Official Faculty Adviser for Knitting Club

Buck Strong's picture

It's official, I am now the faculty adviser for our knitting club. I'm going to try and inspire more boys to give it a go. So, in my great wisdom, I'm going to start off with having the kids make their own needles. If I get boys, I think this will be a good start. (Also, I don't have a lot of needles for the kids to work on).

Linda, the teacher who did it last year is also going to do it with me this year but we have a few different approaches. She thinks we should start with a whole bunch of needles with cast on stitches and just let them knit the first time. I think her idea has merit; however, I'm not sure what the best hook is.

Anyway, after the basic classes of cast on, knit, purl, I was thinking of giving the kids a range of one skein projects to pick from. Linda is hoping that they could create some items to sell at the Holiday Bazaar. She also mentioned the Linus Project.

So, in a nutshell, I'm really excited but don't quite know where to start.



HuskerChub's picture

Something of interest, I

Something of interest, I hope. I just saw this at Schoolhouse Press. As I recall, Buck is a math teacher? Maybe I've got my online teachers mixed up LOL. Anyway, "Making Mathematics with Needlework"
—Sarah-Marie Belcastro and Carolyn Yackel . Very interesting sounding synopsis on the site.

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

Lots of great suggestions

Lots of great suggestions here, Buck. I taught a group of kids to knit while working at our library. Couple of things: Use a simple cast on. Cable CO will do great for older kids. Over the thumb is better for young ones. - I have kids practice on dishcloths and simple squares first. They go fairly fast and can be used. - Melanie Fallick's 'Kid's Knitting' is a good resource. I also made up a simple handout of visual aids and instructions for the projects we'd do. - If you have the kids make needles, you can buy packages of pre-cut dowels in 24 packs at the craft stores. I used wood caps for miniature houses to fit on my needles, gluing them in place with white glue. A pencil sharpener - or box cutter - works to rough shape the point. I used mineral oil to buff mine, combined with steel wool. Sanding is a pain, but necessary. [Fallick's book has a great section on making needles and endcaps.] - Great that you may get donations. My stuff came out of a budget for crafts at that job. Congrats and good luck on teaching a new bunch of knitters. -- Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

jessemkahn's picture

i'm second in line to learn

i'm second in line to learn on uncle buck's lap!!! don't take too much time there, steve!

i totally into the idea of folks donating loved but underused needles to buck. i've got a few i'd send your way, too!

Buck Strong's picture

You guys are great! If you

You guys are great! If you do have needles you don't use anymore, I'll put them to good use.

"A man may fight for many things. His country, his friends, his principles, the glistening tear on the cheek of a golden child. But personally, I'd mud-wrestle my own mother for a ton of cash, an amusing clock and a sack of French porn." Blackadder

purlyman's picture

What about yarn? It would

What about yarn? It would be acrylic unfortunately - I have a few skeins I bought years ago that I'm afraid I'll just never use.

Bill's picture

I think acrylic is fine for

I think acrylic is fine for a child comes in bright cheerful colours... children aren't really concerned about the quality of the yarn in the begnning...

crmartin's picture

That's awesome! Never had

That's awesome! Never had anything like that when I was in school. Maybe you could contact a large yarn company and they would donate some mill ends. I would try Lion Brand for starters.


purlyman's picture

Two thoughts - Waldorf

Two thoughts -

Waldorf schools teach knitting as part of their curriculum. Not sure which grades but I think it's something like 1st and 5th. You could find out if there's a Waldorf school near you and get in touch with someone there - perhaps at Portland Waldorf School?

I was at the public library yesterday looking up books on knitting and one of them happened to be in the children's section. I couldn't believe how many children's knitting books there were on the shelf!! It was amazing - so maybe check out your public library to see what they have.

Some other things I've come across on the web:

Knitting in Schools Guide

free e-book

Good luck!! How fun!


ksmarguy's picture

If you do decide to teach

If you do decide to teach them a cast on first, start with the knitted cast on, then they will get the hang of the knit stitch at the same time as casting on.

Buck Strong's picture

I agree; I was thinking

I agree; I was thinking cable cast that the same as knitted cast on?

"A man may fight for many things. His country, his friends, his principles, the glistening tear on the cheek of a golden child. But personally, I'd mud-wrestle my own mother for a ton of cash, an amusing clock and a sack of French porn." Blackadder

Thomasknits's picture

Cable cast-on is extremely

Cable cast-on is extremely similar, but with a cable cast on, you put your right needle in between the previous two stitches, and in a knitted cast-on, you put it into the previous stitch.

teejtc's picture

I'm going to tow the

I'm going to tow the underdog line... I actually like teaching casting-on AFTER knitting. It's a personality difference. Some people get hooked by learning each step as it's needed (not me). Others (like me) get hooked because we jumped into it and liked it. For the first kind of people, casting on is important because it gives them control over the complete project. For the second kind of people, casting slows down the process so much that they often never get past it enough to learn that the actually like knitting.

Of course, if you know the kids well, or if they're making needles (I like that idea, by the way) you can probably figure out which kind of personality they are and start them each off on the right foot.

just a few thoughts!

Congrats, by the way... what a great thing!

Grace and Peace,

New York Built's picture

I have seen posters that

I have seen posters that show the steps to the cast on, knit and purl stitches that can be seen from the back row, with 8X11 photo-copy-ready handouts. There has to be a source for this material.

Find out who knows how to knit (older students, family members, PTA and community folk) and invite them to the club. Get a few mentors to teach a few, then get them to teach the others. Slip a male or two into the mix. Use your wiles and quick wit. :-)

How about a challenge to see who can complete the tasks first?

Most kids have no clue how or what fabric IS, let alone knits or how they got here in today's world. Demystify why hand-made vs store-bought, and why you feel the way you do making fabric. Get others to do the same.

Best of luck!

`"Think...then write...then rewrite...THEN publish
- Mark's bathroom mirror sticky note to himself

mrossnyc's picture

The teacher in me says to

The teacher in me says to teach them to cast on. They're never going to find needles with the stitches already cast on and it will teach them hand coordination of handling only one needle at a time and the yarn.

Then show them knit stitch, make a pot holder (not with acrylic though) or something small so a 4 to 6 foot scarf isn't overwhelming.

Proceed in stages, reward them as needed, then show them the purl stitch and move into ribbing, etc.

Making their own needles is a cool idea, but if budget is a problem, maybe there's a way to get donations of needles people don't want or use anymore. I know I have a few metal needles I bought when I was learning and I know that I will never use them and would be happy to send your way.

Make it fun and you'll have a great time.

New York Built's picture

I agree with your first

I agree with your first point entirely, Mike. I run into people all the time who have yarn store staff cast on and cast off their work. Not great.

If I had to learn to make a hammer, or a pot, or any tool before I had a chance to use it, I'd be frustrated, bored out of my mind and never get to Step Two...making something.

"Think...then write...then rewrite...THEN publish."
- Mark's bathroom mirror sticky note to himself.

vsidart's picture

I've been thinking that the

I've been thinking that the BSJ would be a good teaching project- lots of repetitive increases, decreases, turns, etc... I've got a couple of friends itching to learn, and I think I'm gonna start them on it.
Added plus is that it's SUCH a cool result!

steve kadel's picture

reward them. start with

reward them. start with time on your lap. or maybe that would work on me. so many thoughts i have to delete

all i know of love, is love is all there is

mrossnyc's picture

brilliant! he might not be

brilliant! he might not be able to keep his job, but I'm sure it would yield years of memories.