On Monday I had my first knitting lesson at the local primary school. Wow. It was so inspiring to see a group of young children (I think they were about 7 or 8…I was too busy to ask!) so engaged with knitting and wanting to learn more.
I went into school at 12.30, registered as a visitor at reception (hiding myself from view as I could hear Missy’s voice booming out of the lunch hall) and waited. After a while my little class of knitters straggled into the music room and so we began. After expecting to simply be a helper, I was slightly overwhelmed to be given a bag of wool and needles, along with the register and told to ‘have fun’ but hey, I like a challenge. I introduced myself as Mrs Cash (weird) and then we got started.
The group of six children (1 boy and 5 girls) were of mixed knitting ability, with some never having picked up a pair of needles and others with their knitting bag and projects in hand. There was no structure other than come and knit, so I spent the half hour helping newbies cast on, old hands change colours and pick up stitches and even got taught how to finger knit by the only boy in the class. I do think the lack of a communal project meant that children weren’t able to get a clear grasp on what they were doing or why they were learning it.
As we knitted and chatted, it became clear that the children were hungry for more. I did a bit of show and tell with my bridesmaid shrugs which they loved. They were amazed that a simple rectangle knitted with chunky needles and wool could turn into a piece of clothing. With that, the scraps of wool on their needles instantly turned into shrugs for dolls and teddies. Brilliant.
We chatted about what else could be made from a square or rectangle ofknitting and got back to the topic of finger knitting which I hadn’t come across before. One of the girls pulled out the most enormous length of Christmas green finger knitting which she didn’t know what to do with, but was very proud of. Our solution? Christmas tree decorations! Taking that thought, we decided that next week we will start knitting decorations for the school tree – obviously just long thin rectangles or tubes of finger knitting but what a great idea to get the rest of the school to see what we’re up to and to encourage others to get involved. I’m going to raid my own stash of wool to see what Christmassy colours I can bring in next week to get the project started.
I left the class feeling great. I’d helped some children learn a hobby they love, helped the school by providing a service they aren’t able to and generally felt like I’d given something back to my community. Not usually something I get from my day job in PR! My mind is now buzzing with ideas for projects to give the club a little structure and help the kids feel like they’ve achieved something to be proud of. Any ideas what we can make that involve simple squares or rectangles? Could this take off as an after school or holiday club idea for other schools? Crafty hen parties even? I can feel the cogs whirring as I type!
I’m thinking patchwork blankets and scarves, phone or DS covers, seasonal things for Christmas and Easter…I can’t wait until next Monday!