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Archive for April 13th, 2009

More Kids’ Knitting

Monday, April 13th, 2009

Cool, Cooler, Coolest Kids

I continue to be amazed and delighted by what kids can make if we let them follow their own “star.” They can be amazing, and very unique in the projects they choose to express themselves.

Here is a project by a THIRD grader. We are talking elementary school, my friends.

Do you notice how even his stitches are? This was his second project, ever. And there were no “hiccups” I needed to fix or disguise with a sewing needle when he finished. He really does knit this well.

kidwristwarmers.jpg

This boy came to the US (in early 2009) from western Africa and I met him on his 3rd day here. He was still trying to figure out what was going on around him (it is so different here) that he was not yet speaking out loud, though he knew English. He was soaking up his surroundings silently, yet he did indicate he wanted to knit with me.

I stood behind him as he sit in a chair. We both held the needles at the same time (my hands on top of his, which were on top of the needles). I said “Up,” “Around,” “Down,” “Off.” And every time I made a motion to create a new stitch, I repeated those four words.

Then I let go of his hands, continuing to say the words for a while, then letting him work alone. It was like he was a fish taking to water, he took almost no time to learn.

Never Stop Making Stitches…

First he finished a scarf. I mean, a pretty wide scarf long enough to wrap around his neck and stay wrapped because the ends were long enough to weight it down. He avoided boredom on the scarf by changing colors many times, which created colorful stripes. Here is a photo (with another boy standing on the right in the photo, knitting what is today almost a hat).

scarfbykid400.jpg

He was the first in the class to finish something he could wear. The whole group now sees him as a knitting leader. Sweet!

So on a very cold day, he told me he wanted to make gloves. I recommended that he might not enjoy the process of making gloves, but he might like wristwarmers. I let him try on my own pair, and he liked that idea. I let him know he could even layer them on top of other mittens or gloves on the playground.

He wanted wool. The only wool we had was some Lamb’s Pride Worsted wool/mohair, very warm yarn… in mauve.

Remember, he comes from Africa where all colors are worn by all people. I saw mauve school uniforms in Ethiopia, worn by both girls and boys. This boy decided he would like wristwarmers of this yarn and we started in.

International Awareness

Now, this is a very special classroom. There are maybe 4 kids in the room who were born in the USA, so the kids routinely ask questions that start with “In your country, how do they…”

So I just told the group that in Africa, boys and men wear all colors, and schools often use this color for their special uniforms. And the other kids said, “Oh, really?” No hassles with the color choice. Love this classroom!

Leader of the Pack

So now he has maitrishawl1-400.jpgfinished (first photo). And now, all the other boys want to do what this boy has done.

They pick the yarn they like best, and ask him how many stitches to cast on. He has the answer… and they are many in this “pack” now, seeing if they can finish their own pair.

For third grade, this is a LARGE project. Some will not finish two. I hope that most will at least finish one.

Can you see why I keep doing this work? It is the coolest thing, ever.

And There is More…

And, not to leave out another talented young lady… my student at Rae’s, M, finished this shawl.

She worked on it off and on for about a year. She was age 12 when she started, and is now 13.

It got very boring for her (this is the girl who made the Debbie Bliss baby bolero). Yet, here she is!!!

Beautiful, don’t you think? Both the girl and the shawl!