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Five Reasons Every Child Should Learn How To Knit

19/09/2017 13:09 BST | Updated 19/09/2017 13:09 BST
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Who taught you how to knit?

Almost everyone I know has that one person who taught them how to knit or crochet or cross-stitch when they were young. It might be an aunt, a grandparent, or even your own mum.

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photo credit: KnitsOnStix

And I'm sure you are happy that you learned how to do this activity. But unless you now earn a living from knitting, you might not realise that learning the skill of knitting was more than just fun.

Here are five reasons that I think every child should be taught how to knit (or learn other wool crafts) from a young age:

Knitting is a skill you can learn without noticing

Most of the skills children acquire before they are school age are learnt by playing and copying. Knitting is no exception. If you look at an intricate knitted toy, or an item of knitted clothing, it might seem an impossible task to make something like that yourself. You would probably have no idea where to even begin, right?

But as a child, when your auntie or granny shows you simple steps - starting with 'arm' or 'finger' knitting, for example - it is just a fun game to play. And when that initial ball of wool gets twisted and knotted and starts to turn into a recognisable shape, it is exciting rather than daunting, as you aren't even thinking about how much further it could go.

Small steps like this make learning any new skill seem achievable. And of course, having a close family member by your side to guide you is fun too!

Traditional skills don't require expensive digital equipment

Getting started with an activity like knitting requires only a ball of wool. Even knitting needles aren't necessarily required at the very early stages.

It is also pretty hard to concentrate on something like learning how to knit or crochet while also watching TV or playing on an iPad. Seasoned professional knitters (like my aunt) might be able to knit through endless episodes of Emmerdale or Coronation Street, but for most of us the level of concentration required not to drop a stitch means it is too big an ask.

As you grow older, having a common activity to do can bring family members closer to each other too. The repetitive nature of knitting can also feel soothing. More difficult conversations can be easier with the distraction that looking at something other than each other can bring.

Learn how to fail

At some point, something you are trying to do is just not going to work the first time. Whether you drop a stitch, get yourself tangled in the wool, or it all just starts to unravel around you. Having someone there to tell you it's ok to stop and think and start again is a valuable life lesson.

Equally, a cheerleader for you who tells you not to give up at the first hurdle will help you to learn resilience, which can come in really handy later on when life gets a little hard.

Sense of achievement

Of course, those small initial steps into the world of knitting will eventually lead to success if you persevere. And when you do finally finish something you never imagined possible at the start, the sense of achievement can last a lifetime.

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photo credit: KnitsOnStix

A close friend's aunt - who teaches all the kids in her family how to knit - told me about a blue and yellow tea cosy her mother had helped her to knit as a gift for her grandmother. Many times during her adult life she'd been reminded of that very first project when she'd done something well. She recently found the tea cosy sitting in the back of a kitchen drawer, used and cherished, and could still remember the feeling of satisfaction and achievement when she first completed it so many years ago.

Skill to pass on

As an auntie, I feel it is my duty to pass my skills and wisdom down to my nieces and nephews (and someday, maybe my own kids too). And all the simple crafts I remember doing with my own mum and aunts - making pom poms, knitting, crochet - come rushing back to me, as I think of ideas of activities to do with my niece and nephew. I am so grateful to have a set of skills that I can pass on to the next generation.

And they seem pretty grateful too!

How to start: There are endless videos on YouTube, which will give you ideas of craft activities you can do with your own nieces and nephews. You can also head over to Be So Baby, where we have our own Knitting Auntie - KnitsOnStix - to give us simple craft ideas anyone can do!