In Australia crochet is introduded quite a bit later than in Europe (I'm not sure about the US?) And the main reason is because of the style of knitting that is taught. In Europe, the continental style of knitting is introduced at Class 1. It is actually very similar to crochet in regards to tension and how the wool is held, so by Class 2, these kids are ready for crochet. Over here in Australia however, we learn the traditional technique of knitting and delay crochet until Class 5
In our class we were encouraged as the Class 5 kids are, to experiment with a flat piece of crochet, back and forth turning the work at each end. Next we worked on a circle. Instead of counting stitches in each round we were asked to feel whether the work needed more increases in stitches - ie. it was starting to curl up or needed fewer increases - ie. it was starting to go curly. I have to admit that I counted my stitches and only increased as per a traditional circle pattern. I can imagine this 'counting' being quite challenging for a 10/11 year old, so I completely agree with the method shown to us for teaching children.
Once our circles were big enough we finished increasing and crochet until our piece was big enough to be a child's backpack. This is exactly what the kids at our school make for their crochet project. It is so lovely to see them being used as their school bags.
There are a million crochet tutorials on the internet so I'm not going to go into the nitty gritty here.
And there is no real pattern for this backpack. The flap is a made by working back and forth once the bag is deep enough and the strap, which is sewn on, is a simple rectangle. My one went to the smallest of our family, Sadhbh, who will be starting kinder next year. As you can imagine, I have orders for three more . . . !
See what other folk have been crafting at Nicole's place today.