My Learning Project

To explain this learning project I have to go back to the summer months. At the end of June I always like to take home the new Willow nominees to read over the summer. The first one I read was called Fish out of Water by Joanne Levy.

“Willow Awards” by Kathy Cassidy is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

“Fish out of Water” is a great story about a boy named Fishel who needs to come up with a Bar Mitzvah project – much like we have to come up with a project for this class. His project is supposed to be one that will help people in the community. His best friend wants him to help with his project which is collecting used hockey equipment and donating it to kids who can’t afford to play hockey, however this project doesn’t really interest Fishel. For one her really doesn’t like hockey – in fact he doesn’t really like sports to begin with. Doesn’t really like to do the same things that are stereotypically associated with boys.

“Hockey equipment” by Beth77 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND

His other option is to volunteer his time at the senior home connected to the Jewish Community center, however he is really not interested in that either. The one thing he really wants to do is learn how to knit socks so he can make them for people who really need them.

“Seven knit socks” by Tie Guy II is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Now this is typically not an activity that boys in Middle School undertake – and Fishel is met with stereotypes and road blocks throughout his journey. This brings be to my project.

At school we have many classes from grade 2/3 all the way up to grade 6/7 that will be reading book. As a school we are inspired by Fishel, the obstacles that get in his way, and his overall determination to do something that others don’t think he should do. We hope to teach our students that stereotypes can by harmful and that sometimes we need to do the things that make us happy (as long as they don’t hurt others of course). So as Riley learns to Crochet, I will be learning how to knit. I think this will be a really cool project because it will be a real life example of the book we are reading to students come to life. Why can’t boys/men learn how to knit? I want to show our students that we can.

First things First

How to knit – Just like Curtis with his project I have no idea how to knit. I am a complete beginner and have never done anything like this before – and yes several people have already told me that I should learn to crochet instead, but I am determined.

I’ve already started by watching youtube videos and found one in particular really helpful and quite good. If you too want to learn how to knit I highly recommend the Sheep and Stich website. The videos are really easy to follow and for the most part get to the point. Devina – from Sheep and Stich has lots of images in her blog posts and when you watch the videos directly from her blog there are no ads!

So far I have already learned how to “cast on”, how to do the “knit stich”, and I painfully have learned how to “cast off.” However this journey is for a different blog post. My goal for this project is to eventually learn how to knit a pair of socks just like Fishel in the book. Before I do that I will learn how to knit a scarf – to help with the muscle memory associated with knitting, then a tuque, and if all goes well, a pair of socks.

I have already found a handful of people at work who are willing to help me with this project, and I will continue to rely on youtube videos. I am hoping that when more of our classes start to read this book that an excitement grows in the community and more kids want to learn how to knit. I have always found that I am a better learner when I have to teach someone else how to do it.

Documenting my Journey

I would like to document my journey by creating a separate menu area within my blog. I would like to post pictures and videos of my journey, and also vlogs to show my reflection and frustrations. I will also document the wonderful people who help me out a long the way – and hopefully conduct a few interviews with long time knitters along the way.

Questions

  1. Do you know of any other great knitting websites, or videos that I would be able to use, or that you have found helpful in the past?
  2. Are you a knitter? Can you offer me any advice?
  3. I still haven’t found a good sock pattern – do you have one you could share?
  4. Do you know any other great resources in the city that could help a guy out?

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11 thoughts on “My Learning Project

  1. I had to stop reading your blog post halfway thru and text our teacher librarian and ask her for copies of this book. Anytime you can make learning authentic you will have more engagement and the idea you have with this project and your school are outstanding.
    I unfortunately can offer no advice on knitting but I wish you the best of luck.

  2. Chris,

    I love the connection you are making with the book, Fish Out of Water, while also breaking down stereotypes! I appreciate that you are aiming to get your school involved in this project and I truly think that kids will eat it up! Perhaps if you even start a knitting club of some sort, you might find families or kids that know how to knit and could share their expertise! I wish I was crafty and had any knowledge of knitting or crocheting. I don’t have much to offer in the way of resources, but on College Avenue there is a store called The Naked Sheep that sells crocheting and knitting products… I wonder if they offer lessons or could even point you in the direction of some resources? They also have an Instagram page to follow if you’re interested!

    I am excited about your project and am looking forward to following it over the next few weeks… You’re off to a great start!

  3. Chris! Good for you! I tried to take a class once at Michaels, and it was not successful for me. They had us sitting in the middle of an aisle, and I could not for the life of me focus. It was all too much! However, I know there is a difference between knitting and crochet, but frankly, I don’t really know the difference. But my spouse’s aunt did make my kiddo the cutest sweater ever and teaches knitting to Mother Theresa Middle School in her spare time. She may be a great resource! If you’re interested let me know! Your project looks great! It sounds like you have a clear focus and know what you want to do. I am excited to jump along for the ride and watch your project come to life!

  4. I love this project! I wish that I was more of a knitting expert but my expertise extends to a simple knot stitch and anything rectangular. I still make my mom cast on for me so you’ve already surpassed me when it comes to independence. That being said she is the person who taught me, and she herself learned when she was in her 50’s using the internet – so I know it’s possible! My only practical advice is start with a regular stitch – and then as you already said you have planned to start to knit something simple – and also short. I needed the experience of finishing something to keep me motivated so I started with a million dishcloths before a scarf (plus dishcloth type yarn is cheap). Once you get good enough to no longer need to watch, put on a show and challenge yourself to knit the whole time to really get your muscle memory trained. You might already be too advance for this “course” but check it out: https://www.allfreek nitting.com/Knitting-Tutorials/Knitting-Class in case! Good luck!

  5. This is awesome! I’ve watched my mother Knit and Crochet on the living room couch since before I can even remember and it is honestly mesmerizing to watch. After all of these years sitting beside her, I have never even tried to pick up a pair of knitting needles or crochet hooks because she has always been there to make whatever I needed. She does literally everything from hats, mitts, toques and scarves to baby blankets, stuffed animals and drink cozies. She does it all. My recommendation for a first project would be a simple dish cloth. From what I can tell that would probably be her most mindless project that she barely even has to follow a pattern for anymore because they are that simple for her. Youtube is a great place to start for learning the techniques and also learning how to read patterns as well! Good luck and I can’t wait to see how your first project turns out.

  6. This is such a fantastic idea. Are you going to keep your school and students posted on your progress?? They are going to love this and you will be a fantastic role model for anyone who is even the slightest apprehensive to try something new!
    I learned to knit from my Grandma, and she was incredible. I have very little skill left in this department, but larger needles and thicker yarn will help to start! She was legally blind and could still create amazing afghans. In her later years there were many holes in her blankets and a few random colours, but hey, these are complete treasures!! She used to have a bin of slippers that she knitted – I sure wish I had these…
    I cannot wait to see where this project takes you! Good luck!

    • Thanks Lynnette, I am definitely going to keep the students posted. I want to include them in the project in some way or another. I’m hoping that it will somehow manifest as soon as we start reading the book.
      Your memories of your grandma are so special, my grandma used to crochet and I wish I had some of the things she made.

  7. Great idea for a project and I appreciate the inquisitive tone and style of this post. I’m looking forward to seeing where this goes!

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