Sunburst has been knitting for a long time-- since she was five. Her first project was a wobbly- looking scarf for her doll. Then she plowed straight into a matching hat, knit flat and sewn up the back. Since then I have let her knit with me, doing a stitch here and a row there, helping me on my projects as her enthusiasm warranted.
Enthusiasm has never been a problem with Sunburst. The girl likes to knit.
Her first grade knitting looked something like this:
She had been rereading the Little House series, and with all sincerity, wondered if Mary could knit blind. So she tied a silk around her head and tried. It amused me to no end to see her patiently sitting like this, feeling out the stitches with her fingers. Since she had just learned to knit with five double-pointed needles the blind-knitting show seemed risky, but she managed to knit a row or two this way.
After two weeks of persistence, she came up with a sock. Size small. Baby small.
She knit the heel flap, turned the heel, and felt really proud of herself. It was completely her idea to knit a sock. I wasn't sure she could pull it off, but when I mentioned that I had signed up for a knitting challenge and talked up my goal of knitting my first ever sweater, Sunburst decided that she should push her knitting to new heights as well. And besides, how hard could one little sock be? She had just watched me knitting my first pair or two.
That seems to be how her knitting projects get fueled. She sees me knitting something, and she wants to do it, too. And of course I can't say no to that. I can't deny knitting. And I don't want to tell her that she "can't"do something unless of course it's something dangerous or totally inappropriate. Knitting is hardly ever inappropriate.
So when I started knitting fruit and veggie hats this past fall, and Sunburst got the itch to make one, too... well, of course I took her to the store and let her pick out some yarn. She was determined to make a strawberry hat for a sweet, little baby friend in our homeschooling group.
It took her awhile, but she did it.
Not bad for a seven year old in second grade.
The great thing about knitting is that it's not instantaneous. It takes some time and dedication and focus. If there's one activity that really works on strengthening the will forces, this would be it. Knitting teaches you to keep moving forward-- one row at a time, one stitch at a time. Whatever it takes to get there. I've been working on a lace shawl since last summer (my first lace piece!) and slowly Sunburst has watched it grow at a painfully slow rate under my hands. And hopefully that rubs off on her. I think it does. Afterall, Sunburst did go back and knit another baby sock to make a matched set. Knitting that second sock can be excruciating... there are lots of knitters that succumb to "second-sock syndrome."
As for knitting as school work, I don't really care what Sunburst is knitting, as long as she's happy doing it. Her most recent works--in-progress include mittens, a scarf, and a teddy bear for the Mother Bear Project.