Sunday, September 18, 2011

Of Sticks and String

Last spring I got the wild idea that Mrs. Eagle and I would sponsor a knitting club at The School.

I've been knitting ever since my grandmother and mom taught me when I was young.  (That's what the women in my family do - we knit.  I have knitting aunts, knitting cousins and now even a younger generation of smaller cousins.)  Mrs. Eagle doesn't knit - yet - although I gave her a book, needles and a bunch of yarn to keep her busy when Mr. Eagle had his accident and spent 39 days in the hospital a few years ago.  We have a fairly active knitting community here in town, with a great local yarn shop, and many of us are involved with the online knitting community, Ravlery.  In any case, it's gaining popularity with a lot of younger people and I thought, "why not?" and so we got permission from The Principal and the Knitting Club was born.

The drawback was that we knew most of the members wouldn't know how to knit, but since I taught a handful of kids at summer camp, and had a really nice document reader that can video my hands so the kids can see what I'm doing on a Big Freaking Screen, I figured it was doable.

I also figured about, oh, a dozen kids would sign up.  In fact, when word got out that we were doing a knitting club the comments were sort of along the lines of "Really?  Knitting?" with that look of disbelief on the speakers face.

We have 31 members.

And that's when I decided to remove the club applications from the ledge outside of guidance so no more would join.  Six is easy, twelve, doable, but 31?

Oh good gracious.

The first meeting we had 28 show up, including four boys.  We taught them to finger knit because one thing I've learned is that although these kids can do amazing things with their thumbs (texting and video games help), they really don't have complete fine motor skills.  By the end of the meeting, they were all making long chains of knitted yarn which they turned into headbands, belts, and whatnot.   When we told them that we couldn't meet next week because of an early dismissal, they asked if we could meet on Thursday instead of our regular Friday.

Seriously.  We had 26 show up on Thursday.  Including the four boys.

I taught them to cast on and they did so well that I went ahead and taught the knit stitch to them.  Granted, some are frustrated and need some more work, but for the most part they are getting it.  In fact, they're getting it much faster than I expected.

What's amazing both Mrs. Eagle and myself, is that they are all being so well-mannered and patient and quiet when we're giving them instructions.  (Mrs. Eagle is learning along with them and they find that particularly amusing.)  They are just a dream group of kids.  They raise their hands, they are patient when I have to work my way around the room to get to them, they are just wonderful.  It's an interesting mix of kids, truth be told.

They are now swinging by with their knitting problems and questions after school, or during homeroom to ask for help.  I love that.

What I also love is that the local yarn shop and its customers have donated FOUR HUGE BAGS of yarn and GOBS OF NEEDLES to the club.  We're talking a lot of stuff here.  All donated.  All for my kids.  We are overwhelmed.

This week we're going to work on the knit stitch some more and get some practice.  But soon, I can see us tackling a scarf project.  We're thinking scarves in school colors.  Won't that look awesome in the yearbook picture?


Mrs. Gumby said...

Oooooo! Scarves knitted in school colors...sounds like something right out of Harry Potter! :-) I'd like a Gryffindor one, please.

Carmen said...

So cool! It's great that they are so interested in something other than video games and texting. Yay for you and Mrs. Eagle!

Ms Characterized said...

I wish I were in your club! I'm so happy for you that it's going so well!

Ms Characterized said...

I'm so happy it's going so well! I wish I could be in your club.

TeacherFromTN said...

I love this post! How awesome to bring kids together with knitting--even the boys. You should get evaluation "points" for this fabulous idea! : )

Ms M. said...

LOVE it. We had a knitting club at my old school as well, and the kids were really into it. In fact, we had more boys as members than girls, and most of them said the knitting helped them calm down. Amazing.