5 Tips for Getting Your Children Involved in Knitting

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As you all know, I love knitting.  When I’m not working, it’s what I’d like to be doing most of the time.  I really hope to share my passion for knitting with my children.  I try to keep them interested in knitting by involving them in all aspects of knitting.  Following are 5 tips to help interest your children in knitting.

  1. Knit things for them: My children are still young enough that they love wearing things that I make for them.  They particularly enjoy wearing items when they have had some input into the pattern and colors used for the project.
  2. Take time to help them with their own knitting:  My kids both started with a knitting tower, then finger knitting, and finally needles.  They have needed a lot of help along the way.  It is sometimes hard to take time to help, because they always want to knit when I am knitting.  It’s hard to put down my own project to help them.  However, I know this time is a worthwhile investment in the future.  Without my help, my kids often get frustrated and put down the needles.  I want to keep them engaged and interested in knitting so I try to help when asked
  3. Take them to the yarn store with you: This guideline is the hardest for me to follow.  I dream of going to the yarn store alone to just browse, touch the different yarns and slowly look at patterns and supplies.  Instead, I almost always take my children with me.  I end up watching them closely so they don’t touch anything they shouldn’t.  I also field many questions at the store.  However, my kids get inspired at the yarn store just like I do.  They get inspired by the beautiful model garments and yarns that they see all around them.  Sometimes they find something they would like me to make for them.  Sometimes they find a yarn they would like to use for a project.  Either way, the yarn store excursion helps keep their interest in knitting alive.
  4. Let them look at Ravelry with you: My children love to look at all the patterns and projects on Raverly with me.  They find inspiration on Raverly (just like I do).  They also realize that there are millions of other knitters around the world that share our interest.
  5. Involve them in other activities related to knitting: For example, I almost never have my yarn wound at the yarn store because my children love to help wind the yarn.  I often use my children as models for my knitting.  When I model the knitting myself, my children are the photographers and photo editors.

So far, my children seem to share my love for yarn and knitting.  I hope these tips will help you cultivate interest in  knitting with your own children or grandchildren.  After all, they are the next generation of knitters, and knit designers.

Reviving yarn from a “frogged” project

A couple of years ago, I purchased some beautiful sock yarn and started to knit a shawl (my first).  This project was also my first experience with short rows.  Overall, I felt unsure about my work and ultimately set aside the project for ” a short while” to work on some gifts.  Fast forward to 3 years later.  By this time, I had the experience to easily complete the project.  However, I couldn’t find any record of where I had left off on the project and therefore could not figure out where to resume knitting.  Ultimately, I frogged my work.  Unfortunately, yarn has memory.  My yarn was kinked from sitting in a knitted form for 3 years.  I was thumbing through a copy of Vogue Knitting and found a section on reusing yarn in this situation.  I put the process to test with great results.  I will describe the process here.

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Here is my yarn after frogging the project.  Note the kinks in the fibers (yarn memory).

 

 

 

 

 

Step 1: Unwind the yarn.  I used my umbrella swift to reverse the winding process.  This step is really a 2 person job.  I’m lucky to have 2 little knitters around who love to help.

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Step 2: Once the whole ball is “unwound’ and around the swift, use a contrasting piece of yarn to tie around the yarn bundle in 3-4 places to secure it in shape.

Step 3: Wet the yarn.  I let the yarn soak in tepid water for 20 minutes.

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Step 4:  Drain the water and wrap the yarn in a towel to gently remove excess water,  just as you would do for a blocked item.  Allow the yarn to hang and dry completely.  You may hang a small weight from the bottom of the yarn loop to encourage the yarn to dry straight.  I hung the yarn from a clothes-drying rack and used a small bag of coins for a light weight.

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Step 5:  Once the yarn is totally dry, remove the weight and place the yarn around your swift.  It is ready to rewind into a ball!  You can see how straight the fibers have become after completing this process.

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Drachenfels Garter Ridges, Simplified

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Drachenfels

I recently started knitting Drachenfels.  This shawl is a simple, yet interesting knit that I am enjoying thoroughly.  When I started the section on the garter stitch ridges, I found the changing colors and the changing rate of increases to be a bit challenging to keep track of.  I created a chart for myself, and thought other knitters working on this project could benefit from this tool.  I have included the chart here.  Please share it with anyone you know that may like to use it.  I am sure I will knit this pattern in other colors in the future.  When I do, I will pull out this chart again to keep me on track.

Drachenfels chart

 

 

Class Review, “Lace Shawl Design”

I recently had a “stay-cation” and treated myself to Miriam Felton’s “Lace Shawl Design” on Crafsty.  Craftsy was running a special that week so I received the class for only $19.99 (discounted from $39.99).  This class was definitely worth every penny.  Below are listed at least 5 reasons why this class was a great value.

  1. Understanding charted patterns:  By learning how to write charted patterns, I obtained a much better understanding of how to read charted lace patterns.  I can now  look at a charted row and understand if it is an increase row or a balanced  row.  I understand how increases and decreases “cancel each other out” in a balance row.  I also understand how increases are used to determine the shawl shape.
  2. Understanding how to design basic shawl shapes: This class includes templates for the basic shawl shapes.  I understand how each of these shapes are created.   I also learned how the rate of increases determines how quickly the shawl gets taller.  For example, a faster rate of increases results in a shallower shawl, or a shawl that gets wider more quickly.  Instead of just following the directions on shawls that I am knitting, I now have a much broader understanding of how the pattern is going to result in the finished product.
  3. Understanding how adjustments in increases are used to balance a lace pattern in a shawl: Miriam gives several charted examples in which she has adjusted the rate of increases from the basic shawl pattern in order to balance her lace patterns better.  For example, she may add 2 extra increase per 10 rows in order to be able to repeat a whole lace panel with her next repeat of that block.   Otherwise, the panel may be cut off partially, resulting in a less pleasing appearance.
  4. Understanding the importance of charting and swatching: If you’re like me, you just want to get knitting on a new design or project.  However, this legwork of charting and swatching is critical and a time saver in the end.  Miriam shows examples in which only in the charting or swatching, did she realize that adjustments needed to be made.
  5. Excellent section on fixing mistakes: My favorite part of this whole class was the section on fixing mistakes.  She reviews how to pull out and reknit a whole repeat.  I was so excited to learn her technique because I will use it for all my knitting.

In summary, this class was fantastic.  I watched the whole class (10 lessons and 3 bonus sections) over a couple of days.  I left the class feeling so excited about not only trying my hand at lace shawl design, but also excited about knitting lace shawls from other designers.  I am certain I will be watching many sections of this class again and with Crafsty, I have this class forever.