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Turkey Tracks: Kelly’s Potholder Loops Rug

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Turkey Tracks:  December 14, 2010

Kelly’s Potholder Loops Rug

Last summer, days before the Mike and Tami Enrights were to drive back to Charleston, Kelly (5 1/2) began asking me multiple times daily to learn to knit.  I promised him I would come prepared Thanksgiving.

How to teach a younger child to knit?

I fell back on Kay Gardiner and Ann Meador Shayne, MASON-DIXON KNITTING, for ideas.  They recommend a potholder loops rug.  Aha!  All the kiddos had gotten into making potholders while they were here last summer.  Gardiner/Shayne also recommend Harrisville Looms for high quality, beautifully colored, potholder loops.  (The loops we worked with over the summer were a nightmare–poly blends that stretched all out of shape, etc.)  I went online and ordered GOBS of loops and, because they looked really good,  two high-quality boxed potholder loom/loops sets for any kiddo who wanted to make potholders.  (They would make great teacher gifts.)  I had them shipped directly to Mike and Tami.  I was ready to keep my promise to Kelly.

The loops and looms were indeed very high quality.  I HIGHLY recommend them.  The loop colors are beautiful, and you can order isolated colors if you like.

Here is a picture of our beginnings:

Along the way, we made a HUGE ball of the potholder looops–and all the kids participated in that effort.

Kelly could knit, but required supervision to ensure he didn’t drop loops, or get the needle into the wrong part of a knitted loop, and so forth.  We both liked the closeness of this collaboration.  His attention span, though, was only good for 5 or 6 stitches at a sitting.  Nevertheless, he was amazed at how his efforts made his rug grow and grow.  It grew especially at night.  So when he waked in the morning, he checked it first thing.  He decided he wanted a LONG rug to take to school for naps, and we measured and measured each day until the rug grew to be as long as he was.

Here’s the finished rug with, left to right, Bowen, Wilhelmina, Talula, and Kellly.  It is VERY hard to get four active children to sit still.  Kelly has the remnants of the loop ball we made in his hand.

Note:  You  need either VERY long needles or a circular needle of at least 25 inches, and bigger would be better.  This project would make great placemats, especially if you ordered specific potholder loop colors.  You could make potholders to go along with placemats to keep drinks off of a nice table.

Meanwhile, the kiddos first cousin Ella Monahan made a potholder and took it home to Florida with her after the holidays.

And, Bowen, who is now 7, announced he’d really like to learn to knit as well.   Tami drove, and I got him some needles and some Peaches & Cream cotton thread to make himself a yellow scarf.  He could master knitting, though he worried himself to death that he wasn’t doing it right.  But, he was.  And, he’s the only person I have ever taught that grasped the left hand European style at once.  (It’s so much faster, but harder to master.)   Bowen’s attention span was good for about a 25-stitch row.   Thus, the scarf became a wash cloth as Bowen grasped the full appreciation of his task.  And, he asked me to take it home and finish it so he could give it to neighbor Leeola, who, in her late 80s, tragically fell in her front yard and broke a hip a few days after Thanksgiving.

Here’s Bo’s washcloth finished:

These Peaches & Cream wash/dish cloths wear like iron.  I use mine all the time, and some of mine are two or three years old now.  There is a famous, fancy-looking, but easy Peaches & Cream dish cloth pattern.  It’s featured in the MASON DIXON QUILTING book and is on many of the Peaches & Cream labels.

I remember crawling into my grandmother’s bed in Reynolds, Georgia, on winter mornings.  She’d be sitting up in bed, knitting.  I can still hear the clicking sounds of her needles as I snuggled down next to her.  She made us hats and gloves and scarves, and when they would arrive at our far-flung Air Force base homes, we’d feel her love for us.  She also made us beautiful dresses on a tredle sewing machine in her bedroom and boxed them up and sent them to us.  When a box came, we could hardly wait to open it.  At that time, materials were expensive, and bought clothes very expensive–especially on Air Force officer salaries.  Later, I learned to sew on her machine.  I tell this story because these influences stuck with me and appeared down the road of my life.  I hope they do with my grands.