How did you learn to knit and crochet? The chances are your mother or grandmother taught you and that gives our crafts such an important link across the generations.
Knitting can be traced back to the 4th century – the Victoria and Albert Museum have some Coptic socks from around that time. Although, in previous centuries, passing on your craft to your children or grandchildren may have been an economic necessity, today it is much more of a leisure activity; a way of spending time together as a family and an antidote to technology – don’t we all need a bit of that sometimes?
What is the best way to pass on your skills if you have children or grandchildren that are starting to show an interest in your craft? Finding a nice, easy project is a great way to introduce a child to the textures and colours of yarn. Everybody loves to make pom poms and, while there are lots of gadgets to make them quickly and easily, all you really need is a fork. Wind the yarn around the tines until it is nice and fat, then tie it in the middle and snip the sides. A bit of a trim and a roll around in your hand and you have a lovely pom pom.
Once they have developed a feel for yarn you might like to try some finger knitting which gets them used to the idea of stitches. We have found that kids get quite addicted to finger knitting and you could end up with many metres of their work. No problem, just think of it as a super chunky yarn and you can make bags, cushions or even try a bit of arm knitting. Great fun!
If you think they are ready to pick up some pins or a hook there are always lots of books in your local library with basic patterns. A simple square is a good place to start. The key is to choose a project that they can finish quickly and feel they are achieving something. Before long, teddy will have a new blanket.
If you want to give them the incentive to keep going while you aren’t there, you might like to borrow this lovely idea from Germany called a Wunderknäuel or magic yarn ball. Get a handful of sweets in wrappers, little plastic toys and a ball of wool. Start with one of the toys and start to wrap the wool around it. When the toy is almost covered add a sweet and continue winding. Keep going adding toys and sweets until you have used all the yarn up and have a great big ball. The idea is that your child has to keep knitting or crocheting until one of the goodies drops out of the ball like magic. It is a great way to build that determination and ‘just one more row’ attitude we all have.
We hope you enjoy passing on your skills to keep them alive for the next generation.