Learning to Knit: Second generation

I taught my oldest son to knit tonight. I had to, there was a class project for the 100th day of school and they had to bring in something they had made with 100 items. (We had managed to bag ahead of time the 100 marshmallows to contribute to the class’s communal bucket of trail mix.)

My son himself suggested knitting. I swear, I swear I did not initiate this. But Sunday night was busy, and Monday night was busy, and last night we had a scout meeting, so it was tonight.

Did I mention that, due to all the snow days, this year’s 100th day did NOT fall on Mardis Gras, but is, in fact, tomorrow?

So. I set him up with yarn that wouldn’t split, and a pair of size 9 bamboo single points. By “set him up” I mean that I cast on 10 stitches and had him watch me knit while I recited “through the door, catch the sheep……” and he actually watched “Fairly Oddparents” while pretending to pay attention to me. But after a couple of rows, when he seemed to catch on, I started doing the knitting hand over hand. He wanted to hold the needles at the far end, as if they would explode/drop/shatter if he lessened his grip in the slightest, and he hadn’t noticed the need to scootch the live stitches toward the tips.

But with everything else going on (Mr. Beth out of town, three siblings squalling, and did I mention “Fairly Oddparents”?), the only thing I managed to pass on was my own beginner’s anxiety about knitting. His rage was priceless.

“Don’t touch the yarn, Jack! Don’t touch the yarn!!

“Mom, Leenie’s completely unraveling the ball of yarn!”

“I am SO MAD!!!”


So we took a break. While the kids ate their dinner I remembered an episode of Knitty Gritty where Vicki Howell sat on a playground swing in a fake flashback, doing finger knitting and making a superlong thin chain. Aha!

Ravelry. Forums. Search. “Finger Knitting.” Link to a Knitty article in the first post. Aha again!

I practiced with my own fingers first, to be sure this was really going to work. And it did.

[No, I didn’t knit as a kid. I was hopeless with “girl stuff” as a child and much more comfortable playing kickball with the boys or chasing the girls with worms. Yes, worms. Ask my mother. My attempts at “cat’s cradle” are embarrassing to recall. ‘Nuff said.]

I told him what we were going to do and he thought it was amazing. KNIT with your FINGERS? WOW.

This time, we didn’t start until two siblings were asleep and the youngest was strapped into his high chair and numbed into sleep with music from the 70’s channel.

And it worked it worked it worked! I wound the yarn around his fingers, and he pulled the loops into place. There were some oddities I noticed later, with loops that weren’t secured into their neighbor loops, but by the time I suggested that the whole chain might fall apart if he pulled too hard in those places, he seemed finally at peace.

“Mom. It’s just for the first hundred days. It’s not like we’re making it for a famous actor like George Lucas.

He was all jazzed when he bound it off, so I tucked the rest of the ball of yarn in with the chain. He wants to give lessons to everyone in his class.

“Do you think I should charge for the lessons? We’re going to need 18 balls of yarn….”
“No honey, I think the lessons should be free. And maybe you should teach one person at a time.”
“Okay. Thanks, you’re a wonderful mom.”

100-day chain

I can almost take the night off.

Naah, too much knitting to do. I finished a Valentine’s Day surprise knitgift for my mother — a square lap-sized afghan out of Red Heart Lite & Lofty in the Wine colorway. Mr. Beth got to deliver it to her in person today, as he’s in Columbus on business. She’s very happy with it — whew! (Finished it yesterday evening.)

Mom’s wine blanket

I’m also working on another Irish Hiking Scarf, which will be a raffle item to benefit the Irish Currach Club of Milwaukee. It’s being made with handpainted wool/silk in a black-and-blues colorway that the dyer calls “Stormy Sky.” (Thanks Cathy-Cate for the gift of the yarn lo those many moons ago!) It’s a thick/thin yarn but I think the finished item will look very nice. I’m much more comfortable with the pattern now and I’m aiming for two repeats a day if at all possible, just to stay on track.

Irish Hiking Scarf II, 4.25 repeats

What else is there? It’s cold, there’s a bunch of snow on the ground, every politician is in Wisconsin this week to stump for themselves because we have a primary on the 19th, and I’m working my way through the 2006 season of Doctor Who. David Tennant is slowly growing on me, but not as quickly as the fellows from Top Gear on BBC America. We just can’t get enough of those guys!

I’m going to try to blog more often. But if I don’t blog, it’s probably because the kids have a snow day. Check the Weather Channel, I’m within the triangle of I-94 (Milwaukee to Madison), I-90 (Madison to Beloit) and I-43 (Beloit to Milwaukee).

Published in: on February 13, 2008 at 10:24 pm  Comments (10)  

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  1. OK, I’m tearing out the door (to the Museum) but when I get home I am *SO* looking up “finger-knitting”! I have a scarf made for me by my PDIL* that way and now I’m intrigued. Also…you’ll have to finish the “through the door, catch the sheep….” for me, please? (And I’m going to try to blog more often too.) Hey, I’m bringin’ a treat to the Ear tomorrow night (if H. says it’s ok); can I bribe you with treats? (NOTE: snow is forecast—)

  2. ooops… *PDIL: pseudo-daughter-in-law. She’s more than “as-good-as”, they have two darling little boys. You’d think his mom was some kinda flaming crazy hippie or…uhm…ew…ehrm…*I* am his mom.

  3. I can just picture your son holding the needles at the far end, like they might explode…my kids both held the needles like that when I taught them to knit. 🙂 The finger knitting was a great idea!

    Love the colors in that Irish Hiking Scarf!

  4. Hey, did you see the grotesque learn-to-knit rhyme (which my Gothlet would have been all over)? I saw it on the comments to Alison’s Blue Blog about teaching knitting to elementary school kids recently. Sorry, it’s gross, but it appeals to certain boys (& girls like mine) for just that gross-out factor reason:

    “stab it [put the right needle in the loop on the left needle], choke it [wrap the yarn around the r needle for English, or ‘pick’ for Continental], rip its guts out [pull the new loop back through], and throw it off a cliff [take the stitch off the left needle]”.

    Gross but funny. Finger knitting rocks, though, and clever with the “100”! We have miles of finger knitting from the Gothlet’s first forays into knitting. Now she’s really pretty good with her needles at almost 10.

    Love the PHOTOS! and the colors look great in the IHS, I wouldn’t have thought of that! Probably very appropriate for an Irish club; reminiscent of storms coming in over the west coast of Ireland and all. But hopefully no curraghs are out in the storms. And the thick/thin makes it look rustic, I really like it and again, wouldn’t have thought of that yarn in that pattern, but it’s great!

    All my knitting (ad)ventures are taking me north and west, currently, but sometime when the weather’s better I shall have to come your and D-H’s way just for Knit Night. It would mean an overnight stay, though, so I’ll have to come up with some good excuse…..

  5. What a precious picture that story makes! That scarf totally rocks. Way to go kiddo!

  6. My daughter likes the learn-to-knit rhyme that I learned from Debbie Stoller’s first SnB book… “In through the front door and grab your scarf, then out through the back before the cat barfs.” When she forgets to drop the stitch off the needle and needs some help on the next row, she says, “Mom, the cat didn’t barf here.” 😀

  7. you’re involved with the Currach club?!?!?! too weird. I had a friend who rowed with them for a year or two (I forget if that was before or after she was on the Hurling team). a few of my other old dance classmates currach too – do you know Micky or Kris? (think that’s how they spelled their names)

    love the colors on the scarf

  8. I’m waiting for an eBay purchase of thick&thin yarn to arrive so I can start the Sophisticated Rustic Jacket. Whee!

  9. Cool idea to get your son to finger knit. Fast and fairly easy. Snow has now become a 4 letter word! They’re predicting a whole bunch on Sunday for all of us.

  10. How fun!! I fingerknitted as a kid, and taught my daughters several years ago – try it with fun fur or other “foofy” yarn, and you can get a pretty nice looking boa-type result!

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