Teaching Knitting

This week end I had the honour of teaching my friend’s 7 year old daughter how to knit.  We had a fabulous hour, and it was great to be able to pass on my skills to the next generation.

I have taught my daughter to knit, and she does quite a good job of it, when she decides that the mood takes her.  But teaching someone else’s child is a whole different ball game.  She sat still!  She listened!  And she concentrated for a whole hour!  This may not sound like very much, but shall we just say that this particular little girl came to me for knitting lessons because she cannot sit still or concentrate.  She is often in trouble at home and school for her attitude.

I cast on quite a few stitches for such a small young lady, a whole 50 of them.  After showing her how to do the knit stitch she had a go at doing a row for herself.  Then I did the next row and corrected any extra or dropped stitches.  I gave the knitting back and she exclaimed “Do I have to get all the stitches back onto the other needle again?!”  However, she got her head down and completed her row.  We carried on in this vein until her Mum collected her.  She couldn’t wait to show off what she had achieved.

On the Monday morning, on the school playground whilst waiting for the week to start, I was amazed to see that she had brought her knitting with her to show me what she had been up to over the rest of the week end.  It was full of holes and now had an extra 12 stitches, but it was growing and she was just as proud of it as I was.  What was even better was the report from her mum.  She had been ill all week end, but instead of being plagued the whole time by a bored and restless child she was actually left in peace.  Knitting had kept her daughter calm and she had sat quietly working on her swatch.

I am very much looking forward to this Saturday to see what we can achieve!

All Needles Great and Small

It is just over a week into the new year and I am glad to announce my newest venture in the world of work- my own company All Needles Great & Small – learning through social & emotional well-being one knitted row at a time.  My birthday 2013 saw me handing in my notice at school.  I was unhappy in the role, I was unhappy in the school and I worried I was making others unhappy too.  So I decided to leave.  Since then I have tried working in two other schools on both a part time and a full time basis.  I was never quite happy.  I wanted to be home more and I wanted to knit more.  But in your 30s it isn’t an acceptable career choice to stay at home knitting all day.  Besides, I felt guilty that I was no longer contributing to the household income and leaving it all to my husband.  Despite this I was still happier being at home with the kids and dog than I was teaching full time.

I started to look around for ways that I could stay at home and that I could knit but also earn some money too. I started asking around on Ravelry about sample knitting. I found out that Marie Wallin, head designer for Rowan Yarns was looking for people to knit samples for her upcoming collection. I was lucky enough for her to send me some tests and the. For her to chose me to do some work for her. She sent me the pattern & yarn, I knitted it up & sent it back to her. Fabulous. But not too much money. Since then she passed my details to Rowan Yarns and I have knitted an item for them too. Unfortunately no details or pictures until after the collections are printed.

It was fun, but hard work for not too much pay. And lonely at times. I was used to being out and about everyday, so hours at home on my own with only the dog for conversation started to get me thinking again. I have been toying with the idea of teaching in schools for nearly two years. In two of my recent schools I have run yarn clubs which have been extremely popular and over-subscribed. But I needed an angle. Schools are not going to part with precious money & time just for knitting lessons for knitting’s sake. So I started to do some research. It turns out that there have been a few studies into the health and educational benefits of knitting, especially when it comes to stress and depression. I had come up with my angle.

I have lots of ideas for different workshops that can be run in schools. Pre-SATS stress-busters. Post-SATS projects, loads of different links to the curriculum but I am going to begin with a workshop aimed at children who have been identified as having emotional, behavioural or social problems. I am working hard to get it all under way so watch this space.

2014 looks exciting so far!!