We drove to Indiana over the weekend, and on the way I worked on some knitting.
First off, one of the girls in the knitting class at co-op asked about knitting a tube, so I knit a cowl to demonstrate the concept. It's out of Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick and Quick, knit on a size 13 circular needle. Really a super quick knit -- cast on 50 stitches, knit mostly stockinette, a couple of rows of increases stuck in it to give it a scootch of shaping -- it was a pattern I found on Ravelry, but I changed it some.
Then I did little swatches to show the class what different stitches do. Each swatch was 20 stitches across, knit for 25 rows, so a novice knitter might expect them all to be the same size and shape. From left to right, top to bottom, we have garter stitch, stockinette stitch, 2x2 ribbing, and 1x1 seed stitch. I also had a swatch of 1x1 ribbing, but it's disappeared. It didn't pull in as much as the 2x2 ribbing.
(For the record, this is a bright white acrylic yarn that looks like sushi rice when it's knit up, and the background is a robin's egg blue -- no clue what happened to these pictures.)
In particular I wanted them to become aware that stockinette wants to roll towards the front at the top and bottom
and roll towards the back at the sides.
That way if they decide to knit a scarf of their own design, they know some of the things that could happen.
I also made a couple of swatches with borders so they could see how that would work with stockinette. Left to right are a garter stitch border and a seed stitch border.
You can see that the garter stitch border makes a slight pull on the vertical selvedge of the swatch. Sometimes this doesn't matter, and sometimes it does. I told them I'm trying to equip them do what THEY want with knitting: knit exactly what a pattern says, make their own changes to a written pattern, or else design their own projects. To do that they have to discover some of the properties of knitting.
We also went over different types of needles in class -- circulars vs. double point vs. straight. And a little about what needles are made out of, although I probably should've said more about that. Next week we'll talk about different yarns, and about gauge swatches.
I have no idea if this is stuff typically covered in a beginning knitting class for kids this age. I've never taken a knitting class. But the kids seem okay with whatever I throw at them. As a matter of fact, they came up to me after lunch and asked if they could start class an hour early since several of them had study hall anyway. I think mostly they want to sit around and giggle while ostensibly producing some knitting, and talking isn't allowed in study hall ... our knitting class has gradually left the classroom space to which it was assigned and settled in a lounge area with cushy chairs.
Then, on Saturday, I finally cast on for the long-awaited pumpkin hat. I bought this as a kit several years ago from Morehouse, and had lost the pattern. I found another pattern on Ravelry and knit that up.
Next up on the needles, a Totoro hat!