

Great ideas for kids projects! I wish I lived closer, my daughter would love to take that class.

Anonymous said...

That looks like fun. There's something about eyelash yarn that gets kids excited!