Sewing together

Ella and I have embarked on a slightly more structured homeschooling journey this year.  While I’ve always had a Waldorf-inspired home, with lots of song, outdoor time, natural materials, open ended creative play, and child involvement in homemaking, this year we’ve been making time to do more formal Waldorf “school” which usually involves circle time, a story, and crafting or handwork.

Last week, I came home from the library with Amy Karol’s book Bend the Rules Sewing, and flipped through the pages with Ella, who instantly wanted to create something.  Napkins seemed like the easiest idea until I realized that the hem would provide a challenge to me (I am really quite new to sewing and don’t like anything smaller than a 1/2″ seam allowance!).  So we decided to create a place mat together.  Nothing is more fun to this five year old than to be let loose in mama’s fabric bin.  She held up endless combinations of background and accent material, until we narrowed it down to a purple plaid and turquoise floral!

It was Ella’s first time using an iron, and she was somewhat hypnotized by the process.  Over and over the fabric she would go, smoothing it out just so, and then flipping it over and doing it all over again.  I cut the pieces to size, she ironed and ironed and ironed.

Ella sews2

Piecing the place mat together was relatively simple, so she and I worked the sewing machine together, with her on my lap.  After an hour or so, we had it finished!

Ella sews

It’s a tiny bit crooked, the seams are definitely not even, and heck, it’s not even centered!  But we created it together, it looks beautiful on our table, and I didn’t even let my creative control freak side get the best of me!

What are your favorite crafts to do with kids?

 

** Joining Frontier Dreams for Keep Calm Craft On today.  Head on over there for more crafty fun!

Finger knitting with children

Monday was an adventure day, as the kids and I joined a good friend and her children on a trip to the coast.  The whole day was so much fun – mamas chatting in the front seat, kids piled into the back of her minivan, picnic lunch on the sand, hunting for treasure, climbing sand dunes, and eating ice cream. It was such a necessary recharge for me; a chance to spend hours connecting with another women, another mother, who faces many of the same joys and challenges as I do.

Her 5 year old daughter, C spent much of the car ride finger knitting.  I had been taught a version of finger knitting by one of Ella’s Waldorf school teachers, but it was way too complicated for Ella – wrapping around 4 fingers, going over and under – too much.  But the method that C was using was so simple – just a single chain created on one finger.  Ella and I both wanted to learn!

So I found this Waldorf-inspired video on YouTube, that teaches finger knitting through a story about a fence, sheep jumping over the fence, and slipping a collar on the sheep.  With that story, and this verse:

Finger ring, finger ring
How many stitches can I bring?
Wrap around once, then jump over
Roll around in sweet green clover!

we began.  And within minutes she was finger knitting!  Every few moments she’d say, with amazement in her voice, “Mama, look at how long my finger knitting is now!”  And then she proceeded to finger knit for over two hours.  Parked on the sofa with blankets on our laps, and a few balls of wool, we sat together and finger knit.  And I cannot even tell you how happy this made me, to sit peacefully next to my almost 5-year old daughter, and knit.

Thank you so much to S, C, and C for inspiring us!

 

Simple Toys

I’m always amazed by Ella’s ability to turn wood or wool or a piece of cloth into a magical world in which she can create for hours on end.  A little bit of creative woodworking by Brian, and she has pasture fences.  A few walnut hulls, and the seasonal table becomes a fairy playground.  Beautiful and simple.