KnittingI can't deny that my heart sank when last weekend R asked if I could teach him to knit. I have vivid memories of being taught to knit as a little one and it being disastrous. As ever, our little one proved me wrong and together we began his knitting career making a scarf for Henry Bear.
My top six tips for teaching a five year old to knit;
1. Let them watch you knit slowly on your own project - this really helped R understand how to hold the needles and how the needles move
2. Sit your child on your knee and let them hold your hands whilst you knit
3. Use blunt short needles and inexpensive DK or chunky yarn - you won't be upset then if it ends up a hot mess!
4. Ask your child to 'be in charge' of the needles and let you look after the yarn, keeping the tension and wrapping it over the needle - we found this to be a really great 'bridge' into knitting. R had the satisfaction of creating a growing piece of fabric without getting into a tangle. Starting off, we knit together like this for a good many rows to help build up knitting muscle memory
5. Once your child understands how to hold the needles and where they need to go, suggest swapping roles so that they get practice holding the yarn, keeping tension and throwing/wrapping it over the needle.
6. Be ready to tink back and pick up dropped stitches, let your little one assemble their knitting skills together and fly solo...
I foresee knitting being a big part of our crafting plans this holiday! Other plans that we have, which you might also want to try include;
EmbroideryR has done a little cross-stitch at school but none at home so far. I have bought some binca and brightly coloured embroidery threads so that we can have go together. R loves reading and having many bookmarks so I will cut the binca into strips that R can decorate with cross-stitch and running stitch should we plastic needles I ordered a month ago actually arrive! This is a really low cost and safe entry point for sewing and we can't wait to get started.
French knittingA quick search around Pinterest reveals so many good uses (snakes, mats, bowls, bags!) for the cord created by French knitting that R is very keen to give it a go. We have a couple of wooden 'dollies' purposely made for French knitting that we'll use but online I've seen people use a toilet roll and four large paper clips! Pinterest is a great place to search for resources.
SketchbooksIf you haven't discovered the lovely Jennie Maizels and her stunning illustrations, then I urge you to look at her website or Instagram feed. One of the growing aspects of Jennie's work is teaching and enabling people to create their own sketchbooks. Jennie offers regular evening classes, day workshops and two online courses. I have been lucky enough to attend one of her day workshops which was just the best fun and also participate in both online courses. Our little one adores Jennie and her work and together we have worked through Jennie's online courses. We have so much fun together working on our sketchbooks, exploring new materials and developing our techniques - even Daddy has his own sketchbook! Sketchbooking is part of every school holiday for us and often after school too.
If you want to have a go over the holidays, you just need to assemble a few key resources that can be purchased online inexpensively;
- we use A5 brown backed sketchbooks available from all over but the website Baker Ross is a good place to look
- a HB pencil, pencil sharpener and rubbber
- a fine line black ink pen
- coloured pencil crayons
- paints; we have built up our collection to include watercolours, gouache and acrylics but to start you can simply go for an inexpensive child's watercolour set
- 2 paintbrushes - thin one and a slightly fatter one
If we aren't following one of Jennie's online modules, R will often think of a theme (animals, farms, American Football!) and this inspires his sketchbook spread.
We will also bake this holiday and do some junk modelling too I imagine. I hope these ideas have helped you plan some making time with your children over the holidays. Do check out Pinterest which has a wealth of resources for craft activities.
In terms of my making, I am hoping to do some more work on my jumper and make good progress on some mittens that I am working up as part of a knit-along hosted by Emma from Eldenwood Craft and Ellie from Craft House Magic. Do check out Emma and Ellie's Ravelry groups for more details. We are all working on a free pattern for stripey mittens by the designer Lena Gjerald and I am using this beautiful yarn from The Little Grey Sheep;
I am also hoping to finish a commission that has taken too long and start a new crochet shawl...
I hope you all have a lovely weekend and a happy week x