Sometimes when knitting in public at a doctor's office or waiting for a kid, I'll catch the attention of a child. Some are shy about it and others downright stare at me. I can tell if they don't have a crafty person in their family. They are curious and fascinated. I wish I could sit them down and teach them a row or two.
The response I get from adults ranges:
Sentimental - "My mom/grandma used to do that. I never learned..."
Sarcastic - "You know that you can buy socks, right?"
Or a look like I might as well be churning butter.
Crafty people get it. In today's world of instant gratification and throw away clothes and toys, it's nice to have something that takes more time, thought and skill to produce. When you sit at a computer all day producing emails and electronic output, it's satisfying to create something you can hold in your hands.
Numerous studies have recently been shared about the health benefits of knitting. When you sit with your work, your mind and your heart quiets. Unless it's a particularly challenging pattern, you can let you mind wander to think deep thoughts or no thoughts.
For children, the ability to sit and knit has so many benefits. Knitting increases fine motor skills. It teaches patience, attention and "stick-to-it-iveness". To make something beautiful (or not) with your hands and produce something tangible that you can share with others creates pride like no other. It teaches a little history and a whole lot of math.
I don't expect my students to stick with knitting through all their school years. Life gets busy with school, sports, jobs, romance, and college dreams. But, I hope they can turn to it in times of boredom or stress or when they just need to feel something in their hands. I hope they will connect with other knitters of all ages when they wear their finished knits. I hope that those who will put it away will rediscover it in adulthood when they find they need a creative outlet again.
I look forward to starting them on their knitting journey and see what their young hands create.