Crochet Today… like a 5-year-old. Tips for teaching your budding crafter

I’m really enjoying being able to write more about the crafts I love in this freelance phase of life. And it was a particular kick to team up with my 5-year-old daughter Abby to write a piece for the January/February 2010 issue of Crochet Today! I taught her how to crochet and then documented our crochet adventure for the magazine.

I learned to crochet when I was five, so this is a bit of a rite of passage in my family. And I’m happy to report that weeks after I turned in the article, Abby is still crocheting. In fact, she fell asleep crocheting a necklace for one of her friends Sunday night and I had to retrieve the hook and rainbow skein from her bed. (Somebody pinch me, please. : )

When Abby’s little sister, Amelia, saw the magazine she said, “Wow, Abby, you’re famous!” and gave her a hug. Gotta love that sisterly support.

Looking back on our crochet adventure, I think I probably ended up learning more from Abby than she did from me. She pressed me to explain techniques I usually complete on autopilot and challenged me to be more patient. It was a great experience to share with her.

Flip to page 94 for the story of our crochet adventure. And be sure to check out fun patterns from former CraftSanity Podcast guests, Regina Rioux Gonzalez (episode 1) and Drew Emborsky, (episode 15) too. (Thankfully, I’ve improved my podcasting skills a bit since recording these earlier shows. Cringe.) In the meantime, here a few tips I collected along the way to help you hook a young crafter on crochet.

The Right Time to Teach: For best results, wait until the your child has developed the fine motor skills and attention span required to hold and maneuver the hook. By age 5, many boys and girls can handle learning the basics. If your budding crafter becomes frustrated, take a break and delay the next lesson for several months to a year.

Keep It Simple: Start your child off with a foundation chain using a size “G” or “H” hook and some worsted or medium weight yarn. Help your child think of creative ways to use those chains such as making necklaces, bracelets, shoelaces, gift embellishments and hair ties.

Their Way Is OK: Even though it’s easier to follow the rules and wind the yarn through your fingers on the hand opposite your hook to control tension, this is tricky for a child to master. It’s OK to let your child start crocheting “her way,” and then recommend small adjustments as they become more familiar with the craft.

Reality Check: The fact that you love crochet is not enough to make them love it. And if they do seem to enjoy it, play it cool because over-enthusiasm from a parent may result in little Suzy losing interest.

This last tip is the most challenging for me to live by because I have a really hard time playing it cool. Abby knows I love it when she crafts with me. And at the end of the day, when I’m retrieving the “H” hook from her bed, I guess that’s not such a bad thing.

Ok, now go forth and teach a child in your life to crochet.

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