Why English Speaking Children Study Spelling

Yew Know, You Sew and So!

I was pondering some of the weirdness of the English language yesterday while walking home from work. (Pretty exciting, I know, and yes, I am available for parties…) An email question on the No-Sew Stockinette Blanket started it. Why not New Sew, or No So? Then I remembered these notes written on two consecutive mornings by my 6- year old nephew who was visiting.

He claimed not to be the one who used wooden spoons to bang on the bedroom door to wake up his uncle. (He slid the note under the door immediately after banging on it, then galloped ever so quietly down stairs.) The knitting content here? The note writer at work:

One of the first things he wanted to do on arrival at 10pm after a 3 hour flight with no nap? Wind yarn. We did wait till morning. If you have never seen a full body contact form of ball winding, you are missing something. Who knew (or hoo new) that ball winding was so alluring to the first grade set? On his last visit, JB invited the kid across the street to come over. “Hey Winston, want to wind yarn?” “Sweet, yah” JB then bragged that he had wound a skein of Bearfoot all by himself. (I told him Bearfoot was kind of hard to wind because it has a tendency to tangle.) I could just about picture a little crotch grab – yeah man, I do Bearfoot….I dug out a big pile of skeins and they went at it for nearly an hour. With a little time off to break my digital scale by seeing who could lean on it the hardest.

Question of the day? “Aunt Lou, don’t you have any more Koigu?”

In memory of that fine yarn winding fest, I am posting my favorite non-ball winder technique.

Jacqueline Fee’s Japanese Yarn Cocoon

I taught myself how this from Jacqueline Fee’s excellent directions in her equally excellent book The Sweater Workshop. I have taught others to do this, including my husband. I also won a $5.00 bet. A friend who is a talented carpenter and artist, and has some of the finest spatial skills I have ever been lucky enough to benefit from, bet me $5 that I could not put the entire skein of yarn on my hand. He watched in amazement and pulled out his wallet. Beer may have been involved. No beer was involved in the making of the video clip that follows the directions. Mr. Guy was getting all Cecil B. DeMille on me as he filmed. We reshot many times. The shadow is still there and I am still not ready for my close up.

I am assuming that you do not have a swift. You can certainly use it if you do. Otherwise, my Ma Clampett approach is to do this standing up, with the skein around a bucket on the floor. This keeps the yarn from tangling up if it’s the sort of wool that sticks to itself. If it’s not sticky, like cotton or lovely smooth merino, you don’t even need the bucket. Do lock up the household pets however.

1. With the palm of your left hand facing you, and the yarn coming from behind your hand, wind one end of the yarn around the tip of the middle finger of your left hand several times.

2. Bring the yarn around the outside of your left hand, from right to left, to the back, then over the thumb from the back to the palm.

3. Cross the palm, bring around to the back, then up and between the index and middle fingers from the palm to the back.

4. Cross the back of the hand, bring the yarn to the front, across the heel, and around the outside of the thumb, in the same direction as in #2.

5. Bring the yarn across the palm, heading toward the back.

6. Cross the back of the hand and bring the yarn around the index finger and between the index and middle fingers. Repeat this until your skein is all wound up.

7. Remove your left hand, tuck the end in.

8. Gently pull the end that was wrapped around your middle finger to start with. This should pull smoothly out, giving you a center pull cocoon.

9. If applicable, collect your $5.00.

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7 responses to “Why English Speaking Children Study Spelling

  1. That’s super. I do a center-pull ball on my thumb, but your technique is really interesting. Thanks for the video.

  2. That’s great! I am absolutely terrible at winding yarn using the center-pull method. I usually end up wrapping it around a chopstick.

  3. Katy (my youngest) is 4 and now goes to school full time and is just learning how to write and learn the phonetic words. They have taught the phonetic way here in the UK for quite a few years now.

    I learnt the old fashioned way! I agree the english language is so confusing. She brings home reading books now and I have been trying to teach her how to say “the” . She starts off by saying “tur” for t (phonetic), “her” for h and “ee” for e (although it should be said “eh”. Of course when she puts them altogether she says “tea!”. I am trying to get her to say “thur” for th then “eh” for e, but then I have to explain that in the word the “e” is said “ur”!!

    Love the picture of the little boy spinning the yarn! I never knew such a machine existed! Brilliant! I also never knew that there was an actual technique on winding yarn. I have just always made a small ball and then wind the yarn one way around and then change the angle slightly as I go.

    I learn something knew everyday… thank you!

  4. Here’s a poem for you!

    Hints on Pronunciation for Foreigners

    I take it you already know
    of tough and bough and cough and dough?
    Others may stumble but not you,
    on hiccough, thorough, laugh and through.
    Well done! And now you wish, perhaps,
    to learn of less familiar traps?

    Beware of heard, a dreadful word
    that looks like beard and sounds like bird.
    And dead: it’s said like bed, not bead;
    For goodness’ sake don’t call it ‘deed’!
    Watch out for neat and great and threat
    They rhyme with suite and straight and debt.)
    A moth is not a moth in mother

    Nor both in bother, broth in brother,
    And here is not a match for there,
    Nor dear and fear for bear and pear,
    And then there’s dose and rose and lose–
    Just look them up–and goose and choose.
    And cork and work and cards and ard
    *ward*

    And font and front and word and sword.
    And do and go and thwart and cart–
    Come, come, I’ve hardly made a start!
    A dreadful language? Man alive!
    I’d mastered it when I was five.

  5. Here’s a poem for you!

    Hints on Pronunciation for Foreigners

    I take it you already know
    of tough and bough and cough and dough?
    Others may stumble but not you,
    on hiccough, thorough, laugh and through.
    Well done! And now you wish, perhaps,
    to learn of less familiar traps?

    Beware of heard, a dreadful word
    that looks like beard and sounds like bird.
    And dead: it’s said like bed, not bead;
    For goodness’ sake don’t call it ‘deed’!
    Watch out for neat and great and threat
    They rhyme with suite and straight and debt.)
    A moth is not a moth in mother

    Nor both in bother, broth in brother,
    And here is not a match for there,
    Nor dear and fear for bear and pear,
    And then there’s dose and rose and lose–
    Just look them up–and goose and choose.
    And cork and work and cards and ward

    And font and front and word and sword.
    And do and go and thwart and cart–
    Come, come, I’ve hardly made a start!
    A dreadful language? Man alive!
    I’d mastered it when I was five.

    by T.S.W.

  6. I LOVE it – I’m surprised I’ve never seen it before. Thanks! Maybe it will help me to think that after learning to speak and read English all this other stuff is simple!

  7. Pingback: Be Vewy Vewy Quiet… « The Knerdy Knitter

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