Guest Author - Kate Pullen
Teaching someone to crochet is a wonderful way of giving them a gift that will last for life. There are many other ways that teaching crochet can be of benefit, however, and one of these is to help building bridges across generations.
Many young people are interested in knowing how to crochet, however have not been taught the skills. One way of passing the skill down through generations is to offer lessons to schools and youth groups. An interesting variation on this is to 'trade skills', where a group of older adults spend time teaching youngsters how to crochet and in return the children teach the adults about computers or something else that they might find useful.
This is an interesting way of sharing skills and is good for both groups. It is ideal for the older adults as it gives them an opportunity to share their crochet knowledge and to work with youngsters. This can be very rewarding – particularly if the older person has grandchildren that live a long way away, as this can help fill a gap that is left. It is also great for the youngsters, as they have the opportunity to mix with another generation while also sharing their knowledge about computers or other technologies. Many youngsters have a wealth of knowledge of computers, but as they have been bought up with them, they are inclined to take it for granted.
Many schools and youth groups will welcome such an approach and while there will be some considerations that need to be taken into account – for instance background checks are sometimes required when adults work with young children, these are straightforward procedures and not too onerous. Teachers are often grateful for the help and support as this is a good addition to many art subjects.
What to Teach?
Young children need only learn a few basic skills to give them the grounding in crochet. A few basic stitches such as chain stitch, double crochet and perhaps treble crochet will give someone the basics for making many accessories and garments.
Ideal beginner projects are anything that is quick and easy to complete – hats are particularly popular.
What Can the Children Give in Return?
If the youngsters are going to work with the adults helping them use computers and the Internet then a great project would be to teach people how to search for free crochet patterns and store the links or the files on a computer. This is a project that will appeal and which both groups will enjoy.
There are many ways that skills such as crochet can have a positive community benefit and it is fun to explore the possibilities.