I hear it in family conversations and in parent teacher conferences about how teens these days just aren’t the same. They play video games and just don’t have an appreciation of the old things. But that isn’t quite a true statement. True, the technology for entertaining them has far surpassed what we imagined even a decade ago, but children are still the same. They relate better to people than things and they are always excited to learn a new activity where they can use their hands and creative thinking.

At Upstate libraries and yarn shops, teens are learning a new to them, old skill: knitting. 

“We do offer programs on finger knitting to teens ages 13 – 17,” Daneen Schatzle, Communications Supervisor of the Greenville Library System, said. “The library also offers free access – with your library card – to an online resource through our website called Creative Bug. Creative Bug features hundreds of crafting video tutorials including many on knitting and crochet.”

Spartanburg County Libraries’ popular KnitWits program is currently on hiatus due to a staff shift, but its return is in the works.

“Teens want to learn for various reasons,” Jessie Brushaber, Teen Services Librarian for Spartanburg County Libraries, said. “Some are generally crafty and are interested learning additional creative skills. Some say that a family member who knits or crochets encouraged them to come. Sometimes, we invite teens into the program because they’re hanging out in the Teen Hub – we hope they come to love knitting!”

In my own middle school classroom, when I introduce knitting as an enrichment offering, students jump at the chance to learn. They also find there are side benefits such as improved handwriting, increased focus and a time where they can just be calm. 

Best of all, I hear from my students that knitting brings them closer to their family. Time and time again, I hear of a student having something he or she can show off to grandma, just as she can share something of hers.

Encourage your knitters with these books:

“100 Knits: Interweave’s Ultimate Pattern Collection” (Penguin Random House) is an enormous collection of patterns that will keep tweens and teens going for decades. It covers a range of skills and techniques.

“Knits from the Greenhouse” by Conelia Bartlett (Penguin Random House) focuses on creating from plant-based yarns, such as cotton, linen and hemp. It includes patterns for timeless clothing and accessories. 

Learn the basics from A-Z with “The Knitter’s Dictionary” by Kate Atherley and remember your projects with “My Stitches: A Knitter’s Journal” by Interweave. 

Read or Share this story: