One of my neighbors whom we see often on our dog walks, asked if I would teach him to knit when I saw him yesterday. He knows I'm a knitter since I'd made a blanket and some toys for his little sister. He has just learned to finger crochet at school, so I cut him a deal. I would teach him to knit if he would teach me to finger crochet. He thought that sounded fair, and with his parents' permission made an appointment for today at 2:30 -- an oddly specific time for a 7-year-old.
Right on time he pulled up on his bike. I've never really taught anyone to knit from scratch, but I figured we should start with a cast-on. I wasn't sure if he could handle a long-tail, but after a few tries he dug right in. In just half an hour he had cast on and done two rows of knitting! Then it was my turn to learn finger crochet using some bright chenille yarn he bright to our lesson. It was fun and he was an excellent teacher -- I learned a thing or two about patience from him, that's for sure. Then I got a bonus lesson in paper airplane making! After an hour or so of flying planes across the driveway, it was time to head home. I sent him off with some needles and yarn and an invitation to let me know if he needs more help. His mom reports via text that he had a great time. I sure hope so. He's a great kid.
In other knitting news, while knitting with friends yesterday morning, my friend (and quasi-cousin) Abbe presented me with a reprint edition of Dave Fougner's 1972 work, The Manly Art of Knitting. The cover photo alone makes this perfect. It's only 63 pages long. It covers a bit of history, the basic skills, some stitch pattern instruction, and a few simple but quite varied patterns. Along with the usual hat, there are patterns for a dog bed, a hammock, and a horse blanket! Best of all, there is a 4-item bibliography, including one item that I just found using my college's JSTOR subscription (Grass, Milton N. "The origins of the art of knitting." Archaeology (1955): 184-190.) There's a special tingle one gets when the boundaries between knitting and librarianship blur. Well, for this librarian/knitter at least. Thanks for thinking of me, Abbe. I love it!
And finally, I got started on the Miss Grace shawl I mentioned last post. I'm making it in three shades of purple variegated yarn in a 4-skein packet that Skeino calls Barb. So far, Barb and I are getting along. I'm not sure that two of the colors are different enough to show enough contrast, but that could change after I get more of the fabric made.
It's such a cool concept -- striped garter stitch with short row leaf-shaped "forms" that still manage to keep the whole thing in a triangle shape. I've had a hard time interpreting some of the instructions, which in most cases can be chalked up to me not really reading the instructions carefully. I've found that Staci's tutorial has been invaluable for when I get stuck. I kind of wish I'd watched it all the way through from the get-go.
So a bit of teaching and a lot of learning this week, bearing witness to a certain truism. The more I learn, the more I know how much I don't know.