Tag Archives: loom knitting

Knitting with Kids

For my “day job” I get to hang out with elementary school kids and teach them sewing and arts and crafts.  It’s kind of the best- I’m still half-surprised it’s my job.  And for a couple golden weeks each summer, I get to teach my absolute favorite class- knitting.

We have a range of ages- last week we had a dozen children from 6 to 10.  Some had knit before, and some had never even touched a knitting needle.  We started with finger knitting, letting the kids get used to playing with yarn, and getting them used to the idea of pulling loops into other loops (a surprisingly difficult concept for some of the little ones).

One girl was enjoying her finger knitting so much, she did it all week- ending up with a finger-knit tube almost 60 feet long.  She then took her finger-knitting and sewed it together in a spiral, making a multi-colored rug that she was really proud of.  WP_20160715_10_26_08_ProWhen a kid gets bored of finger knitting (which most do), we move on to loom knitting with the Knifty Knitter.  I am completely in favor of the Knifty Knitter now- a position I would never have taken even a ouple years ago.  What I once thought of as “cheating,”  I now see for what it is: a way for kids (or anyone, really) who don’t quite have the motor skills to actually knit.

The kids this year made adorable hats (with pompoms), fingerless gloves, bags, and even a tiny hedgehog stuffed animal.  (This is a glove in progress:)WP_20160715_10_26_14_ProAnd every class, we get a kid or two who wants to try their hand at “stick knitting.”  This year 9 of our 13 students broke out their needles.  It was a record!

There is nothing more adorable than a whole classroom of kids, needles clicking, concentrating on their projects and chatting about whatever it is that kids chat about.  (I wanted to take a picture to share with you, but I figured their parents might have reservations about having their kids pictures up on the internet.  So, you can look at my student’s knitting project- her second ever!  I believe it ended up being a very small pot holder.)WP_20160715_10_26_24_ProHave you ever knit with kids?  How did it go?

Knifty Knitter is Knot So Bad

Going into the whole “teaching kids to knit” thing, I would have looked down my nose at the Knifty Knitter and other knitting looms.

71WfQ65azgS._SL1500_[1]In fact, when my boss gave me the tub of knitting supplies for the class, I shuddered at the presence of the Knifty Knitters, and the bag of Fun Fur (did you know that Fun Fur survived the last decade?).  I always thought they were dumb, useless tools for people who didn’t have the attention span to learn how to knit properly.  But, being a dutiful employee (and one paid by the hour), I sat down to try making a project on the loom.

I looked at the instructions, and realized that the Knifty Knitters are basically gigantic versions of those old-fashioned spool knitting mushrooms.  You wrap your yarn around each peg twice, then slip the bottom loop around the top loop.  Then you wrap and slip again (and again and again).

gk-knitting-mushroom2[1]Quickly enough, a decent little hat grew off the bottom of my loom.  I still thought it was a clunky way of knitting.  Unlike needles, the loom takes up quite a bit of space.  And, the stockinette stitch it produces is oddly gappy, with every stitch twisted, giving the stretched fabric a strange vertically-striped look.  Also, there is really no way to easily increase or decrease from the set number of stitches, or change the gauge.  I’ve since poked around on Ravelry, and it looks like some people have found ways to get around this aspect of the looms, but it seems like too much work, when using needles is so simple.

But, the best part of the Knifty Knitter appeared when I brought the looms out for the girls in my class.  About half the class was doing fairly well with their needles, but the other half was seriously struggling.   Once everyone had given their needles a fair try, I broke out the Knifty Knitters for those who wanted to use them.  Girls who had been unable to make a single stitch before were suddenly flying around the looms making hats, purses, cowls, and stuffed animals.

Charity_hat__6_medium2[1]Knitted Hat by Provo Craft

I’m not saying that I would recommend the Knifty Knitter as a substitute for knitting needles.  And, I will probably never use one again.  But, as a supplementary tool for young kids who are unable to wrangle needles and yarn, or people with issues that prevent them from knitting the “normal” way,  these tools get my enthusiastic thumbs up.