we are happy to let you know that we have another addition to our ongoing series about homemaking...this post comes from arrow's good friend, amanda kapousouz. amanda was one of the co-founders of arrow and she still continues to support us often- by playing fiddle for us at our events, making homemade things for our fundraisers, or just by being an inspiring mom.
since our lantern walk is tonight, we thought we would share amanda's thoughts on finger knitting. amanda learned to fingerknit from madrona when our children were younger, as a way to make the handles for our lanterns...but, fingerknitting is a soothing and functional activity that can be enjoyed anytime...so, please enjoy!
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when i was in 7th grade, we were asked to complete a project. we could do anything we wanted to do, in any discipline, and present it in a school wide expo. i decided to knit a sweater. my mom knit a great deal and i wanted to join in! i knew the very basics as she’d taught me how to make little blankets for the beds in my dollhouse, and i loved french spool knitting, but i wanted to leap ahead and make something i could wear! i had seen my mom make many sweaters and ponchos for my sisters and i, and i was going to do it! i have a problem where i don’t want to progress slowly; i want to tackle the most difficult thing i can think of AND do it well! this is ironic as we’re talking about knitting! it was difficult and required more time and patience than i realized, but i did get it done and wore it lots!
over the years, knitting fell to the wayside, and it wasn’t until i had children of my own and met madrona during ARROW’s ‘morning garden’ classes that i came back to the handcraft. madrona showed us how to fingerknit one day, and i had never done this: the simplest of all knitting methods! i took to it instantly, and in the following weeks, we made our own needles with her and moved on to making washcloths for ARROW.
needless to say my desire to knit was fierce!! the motor memory of casting on and knitting came back instantly, and it was such a wonderful way to spend time for myself while i had little ones at home. since then, i have been lucky to teach myself new techniques, teach others in formal classes, and most recently to the teachers and my son’s kindergarten class at chase st. elementary. it has been amazing to witness a very intuitive dexterity that a 5 year old can grasp with simple fingerknitting! my own children have been doing it as early as 3 and 4, but not for very long stretches of time.
so, with the upcoming cooler days, i thought it would be nice to pull out some wool and show you the very simple technique of finger knitting, with just one loop of yarn. (there are other ways to fingerknit with more fingers,but this is why i like spool knitting; it’s the same idea, but a lot easier to pick up and put down.) when you choose yarn, children really like to see the colors change as they go, so try picking a “self striping” yarn with varying colorways for fun!
after making a slip knot (see the first youtube video below), place the loop on your left index finger and tighten the slip knot so it’s snug, but not too snug! in our house we use the simple rhyme “once around the back, and off jumps jack”, but you might make up your own to help remember the movements. (see the second you tube video below)
you may notice that you need to tighten the ends of yarn to make it snug again, and you will see a nice simple chain begin to form after a few passes. some will have a loose chain, and others, a very tight chain. this is your tension, and as you fingerknit, you will be able to achieve your desired tension by not pulling so tightly or pulling more tightly.
you may use your fingerknitting for garland, a necklace, a bow for a gift, etc.!
here is a sweet little way to use your fingerknit chain:
- how to make a slip knot:
- how to fingerknit: