Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fair Isle Knitting: Class 4

In craft in Class 4, the children are such consummate knitters they are ready to make an item using Fair Isle patterns.  Ideally, the repeated pattern is no more than six stitches in total, which makes the knitting manageable and less likely to be pulled in at the back. The children are left to discover for themselves how to get the results they want. I started with alternate single stitches and soon got hungry to experiment and make the yellow "chook-monsters" at the top.
I found this process very free and creative. There were enough parameters put in place, ie. the stitch limit, two colours, selection of about ten colours, to provide a clear path.  Yet within those limits, a whole world of discovery, learning and enjoyment. I slowly branched out, changing colours, assessing the effect, devising my plan to finally get my monster chooks.
I know some people see Steiner education as too prescriptive, criticising the limit in colour choice in the early years or the sameness of the craft projects, but my experience has been that a few conditions set in place provides a safe space in which to create and discover. For children this seems ideal! And no two Fair Isle pieces could ever be the same. 
I also love how children are developing the skills to make themselves useful objects! A water bottle bag, a knitting pouch, music bag, water bottle cover, a pillow or a vest,
even a present for their baby brother, as my own child discovered she could gift her Class 2 doll to her new brother. 
Empowering! Love iT!

2 comments:

Frockfarie said...

I love the Fair Isle knitting they do in class 4 or 5. I agree about needing guidelines to allow for the creativity to flourish. The people who say it is prescriptive just don't understand why it is done this way and what it addresses. I love seeing the difference in students work when I have given them all the same task to do.

Jo Windmill said...

Yes, the children's personalities come out through the work so wonderfully don't they!