Kids love creating with their own hands -— and they love doing what mom and dad do, too. Knitting and other fiber arts take and teach hand-eye coordination and patience, and teach the satisfaction of watching small amounts of hard work turn into something beautiful and useful. Is your kid ready to learn finger knitting, crocheting or knitting with needles? Here’s how to get started!

photo: by apicturebookmind via Flickr

When to Get Started

Kids might be ready to knit or crochet between seven and ten years old, depending on their dexterity, attention span and patience. As Keli Hanson from Knit Purl in NW Portland told us, writing with a pencil and knitting use similar fine motor skills, so children comfortable writing or drawing with some precision should be relatively comfortable working needles and yarn. This YouTube video has lots of helpful hints, as does the popular book Kids Knitting. Crocheting may be even easier to teach.

Finger Knitting

Finger knitting is a way to get kids into yarn art before they have the dexterity to handle needles or the patience to fix stitches that will inevitably slip. Weave yearn over and around your fingers to create loose swatches that can turn into scarves or a red carpet for your dolls’ fanciest runway events. Check out a simple video on finger knitting.

Getting Started

When teaching kids to knit, you’ll want to start with yarn that isn’t too fuzzy, so they can see their stitches clearly. Many people tend to get big needles, thinking they’ll be easier, but little hands need scaled-down needles and yarn. Wood needles hold onto yarn more readily than metal. Make sure your needles or hooks are on the short side.

The best place to start with the very basics — figuring out what you’ll need if you don’t have a stash of your own — is your favorite local yarn shop. We’ve never been to one of these knitter’s paradises that didn’t have a friendly staff ready to convert new knitters and crocheters. Here are just a few of our area’s yarn shops that offer yarn art and knitting classes for kids.

Happy stitching!

photo: Dublin Bay Knitting Company kids’ corner via Yelp

Dublin Bay Knitting Company
They love teaching kids to knit! There’s no age minimum at Dublin Bay, whose instructors have worked with yarn artists four years and older. Private lessons are available for $12 an hour, normally from noon-4 p.m. Call ahead at least a day or two in advance to reserve a time. Have a larger group? That can be accommodated, too. Just give a call to set it up.

1227 NW 11th Ave.
Portland, OR

Knitting Bee
Kids’ knitting circles with a dedicated instructor mean help just the way your little knitter needs it! Kids can learn from scratch, or get help with ongoing projects. Come to one session, or as many as you’d like. Pre-registration is required to hold your spot, at $15 for each 1.5-hour class.

10934 SW Barnes Rd.
Portland, OR

Knit Purl
Children in Knit Purl’s Knitting Basics class have been accompanied by a parent or grandparent in the past — a great “Grownup and Me” date if you’re trying to learn about knitting yourself. Feel free to contact the store or the instructor with any questions.

1101 SW Alder
Portland, OR

Nitro Knitters
Nitro Knitters offers private lessons in their Beaverton store in Pacific Place Center, at $15 for half an hour (perfect for short attention spans), or $30 for an hour of one-on-one instruction.

10047 SW Nimbus Avenue
Beaverton, OR

Northwest Wools
Northwest Wools supports knitting, crochet, spinning, weaving and felting, and many sessions start with a “tour” of the yarn shop, the different types of yarn available, and the different fiber arts that kids can participate in. Most classes are held on a private or semi-private basis, including advanced techniques for kids who’ve already learned the cast-on, cast-off, knit-one-purl-two basics.

3524 SW Troy St.
Portland, OR

Rewear can set up individual lessons for your kids in any type of yarn art you would like — one hour of individual lessons usually runs $20, or set up small classes for a group of siblings or friends.

3335 SE Washington St.
Portland, OR

photo: by Veronika Y. via Yelp

Starlight Knitting Society
Drop by anytime for personalized lessons and instruction. Lessons are $25-35 an hour depending on the instructor, but like many knitting shops, help is available for small questions on ongoing projects for no charge.

7028 SE 52nd Ave.
Portland, OR

Twisted offers Learn to Knit classes just for kids, but they’ll often wait until they have a few requests to schedule one — so make a request! Classes are for up to four children ages eight and older, and are held in three one-hour sessions so everyone gets a chance to learn, practice, and thrive.

2310 NE Broadway
Portland, OR

Do you have a favorite yarn shop? Let us know in the comments!

—Kelley Gardiner

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