Friday, March 23, 2012

Our newest knitter

Introducing our newest knitter... Kitty Bill.

He announced around Christmastime that he was ready to knit.

As he watched his sisters and me busily planning and crafting presents for each other, he realized that he needed to come up with some presents, too.  And those presents, he decided, were going to be knit.  By him.  For us.

He's six.  And in all honesty, he's been around knitting his whole life.  Over the last three years, he's even made a few stitches with help here and there when he felt like trying it.  His interest never lasted for more than a few stitches on whatever project I was working on.  And I wouldn't say he really understood what he was doing, he was just testing the waters.

In September I gave him a huge, beautiful hank of handspun wool for his birthday and a very cool knitting tool, kind of like a knitting Nancy, but very simplistic.  I bought it from a cute little shop in Arlesheim, Switzerland called Ahornblume.

Well, the huge hank of wool lasted maybe two days.  After his initial bewilderment, he absolutely loved it! He quickly turned the entire hank into one unimaginably long knit "snake."

Fast forward to December.

He had a few ideas about what he wanted to make-- ideas that are completely out of reach for a new knitter.  I tried to gently steer him into the realm of things that can be made from a simple square or rectangle, but he wouldn't have it.  Instead, he pulled out our pattern books and started pouring through them.  He came back to me wanting to make Moonshine the elephant pattern from A First Book of Knitting for Children.  I took one look at the pattern and saw the determination in his eyes and said, "Are you sure?  It's going to require a lot of work and attention.  You'll have to knit every single day."  He didn't even blink.

So I pulled out some yarn and let him choose a color, and we sat down and worked on casting on and simple knit stitches.  He has a very mechanical mind-- he's always drawing complex factories for some reason, so he had no trouble figuring out the engineering of the stitches.  In fact, he paid quite little attention to what he was actually doing once he figured out the stitch.  He'd carelessly knit a few rows and put it down again, pick it back up hours later, and almost with his eyes closed, begin again.

It's no big deal.  It's just string.

This was a very different experience for me.  --Three different kids, three very different kinds of knitters.

His whole attitude about it made Sunburst completely crazy.  She couldn't watch him without cringing or trying to help him in some way.  "Your needles are backwards!"  "I think you slipped a stitch." "But you dropped a stitch, let me help you!"  Frankly, he didn't want her help.  He didn't want anyone's help.

He could care less about how many stitches he dropped or if he accidentally slipped a few stitches.  People in this house knit stuff all the time, and it doesn't look so hard.  What's the big deal?!  The more he knit in his careless way, the more panicked Sunburst became, and I finally had to separate the two of them.  The rule quickly became, "If your brother is knitting, you're not allowed to watch.  Period."

And that got us through December.  He knit every day.  I helped him with the shaping-- there was a lot of binding off and casting on involved to make the legs and trunk.  But in the end, it looked mostly like it was supposed to.  There were holes a'plenty, but together we closed them all up so the stuffing wouldn't fall out.  And then we sewed it up together, and it looked like an elephant!  It really did!

He was excited about it for a few minutes, but then it was no big deal. Really.  I mean, who doesn't knit in this house?!!

The excitement came back on Christmas morning when he presented his wrapped present to Moonshine.  He was bursting for her to open it.  And she loved it, of course.  There was no question about it.  She had already shed a few tears when she found out that his first piece of knitting ever was a present for her!

In January he starting knitting a dollhouse-sized doll for Sunburst's birthday using a pattern from the same book.  This required a doll's head made by mom, and more closing of holes and help with the shaping, but again he had the determination to see it through to the end.

He's a knitter now.  He has already started his third project-- a robot for himself.  Who knows what's next!


  1. Oh, Sara, what a lovely knitting story! Maybe boys are different when it comes to knitting. He looks so happy about his accomplishments. Veronika (same age) asked me to teach her crocheting. She has crocheted a little blanket, also quite crooked, but she was very determined to finish it. Congratulations to Kitty Bill.

  2. Thanks, Eva! How wonderful that Veronika is crocheting. I think that is so much harder than knitting-- good for her! There is nothing sweeter than watching these children create things. xo

  3. That's amazing! I think Kitty Bill's approach to life is fantastic....I need some more of that. Just do it and figure it out along the way! :)
    It's great to see you're blogging again.

  4. Thanks, Kelly. I know what you mean. He's definitely one of my best teachers. :)

  5. Hi Sara
    So good to see you blogging again! I have often wondered how you and your family were settling in over the last few months. Your son's knitting is fantastic! His creations are such treasures. My 9 year old loves knitting. Recently he has been knitting a thneed inspired by the Lorax! I am most interested to see what he creates with that one! All the best to you all.

  6. Wow, a Thneed? That sounds impressive! Thanks for all the sweet words and for keeping us in your thoughts, Kelly.

  7. As a child I always preferred crocheting to knitting and was much better at it. So maybe Veronika is the same :).

  8. I have sweet reprieve from Lowered-Internet-Speed-Land and so, in between heavy rains and thunderstorms today, am catching up on some of your old posts. :)

    I still can't believe how grown Kitty Bill looks! As I mentioned before, I always remember him as a toddler. I can imagine that one day, 20 years down the line, I'll see him and go "good gravy, you can't be in your mid 20s!". LOL!

    I think it's so wonderful that he's knitting, and knitting such amazing things too! I could never get my boys interested, though I have, I mean, convinced...ds2 to weave on a lap loom. His tension needs work (shades of his mom; you should see the tight, tight, tight things I used to crochet when I was around his age: all my doilies turned out to be bowls/hats).

    I enjoyed the lovely art Moonshine and Kitty Bill did, and what fun to study snails!

    1. Thanks, Teresa. I know what you mean-- I still think if him as a toddler, too! I have to get over that because he'll be seven before I know it.

      I have the opposite problem with crocheting, my stitches are too loose. I can't seem to get them to cooperate, therefore I knit. :) So glad to hear that DS2 is weaving. Once they see your big loom in action, you might have some competition. :)


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