crayons and milk

Evelyn August 25, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — crayonsandmilk @ 7:55 pm
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During this summer, I have been teaching my coworker’s daugher, Evelyn, how to knit. We meet once a week and early this week, she completed her first ever knitted toy! Below is an image of Quacky (which she named herself).

(Quacky didn’t quite get the memo that it’s summertime)

I am so proud of her and her accomplishments especially because she has never learned how to knit before. She is so dedicated, patient, and hardworking. I am just so grateful to have such a wonderful student. Evelyn is also my one and only student but she is the best!


Pattern: Jean Greenhowe’s “The Duck Family”


My approach to teaching Evelyn how to knit?

1. Long-tail cast on
2. The knit stitch
3. The purl stitch
4. Increasing  (kfb and pfb)
5. Decreasing (k2tog and p2tog)
6. Cast off (k wise)
7. Reading patterns (understanding the vocab, g-st, st-st, yarn (yo), b + t)
8. Circular knitting

Have any of you folks taught anyone how to knit before? I would love any advice or suggestions! :) 

Below are photos by Stringrain (Evelyn’s mommy) – She is also a fabulous photographer!


66 Responses to “Evelyn”

  1. This photo makes me ridiculously happy!

  2. Quacky is cute!! I’d say you’re doing a pretty good job teaching her so far, I wish you could be my teacher haha :)

  3. Subtlekate Says:

    I love this picture. Can’t help but smile.

  4. Love Quacky so much! She’s doing a beautiful job, so your teaching must be working ;)

  5. agujasblog Says:

    Cute! You did a good teaching job.

  6. Keep the good work Evelyn, you are already a young artist!

  7. jenyjenny Says:

    Great progression–Evelyn must have a wonderful sense of accomplishment!

  8. frannington Says:

    My mum and I have a small clothes/haberdashery shop. I often knit at work and for this I get looks from some of the customers! Sometimes they ask me for advice too, esp in regards to knitting in the round.

  9. kalfury Says:

    It’s lovely to know that you are passing on your knitting talents, my daughters just weren’t interested. Quacky is fantastic and I love your photography, it always makes me smile.

    • Thank you for your comment again!!!! While I was volunteering in an after school program, I taught a class on how to knit but only a small handful were very committed and interested. I guess knitting is one of those crafts that doesn’t appeal to everyone :(

  10. jamieaaron03 Says:

    knitting can be a lot of fun :)

  11. A. Wright Says:

    Big congrats to you both! Quacky is a big accomplishment, not to mention super adorable!

  12. theroommom Says:

    That’s a pretty sophisticated project. We made a hat in my beginner knitting class!

    • Oh yes, at first I thought it might be too much but Evelyn really wanted to knit the duck and it took her many many weeks to complete it and we learned a lot of new techniques along the way. Everything was knitted in flat, and just learning about seaming was a lesson on its own :)

      Did your hat turn out fabulous! :D

  13. I think that is an absolutely wonderful first project! I have taught a lot of my friends to knit, enough that it is a joke among all of them. I usually teach with a knitted cast-on, because then when the person goes to knit the first row, it’s like “ha ha, you’ve been doing it the whole time!” Still, every teacher has a different method, and long tail is a great skill to have under one’s belt so just teach the way where you can relay the techniques most effectively.

    • Hahaha I think my friends laugh at me as well!!! I have a book on just cast-ons and bind offs! There are soooooo many different ways but luckily for toys, the cast-on and bind off edges are always hidden hehehe Thanks for your kind words and tips!

  14. Such a sweet little duck :) You’re obviously a great teacher! My sister tried to teach me to knit many times when I was growing up but I could never quite get it and to be fair, wasn’t that interested at the time… The step-by-step process seems to work well though x

    • Thank you for your comment!!! Interestingly I have a sister as well and she’s not interested in knitting as well! =p I am jealous that you can crochet! I will a friend who is willing to teach me, so I might give it a try! =p

  15. SilentKat Says:

    I love this little ducky! My best friend is teaching me how to knit and gave me a basic washcloth pattern she wrote. I will admit to being intimidated by knitting in the round. My friend told me she tried it and it required 4 needles as opposed to crocheting in the round with 1 hook.

    • Oh yes! knitting in a round is tricky when holding so many needles! Evelyn tried it but decided that she wanted to stick with 2 needles for now. How is your knitting coming along? Did you finish the washcloth yet? :)

      • SilentKat Says:

        So I’ve heard. :) My knitting is . . .eh. I still haven’t finished that washcloth yet, Lol, but I got the idea for a Hufflepuff bow tie, so that is my current knit project. ;p

  16. cleo14 Says:

    I taught both my little brothwers to knit when they were about 11 and 8 although they were quite good at it they didn’t stick with it. You seem to be a good teacher though. That picture is super cute, the part about it being summer made me laugh.

    • awwww I’m glad your found it funny!!! Thank you for your lovely comment! I think part of the reason why Evelyn was so motivated was because she chose what project she wanted to do :)

  17. yesmissy Says:

    All your knitting creations are so marvelous! I wish you could teach me to knit! Look forward to seeing more posts :)

  18. Susan Shay Says:

    My sister is in a wheel chair as the result of a drunk driver hitting her car.
    She can use her hands, but they don’t work like they used to. Still, she used to be really crafty and missed making projects. So I taught her the backward loop cast on method and how to knit. She can’t manage purling, and to bind off she knits two together, then puts one loop back on the left needle. (Where there’s a will . . . )
    It’s not easy and it’s slooooow going, but she gets ‘er done. :) She’s made a washcloth and a couple of coozies for water bottles.
    Usually, when I teach someone to knit, I get them started with a cast on and how to knit, then help them out when they’re ready for something new or have a pattern for something they want to make.
    Not the best teacher iin the world, but I’m handy and I work cheap. :)

    • Thank you for sharing your touching story! What happened to your sister was so unfair :( Your sister is truly an inspiration! She doesn’t give up and yes, where there’s a will, there’s a way! Thank you for your advice and I KNOW THAT YOU ARE A GREAT TEACHER!! Don’t sell yourself short! hahahaha and yes, I work cheap as well!!!

  19. missmylin Says:

    Quacky is adorable! Good on Evelyn for completing a wonderful first project.
    I’m trying to teach myself how to knit. Thank you for listing out the order in which you taught the skills. It took me a month just to figure out casting on, and the long tail cast on was the only method I was able to understand. Knit’s all good, purl’s a little shaky still, and casting off brings a sight of relief :-)

  20. pictfamily Says:

    That’s a fabulous first project, and beautifully done. I taught Boy Wonder and Super Girl to knit, and after several years B W is still just comfortable with plain and purl and knitting himself a scarf, whereas S G is knitting mittens in the round. I think the most important thing about teaching, once you’re past the very basics, is that people learn best what they want or think they need to learn, and so speed or learning is often related to ambition!

    • I definitely agree with what you said about how people learn best! After learning the basics, I got bored and stopped knitting until I discovered about knitting toys! Thank you for sharing your story about Boy Wonder and Super Girl!! They sound like awesome super heros!

  21. What a fab first project. I’m trying to teach my 5yr old daughter to knit – so far we’ve covered knit stitch. She’s interested but I think it’s maybe not as immediate as she’d like and she seems to expect to be able to do the same as me. But we’re getting there slowly.

    • I know what you mean, learning how to knit can be a very slow process! What size knitting needles does your daughter start out with? How do you teach about tension?

      • We’ve started on 4mm and found bamboo to be best – less slippy. Haven’t even covered tension yet, I’m just trying to get her to do the stitch but looking over what she’s done so far, her tension is fairly even, if a little loose right now. Once she’s mastered the stitch, we’ll work on even tension I think.

  22. iknead2knit Says:

    She’s lucky to have you as a teacher! Thanks for reading.

  23. emyannie Says:

    She did such a good job! This is an absolutely adorable site. I am always in awe of people who can knit!

  24. […] Crayons and Milk- Teaching someone to knit. Awesome! […]

  25. kbsalazar Says:


    An excellent progression of skills! I use more or less the same order, but I introduce notation (prose and chart) at the same time as we’re learning the skill being pictured or described, and give out stitch markers like crazy to keep students from getting lost (and to help emphasize progress, no matter how slow). In kids’ classes I did up stickers with each chart symbol on them, so that the kids could accumulate them like merit badges as they progressed.

    The only thing I’d suggest is that when teaching, you never say the student is doing it wrong. I find folk of all ages are much more receptive when “wrong” isn’t used as a teaching concept. Instead of making students feel goofy that they’ve thrown the yarn over the needle and in doing so have messed up, I congratulate them for discovering an advanced lace technique all on their own (the YO). Ditto on that classic beginners’ move of pulling the last stitch too tight, so that both legs walk up over the needle, creating an extra stitch on the next row. Again I congratulate them on making a “stealth increase” – discovering a method of adding a stitch that’s so sneaky that few knitters know about it or use it. Mistakes then become learning and expansion moments, not setbacks that mark small failures.

    Best wishes for project (and teaching) success!

    • WOW!!!!! Your comment is amazing and I still have a lot to learn about teaching! I also like the stickers idea! I try to keep things positive when I’m teaching as well, but the idea of congratulating them for discovering a new technique is just brilliant! Thanks again for sharing your experience, I very very very much appreciate it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  26. 312east5th Says:

    When I did my student teaching at a waldorf school we used the rhyme- in the front door once around back peek through the window and off jumps jack! The kids loved this.

  27. Wowza! Awesome work. Have you covered gauge swatches yet? Besides getting the stitches down, that’s the next important step. As much as I hate doing gauge swatches, I’ve learned to respect them. The sweaters and socks I knit for family fit a lot better now :)

    Those are some wonderful pics too!

    • OHHh I didn’t cover gauge swatches yet! I’ve thought about it recently and was thinking about getting into the topic of the different weights of yarn. She may want to knit socks or mittens as fall and winter is approaching!

      When you are doing gauge swatches, so you use the recommended needle size on the yarn ball labels? I was thinking about using the same needle size for all the yarn, and then if I need things to be bigger I will then adjust the needle size.

      Thank you for liking the pics!

      • For gauge swatches, I would start with the same brand of yarn, but different colors. Let her pick three different stitches or patterns. I do suggest using the label recommended needles. Have her knit each swatch about 10″x10″. When she’s done, she’ll have 3 new blankets for Quacky, in different styles and colors. That way she’ll learn about stitch variations and their effects on size. If you want to do same yarn, but different needle size, one or two sizes up. Down usually results in harder to knit squares that can be stiff. (But may work better for lace patterns). The larger the needle, the faster the knit.

  28. That is fabulous! What an amazing job she did! I have only taught myself and took some time. And I used a kid’s book. I have only knitted scarves and one simple little hat that had quite a few problems. I love the idea of knitting but it stresses me and I knit too tight. I do get the urge to knit about this time of the year though.

    • Thank you for commenting and sharing your knitting experience!!! When I was little and my mom taught me knitting, we used this non stretchy yarn so whenever I knitted too tight it would be impossible to put my needle in to knit the next stitch and sometimes the yarn broke. Over time, I learned how to control the tension of the yarn. Try knitting smaller projects like toys *wink* *wink* and hopefully knitting won’t be as stressful! <3 Happy knitting!!!

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