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September 20, 2001

Knitting and Knotting

Last night was a self-directed study night (self-study for short), so I got home maybe a half-hour before Kelly's bedtime. Since I wasn't available for knitting after dinner, she elected to knit instead of having me read her a story.

She's got all the gross motor skills of a six-year old. She holds the needles in mid-air, rather than resting them on her legs or otherwise stabilizing them, while she laboriously stabs one needle through a loop of yarn on the other. Taking up the free strand of yarn, she wraps it somewhat more delicately than her earlier stab. But then she stretches the loop with her fingers and pulls through the new strand, removing the needle from the original loop. Finally, she grabs the loop on the left needle and drags it off the needle. "Done! Your turn," she says. I then do two stitches while she watches closely to observe my technique, and encourages me with warm words: "You're doing good, Daddy!"

I observe the typically coarse motor skills she uses when knitting her stitch to contrast it with the clear and obvious knowledge of the stitch sequence itself. She struggles to complete the loop, but has no trouble understanding what to do to add another stitch. She grasps the topology of the single thread of yarn looping back and into itself intuitively.

When I was her age (perhaps a bit older), I had two books I wish I still had. I don't even recall their titles. One was a book of knots, with beautiful sequential illustrations of the construction of a plethora of knots. The other was an exhaustive exploration of cat's cradles and other string figures. I think Kelly is ready for the knots book right now, though the more daunting cat's cradles would certainly interest her more.

Posted by dpwakefield at September 20, 2001 11:26 AM