QUEENS — Knitting isn't just for grandmas.
A Forest Hills arts and crafts studio offers crochet and knitting workshops for kids as young as 8, teaching them skills that organizers say help them relax and concentrate.
The knitting classes, recently introduced at Oliloli studio on Metropolitan Avenue, are for boys and girls up to 12 years old. The crochet workshops can be attended by adults, as well.
“Little kids don’t have the coordination to be able to knit, so that’s why we start 8 and up,” said Sandra Mandell, the owner of the studio.
The workshops, taught by certified teachers, are safe for kids, because they use special needles made for children that are not as sharp as regular needles, Mandell said. They are also colorful and flexible, she added.
During the knitting workshop, which consists of three hour-and-a-half sessions, kids first learn how to knit with their fingers. Then they learn how to cast on, knit with needles, purl and bind off, Mandell said. They also knit objects like dolls or owls.
During a 2-hour crochet workshop, participants learn the basics of crochet and make a bowl made of yarn, Mandell said.
The classes have more benefits than just teaching kids a new skill. They also cultivate concentration and patience, she said.
“It’s very relaxing and therapeutic,” Mandell explained. “It can help kids with their stress level.”
Parents said their kids enjoyed the classes.
"Learning to knit can be tricky, especially as a child when manual dexterity is still developing," said Jennifer Swanson, the mother of 10-year old Lucinda, who attended one of the previous workshops. Swanson said the teacher made sure that her daughter never got frustrated and that "she was enjoying herself while she learned."
"She has come away with a love of knitting that I think will last a long time," Swanson said.
Beginner crochet workshop, scheduled for Friday, May 31, at 6 p.m., costs $50. The knitting workshop begins on Friday, June 14, and consists of three sessions held on three consecutive Fridays. The entire workshop, including all materials, costs $120. Up to six kids can participate. To find out more, go here.