When I decided to teach knitting to elementary school children, I had no idea what they should start with. I learned to knit as an adult and I started with a scarf, but even as an adult, it seemed to take FOREVER to finish that first project.
I thought about why a scarf might usually be the first knitting project. I believe it is so that the new knitter can become proficient at the "knit" stitch and create something in garter stitch. A scarf provides lots and lots of practice in this one stitch.
I wanted my students to get the same kind of practice, but be able to successfully finish a project a little more quickly to keep them interested and excited. To that end, these patterns were born.
The Stuffed Monster. Just rows of garter stitch which is cast off, sewn up, eyes and mouth added, stuffed and finished. They learn a lot and can finish in a 4 week class.
To my surprise this was not the most popular project picked on the first round (for session 1 or now for session 2). The kids that did pick this project and finished it, elected not to add the teeth. One of my students has made a few of these (a "family") and she did not want to use the pom poms, so her eyes are just buttons. I must say her little "family" of stuffed monsters is really cute!
Wrist Warmers - this project has turned out to be the most popular. About 80% of the students pick this one first. None of the students have actually made these yet. They get to the length of one, and are ready to cast off, but don't want to knit another one so we turn the piece of fabric into either a bag or a monster.
Bag-this is the project that has been made the most. It is just a simple little bag, but the kids who wind up making it are so happy. I have a boy in this second session of classes and by the time the first class was over, he was half way done with his bag. He is in the third grade. Next he wants to knit a hat and I think he can. Another student has made several of these, but she modified the pattern so that the bag is much smaller to hold her little animals at home - each one needs a bag. She was totally surprised that I was unaware that each of her little animals needed a bag to sleep in - I guess I am totally clueless :o)
I leave my class completely jazzed and excited about what these kids are doing. I can't believe that they have so much concentration at this young age.
My first class of the second session was especially amusing. There are four girls who know each other pretty well and they all sat by each other. Well, after they cast on and figured out the knit stitch, they sat there knitting and talking the whole time. They compared their knitting and helped each other out. Just like I do with my knitting group. A new group of knitters is being formed!!