Monday, September 11, 2006

Monday Musings

Too Young? Too Old?

Max, one of my grade four boys regularly turns up to our Friday lunchtime knitting club. He enthusiastically pulls out his knitting and inspects it for holes (of which there are many). If his mum has had a bit of spare time over the week it might have grown a bit, otherwise it will look as it did the last time I put the stitches back on the needles for him. In the end I gave up – I taught him finger knitting and he proudly produced a long chain with no mistakes.

Is he too young to learn knitting? Is it a fine motor issue or attention span? I have one 10-year-old who can knit garter stitch perfectly, some who can knit but make mistakes and don’t see them, and many, like Max who desperately want to learn and just can’t seem to manage. I wonder whether I am expecting too much.

I remember my knitting as a child. It had holes: dropped stitches and accidental yarn-overs, it always grew tighter and tighter until I could barely move the stitches on the needles. And I gave up. Although I did a lot of crochet as a teenager, I didn’t knit again until I was in my twenties. One day, I wanted to make something so I picked up some needles and did it. I’m sure if I’d tried to learn as an adult I would have found it more difficult and I am grateful that my mother persisted in teaching me when young.

Which brings me to my question: When is the best time to learn to knit? Young children have enthusiasm but not the ability. Older children have the cognitive development but wouldn’t be seen dead with knitting needles unless perhaps stuck into an exotic hairdo. Adults generally find it more difficult to learn new skills and may have other issues to contend with such as time constraints.

I love it that my grade fours want to knit. I worry though that they will become frustrated and disillusioned if they can’t succeed and the knitting will go on the top shelf for years, perhaps for good. I can only hope to avoid this by being encouraging, celebrating small successes and, if necessary, resorting to finger knitting chains :-)

Last week's Monday Musings



At 6:00 pm, Anonymous amanda cathleen said...

I think it has to do more with the child's ability than with what age they are. Some 4th graders would make fantastic knitters, some not so much. If a kid wants to learn how, why not teach them? if they don't like it, put it up on a high self, maybe sometime later in life they will want to give it ago again. It never hurts to try.

At 11:04 pm, Blogger Anni said...

I think it has more to do with the individual child's ability than age. Probably has to do with when they develop the control to make their fingers do what they want. I tried teachign my daughters a year ago and neither of them got it. Tried again a few weeks ago and my oldes (11) got it straight away adn started a scarf (in Rowan Big Wool). My youngest had another go and did much better than a year ago but still struggling. She is 8. My husband had a go earlier thissummer and got it straight away. Well he got garter stitch anyway. He's gone off it now.

At 10:04 pm, Anonymous Lyonheart said...

I think it depends on the child and whether they find the process interesting. My daughter has a six year old boy in the after school club she works in who knits constantly and quite well. I remember we were all taught in primary school and had to knit a scarf and hat. My gran taught me when I was very very young as I was always going on at her when she was knitting. My own daughters both asked to learn at about six, but have given up then started again in phases.

At 1:52 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi diane, read you aticle re: Max it can be do do with and/or concentraion IE: development stage and some have good eye hand co-ordination and some don't.. and maybe never will its a brain thing and also is affected adversely in regard to whether he has a strong dominant side.. Good to read your blog and hope your time in London is all that you want it to be. must get together soon maybe for lunch..cheers

At 12:31 pm, Blogger Helen said...

I taught my niece the basics a couple of months ago, she is 6 and seemed to pick it up quite well. However, her Mum can't knit and when she went home she got frustrated as things quickly went wrong & she hasn't really got the coordination for it yet.. A few times since then I have tried to show her, but doesn't seem to have the same enthusiasm, wasn't really trying and soon gave up.


Post a Comment

<< Home