help! - getting an 8 year old started on knitting : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

My eight year old daughter has shown an interest in knitting and crotcheting (sp?). She has brought home some finger knitting and weaving as class projects. She loves it!

I'm thinking it would be cool to get her a book, some yarn and whatever else she needs to move on to more knitting type stuff as a Christmas gift.

My wife is saying we should get her the stuff to crochet (sp?). But she has the same amount of experience as I do: zip.

Can anybody out there make some recommendations on books, materials, knitting vs. crochet, etc? I'm thinking her first project could be scarves for the family. That seems pretty simple.

-- Paul Wheaton (, December 12, 2001


Paul check Walmart or craft stores for books. There are some good beginners books for knitting and crochetting. That is how I learned. Not sure which one is easier. I started out knitting. Seemed like all the neat patterns that I wanted to do were crochet. Then I taught myself to crochet and then all the neat patterns were knit. I started crochetting with thread then made a couple of afgans with yarn. Haven't made anything with thread sense. Good luck. Sounds like everyone is going to learn.

-- Belle (, December 12, 2001.


There's a wonderful book called "Crocheting in Plain English" that I'm using to learn something beyond the 2 stitches I learned when I was a kid. It has great pictures and excellent written directions. It's written by Maggie Righetti and the ISBN is 0-312-01412-0. The copy I have was $13.95 -- I'm not sure what the current cost may be.

As for knitting -- WalMart's craft department has some little instruction booklets that are pretty good and only cost a couple of dollars. In fact, I think that they have a kit for teaching yourself to knit and crochet.

Hope this helps. Good luck, Jennifer

-- Jennifer (, December 12, 2001.

Paul, I never knit until a few years ago and now I am knitting socks!! The book I used was "Knitting in Plain English". It has lots of easy to read directions on how to get started. If I remember right they even give directions for some beginning projects.

-- diane (, December 12, 2001.

I love to hear encouraging words here! Think Positive! I once knit a scarf for a class project (home economics)and when I asked the teacher how to 'finish', she ripped it(all 4 feet)out and said, you should have asked for my help when you started. That was 30 yrs ago, and I haven't picked up a knitting needle since. Well, if your daughter can knit Paul, so can I! Darn it!

-- Kathy (, December 12, 2001.

By all means get her started!! My Mom started me when I was about 7 or 8 and I am so grateful, I have been knitting and crocheting for about 43 or 44 years and I still love it! I spin now, too. There is a wonderful book called "Kid's Knitting" by Melanie Falick, I think (forgive me if I am in error). It teaches children to knit and has great projects for all skill levels and stages of learning. I found it in the library and it should be available through your library. It is geared toward children and how they learn. I think that this book will be just what you are looking for. If I can help in any way, answer any questions, etc., please contact me. Wish your daughter well for me and tell her that learning to knit and crochet will bring her much pleasure in her life. I spent many pleasant hours making clothes for my dolls and gifts for my family as a child. I still pass many hours happily knitting and crocheting for my loved ones and for charity. Happy holidays.

-- nancy (, December 12, 2001.

Paul--I taught myself to knit & crochet by using some wonderful interactive CD-ROMs put out by Coats. I bought them in the craft dept. at Walmart. They are great because you can see what the model is doing, plus hear & read the instructions. Also, you can hit repeat as many times as necessary to master the step. I never could make heads or tails out of the instruction books I tried to learn with before, but with the CD-ROMs it was easy.

-- Mary S. (, December 12, 2001.

Well, it sounds like there are lots of great books. I should swing by the book store and walmart.

Does the walmart starter kit include knitting needles and the like?

I'm guessing I'll focus on knitting for now.

Outside of a book, what would be some good starter supplies for her?

-- Paul Wheaton (, December 12, 2001.

Keep it simple .Look in the book and see what size needles the patterns ask for .Maybe a basket to hold things in , a tape measurer ,scissors , anything the patterns call for .You could get into stitch holders , counters , end caps but I don't think she will need them right away .Making a scarf or doll blanket would be an easy way to start .Also look into the local library , alot of times the have clases or even the craft store or yarn shop.

-- Patty {NY State} (, December 12, 2001.

Consider crocheting first, because if she decides she'd rather knit she can still use the hooks for finishing touches on knitted projects. It's pretty easy; I have an old picture of my great-aunt crocheting when she was just five.

I learned using the "I Taught Myself Knitting" package, and it gives everything you need to start (needles, row counter, etc). It gives instructions for both right and left-hand. And, you can find it at any WalMart, Ben Franklin or local craft store. I've tried crochet, too, but knitting holds my interest better; I like the rhythm and the clicking.

-- Dawn (, December 12, 2001.

The only things you need to start are yarn and needles. The sizes vary with the project. I would recommend some thick yarn and large needles. Do not get the really BIG needles, they would be too large for small hands and they are awkward to use. What size yarn did she begin using at school? That would be a good one to start with because she is used to it. She will need something to cut the yarn with and that is really all she will need to start. There are dozens of tools and gadgets, but they are for later. The knitting needles should be about 10" long so they will not be too long for her. The clerk at the store where you buy the yarn can help you match needle size to the yarn. A scarf would be a good beginner project. Maybe a size 10 1/2 needle with a bulky yarn. A tape measure would be a nice addition to a gift, but it is not necessary. Again, I am happy to help with any questions and you can email me privately if you want.

-- nancy (, December 12, 2001.

Today I got out my knitting, and my 8 yr old was all over me with, "Mom, teach me how!" So I allowed her to sit on my lap, and I guided her hands doing the same motions I was doing... she was very proud that she was able in a just a few minutes, to add a few stitches of her very own to my afghan!

-- daffodyllady (, December 12, 2001.


All of the above advice is good. Starting with simple scarves and socks keeps the young knitter's interest and builds skill at the same time. It is important that young knitters start with projects that will give them finished results in a fairly short amount of time. Children are anxious to finish their projects and have something to show friends and neighbors. Adding just a little bit more complexity to each project keeps up the interest level. Knitting her own garments and wearing them will also give her a lot of personal satisfaction.

My wife has a knitting ministry called "Lamb's Wool" that solicits people to knit sweaters for cold kids living in lousy parts of the world. Some of the sweaters she receives are absolutely fantastic. Thus far, she has distributed more than 1,600 hand-knitted sweaters to needy kids in sizes ranging from infant to age 5.

One of the things she's learned from her ministry is that many of the stories behind the donated sweaters are as compelling as the beauty of the sweaters themselves. She has old ladies living alone with no family who have told her that knitting for Lamb's Wool has once again given meaning and purpose to their lives. They feel useful. One woman told her that knitting sweaters helped her cope with the death of her husband. She has people of all ages (the oldest is 98) in all parts of the country knitting sweaters. One little girl worked all year knitting just one sweater. Another didn't quite know how to get the sleeves on correctly and sent it to my wife by the deadline date with both arms on the same side and asked my wife if she could fix it. She did. It was the effort that was important. There is a tremendous amount of love in those thousands of stitches.

Here is somethng you, your wife and daughter might consider. In many parts of the country folks have established or re-established knitting circles or guilds. These groups are sometimes comprised of both older women and younger kids. The older more experienced knitters share their talents and experience with the younger folks. Some knitters can no longer knit because of arthritis, but can coach, instruct and assemble sweaters or other garments. From what I can tell these circles and guilds are fun and theraputic for everyone involved. I've been told the young people really enjoy the get- togethers. Some groups meet in churches, some in community centers, and some in senior citizen centers.

You might consider finding, or starting, a knitting group in your area and suggest to your daughter that some of her little friends join her in learning how to knit. I'll bet you can find some experienced knitters in your area who would like to participate in the group.

Good luck and happy knitting.


-- Ed (, December 12, 2001.

You might look at your library. They have a lot of books about knitting and crochet. You could see if she likes it by borrowing a book. I know that my children have checked out lots of "how to" books. Ask the librarian and she will know what is available from your library or on loan from another one. My children learned to knit and crochet when they were around that age. They love it to take with them on long trips. Even the boys like to knit and crochet.

-- Nan (, December 12, 2001.

Paul, The only things you need to get started knitting are the $2 skein of yarn, a pair of knitting needles, a good book, ('Knitting In Plain English' is GREAT!)and a pair of child's scissors capable of cutting yarn. A Little basket and maybe a gadget called a stitch ruler (a square piece of metal with a ruler and a hole to see how many stitches to the inch you are making)

-- Connie L (, December 12, 2001.

Paul even little 5000 folk Cleveland TX has great learning video's for rent at the library. I would also start with crochet. Mom taught us the granny square, but instead of stopping we just continued around and around until we had afghans for our beds. Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh TX (, December 13, 2001.

I love to knit...and learned when I was 7. The easiest way in my opinion is to watch someone else, but There are alot of great books out there. Scarves are the perfect first project. You would not even need a stitch ruler for that...just decide how wide you would like, get plenty of yarn and get going. My first projects were pot holders, My grandma would have me knit 2 squares the same size (which wasn't easy at first) and then taught me how to whip stitch (blanket stitch) the edges together so they would be thick enough. I learned to crochet a little later, and still love knitting best. Do encourage her..its a wonderful hobby!!!!!

-- Jenny (, December 13, 2001.

Hearthsong ( ) has a beginner's kit on knitting for this age group.

-- Sandie in Maine (, December 13, 2001.

You can find patterns on the net.Just type knit patterns or crochet patterns in the search box.There are also learning instructions on some sites.

-- VickiP. (, December 13, 2001.

The Christian Science Monitor webpage had an article on knitting in schools recently (last week?). The article discussed how they got the kids involved, kids reactions, etc. They were knitting small wool caps. In particular, if I remember right, they had simple instructions, a pattern, and required materials list free for the downloading. I thought it was a hoot, especially after hearing how excited all the kids were about it.

-- Michael Nuckols (, December 13, 2001.

Others have already provided lots of good advice. I would recommend learning to knit first and here's why: all the stitches are lined up on the needles and there is no doubt where to put the needle in. Crocheting is another story! You might want to find a copy of the children's book, Sunny's Mittens. Good luck.

-- Kris in WI (, December 21, 2001.

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