mine is going on 6 mos, so i have no experience with older kids, but i bring him to local snb’s, and all the women coo and adore him. if he’s sleeping, i can get some knitting time in. if he’s not, i can bounce him on my lap and just listen and watch–almost as valuable!. sometimes, adoring women want to hold him while he’s awake and slightly fussy (“somebody hold me!!!”) and sometimes he starts screaming and we pack and leave and are done for the day.
knitting with him in my lap is nigh impossible.
knitting while he’s asleep in the evenings and my husband and i are blissfully ignoring housework while we relax watching tv is good, but i feel guilty like i’ve eaten a big instead of tiny slice of cake.
knitting in the car while my husband drives is good.
knitting on the weekends when my husband’s home is good.
some women can knit without looking! (i’ve even heard of blind knitters.) i can sometimes do stockinette in the round without watching-- but anything else is impossible.
pick SMALL projects. i’ve been knitting off and on since my grandmother taught me at 7?8? down at Cape Cod. but i never felt like knitting unless it was cold outside! i’m a combination of grandmother-taught and self-taught. and since there’d be long gaps between picking up the needles, i’d always have to re-teach myself with my instruction book each time.
i decided to make a blanket for my son this past may, and bought real yarn in more than one skein. shocking!!! this was my first BIG committed project, and i finished a month before he was born, ends woven in and blocked, no cheating. of course, the sweater, thumbless mittens, hat and baby socks i wanted to make as well never got made (in a size to fit him.)
pick chunky or worsted weight yarn. pick unfussy textures (no fun fur or mohair!!) make hats and mittens with straights, then seam them up, until you are comfortable with DPNs, and try to use 8 or bigger size needles. make stuffed animals. if a pattern calls for more than one color and you don’t feel comfortable joining yarn yet, knit it in one color! pick projects that take one ball or less of yarn. if you can’t easily find the center strand of a skein, try to turn the skein inside out, only after that should you give up and use the outer strand or wind it into a ball.
big projects are cool, but with a little person needing attention, you WILL be interrupted. to avoid frogging the entire thing because you have no clue where you are and your LYS is too far to drop in casually for pattern help, do yourself a favor and punch a hole in an index card, staple the yarn label to it, write down where you are in the pattern each time you finish a major portion and leave a lifeline there (see http://www.knittinghelp.com/knitting/basic_techniques/misc.php for instructions on how to do this) and photocopy the pattern, fold it up and put it in a plastic sandwich bag with a hole punched in it. take your index card with your progress and your baggie and tie them loosely but firmly to the cast on edge with some extra yarn–maybe your cast on tail if it’s long enough? that way, everything you need for the project is attached, and if you can jot down, row 45, wrong side, second increase, stitch #34, or whatever, it will help you remember where you are when you drop your knitting mid-stitch because the little one decided to go for a swim in the toilet bowl (my mom swears she only turned her back for a minute…)
i recommend some chunky yarn and very blunt needles for the 19 mo old. pretty soon, they’re going to want to “knit” also. and if they have their own needles and yarn, they are less likely to want to “help” with yours. (of course, i hear it is very cute when they wrap the yarn for you–slower, but cute!)
there i go rambling like i know what i’m talking about again!
anyway, hope this helps,