Knitting for Kids! (and Adults) | Kendra Ortner | Skillshare

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Knitting for Kids! (and Adults)

teacher avatar Kendra Ortner, by hand at home

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Knitting for Kids! (and Adults)


    • 2.

      Your Class Project


    • 3.

      How to Choose Yarn and Needles


    • 4.

      How to Slip Knot


    • 5.

      How to Cast On


    • 6.

      How to Knit Stitch


    • 7.

      How to Keep Track of Your Rows


    • 8.

      How to Switch Colors


    • 9.

      How to Purl Stitch


    • 10.

      How to Cast Off


    • 11.

      How to Finish Your Project


    • 12.

      Thank You!


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About This Class

In this class, you'll learn the basics of knittingfrom casting on to casting off! You will learn a basic knit stitch and you will learn how to purl! Kids as young as 6 or 7 can begin learning how to knit! It's never too late to learn either, I began knitting when I was in college!

Thank you for joining me in this classand please feel free to reach out with any questions or share your success! I can also be found at or at
Thanks for being here! Enjoy!

Meet Your Teacher

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Kendra Ortner

by hand at home


Kendra Ortner is an eclectic artist; designer, painter, fiber-lover, ceramicist, teacher, and all-around creative visionary. As a handwork teacher, she witnessed the magic in children's abilities and skills to create. She loves sharing fun, approachable ways that absolutely anyone can experience this joy! Her company is "by hand at home" because she believes that the art we make with our hands can truly bring us to a feeling of being at home in our souls. 

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Level: Beginner

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1. Knitting for Kids! (and Adults): Hi, I'm Kendra Ortner of by hand at home. Welcome to Knitting for kids and adults. I'm an eclectic artist, designer, an illustrator, a ceramicist, and a Waldorf Handwork teacher. So I've taught students from first grade all the way to adulthood, and I know that this class will be perfect for you. You've always wanted to learn how to knit. So I hope you'll join me today for this Skillshare class: Knitting for kids and adults. Thanks. 2. Your Class Project: Your project for this class will be knitting a jingle ball. So I have a little one right here. I'll show you how to knit this flat and how to do a purl stitch. So you can see it makes a different pattern on the cloth. This is just knit back and forth in the dark blue and light blue, I've knit one row and then I pulled the next row. I'll show you how to sew it up. And if you want, you can add a little jingle ball of your own. Now if this is your first time knitting and you'd rather just learn knitting only. no purling, no sewing. You can knit a play rope. These are actually really fun toy to make into roads or two wear as a sash or to wear as a crown. So there's something that kids would love to play with and do watch them when they're playing with these play ropes. And you can make it as long as you want, or you can make it as short as you want. So for this class, all I want you to do is try knitting and send me a picture. And I would love to see whatever you make if you make only a little swatch or if you make a whole, entire jingle ball, whatever it is you choose, I'd love to see it. Share in the projects below. 3. How to Choose Yarn and Needles: In this class you will need yarn, knitting needles, And if you're going to make a ball, you will need a little bit stuffing and a darning needle. These are the big eyed needles that sew yarn really well. We also need a little jingle ball. If you want to put a jingle bell in your ball. Now let me talk about yarn a little bit. I chose this lambs pride, bulky yarn, and it's a little bit thicker than some other yarn weights that you might see there's worsted weight or a sport weight. If you're just starting out, I would recommend using a larger yarn because it's a little bit easier to work with. So I would use a bulky or a worsted weight. And then on the label of the yarn that you've got, it usually gives the needle size recommendation. This one says 10.5 for the needle. Now, on my needles, it'll say US size 10 and a half. And you might have to look at a chart if you're in Britain or Australia or another place, because I know these come in millimeters and they come in other different sizes too. So that is all you'll need is to learn how to knit today. And you won't even need the stuffing and other supplies. If you decide that you don't want to make a ball, you just want to learn a little bit of knitting. You can use whatever you have on hand. Any size of needles and any size of yarn will really be okay. 4. How to Slip Knot: When you pull your yarn out of the skein like this, make sure you're pulling out that yarn that's in the center because that's what you'll want to work with. Now the first thing we're going to do is make a slipknot. So I like to measure hand to heart. It's about an arm's length. So as long as you can stretch your arm away from your body. And then at that point, you're going to make a slipknot. So one way to do it is to do a twist like that. And then take your little birdie through the hole and make a slipknot. This should be yarn that can slip out easily like this, or it can slip in easily as well. So another way to do it is to just take this and make a twist like that. And then you'll want the yarn to go through the hole for casting on. So that is all you do to make your slipknot and then you're going to take this slipknot and put it right onto your needle. Usually when I do this, I make the tail of the yarn, the yarn that does not connect to more yarn. I make that tail facing front. So facing me with the needle going in this direction. And I'll hold it in my right hand. Now I'm a lefty. So this is the way I learned how to knit. And I really think it's a great idea to learn how to knit just the way everyone else learns how to knit because you do use both your hands. So it's just getting in the habit of what to do and then you'll be able to do it whether you're right or left-handed or ambidextrous. 5. How to Cast On: The next part is the cast on. And sometimes when we're teaching children or even adults a more experienced knitter will do the cast on part for you because it's a little tricky. There are different ways of casting on and some people just put the yarn over like this to get their cast on. But what I'm going to be showing you today is a long tail cast on. So what we always say at school, that you put your, your land, your hand right on the tree. And then here comes the mother bird like this. She swoops down - And you see how I've made this into a little loop over my thumb. And she feeds one to three of her chicks. So and then you let your thumb come right out and pull it. You don't want to pull it completely tight because then you won't be able to knit very easily. But you do pull it a little bit, cinch it a little bit up on your needle. Another way I've heard this described is you come onto here, you make a fist and then you draw the curtain. See, make this loop by bringing the needle towards your body. And you've got your whole fist is still around it. You're only using your pointer and your thumb. And those are the things that keep the curtain open as you pull it towards your body to make that loop, go in that loop and get the yarn and then you drop your thumb. So when I did that, I kept my curtain open. So now I can just do that again. Without moving the yarn. I'll just take it off my thumb. So you can see I'm still opening the curtain. Make the loop again. Grab this yarn, pull it through the loop and off of my thumb. So right now I have my slipknot stitch. I count that as one stitch. And then I have 2, 3, 4, 5. So I'm gonna go ahead and make five more stitches. And this will be my cast on row. So here I go again. I'm going to take my hand through the curtain. Or you can imagine a mama bird lands on the tree and then her beak opens up. And then we pass one worm to worms, three worms. So there are three different yarns. You just bring the, after you open the curtain, you bring the needle towards your body and say you make that loop on your thumb. You go in the loop and pull the yarn through the loop. After you've got it off of there, you pull your thumb out. So where am I add three, 6, 7. Such a good opportunity to count, right? 8, 9, and 10. So if you wanted to make a scarf and you wanted to cast on, I don't know, 20, 30, maybe even 40 to make a wide scarf, you could cast on more stitches. Or if you're going to make a play rope, you could just leave it at 10 to knit back and forth. This is for the ball we're going to do with ten. So that is my cast on row. 6. How to Knit Stitch: So now that you've got your cast on row, what you'll do is you'll switch the needle from your right hand to your left hand. And the yarn you want to work with is the yarn that is still attached to the ball. So not that little tail. Sometimes. It helps to go ahead and cut the tail off so that it doesn't get in your way or you don't get distracted. It's also something you can use to sew with later. But I find that the benefits of cutting it off, especially for children, are greater than keeping it for sewing, because this way you won't get confused about which one is the tail and which one is the working thread or the working yarn. So now I'm ready to knit. This is my first knit stitch. And the first thing I'm gonna do is take my knitting, my second knitting needle. Both of my knitting needles are going to be in my hands where I've got my pointers kinda free. My thumb is gripping the needle and I even keep my left hand on top of the yarn as I'm working with it because that way I can push it along the needle. I can use my pointer to kind of direct the stitches, but I want them to stay on or off and I can really work with it that way. And that's how I'm going to hold the second needle to both of them. I'm going to hold in my hands. So now what I'm going to do is this is the nursery rhyme we say in through the front door. So I'm going in this loop through the front door. And then I kind of grip both needles together with my right hand's run around the back. So I take this working yarn to wrap it around the back. Peek through the window like that, and off jumps Jack side push that one right off. That's my first knit stitch. So I'll show you again what I'm doing. I'm pulling the tail a little bit just now so that I can keep it tight. I'll go in through the front door, run around the back, peek through the window. Here he comes and off, Sometimes they just push him off jumps Jack. Sometimes it helps me to talk about it that way, it helps the children who are struggling with knitting to hear that you can just push jack off where you want him to go. So in through the front door that's on the left side of the yarn. Run around the back, peek through the window and off jumps Jack. I'm noticing something that I have forgotten to mention. And which is the way you hold this yarn while you're working with it. Now, a lot of people like to use the 'I love you' sign to kinda loop it around like this. So then you can go and knit like this. And then the yarn will just loop where you need it to go the whole, entire time. So you can kind of knit continuously. When I learned how to knit, I learned to wrap it around my pinky finger. So I just kinda keep it tight by keeping it around my pinky finger. You don't have to do either of those ways as you're knitting. But it does help to keep this a little bit tight while you're wrapping it. So when you go in through the front door, when you run around the back, keep it kinda tight or not not extremely tight but a little bit wrapped close to the needle as you go through the window and off comes Jack. And then you want to flip it down to the wider part of the needle. One other thing that students often do is knit up here and then get it so tight that they can't slide it down the needle. So make sure every time your knitting stitch, you slide it down the needle so that it gets just the right tension. There's my first row. 7. How to Keep Track of Your Rows: So as you're working, you might want to keep track of your work. So I've got a little piece of paper here where I can make little hash marks every time I finish a row. So I've just finished row one. There's also a way to read your knitting, so you can tell after you've made two of these, there'll be a little ridge and you'll want to count only when you've gotten this on the right side of your work. So basically your cast on row doesn't count. And so not counting your cast on. You will want to knit six rows of this dark blue color before switching to your light blue color. So I'm going to do that now. I'll switch this to my left hand and I'll start knitting and I'll knit another row and make a hashmark when I'm done with that row. And there you can see the little ridge that it makes when you've done two rows. So you wanna do as six rows of your dark color or one color. And then you'll do only four rows up your next color. But we will also be learning how to purl. So go ahead and knit your six rows now. 8. How to Switch Colors: So now I've finished my first six rows and you can see that I actually will have three ridges because every two rows, one way and the other will make one of these ridges. So there's 1, 2, 3. I've just made three. And now I'm ready to switch to another color. So I'm gonna take this light blue. I'm going to pull it out a little bit. And then what I am actually going to do is tie a knott to the other one. I like to leave it connected right now when I'm tying them together. And I like to tie a square knot. So let's see. I'm gonna go leftover right under and pull and pull it really close to the needle as far as I can. And then right over, left under and pull and leave kind of a long tail there too, you'll tuck them into the ball later. So it won't make a difference if you want to just keep knitting, to knit your rope. This is a point where you could decide, oh, I'd rather make a play rope or I think I'd rather be done. And you can skip ahead to later in the video if you'd just like to finish your work. So right now what I'm gonna do is knit my first row in this light blue color. In this section, we're going to knit a row and then purl a row, and then knit a row and then purl a row. So it's only four rows. So before I cut off my dark blue, I'm going to go ahead and start knitting with my light blue. And I'll make sure that I'm knitting not with the tail, but with the working yarn. So this is the one I want. Run around the back. Let's do that. Peek through the window, off jumps Jack. So in through the front door, run around the back, peek through the window, and off jumps Jack. And I often say to some children that you have to push him through the window because I use my back finger to help me make the stitch every time. So when I bring him through the window, sometimes I'll push in through the window and off jumps Jack. So just knit your first row and then we'll be ready to Pearl our second row. And if you want to keep track of this section to maybe make little hash marks so that you can keep track. But after a while, you should be able to read your knitting pretty well and you'll recognize, OK, this is where my cast on was. These are my ridges and this is my first light blue bro 9. How to Purl Stitch: So now I'm ready for my first purl row and I'm pretty excited to teach you how to purl because it's very similar to knitting, And once you get the hang of it, you'll have so many more options for creating beautiful objects. So when you're purling, you're going to move the yarn to be in the front. When you're knitting, you always have it in the back. But for purling, it's always in front of you. So you'll actually kind of, I drape it along my project just to kind of remember where it goes. And then I'll take my needle, go in through the back door instead of the front. And then I leap over and go through the window this way. I think we've made up different nursery rhymes for this, but it seems to work better to, just to remember it's the opposite of knitting. So you go through the back door, run around like this, go through the window, off jumps Jack. So I'll do that for my whole row. I'm going to go through the back door, run around the front, leap through the window, off jumps Jack. And this will also make the fabric lay a little flatter. And it will make the knitted ball have a different texture to it. So it's little bit easier for little hands to grasp. Which is why I like this project. So it'll only need four rows as opposed to six rows when your purling. Just two more here. And then I'll be ready to knit my next row. You can see what it looks on the back, what it looks like on the back. And now let's see on the front. So it just makes these little vees like that. And you don't have the ridge on this because he's since you purled it, the ridges are all on the back. Go ahead and switch to your other hand. And the next row will be a knit. And if you're keeping track, you can go ahead and mark down your purl row before you start that. So now I just wanted to do a little check in about the pattern. We've already finished our knit section and our purl section, knit and purl section, with six rows followed by four rows. And then we'll just repeat this two more times. So it'll be a section where you just knit six rows and then followed by a section that you knit and purl for four rows. And you can see with a ball, there's only six sections in this ball. But you can always choose to do different colors for each section instead of doing the alternating patterns. So that's a possibility. We're making a ball with slightly thicker yarn than this. But the yarn will also, the pattern will also be this size and not this size. So I'm curious to see how it will turn out and I'm curious to see what you choose to do and what yarn you pick, and how your projects come out. So complete your pattern now. Go ahead and finish up with your knitting. Every time you add on a new color or a new section, your ends are going to be all on one side of your fabric. So if you're having trouble remembering, Oh, did I do five or 6? If you can't quite read your knitting, you can also just read the tails and be like, oh well, I know I need to do one more because my tail needs to end up on this side. So that's another good trick to have with this little ball pattern. So finish up your pattern, finish alternating colors, and I'll meet you back here for finishing the project. 10. How to Cast Off: So now that you've finished your knitting, you're ready for casting off and you'll be working with the yarn still that you've just ended with. And this part is really fun because what you'll do is you'll start to knit and you'll only knit the first two stitches. And then after you've knitted two, what you'll do is take the first stitch and leap frog it over the second one. That usually works well where the needle is thin. And then you'll knit another stitch. And you'll leap frog over the next stitch. Just like that. And you'll do that all the way till the end. And when you get to the end, make sure you leave a long tail to sew with, because after you've done all of your casting off, you'll be ready to sew up your ball. Leap frog, knit, and leap frog, knit. When I come to the end, what I'm going to do is probably cut the tail and go ahead and cut the long tail and then leap frog one last time with just my loose yarn and pull that through to cinch it up so that makes a little knot right in the end. And there's your fabric for making your ball. 11. How to Finish Your Project: So now I'm ready to finish my ball and you're ready to finish your ball. So what I've done is cut a length of yarn to sew with. I like to actually sew up the bulky bit first. So I'm actually going to start on that side with the dark thread, um, or the darker yarn thread, my needle and helps to kinda squeeze it and just push it through or slide it through. And then I'm going to anchor that in one corner down here. So I'll put my yarn in down here. And I'll actually tie a little knot in the end of it so that it stays right here. There we go. Maybe I'll tie another knot on top of that just to keep it secure. So I've got a nice thick knot there. And I know that's not going anywhere. Now if this may be a little bit difficult to see because it is on the bulky and the reason I like to, sew this one up first is because I'll put all the tales of yarn on the inside and it's a little easier to do that first. So I'm going to take my sewing needle. And what you're doing is a simple running stitch or in and out to cinch it up. So first I'll do that just going in and out And you don't have to do this perfectly. So I kind of go in and out over the ridges on this dark blue part. So I'm really only taking a few stitches. And then on this section, again, I'm probably going to skip the parts where it's lumpy and just go in and out through the whole thing. It doesn't really matter if you end up going through two threads. It's all getting cinched up anyway. So if you go under two of your stitches instead of one, that's fine. Or if you're having trouble finding exactly where you want to go, it'll work out okay for this because you're, you're cinching it all together anyway. So there's no perfect stitching for this piece there. And now that I've got that part done with, I will go ahead and cinch it up. And then I will be ready to Sew my ends together, I'm leaving this all wrong side out because I'll just flip it over when I'm done. And I'm going to do the same kind of running stitch or whip stitch on this side to cinch up my ball really thoroughly. I'm also going to take a cross stitch right here so that I'm making sure that, that that little place there's no gaps here. This is going to be really secure. So I just took a random cross stitch in the middle and I'm going to do another one too. So take it right from about here to here. Get that super cinched up right on that end so there won't be any gaps. And now I'm gonna make sure these ends are the same length. And then I'm just going to sew up this side. It doesn't work very well to pin this, you might just kinda make sure it's the same length with your hands and squeeze it together as you're knitting or sewing it, not knitting it. You're done with the knitting part. This is just the finishing, the sewing. And there's lots of sewing, um, lots of knitting projects that require sewing. And there's lots of knitting projects that don't require any sewing. So that'll, that's something that I avoided for a long time because I didn't want to mess with any sewing I actually didn't do very many knitting projects that had sewing to them. But when I found out how easy it was, Some of them require. Very little sewing and easy enough for a six or seven-year-old. So it's no reason to avoid their certain patterns. See, this is very simple. We're just kinda of doing this running stitch or whip stitch now this called whip stitch sometimes when you're going over and whipping these two together. So I'm actually going to pull my yarn all the way through here to knot it too, just to make sure that I'm getting this area really secure. I'll go ahead and try another, not something I like to do when I'm sewing things and get it really secure by tiny extra knots. Okay, now I'm ready to turn it inside out. And you can see how my ball's going to be. And it looks like it, it actually might need a little bit of a cinch right here. I can see that I didn't quite get it totally cinched up. So I'm going to maybe do that again right where my finger's sticking through because I would like that to be totally cinched up. So maybe I'll take this one of these threads and make sure I'm getting a really cinched up because they're long enough to that I can still sew with them. Let's get this one through. I think I'm using the dark blue because for some reason I don't think it'll be seen as well. But you could use any color you want and it wouldn't really matter. That helps. Let me check with my fingers. Oh, looks like I could do another one right in this same spot. So right here. I can see that's where my finger is sticking through and I don't want that. I'll pull it through there and then I'll just tie this to another thread and cinch it up are really tightly. So now let's turn it inside out and see if there are any other little holes. Oh, that's much better. So it's not it doesn't have any openings on that side. I think that's a lot nicer for what I want, especially for a children's toy, especially if you're going to put a jingle ball in it. You don't want there to be any gaps because then it could be hazardous. So think about that. When you're sewing up your ball, if you are putting a jingle ball. You don't want there to be any gaps at all. So now I'm ready. I'm going to stick the blue thread in the dark blue because I'm done with that. It can just be part of my stuff mean or I could cut it off. Actually, I think I will because I don't want it to be lumpy. And then I'll put the wool on the inside and I'll be sewing it up with this light blue thread. So now I've got to take my jingle ball and my little bit of wool. And first, I'll wrap the jingle ball up in the wool so that it'll be kind of on the inside of the ball. And I'm just sort of rolling, rolling up a little bit of a center for this ball. There we go. So I've got a nice little jingle ball to pop in there, jingle bell, jingle ball. And let's see, when I cinch this up, it's still not quite full enough. So I'm going to want to put a little bit more wool in there. And I can you can tuck the wool or the stuffing you're using around the sides, or you can take the jingle ball out and wrap it up a bit more. So now I have all of my wall stuffed inside. The ball, has a nice little jingle. And I'm going to go ahead and sew it up the same way I sewed the other side. So I'll just get my needle threaded and do that running stitch all the way around the ball in and out. And just pull that thread a little bit to sort of start cinching it up, see, I think I've almost sewn around the whole thing. Can kinda see it started here, I think, so. Not quite the whole thing. So now I'm going to actually sew all the colors together. So this light blue, I'm going to sew to the other light blue as I cinch it up on a lot and I let my yarn get unthreaded there. But this is one way, to close it up, and make sure it's closed up tight. Have the yarn go to all the light blue parts. Let's see. Just going to do that one more time. Here. On right at the end. You'll want to knot it. So have the yarn and go around. So you can go through and then you'll take your needle and take the tail on the inside of your ball. You want to just tuck it in there. Basically, you can cut it on the outside when you get the yarn to the outside. So that's that's pretty secure. And I'll just tug on that a little bit and trim it and then it won't be seen on the outside like this. And so I finished my little knitted jingle ball. And this makes it great gift. If you're thinking of making one yourself, you can always give it to someone you know, who's having a baby or you can give it to one of your little friends. And it's something great that they can enjoy and play with. I used to put it up near my child's ears so that they could hear the little jingle. 12. Thank You!: Thank you so much for joining me today in knitting for kids and adults. I have more classes here on Skillshare, including crochet for kids and adults, and beginning embroidery for kids and adults. Thanks for being here with me. I'm so grateful if you'd like to find out more about what I'm up to, you can check out my website at by hand at Thanks again for being here. I can't wait to see what you create and I hope that you enjoy knitting.