I have been teaching knitting to a group of 5th and 6th graders at Mark's school since just after Christmas break. We have had a slow start and there were a few weeks this past month when I could not make it because of colds, a car in disrepair, etc. The students come into the school library for their 20 minute recess. There are two sessions. During that time I have had them share their work from the the other session. At first I have had the students just practice the knit stitch on squares. I will sew all the squares together to make a blanket when they are completed and we will donate the blanket to someone.
We have been blessed with some donations from friends on Ravelry and my family ( Thanks Tauntie!). A few of the students are doing really well. This week I plan to graduate a couple of the students on to a larger project with their own needles and yarn that they can take home.
But here was my conundrum. I have straight knitting needles, mostly size 7. I have some bulky yarn and some worsted weight yarn. My students only know the knit stitch right now. AND as part of the class we are knitting hats for Nest Maine. So I created a little hat pattern for their first project. They will learn how to read a pattern. They will have the chance to play with color. It is small enough that they will work through the project quickly. When they are done with this project I will teach them the purl stitch. I plan to poll them on what they would like to make when they are done with their hats.
Here is the pattern. It will fit a baby up to 12 months. This is a pattern for a very beginning knitter. So I will explain a lot of what happens to the hat as it is knitted.
Garter Baby Beanie
Garter Stitch is simply knitting every row. It is easy to count rows in garter stitch because every 2 stitches make a ridge bump. There is a right side, or front, and a back side. When you add another color the front will have a solid color when two rows are knitted. The back side will have 2 broken lines of contrasting color.
1 skein Woolease Bulky Yarn and some other bulky colored yarn as a contrast.
1 pair size seven needles
Gauge: 4 stitches to one inch
CO 60 stitches in Main Color(MC).
knit 8 rows ( this will look like 4 garter ridges)
Add 2 rows of contrasting color (CC). You may add as many rows of of CC. Just make sure that add even number rows. This is where you get to play with design.
Knit in garter stitch till your piece measure 4 and1/2 inches. End at the end of a back side row.
Now we will decrease the top of the hat.
Row 1: *knit 4 stitches, Knit 2 stitches together (k2tog)*Repeat to the end.
Row 2 and all numbered rows ( backside rows): knit
Row 3:Knit 2 k2tog
Row 5: knit 1 k2tog
Row 7,9,11: k2tog
There should be 4 stitches remaining. Break yarn, leaving a 12 inch length of yarn. Thread yarn through remaining stitches. To seam, sew two edges together using the back stitch. Weave in ends. To make braid hat topper, cut three lengths of yarn approximately 10 inches long. Thread the yarn through the top of the hat. Braid. Knot and trim.
If any of my readers are experienced knitters I would love some feed back on this pattern so that I can make it easy for the students to follow.
I am hoping to teach knitting again next fall. It is my hope to get an earlier start in the school year. I think we also need a little more time and I hope to work it out so that the students can meet for their lunch and recess. It is so much fun watching these kids knit. We sit in the library and they share with me what they are doing in school. The habits and community of a knitting group are all right there with these kids. Did I tell you how much fun I am having with them??
Here are some helpful links:
Decreases especially K2tog
Casting on stitches
Back stitch seam