I’m teaching a kids’ knitting class again this semester, and as always it’s a delight. I had a second-grader finish a finger-knitted rug for her cat yesterday, and a first-grader make a pair of hot-pink loom-knitted legwarmers. A fourth-grader spent the last few weeks learning how to needle-knit and then made a candy-striped headband. The kids are super sweet and focused, and there’s nothing better than seeing students go from frustrated to successful!
Then there’s one…unique… knitter. I’ll call her Molly- obviously that’s not really her name, because she’s a kid, so I’m not going to be putting her details on the internet. That would be a really bad idea for so many reasons.
Anyway, I’ve had Molly in knitting class before. When she showed up in my Fall Semester knitting class, she already kind of knew how to knit with needles. (Kind of knowing is the most dangerous amount of knowledge to have.) I refreshed her memory, and sent her on her way. She was off, knitting up a storm.
Now, I’ll admit, I didn’t pay super-close attention to what she was doing. First, Molly is a fiercely smart and independent kid. She doesn’t want any help with anything if she can possibly avoid it. I’d show her a stitch once, and she’d pull the needles away from me and scurry off to sit with her friends and go to work. She didn’t want me looking over her shoulder to check how she was doing. And Second, the rest of the class was crazy last semester- there just wasn’t time to give her uninterrupted attention with 8 other needy kids.
But, like I said, she was knitting something that looked really great! She made a big piece of stockinette that we made into a little buttoned pouch. (I assumed she knew how to purl from when she had learned to knit at home.) It was pretty cute!
Fast forward to a month ago. My students this semester are a little older, a little more chill. They need less help, which means I can spend more time paying attention to everyone’s knitting, instead of monitoring how much the classroom was being trashed.
Molly was looking super bored one day, and she had been really interested in a cabled project I had been working on the week before. I knew she had the basics of knitting really down pat, so I offered to teach her how to make cables.
I had her cast on and knit a couple rows normally. From afar, it looked great!
Then I sat next to her, to explain how to switch between knits and purls in a single row (you know, switching the yarn forward and back before each stitch). She started working on her knitting, and I watched over her shoulder.
AND SHE WAS KNITTING FROM LEFT TO RIGHT!
Apparently, she had been knitting for almost a year without ever once flipping her knitting over at the end of a row. In other words, she wasn’t holding her “old stitches needle” in her left hand and her “new stitches needle” in her right hand, swapping out the needles at the end of each row. Instead, her right hand needle was always her right hand needle, and her left hand needle was always her left hand needle!
I was actually really impressed, and still have no idea how she was doing it! (I even tried knitting her way, but couldn’t get it to work.)
We had a big conversation about flipping her knitting. Though, she still asks me at the end of each row “Do I need to flip my needles now?”
The answer is yes, always yes.
(She’s actually doing an amazing job, and is even getting the hang of cabling. She still has a little trouble managing the cable needle- she’s very tiny, after all- so I hold it for her, acting as a “third hand.” I think Molly’s got a great future with knitting!)
Did you have any weird ideas about knitting when you were first learning?