The Land Rover Owners Wife

Teaching the Mudlets to knit

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Middle Mudlet is blue Little Mudlet is pink Mrs Mud is dark pink

Middle Mudlet is blue, Little Mudlet is pink and Mrs Mud is dark pink

For several months now both of the younger Mudlets have been asking me to teach them how to knit. I have been knitting since I was around Little Mudlets age and throughout their lives both girls have seen me making a myriad of items from baby jackets, to cardigans, toys and scarves. I’ve even been able to turn out emergency items in a very short time, such as 12 knitted fairy dolls in 3 weeks or so, following a last minute change to Little Mudlets party plans, a yellow hair bobble for Middle Mudlet when it became apparent, 24 hours before sports day, that she needed to wear her house colours for the occasion and the bunting and wildlife used to decorate their bikes, one May bank holiday.

They’ve even witnessed Eldest Mudlets attempts to master the art of knit one purl one and so it’s little wonder that they want to try it for themselves. Of course having watched me churn out complicated looking cable or lace patterns, whilst watching ‘Murder She Wrote‘ and holding a conversation with Mud, they have been fooled into thinking it’s easy and it is really ….. once you get the hang of the basic stitches.

So last night, I rummaged through my needle bag and found two short pairs of needles and then dug out the wool left over from the two baby jackets, with the intention of starting them off today. I figured that with only two days left at school, they could take the whole of the Summer to learn and practice their knitting, if they haven’t given up or become bored with it before then.

The Mudlets were excited to find the needles and wool downstairs waiting for them this morning and wanted to start there and then – well maybe after breakfast – but I had jobs to do and so I told them I’d sit down with them this afternoon. Telling a child you’ll do something with them a little later on is a bit like being on a car journey with them but it isn’t ‘Are we nearly there yet?’ that they keep asking. By 9am I was heartily fed up with the ‘Is it time to knit‘ and so I gave them a full itinerary of my day and I swear they were mentally ticking off each job as I completed it.

Fortifying myself with a very strong coffee (Brandy wasn’t available) I finally sat down with the Mudlets at around 3.30pm.

I normally use the ‘Knit’ cast on method but it soon became clear that neither girl was finding this method easy and so I changed to the ‘Thumb’ cast on method and they both picked this one up in no time at all. With 30 stitches each, it was time to begin the actual knitting and knit stitch was the logical starting place but another obstacle temporarily halted proceedings, when Middle Mudlet and I realised that it wasn’t going to be straight forward for a right handed mother to teach a left handed child how to make the stitches.

It took a me a few minutes to get my head around this conundrum because I had to cast off nearly 40 years of automatically knitting stitches as a right hander to figuring out how a left hander would need to approach them. It probably doesn’t sound all that difficult but it did take a bit of working out, although we got there in the end and by the end of 40 minutes or so, Middle Mudlet had grasped how to do the stitch, she just needed to co-ordinate the holding of the needles, tensioning the wool and making the stitches without dropping any.

Little Mudlet gets frustrated very easily and when she couldn’t get the stitch right the first or second time, she threw down her needles in disgust and announced that she couldn’t do it. Mud didn’t help the situation by telling Little Mudlet that knitting was really a craft for older children and it wasn’t surprising that she couldn’t do it. This was something she said back to me a couple of times until I pointed out to her that daddy didn’t know what he was talking about because he had never knitted anything in his life!

However, pure tenacity kicked in and she tried and tried and she picked the stitch up much quicker than her sister but then she had the benefit of being a right hander like me. Both girls have now completed 10 or so of their 30 stitches. I know this doesn’t sound like much in the way of progress but considering the number of dropped stitches that had to be reformed, or split stitches that needed to be redone and the newly knitted stitches that had to be undone to remove the ‘loop over needle’ caused by forgetting to move the wool under and not over the needle and then reknitted, I think they’ve done okay.

I’m not sure if they will keep on going with their knitting but I will help them if they ask me and, if they keep on going, then maybe they’ll have a knitted square to take for ‘show and tell’ come September.

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One thought on “Teaching the Mudlets to knit

  1. I love to hear of little ones embracing craft, I taught all my children to knit, 2 boys and 2 girls. We would make squares in the winter holidays, these had lived in a bag for years, they are now grown ups 28, 26, and the twins are 21. I recently dug out the squares and turned them into a blanket. There are some rather holey and odd shaped squares but I love this blanket as I remember them all sitting round dropping stitches etc. I have to admit it was hard work at times but so worth it now looking back. Take a peek if you get a minute http://thegrangerange.wordpress.com/2012/08/01/ufo-challenge-from-black-sheep-wools/

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