A couple of days ago DD2 came to me with a couple of needles and a ball of wool that some kind soul have given her, and announced she wanted to learn to knit.
This did not bode well. DD2 is 9 and not known for her stick-ability. She is the most likely of all the kids to have a tantrum about something she finds difficult and I had no doubt at all that her wool and needles would be dumped in a corner in disgust by the time the day was over.
Add to that, the fact that I am probably the world’s least patient mother and lastly, that I didn’t know how to knit and really, I’d be forgiven for considering the whole enterprise doomed, wouldn’t I?
Luckily there were some instructions that came with the box, so at first I told DD to read and follow those. Of course this was a cop out on my behalf and didn’t work. She came to me in tears, saying she didn’t understand the diagrams, so I grabbed them took a look, and started casting on.
‘Hang on’ you say, ‘Didn’t you just say you couldn’t knit?’
Yes. Yes, I did. But it wasn’t for lack of instruction. My Nanas had both tried to teach me when I was little, and had failed. I had turned to crochet instead, but I guess something must have gone in, because now, 30 years later, I managed to cast on 20 stitches successfully, and knit a couple of rows no trouble at all.
Flushed with my own success, I started to try to teach DD2.
It was so frustrating. I’d knit half a row and leave her with the rest and thirty seconds later she’d be back at my side, crying and screaming because she’d dropped a row of stitches or got into a tangle. I must have ‘fixed’ things about 50 times in the first hour, but gradually the cries of ‘Muuuuuum’ grew less as she managed a bedraggled row or two on her own.
I reassured her that everyone is pretty rubbish at knitting to begin with, and gradually her handiwork grew longer. Then disaster struck; she left it on the floor and DS got hold of it and pulled the whole thing off the needles and apart.
There was a bit of screaming and threats of bodily harm, but I persuaded her to leave it for the night and we started afresh the next morning.
Since yesterday, she’s been knitting slowly and steadily- maybe one stitch every 10 minutes or something but it’s growing and she’s making less mistakes. I’m called over to admire her work rather than fix it now.
I’m very, very proud of DD2. This is a big deal for her, and for me. She’s learnt something about perseverance and I’ve proved that I *can* be patient. I don’t think I’ve ever managed to teach any of my children anything half so complicated without losing my temper before.
I guess knitting is pretty much this week’s craft for DD2 and is unlikely to yield much more than a square, but who knows? Maybe she’ll keep going and given long enough, she may even manage a scarf by the time winter rolls around.
Whatever the final result, she now knows how to knit.