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Teaching children to knit

Which is the better method to teach a 7 year old to knit: English or Continental? Any tips? Has anyone seen a good book written at her level?


I teach beginners in classes and always teach throwing (actually gripping the yarn with my thumb and index finger) in the very beginning to show the path the yarn travels in the standard Western way of forming the basic knit stitch. Then I repeat the process for the purl stitch. Once they have mastered that I show different ways of manipulating the yarn; Continental, Eng./Am., combinations.

I found that in classes with middle-school kids they took about half an hour or so before most of them could execute the knit stitch automatically with no mistakes such as incorrect needle insertions or backward wrapping. The purl stitch took a matter of minutes. One girl actually taught herself Continental before I demonstrated it, a couple of kids started using their right index fingers, some just kept throwing away happily.

When I taught my grandson he was very young. He started by sitting on my lap and helping me form stitches while I controlled the tension and removed the old stitches. We used the little "In through the front door" rhyme. I'm also an Am./Eng. knitter, using my right index finger to do the work. These three factors made throwing the obvious choice. He is still grasping and throwing the yarn (he's six now), so this is what works for him. Besides, he's not rabid about it, so he hasn't experimented with other styles.

If you are a Continental knitter and you are going to be the one to whom your daughter will go for advice, why not start that way? Maybe you could make up a little rhyme that works better for your style so that she has a "helper" when she's alone. If you knit Am./Eng. why not go with that? Is your daughter right-handed or left-handed? I'm the odd leftie of all my knitting friends. All of the others knit Continental and those who have switched say that it immediately felt more natural to them.