I’ve never been a knitter. So it came as quite a surprise to me (as I’m sure it did to many) that knitting turned out to be an incredibly useful project for our makerspace. We tried knitting for the first time at our library this past summer by participating in World Wide Knit in Public Day. I had helped out with WWKIP Day at my previous library, so I knew a couple simple projects already. We used yarn to make pom-poms, and I fashioned looms out of toilet paper rolls and craft sticks.
According to this article by the New York Times, knitting is proven to reduce stress and has health benefits for people with depression, eating disorders, and chronic pain. It also helps with cognitive skills and memory. Aside from these benefits, knitting is a great way to connect STEM and the arts in the library, because knitting helps develop basic skills that can transfer to other (sometimes high tech) projects. It gives kids the opportunity to practice measurement, prediction, and sequencing–skills that are needed for both reading and coding.
We brought knitting back recently for a makerspace project. It was fun to see how different kids adapted to learning how to knit. There were some kids who needed to be guided for a while, and others who understood exactly what to do after the first knot. And while there were some kids who got frustrated and gave up too quickly, there were still others who became entranced in the knitting process and lost track of time.
Because knitting does take so much time, we have knit kits that can be check out. They come with a loom, some yarn, a picture book, a non-fiction book so that kids can learn more on their own, and a picture book. Click this link to see our tutorial video on how to knit with a circular loom!