I cast on. I knit. I purl. I increase. I decrease. That is the extent of my knitting ability. I believe rectangles are king in knitting and any other shape, or intricate pattern, is not to be attempted without a full understanding of the consequences. My biggest knitting embarrassment is the sweater I started when my oldest daughter was 2. She is almost 11 now. Fashions have come and gone, and the sweater is still not finished.
But still, there is a meditative quality about knitting that I can't pass up, especially in the depths of winter. I usually have a scarf somewhere in the works. Yes, a rectangle, but a rectangle made of irresistible fuzzy yarn and stitched with love. For my kids, it seems doubly important that they have a moment to sit...quietly...and just knit. It requires focus, and patience, and care — all things I like to encourage.
For kids learning to knit, I think instant success is key. There are few things more frustrating than a tangle of yarn. We have used knitting looms
for a few years now. My oldest started that way, and now my younger kids (at age 5) have adopted the practice. Needless to say, we are up to our eyebrows in hats, but you can also make other things with the looms, like scarves, and blankets. There are quite a few books on the subject. Two nice ones that I've been looking at are Loom Knitting Primer
by Isela Phelps, and Learn New Stitches on Circle Looms
by Anne Bipes.
The next step, is switching to needles. My oldest has made the switch and has plans to start a sweater. Maybe it's time for me to haul out my old sweater project so I can finish it before she finishes hers. I've had a nearly nine year head start, but I have a feeling she'll be closing the gap soon. The race is on.