Sunday, June 11, 2006


My son has learned to knit. At school the first thing they produced was a lamb, 3D, stuffed with wool, four legs and all. I've never knitted anything like that myself, so I was dead impressed. Anyway a craze for knitting has hit the family - my five year old daughter decided she wanted to learn too and not to be left out, the three year old also put in a demand for knitting needles.

So one day, when I feel as patient as I'm ever going to be, I dig out some needles and wool, cast on for my son and leave him to get on with it - he has knit a lamb already after all. The clamour rises as the daughters compete for next go. I reckon on age taking precedence. I know the three year old won't have enough coordination for the job and am still trying to think of a diplomatic solution for her. So I cast on and cast my mind back in search of how I was taught by my grandmother. Give up. Ask my son how they learnt at school.

He comes up with a great rhyme - "in through the door (needle through the stitch), run around the back (wool wrapped round), peep through the window (bring needle through the stitch), and off jumps Jack!(slip stitch off the needle)". So to the accompaniment of much chanting of this rhyme my daughter begins.. and starts to get the hang of it after a while. Much salvage required, after every row I pick up dropped stitches for her.

She has really stuck to it despite the endless dropped stitches, inexplicable unintended patterns, tangles and the rest. Within a week she has progressed to doing one whole row without dropping a stitch. Sometimes I still have to surreptitiously gather up the knitting, retire to a corner and spend half an hour reformatting it to resemble the scarf it is intended to be. To anyone who enjoys puzzles and has good eyesight I recommend this as an excellent form of entertainment.. those of us whose ever more long-sighted eyes require longer and longer arms, might find it a little trying!

The other night we had a power cut at bedtime. We spent half an hour locating and lighting the paraffin lamps, by which time the power was of course restored. The older children were wired by this excitement and weren't sleepy any more. I went in to find them both sitting up in bed knitting and chatting away happily to each other, like little old grannies.

We solved the problem of the youngest's knitting. She was quite happy for me to cast on and knit for her. It's her knitting and we all take a turn on her behalf - her brother, aunt and I. She decides if she wants to change colours and is in charge of design. Now she wants me to help her with sewing instead - still fairly labour intensive for me, but at least she can put on beads and sequins and pull the needle through, so feels involved in the process. It's hard keeping up when you're the youngest!


  1. What a charming picture you paint of your family. I wish my mother had been able to teach me to knit.

  2. Thanks so much for having a post with this rhyme! I have used it to teach both my 6 yo and 4 yo how to knit, although the 4yo is still pretty much just a puppet in the process. It's great!

    I know this post is old, but because of it, I have linked to you in my blog. Just wanted to be polite and let you know!
    Thanks again,from snowy Canada


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