When my four-year-old nephew first asked me if I would teach him how to knit, I told him, “When you’re five.” Why five? No other reason than that’s when my grandmother taught me. But when he asked again several weeks later, and added, “You can have your knittin’ and I can have my knittin'” — yes, he dropped the ‘g’ — my heart melted. How could I resist this sweetness? Answer? I couldn’t and before you could say “stockinette” we were in my spare yarn stash picking out the best choice for his first project.
He was concerned about getting poked with sharp knitting needles so I used a pair of #9 bamboo circulars and cast on a dozen stitches. As I knit the first three rows, I explained what I was doing and composed a little ditty to make it easier for him to remember the process:
In; Around; Pull through; Slip off.
He recited each step of the process with me as I knit, hesitantly and then with confidence.
At last it was time for him to give knitting a try. He sat on my lap and gripped the needles — like he was grabbing the steering wheel of a Mac truck! Modeling a softer handle-hold took some practice and then it was time for him to start working with the yarn.
I encouraged him to continue reciting our little ‘poem’ while making each stitch. When I said, “You’re making a little scarf!” he giggled with glee. As he neared the the end of his first row he got progressively more excited. When the 12th and last stitch made it onto the right-hand needle, he had had enough. We set aside his inaugural knitting project with pride and enthusiasm for the possibilities it offers for our future as aunt and nephew, side-by-side on the sofa!