About Me ColorJoy Home Page Free Stuff About Me Contact Me
ColorJoy Home Page
ColorJoy Home The ColorJoy Blog Buy Patterns, Recipe Books, CDs Patterns Schedule & Potential Classes Recipes & Food Information The LynnH SockTour LynnH Polymer Clay The Fabulous Heftones - Lynn & Brian

Archive for August 8th, 2007

“My Kids”

Wednesday, August 8th, 2007

citykidzpileofyarn080707.jpgI realized today that I’ve perhaps always had a group of kids in my life, other people’s children, who I called “My Kids.” This started when I became a babysitter, maybe I was as young as 11 but more likely I was 13-14.

I babysat a lot in high school, I always had more spending money than my friends because of it. Then in college I came home for two summers and babysat two neighbor kids (ages 4 and 10 the first year). That was hard work, including making them lunch every day (I’m not so fond of cooking, and it’s pretty hard to make a pair with that age gap be happy with the same meal).

These days, of course, “My Kids” are the participants in my CityKidz Knit! program at Foster Community Center. I can not help it, I learn to love these kids. It is SO gratifying to see them shine in the program and begin to think of themselves as knitters even when I am not with them.

In the last week I had several donations of yarn from local knitters and the bags were in my trunk Tuesday when I arrived for the last summer session of the year. I brought in the bags and the kids’ eyes got big. It is clear in my room that the yarn is for them, it’s their yarn and there is total abundance for them at least in this one area of their lives. I love it that they can just dream and take home yarn to match their dreams.

(For the record, I always need donations of knitting needles, especially straight needles in sizes 5-13 or so. I also can use lighter weight double-pointed needles… plastic, wood or bamboo are almost unheard of in my program but their lighter weight does help the kids when learning to knit in the round. DPNs are needed in sizes 2-11 or so. Yes, you read that right. Elementary-aged kids on double-pointed needles. Relatively frequently, too! I told you these kids are worthy of my fond pride!!!)

citykidzrowanwrap080707web12.jpgSo the kids’ eyes lit up when I came in with those bags. One bag was a clear garbage bag and i could not open it by hand. I went off to find scissors but they handled the issue swiftly. One kid sat on one side pulling on the top edge of the bag, another on the other, and they leaned away from one another until the bag burst open. The yarn burst out something like an explosion of sorts. They really loved that!

One of the younger girls dove right in to the pile, with her little tush up in the air, and it was such an amusing sight that I got out my camera. First photo here is the kids after things calmed down a little bit.

One of the kids in this first picture, I had not seen in 2 years. She moved away but came back for a visit, and happened to be in the building when I was there. I was delighted to see her! She has been knitting without me, which makes me happy. I had her fill up a few tote bags ful of yarn (I call this “Trick or Treat” and it always delights). I’m hoping I will see her again… she now lives maybe 20 minutes north of Lansing. She says she enjoys her new town. Wonderful news.

The other two photos here are finished items by “my kids.” These kids actually do a good deal of knitting when I am not with them, and they crank out works quickly. First is a shawl/wrap by a young lady who I believe will be in 6th grade next year. Last March she made up a mitten, in one day, on double-pointed-needles in the round. She needed almost no help from me, just how to close the top and a little assistance in starting her thumb. Wowie.

The yarn in her pictured project is Rowan Biggy Print, a thick/thin two-ply, donated by a blog reader in the DC area, who has sent many boxes of incredibly high-quality yarns for them t o knit and learn from/about. (Thank you, thank you, thank you… they really are learning about quality and really enjoying the yarns.)

The wrap contains 12 balls of super-chunky yarn. I am here to tell you that this is a LOT of stitches for a child this age. However, she is very good at picturing final products and sticks with things more than other kids her age. In this case, she envisioned a rug which she planned to felt/shrink after knitting. Well, then she liked it as a lap blanket better. Then she liked it as a wrap/shawl even more. Warmth!

citykidzdoll080707.jpgI do encourage kids to change their minds if it makes sense, partway through projects. If they do not enjoy the yarn or the project, I give them permission to either stop or make it into something else they enjoy making more. In this case, she was just done sooner than initially planned, she did not have to take time to felt it (and take the risk she would not like the result.

She still knit all 12 balls that she had (I think there were a few other balls that made it to other kids). She changed yarn balls by tying knots, knowing she was planning to felt. Now she has ends that will be hard to hide. First is my challenge to get her a “darning” needle with a huuuuge eye so we have the right tool (I am pretty sure I have that handled). Then I’ll show her better ways to work them in.

The last photo is a young lady who received the “knitting pattern a day” calendar from someone well over a year ago. She follows patterns because of her interest in the projects in that calendar. Last year she knit a lace bookmark for someone for a Christmas gift. This year she came across this doll which she knew would really please a certain friend. All she has left is to embroider the face. Cool, huh??? Grownup knitters, please take these kids as inspiration!

“My Kids.” They are really super people… normal kids but also extra-ordinary in many ways. I’m just delighted to know them.

Oh, for those who have needles they might like to donate, the address is: CityKidz Knit!, c/o Foster Center, 200 N. Foster Ave., Lansing, MI 48912 USA.

Right now I have enough canvas bags and acrylic yarn for the most part. I always take donations of dyeable wool yarn and/or feltable yarn, and right now we’re out of Kool Aid with which to dye those yarns (bright colors are what kids love, so red, orange, yellow, green, turquoise are good but not black cherry). Thanks for your consideration.