This past week I had the privilege of teaching six girls ages 10-12 how to knit at a local knitting “camp”. In years past the camp was set up for much younger girls, ages 7-8. Trying to teach twelve seven year olds how to knit is a formula for disaster! Even with a lot of help, I was lucky to get a few of them actually knitting by the end of the week. Most of them just gave up or just pretended, and I ended up re-thinking of the camp as “fun games with yarn, plus a lot of running around outside” rather than knitting. I did teach them how to make twisted cord with the electric mixer (a big hit!), tassels, finger knitting, wooden knitting needles from dowels (another big hit), and crocheted chains. But last year I read the camp director the riot act about upping the age, and swore I’d never come back unless she limited the age to at least ten-year-olds. It worked, and this year it was a much happier experience for everybody.
I am proud to say that all of my ten year olds actually learned to knit this time around. A large percentage learned to purl as well, and some even learned basic shaping. Some of them made dishcloths (um, we call them baby doll blankets). We all made the afore-mentioned easy stuff as fun but related diversions. The best part was, after the third day they started talking. Now I love knitting for the intellectual and creative challenges as much as anybody, but the social aspects are definitely a bonus. The girls were too self conscious and shy to talk much the first two days, but after that they started endlessly yakking about movies, dreams, horses, braces, broken collarbones, school, other camp experiences, family vacations, and you name it. Ten year olds are such a hoot!
I love that age because most aren’t really yet too concerned about what other people think of them, and they are just happy to be kids and let life wash over them. They were also in deep awe of my rather-quiet-and-bookish-and-not-used-to-being-movie-star-popular fifteen year old daughter, who helped me with the class, and I think she rather liked it!
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