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Children are fascinated by crocheting. Seeing a single string being transformed into something with form and beauty is almost magic. If your child shows an interest in this relatively easy and useful craft, why not teach them!
Crocheting is basically a series of knots. Basic stitches can be learned in an afternoon. First efforts should center on learning and practicing stitches. Practice will create even, well-formed rows, which means you are ready for a project!
There are many wonderful how-to books and collections of patterns and projects. Spend some time researching simple projects for your child before beginning. It is nice to have a choice, so pick 2 or 3 possible projects. Beginners do well with a crocheted bookmark, place mat, or lap blanket.
You may need to learn crocheting so that you can teach your child! Finding a good how-to book with clear photos will get you started. If you haven’t crocheted in awhile, spend a little time reviewing and practicing stitches. There are some helpful websites listed below.
Basic stitches include single, double and triple stitches. There are variations on all of these and they can be combined in a single project to create patterns and textural interest.
Some pointers before beginning:
Children will profit by learning to crochet as it develops fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. If your child can use scissors well they probably can handle a crochet hook.
Get comfortable alongside your child. If your child is right handed, you will want to sit on their left. Put the yarn ball in a paper bag or knitting basket at your child’s feet on the right.
Pull up the starter yarn and make a single loop knot. Have your child hold the hook in her right hand with the string in the left. Show her how to insert the head of the hook through the loop and pull up the string to form a new loop. Make sure it is not too tight. This is called the chain stitch. Repeat until the chain is about 18 inches long. This is a good length to manage at first. You may want to practice making a chain for a day or two before beginning to add the single stitch.
Learning the single stitch is the simplest way to begin. After she’s made a good chain, show her how to go into the first link and draw up the string from the left hand. Have her repeat the process going all the way down the length. Then turn your “snake Eand insert the hook into the first stitch pulling up the yarn and repeating again in the next stitch. Go all the way to the end and turn again inserting hook into the first stitch in that row. Practice this stitch, keeping string tension even. If a stitch is missed, no worries- this is practice.
Once your child has mastered the stitch have her choose a simple project. Follow the directions exactly. If you start to notice the rows getting wider or narrowing, you have miscounted. You can take rows out and do them over counting carefully.
Once your child has completed the project according to the directions, tie it off and weave the end through the stitches to hide it and keep the knot secure.
Your child is ready for a fancier project or a new stitch. Purchase a book illustrating steps of each stitch or go online. The variety of patterns is nearly infinite. Your child will love going to the store to choose among the many types and shades of yarn.
Keep it simple for a while and never allow your child to start a new project till the present one is done. This will prevent a houseful of unfinished projects!
Crocheted items make wonderful gifts. Potholders, coasters, scarves, doll blankets are all easy and fun projects. As your child grows and becomes more able, you can let them pick more challenging patterns and projects.
An important note: Crocheting looks easy, but requires much practice to keep the string and stitches where they belong. Try to keep teaching sessions short and light-hearted. Take a break for cookies and milk while you look at pattern books together. Inspiration can go a long way toward lessening frustration.
This creative method of knotting is fun for boys too. Let them experiment with rug yarn or twine and a bigger hook. They may have fun creating items useful in their play.
Have fun with crocheting. Teaching your child this old craft might bring a lifetime of satisfaction and pride in seeing a single string magically turn into something complex, unique and beautiful!
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