At the elementary school my children attended, knitting was part of the school curriculum. A wonderful woman named Mrs. Hopkins began teaching the children to knit in second grade. They had to knit a series of projects before they could knit proficiently enough to join the afternoon Knitting Club, which was everyone's great ambition, partly because Mrs. Hopkins was such an inspirational (although strict) teacher and partly because truly great projects were produced like chipmunks, kangaroos, and monkeys. Not to forget that the snacks in Knitting Club were fantastic too.
The first project in second grade was the practice piece, then came the dish cloth (the original my son knit is shown on the left), then the pin cushion, then the marble bag and upon finishing all of these, the children could join the Knitting Club and knit whatever they wanted from Mrs. Hopkins wonderful book of stuffed animals. My son, after quietly turning his back on the class in second grade, and cutting his practice piece to tiny bits with his blunt school scissors, eventually went on to become a proficient knitter and joined the Knitting Club. HOWEVER there were rules to the Knitting Club too and since he was a lively, forgetful boy he suffered the consequences of those rules regularly. After he had forgotten his knitting in progress three times (he still stayed for knitting club because of the cheese sticks, and fruit cups that were offered but had nothing to knit that day), he had to write a story about knitting as a consequence. And here it is.....
The Messy Babysitter
My Mom had gone on a run and my sister was crying because my Mom was gone. My brother and I were looking after our sister Andrea. We tried to think of something to distract her. We made funny faces but that didn't help. We gave her some yogurt and she threw it at the walls. We tried to get her to stop throwing the yogurt but she threw some on my glasses and on my brother's nose. So we put her in the bathtub and went downstairs to clean up the kitchen. A little while later I saw a stream of water flowing downstairs. I rushed upstairs and found Andrea out of the tub, and the water overflowing. Andrea was in the toilet flushing herself and saying WHEEE as she spun around. After a little while she started crying again, so we took her outside and to the swing set and since it was raining and pouring a little, she started jumping in puddles and splashing us. Pretty soon she looked like she needed another bath, but not in the toilet this time.
We took her back inside and scraped the mud off Andrea since we decided not to risk another bath. We went downstairs and into the kitchen and started baking a cake. We told Andrea she could help if she stopped screaming and she stopped so we let her use the electric mixer but that was a bad idea. She turned it on and put it on high speed and pretty soon dough was hitting the walls and we were hiding under the table so we wouldn't get dough in our eyes. She started grabbing ingredients and pretty soon the whole room was foggy and wet because of the flour and the olive oil. After we got the mixer away from Andrea she started to cry AGAIN. SO we took her upstairs and gave her another bath and dressed her. And then we had to scrub the kitchen floor and put a fan in the kitchen to blow out all the flour.
Meanwhile Andrea started to cry again, so I finally got out my knitting and started to knit on the pterodactyl I was working on. After a little while her eyes began to get wide and tired. It was as if I was hypnotizing her with my knitting. Whenever I stopped she began to howl and cry, so I just kept on knitting until she started to fall asleep. She was snoring so loud that it felt like an earthquake in our house. It felt like we were in the California earthquake. Then my mom came home and I had knitted a sock, two sweaters, a glove, an undershirt plus some long underwear.
(the bag to the left was also knitted by my son once he was a more experienced knitter and I still treasure it today, 10 years later)