Students today come with a cell phone attached to their hip, a laptop computer in their bag, and a video game console on their dresser. So it’s a little surprising to poke your head into a middle school classroom and see students with yarn and knitting needles creating scarfs, socks, and hats.
But that’s exactly what’s happening in the new middle school elective on knitting. In fact, it has become so popular that it is being offered for a second term this year and many of the students who have already taken the class are signing up again.
For 40 minutes, twice a week, teacher Jenna Wolf works with students on their creations — everything from socks to bracelets. Students also do significant work on their own time. It’s not uncommon to see middle schoolers knitting in the hallways between classes.
Some of the more advanced knitters are now making stuffed toys, learning techniques like Fair Isle Knitting (which involves knitting with two colors to create ‘pictures’ in a knitted project), and even writing their own patterns and handing them out to the other students.
For the second offering of the class, Ms. Wolf will be providing students with a pair of knitting needles and a large skein of yarn to get them started on their first project. She also noticed that the knitters were transporting their work in plastic grocery bags which sometimes caused their stitches to fall off the needles. To combat this problem, she gave each student an eco-friendly tote to house their knitting supplies.
The class was seventh grader Charlee M.’s first experience with knitting and now she wants to take it each time it is offered.
“I love how knitting teaches you patience,” she says.
So far Charlee has created a hat, a pair of socks, and a scarf. She is currently learning how to make a beret, and in the future hopes to make a bag, a pair of mittens, a sweater, and a stuffed animal.
For more pictures of Ms. Wolf’s students in action and some of their creations, check out her Flickr album.