Kelly and I had a successful first experience in the world of knitting. I used a tutorial I found on the Internet, and with a few stumbles, we got off and running.
The first step in knitting is getting yarn loaded onto the 'left' needle. This is called 'casting on stitches'. I showed Kelly how, and she was anxious to try for herself. With a little practice, she was able to do it without help. I had to remind her frequently not to tighten the stitches, so the other needle could be inserted. It helped that I was able to tell her that I made the same mistakes (over and over) when I was her age, learning from my mother. She wasn't so self-conscious knowing that I'd been there, and wasn't just being critical. We actually worked out a system where she'd start casting a stitch, and I'd say 'stop' when it was as tight as it should be.
Once she had the needle full of stitches, she thought she was done! She said, "okay, let's make a rabbit!" I had to explain to her that this was just the first step. Actually knitting took me a couple of tries, and I had to call Jean in to have her try it too. Turns out she wasn't sure herself, so I read the tutorial carefully, and finally figured it out. Kelly was a little more daunted by this step, since it takes considerably more dexterity and attention to get it right. But with my help holding the needles (they're 10", a little to big for her to handle on her own), she was able to do knit stitches. We were taking turns doing stitches until it was time for her bath. She wants to do more tonight.
For now we're sticking with the basic stitch called the 'garter stitch', and I'll worry about the possibility of introducing the 'purl stitch' if it becomes clear that this is more than a passing fad for Kelly. I suspect she'll lose interest when she discovers that she can't 'knit a bunny' in a day.
I did my strength training after I put her to bed, then took a shower, then went downstairs and knit three more rows with the television running, so she'd get a sense of progress, however false. How's that for devotion?