Knitting (mini) Block

What a crazy couple of days! Our thoughts and prayers are with our many friends and family members along the eastern seaboard – especially those in New Jersey. We have had candles lit and are counting our blessings that everyone is safe and sound. Sending love and light to all those affected by the storm.


This post is a part of Waldorf Wednesday. See all links here.

When I first came to Waldorf, I asked a friend’s mother to teach me to knit. I have always done handcrafts, and usually take to these things pretty quickly and easily. However, after spending an entire afternoon reciting, “Jack goes in the window, up around back, catch your stitch and off hops Jack,” I came home with a yarn-tangle the size of a teabag. When I showed it to Tom, he belly-laughed out loud. Jude has taken to knitting much easier than I did. I decided to teach him to knit right-handed, even though he is a lefty. I did this for two reasons: #1 it is easier for me (sometimes the truth is that plain). #2 he needs to build up strength in his right hand and arm. Jude is so left-dominate, that his penny whistle teacher also has him do exercises with his right hand so he can more easily play the bottom notes on his whistle. Who knew Waldorf required strength training?

I am using our main lesson time to teach Jude to knit. I knew if I tried to fit it in the afternoon, it would never happen. We usually start the day’s lesson with a fun story that has a knitting theme. Of course, we read the classic, Pelle’s New Suit by Elsa Beskow. I had never read this book before, and I loved it like I have her others. Pelle reminded of a short novel we read aloud over the summer. Mountain Born by Elizabeth Yates is also a story about a boy who has a coat made out of the wool from a sheep he owns. Mountain Born would be fine to read to a first grader, but I think it would be even better for an older child learning to knit. (Thanks Mama, for the recommendation!) We also read “Teasel and Tweed” from a Donsy of Gnomes by Sieglinde De Francesca. After our story, I had Jude sit on my lap and I guided his hands as we recited the “Jack” verse. This cut down on extra verbal instruction and hopefully is beginning to build muscle memory. He has now graduated to sitting beside me, and is really knitting along nicely. He has casted on only 10 stitches, so the rows go (relatively) quickly. He picks his knitting up several times throughout the day and is really proud of his work.

  • Lori over at Waldorf (inspired) Moms has some great ideas in this post about what to make with all those little knitted squares.
  • Joey over at Made by Joey has a nice tutorial on making your own knitting needles. This is something I want to do during our December break from formal homeschooling.
  • Here is another great post by Joey with some simple projects for a beginning knitter.
  • Vincent loves the book Kids Learn to Knit by Lucinda Guy and Francois Hall. I believe it is out of print, but we check it out a lot from our library.
  • Ms. Martha has some cute baby blocks that are knitted squares sewn together.

9 thoughts on “Knitting (mini) Block

  1. Ah, perfect post for us at this time. I just spent 1.5 hours picking up the barest of the basics and am about to jump into the teaching of the darlings. I hadn’t thought of actually physically guiding their hands. Why didn’t I think of that? I’m such a verbal person. See, that’s what I get for reading your beautiful blog (:

    I learned to knit while sitting in the car for 1.5 hours waiting for the girls in an activity. “What’d you do?” Dinah asked when she got in. “I started to learn to knit.” “Can I see?” Having removed my 27 attempts to cast on and my knotted up 3 rows of knitting, I had nothing to show. “You knitted for an hour and a half and don’t have Anything to show me?” We all laughed.

    • I didn’t do this with Vincent, but having Jude sit on my lap really made a big difference – especially with the lefty issue. Since writing this post he has found his own way and he actually moves the yarn around the back of the needle with his left hand. It seems clunky to me, but his stitches are fine, so I am letting that one go. We are officially on fall break for the rest of the week (yippee!!) – so knitting is about the only thing “schooly” we’ll be doing. I plan on getting my sewing machine out and starting on some holiday stuff.

      Good luck and let me know how it goes at your house.


  2. Sheila, Thanks for this post. What a great idea to have Jude on your lap as you teach. I think my son would love that.
    I am not a knitter myself, although I do recall learning as a girl at school. We have been homeschoolers for a while now and I keep saying I will learn, and I did “buy the book” (Bonnie Gosse), but still haven’t moved past finger knitting! We are doing 3rd grade this year so no more excuses! Like you, I think we need to start this off in a block, so I will bring it as part of our fibers block.
    By the way, I also bought that book by Lucinda Guy recently, so it is still available (got mine from the Book Depository) and she also has a similar book for teaching crochet.

    • Hey Cathy,
      Thanks for the information about the book – I’ll check it out.

      I think that would be great to teach knitting during your fiber block – the book Mountain Born would be perfect for grade 3! Lots of farming and the main character is a boy.

      Glad you’re here.

  3. My nine year old son is a lefty. He has been asking about learning to knit, but I have only basic knowledge. Any other lefty tips?

    • Hey Kellie,
      See this other post’s comments These two women convinced me to teach Jude to knit righty. It really turned out to be no big deal, bc of the fact that you use both hands. I was also given the advice that if they sit facing you your movements will be perceived as “lefty knitting”. Can you picture that?

      Also I don’t know if you are a member of Thinking, Feeling, Willing, but Melisa Nielsen is a lefty and a spectacular knitter. She may have some advice.

      I have to say again, that it really was easier than I thought it would be. Having him sit on my lap was the key.

      Good luck and keep me posted.

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