teaching your kids to knit

Something that I hope my kids will leave home with is knowing how to knit and sew. They have grown up with knitting projects around the house (Ok and if I confess knitting needles behind couch cushions) and a room full of fabric and wool (there are worse problems to have than an overflowing craft room). But finding the time to teach budding crafters can be hard when you’re struggling to find the time for your craft yourself. And then there is that little thing called patience.

I started teaching my big girl to knit last winter, then we got her a little loom and now we’ve gone back to the big needles and some chunky wool. I’m sure she wanted to knit when she was in kindergarten but it was only really last year and this year that she’s had the patience to sit down and give it a good go. We start with 8 ply or a thicker wool. I find if you go too thin with your wool that it seems to slip off but a thicker wool makes bigger stitches and they are easier to keep on needles. You can buy cute needles for kids and look for some that are fairly short as they are easier for little people to work with.

If you don’t know what needles to get just pop into your nearest wool shop or spotlight or lincraft (even big w will have yarn) and pick up some yarn in a colour they love. Look at the label and you’ll see a little pair of knitting needles printed on the label. That’s the size you’ll need. Now there is a number there and I go by the mm. So this says 7.5mm but we had 7mm and that will be perfect for learning

I generally cast on and then let her go. But don’t leave them. That’s where it all goes badly if I move away or rush off to do something else. I’ll guide her hands for the first row or two then sit next to her. And stay there. Little things that a knitter takes for granted like which way the wool wraps around the needle aren’t straight forward to a new knitter so be there to tell them which way the wool goes and fix any mistakes.

A wonderful book to use is this one. A first book of knitting for children, which has lots of big pictures, very simple instructions, little rhymes and some simple patterns. I think it’s the best I’ve seen (and I’ve seen a few knitting books in my time). The craft section is always the first place I go in any book store or library.

and of course don’t forget youtube, my kids know their way around a computer and youtube (well my son got his first merit award for this year for helping other kids log on and off their computer so that’s a sign). However, not all youtube tutorials were created equal but this one is nice and slow and clear. And of course supervise the kids on youtube.

When it comes to first projects I would recommend something simple that isn’t going to take forever. A square cotton facewasher, little blanket for their teddy or doll or a little coaster for their mug or placemat. I know you think of a scarf but that would take forever and kids just give up. Great for a second project but not really the first.

Got a question just ask………………



  1. I taught mine with a song ( from my steiner stage I think!)
    In through the bunny hole and around the big tree
    Out through the bunny hole and away runs he!
    I still hear my daughter singing it to herself when she gets stuck ! And she taught her friends – very relaxing for them during year 12

  2. I taught my daughter a couple of years ago. She loved it & was very enthusiastic in the beginning. She had to go upstairs to Nanny’s if she had any major dramas as I am a fairly basic knitter & can’t fix things, I still rely on my Mum upstairs to fix my mistakes ☺ She hasn’t done any for a while but at least she has the basic idea if she wants to start again when she is older.

  3. Brings back memories – my mother was an awesome knitter and I learned to knit from her. I needed it to pass my guide badges. She must have regretted it – the first thing I made was a hair band with about 12 stitches on it. I couldn’t figure out how to turn it around and start the next row. I remember sitting in the kitchen as she made supper and getter her to stop every 5 minutes and help me get restarted. Must have worked. I have no problems knitting now. Once I knew how to knit she – forced me to hold the needles properly so that I would have proper tension. She was right. And she should know as she made loads of socks for the troops during WWII. My kids all know how to knit and use it to relax themselves.

  4. Love seeing next generation wanting to learn handcrafts. My first piece was a yellow 8 ply rectangle that became a dolls dress with daisy flower covering my mistakes- made at age 5. I still have the panda dolls I knitted with my nan aged 10. Don’t forget to show the finished project please.

  5. Louise Baker says:

    I am going to improve my knitting skills with these resources, thanks Corrie. In your studies of all things crafty, Have you come across any good resources for teaching crochet?

  6. I taught my daughter to knit over the winter too. And she and a friend were taking their knitting to do at afterschool care!! I had some variegated rainbow wool and she knitted a blanket for her dolls (holes and all). She hasn’t knitted much since then.

    But last night I was knitting (a cardigan for myself, 5ply – very slow going) and she said “I can do that type of knitting” (it was a knit row, not purl). Made me think I should get her knitting again!

  7. I tried to teach mine last winter…they gave up pretty quickly. I might give it another go this winter. Or try crocheting!

  8. I tried to teach my girl who is 5, but she bored quickly. Is this age too early for starting ? What do you think? We started with awl, not needle. Which one do you think is more suitable for youngester? Thanks.

    • yep for some reason my girl just didn’t have the manual skills or patience but by 7 or 8 they are raring to go. Pom pom makers however are fabulous at this age!

  9. I still remember my Grandma teaching me how to cast on when I was about 15. I can only do basic knitting so far. Then last year I decided I wanted to take it up again but couldn’t for the life of me remember how to start. Then out of no where I heard my Grandma talk to me and I remembered how she taught me and off i went. Am hoping to learn how to knit socks this year and spend time with Mum so she can help me read patterns and grow in confidence. So glad I learnt the very basics when I was younger.

  10. I started the kids on cross stitch a couple of years ago once I let go of my need for them to be perfect. I’m slowly teaching crochet first because I need to get some shorter knitting needles I’ve only got extra long ones which really weren’t working. I like crochet because I can walk away, I rarely have the time when the kids are home and wanting to learn to just sit next to them for 30 minutes.

  11. My mum tried to teach me several times as a child but it didnt stick. Two years ago i taught myself off youtube and asked mum when i got stuck. I guess its all in the teaching 😛

  12. I’m not on facebook, Corrie but wanted to wish you a very, very HAPPY BIRTHDAY today!!! Christine

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