YarnCraft Episode 13 :: Yarncrafting with Kids & Top 5 Kid-Friendly Patterns

8 Apr

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Illustration by Michelle EdwardsShare your knitting and crocheting skills with the next generation of yarncrafters! In this episode, Liz and Zontee are joined by technical editor, Jackie Smyth to discuss lessons learned while teaching kids to knit & crochet.

We also talk to Michelle Edwards, children’s book author and illustrator, whose essays are featured monthly in the Lion Brand e-newsletter, about her experiences as a mother of three and an avid knitter.

Crochet Pirate Pal PatternStash This: Ideas for Your Crafting Life – Liz and Zontee share their top 5 patterns for children:

5. Holiday Decorations
4. Knifty Knitter Simple Slouchy Leggings
3. Pirate Pal
2. Totally Tubular Child’s Hat
1. Pocket Pets

For more great kids’ patterns and projects, sign up for our monthly newsletter, BK4K (By Kids for Kids) by clicking here.

To share your comments and thoughts, post a message on the blog, email to yarncraft [at] lionbrand [dot] com! Tell us–do you knit, crochet, loom knit, weave? How do you yarncraft and why? You may be featured on our next episode!

Direct Download

Look for YarnCraft on Blubrry.com.
And also look for us on Ravelry.com!

Theme music is “Boy with a Coin” by Iron and Wine, from the PodSafe Music Network.

Show Notes:
00:11 Intro and welcome
00:00 What’s on Liz & Zontee’s hooks & needles?
02:34 Tips on crafting with kids
08:26 Interview with Michelle Edwards
14:48 Stash This
32:38 Thanks to our guests

  • Alyssa

    Just finished listening to your podcast. I can’t wait for Sock Ease! I found out about it last week, after seeing the fashion show pictures on Flickr. I recently got into sock knitting.

    As a yarncrafter, I both knit and crochet, and learned how to crochet first, back during my freshman year in college. My mom taught me the chain and single crochet, and I learned everything else on my own. Lion Brand was the first yarn company that I became familiar with, especially after buying a book with some patterns for accessories. As for knitting, about two years ago, I found out that my future sister-in-law was a knitter, and I bought a packaged knitting kit, and taught myself to knit. After learning to knit and purl, I would practice cables and make swatches. I love fair-isle as well, but have done very little. I love to knit and crochet, but with college, I don’t always have time to do so. Summer and school breaks are the best time for me. I love making different accessories, such as jewelry, purses, legwarmers, fingerless gloves, hats, etc! What I find unique about my yarncrafting is that even though I’m left-handed, I crochet with my right hand, while knitting with my left hand. (The kit gave me instructions for knitting with my left hand.)

  • Diane

    Another way I’ve heard to teach younger children to knit is to have them sit on your lap, have them hold the needles and put your hands over theirs to guide them.

  • Harriett

    Hi, I aam an avid crocheter. My grandmother taught me. crocheting helps me when I’m stressed, worried about something or just down. It helps me to take my mind off my problems. I love your podcast as well, it’s the highlight of my evening, and listening to inspires me to be creative. You all are doing a great job, keep on inspiring.

  • Amanda Noel

    Hi, I also love your podcast. I am yet to try the Lion Brand yarn as I live in Australia and its a little hard to get, but am determined to find a source. I have a little girl nearly 4 and I am going to teach her very soon. I think the sitting on the lap idea is excellent. I have been knitting for 4 years but have never tried to crochet. Thats a goal for this year. I look forward to your show every fortnight, keep them coming.

  • Ginger

    I really, really want to see the lace shawl. Can we have a picture?

  • http://yarncraft.lionbrand.com YarnCraft

    Hi Everyone, thanks for all of the wonderful comments! Keep them coming!

    Amanda Noel, you may want to e-mail international_sales@lionbrand.com to find out about a local distributor in Australia.

    Ginger, you can find a picture of the very very beginning stage of my lace by clicking here, but it’s certainly grown since this picture.


  • Sandy

    Love your podcats! Hopefully though there will be more about crochet as that is what I do. As a young girl, I learned how to crochet from one of my grandmothers. I was very blessed to have both of my grandmothers that crocheted who I could turn to with questions when I had them. My mother also crochets as well.

  • Susan

    I’m a 4th grade teacher whose students were intrigued with the knitting and crocheting projects they would see me carry in tote bags for gifts and after hours work @ a friend’s house. Some of them had family members who knit or crochet, and a couple of them could, too. A few began bringing in their work for help. I finally succumbed to their begging and have begun a weekly club that meets on Fridays right after school. We are sponsored officially through the 4H organization as a project club.

    My paternal grandmother was determined to teach me to knit as a child of 4 or 5. I probably saw her and asked about it, because I remember she knit fairly often. At first I was interested, but being so young, I soon lost interest. We had some very loud disagreements about it at first, and then she relented. I learned to knit continental style, not knowing any other method.

    My mother knew how to knit, but she preferred to crochet. I wanted to have her make all my friends hats and scarves for Christmas one year when I was about 9 or 10. She said she wouldn’t make them, but she would teach me to make them. She made me learn how to read directions after mastering the basic stitches, so I made three sets of hats and scarves. I remember they were rather lacy, using lots of treble stitches. A few years later I made her a shawl. She kept that thing until a few years ago.

    When I was pregnant with my first child in 1980, I was put on bedrest the last six weeks of pregnancy. I decided to make a baby blanket for my child, so I bought a kit to crochet a green and white striped one with a band around of green. I also made a little sweater and cap for him from patterns my mother-in-law had saved from when she was pregnant with my husband.

    I also took up macrame until Nick was old enough to toddle into the room to “help” me with it. I put that aside.

    When Nick was three, I made him a bright red sweater, which I seem to remember was very popular with him for awhile. A friend at work became pregnant, so I crocheted a very basic blanket. When another was pregnant, I made a crocheted bunting with flame stitch design in pink and pastels. It was a boy, so he got a blanket instead. I saved the bunting until I could have a girl. Meanwhile I made a classic granny square afghan with multi-scrap colors and black background.

    When I discovered I was having a my next baby 5 years later, she was born in late May, and never got to use the bunting. I may still have it in a box somewhere, but I don’t really know.
    Then I didn’t have time for knitting or crocheting for several years.

    Meanwhile my mother has graduated to knitting machines, and taught me to knit socks and one very bulky sweater on them. We sold the socks to a retailer for Civil War items for extra money on the side. I preferred hand knitting and crocheting, but only halfway attempted on afghan in all that time.

    Then about 5 years ago, in my mid-late 40s, I found myself needing a creative outlet again. I started crocheting at first to make baby and grandbaby gifts for co-workers. I always worried that one item was not enough, so at first they got a full layette/ After looking at what retailers were asking for hand crocheted items, I realized that even one piece was a valuable gift.

    On a whim, I entered one particularly colorful sweater and hat set in the local county fair and won a blue ribbon in that category. We live in a very small county and most of the entries were elaborate afghans and doilies.

    I soon had a waiting list of gifts for people, as we went through a sudden maternity storm. (I was afraid to drink the water at work for awhile — I hoped it wasn’t catching!) Some patterns I saw for blankets involved knitting, but I lacked confidence in that area. However, I had seen Paul Newman’s wife, Joanne Woodward, effortlessly knitting him a sweater while doing a TV interview. That impressed the heck out of me, since I had always thought of my own knitting as a slow affair involving intense concentration.

    Then both my grandmothers’ knitting and crocheting tools began to trickle down the family line to me. I became heir to patterns, Workbook magazines, and tools from my mother’s childhood and early married days. Momma got more and more into quilting and machine knitting, so she passed several of her tools and totebags on to me.

    At the same time, my best friend gave me a box of yarn, needles, and old 4H knitting books from the 1960s or early 70s. Her mother had been a teacher and at some time had worked with teaching knitting late in her life. Those books inspired me to want to knit again. All that winter, everyone I knew was forced to endure gifts of headbands and earbands. Most of them were very gracious about it, but my daughter begged me to stop embarrasing her.

    (I later returned most of those items to my friend’s children as they grew old enough to knit and could appreciate them.)

    Now I knit as comfortably as I crochet. I have made a number of simple garments over the years. Meanwhile, it seemed like everyone and their mother’s half cousin’s aunt had died leaving large stashes of yarn. Most people knew I made some items to donate to charity, so they began funneling large quantities to me. I made it my job to pass most of this on to others who made items for charity. I have a goal of someday only having a small stash of yarn left from keeping it moving tthrough myself and others.

    Some went to churches and schools for crafting purposes as well. One of my projects with my students each year was to weave with yarn. We tied this in with social studies work on American Indians and Colonial Life. Some weaving has been done with cardboard and some with drinking straws. Now the art teacher has taken over the weaving project as part of her regular curriculum. This lets her coordinate art work with the state Standards of Learning, thereby ensuring job security.

    I now force myself to only buy yarn with a specific project in mind, unless I happen to find someone else’s half finished project on sale at a yard sale or thrift store. My list of knitting and crocheting still looms large (pun intended). The list is about two pages long in my life project notebook, and I try never to do the same piece in exactly the same way twice. Yarn – in – waiting takes up three large plastic bins with lids in my craft room, and that doesn’t count the four totebags full of current projects. (There is a fifth large totebag with my sock monkey and sock toy projects, but that doesn’t count.)

    When asked about my hobbies on a dating website, I listed knitting and crocheting as my first choices. That may scare away some prospective matches, but WYSIWYG. (what you see is what you get) It’s better to let them know ahead of time.

    Thanks for reading! Now get back to your projects with a smile knowing someone else is obsessed as you. If I ever get caught up, I’d like to get back to macrame and quilting again, too!

  • Maryann

    Hi! Perfect timing with this podcast! The day after I heard it, my 9 year old daughter, a beginning knitter, came to me and said she wanted to knit something. She had tried making a scarf, but she had lost interest long before it was done. I did a search of the pattern finder on your web site, selecting beginner knitter and toy. She saw the duck pocket pet, and loved it. She was able to knit it and assemble it in a weekend, with just a little help from me. And even though her knitting had some typical beginner mistakes, she has a cute duck toy and is happy with it. Thanks! I bet she’ll make some other pocket pets soon.

  • http://www.jrhighknitting.blogspot.com Wendy

    Hi Liz and Zontee! You and your guests really hit the mark with your discussion about teaching children to knit. For the last year I have been lucky enough to teach 7th and 8th graders to knit in a public school. It is an elective they choose and I see them every morning for about 45 minutes. Working with them has taught me so much about kids their age and how they approach learning. They are not so worried about perfection and they just want to make something fun! Some of my more advanced knitters are attempting socks right now and are enjoying the challenge and the learning process. And for me…it’s a dream job!

    I must have learned to knit from my mother when I was little, but never pursued it. When my husband and I were about to leave for a European trip early in our marriage, I asked my mom to teach me again so I would have something to do on all those planes, trains, and boats. That was nearly 16 years ago and I’ve knitted ever since. I’ve tried to crochet once in awhile, but those attempts have been so few and far between that with each go at it, I’ve had to ask someone to show me how to do it.

    This last year of teaching knitting has turned me into an obsessive knitter as I need to keep a few steps ahead of my class. Those junior high knitters can really take off!!

  • http://www.knitcrazie.com Cathy L. Herbold

    Thanks so much for the tips on teaching young kids how to knit. I am planning to teach a young 6 year old how to.
    I so enjoy using lionbrand yarn. I finally made my first sweater, The roll collared cardigan in the Vanna’s Choice yarn, a dusty purple. This was a birthday gift to my daughter-in-law. It came out beautiful. She says fits her perfectly. The pattern was easy once I got started. I ran into one problem with doing a m1 for increasing and it should be knit in front and back of same stitch. But, the Lionbrand tech was so helpful in pointing out what I was doing wrong. You can view my sweater at my blog at http://www.knitcrazie.wordpress.com or visit my site at http://www.knitcrazie.com.
    I am both a knitter and crocheter. I like using crochet for edgings on afghans. But nothing beats the granny square afghan. I have a teal and white one I am slowly working on.
    I just love lionbrand yarn and the patterns. I have so many lined up to do ,to KNIT LIKE CRAZIE. :-)
    Thanks again for keeping us up to date.

  • bigscrapkitty

    As a Girl Scout Leader, I always find a way to work crocheting into things. I find that’s a great place to start, and the very first day I can teach them the chain stitch and they can make a beaded bracelet! I’m thrilled that you have some fun, easy projects here, and since I’m in charge of crafts for day camp this year, I’m SURE there will be some yarn arts! Thanks for this installment, keep it coming for the youngsters!

  • http://mommyjune.blogspot.com Amber

    I am currently rediscovering my love of crocheting. I have given my 21-month-old daughter a ball of yarn and a hook and let her “play” at crocheting. I can hardly wait for her to develop the skills to be ready to learn to crochet. I’m saving this ideas for that time.

    My current project is a mini afghan for my daughter’s baby doll. I got the Bloom Scarf pattern from Lion Brand yarn and so far I think it’s adorable. Thanks for all you do!

  • Jamie

    I love knitting and my oldest son (5 1/2) has been wanting to learn. I figured it was time that he could handle the needles with respect and follow direction. I had him sit in my lap and we began. I did cast on the first row for him (10st) and demonstrated the knit stitch with the first row. We used the saying “In through the front door (inserting needle into the stitch) turn around (wrap the yarn around), grab your coat (when the yarn slips between the two needles) back out the front door (pulling the new stitch through the old stitch), jump off the porch (taking the new stitch off the needle). Also new knitters also benifit from using plastic needles or any needle that “grabs” the yarn to keep the stitches from falling off easily.
    Thanks for having this podcast when we are just begining to teach my son!

  • Doris Gillespie

    I just happened to come across your April 8th episode!!! What a great idea to listen to both of you and also read all of the blogs. I have been wanting to teach my 2 grandaughters (11 and 12) how to knit. I am so encouraged to do so now!!! I love all this new technology. Go Jack!!!!

  • Sharyn

    I teach second grade. My students love to work with yarn, especially creating chains using finger crochet. They then weave the chains on a simple cardboard loom to create wall hangings, doll blankets and placemats. Some students sew these smaller pieces together to create a purse or baby blanket. Other students who don’t have the dexterity (yet) to create chains weave with fat roving. All my students, boys and girls, love to weave. They weave or finger crochet everyday when I read to them after lunch. The challenge is keeping them supplied with yarn! They use any color. We’ve even created “yarn” from plastic grocery bags when we’re desperate enough! The best part of this for me is sense of pride and accomplishment the children have when they have completed a weaving.

    Sharyn in Davis, California

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  • Barbara Beatty

    Dear Lion Brand Knitters –

    I would love to join you in your “knit-a-thon” but I have several of my own going on here at home.

    1- I am working on an afghan for a friend for years – yes I said years – since I am a novice at this. She asked for an afghan, gave me the pattern, the yarn, and the book with the instructions, and sent me on my way –I’m still working on it.

    2- My friend and I are working on scrapgans for baby blankets as well as new-born blankets and hats for the local hospitals. I was working on hats for the cancer house in town, but they were overloaded with hats from another knitter, so I switched projects.
    I have also been crocheting blankets for an overseas project from my church in Rogers, AR, but when I heard of the need at the local hospitals I asked them if I could use the yarn they had given me for the local projects, and they were happy to oblige.

    Your books have been a great help to me, and when I get finished with my other “projects”, I will be able to research the book further, which will be a tremendous help.

    Thank you
    Barbara Beatty

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