One of the things I love about knitting is sharing what I know (which admittedly is in a constant state of learning) with others, especially kids. About a month ago, Karie, the wife in the husband-wife team who owns Hawaiian Beanz, told me that her daughter Amanda would like to learn how to knit. Amanda and I had talked several times, and of course, she’d seen me knitting with my friends there on numerous occasions.
Not only did Amanda want to learn how to knit, but she wanted ME to teach her! When Karie told me that, I was really touched. Apparently, Amanda felt a real rapport with me, which melted my heart even more.
Not only that, but Amanda told her mom it’d be fair to do a barter: a latte gift certificate in exchange for knitting lessons. She’d worked it all out. I told Karie I would teach Amanda for nothing; but a latte or two it was.
I told Karie to take Amanda to get some yarn and some needles (I suggested 13-15’s). I told her to make sure Amanda got yarn that she really loved, not just some old junk kind to practice on.
So one Saturday afternoon, Amanda and I sat down on the couch at Hawaiian Beanz and I showed her how to cast on, how to hold the yarn, and how to take those first few stitches. Within just a couple of minutes, truly that was all, Amanda was knitting like a pro. I made sure to tell her to count her stitches at the end of every single row to make sure she hadn’t dropped any.
I’ve taught about 10 people how to knit, and I’ve never seen anyone catch on as fast as Amanda did. She was awesome! She never did feel fumble-fingered, and knit from row to row without any problems at all.
There we were, the two of us, generations apart in age, sitting there on the couch together, laughing and talking like old friends. I couldn’t help but get small kine wai maka (teary) at the thought that out of all the things this delightful 12-year old could be doing, she chose to be there with me.
Since that time, whenever Amanda comes in with her mom or dad and sees me or several of us knitting, she just plops herself down with us, and the circle is complete. Just the other day I was sitting there knitting with Julie, a quiet spot in the middle of the day. Amanda came racing in, (she’d seen my car outside), saw us, (her dad was waiting in the pickup outside) and asked me rather breathlessly, “Are you going to be here for awhile?”
“Yeah”, I said, smiling, and she ran outside, grabbed her knitting from the pickup, flew back inside, and sat herself down next to me on the couch, and our group was made bigger by one.
I marvel at Amanda’s self-assurance, her confidence, and her social abilities, things I never had at her age. She’s polite, smart and articulate, and feels comfortable with women old enough to be her mothers or grandmothers. She blesses my life just by her presence, and I look forward to our knitting times.
Amanda made and finished her first scarf within a week. A few days later, she was pau with her second, and is now about halfway done with her third. Two of them are being made as gifts, which I think is wonderful.
There is so much more to all this than just teaching an almost-teen to knit. It’s about companionship, and bridging the generation gap, and sharing aloha. It’s knowing that just as knitting connects stitches together, it also connects people, no matter how young or how old.
Amanda and her first scarf. She has that kolohe (rascal) gleam in her eyes. I love it!
[Photo posted with permission from Amanda as well as her parents.]