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Crafting for Life

Andrea Sanchez

This week we have guest blogger Nikki Wagner back with another fun yarn craft for your littles. You can find Nikki in our Winter 2015 collection as the designer of the Sylvan Hat and Mittens, as well as on her blog, or on Ravelry. I've said it before, but she makes the best pom poms.

Growing up I was fortunate to be surrounded by crafty people. My grandmother, as I wrote last month, was not only an expert knitter, but she was also an accomplished seamstress and a beautiful artist and calligraphist.  My mother paints, writes, sews and jumps on any opportunity to add little craftiness to her life.  Last time I visited, she had crafted a little playhouse for my son out of a utility-sized cardboard box.  Which is pretty cool!  My grandfather liked to make things with his hands as well, paintings, bird feeders and really anything that needed fixing. Every time I go to a hardware store I feel at home because he would bring me with him to show me how to build things from the bottom up.  I mention this,  not as a means to brag about my family, but more as a reflection on how we as crafters, knitters and parents foster a curiosity in our children to make things by hand. I think we do it naturally out of our love for all things creative.  

There are many things that are gained from living a craft-filled life. And by “craft” I mean mending, painting, building, growing, sewing, knitting, crocheting, threading. Basically I am referring to creating at any capacity.  

I feel strongly that engaging in lifelong crafting has heightened my problem-solving skills and strengthened creativity in all aspects of my life.  I appreciate creative thinkers and surround myself with people who think creatively because that is what I am familiar with. All the building and making through my life has connected me to my creative family members in very tangible and memorable ways.  I was also given the opportunity to learn practical skills like sewing, building, painting, knitting and gardening; all of which will be helpful if that zombie apocalypse ever happens. But I also learned how to rely less on consumerism and I focus more on do-it-yourself-ism; which is totally empowering!

I reflected this week on the things I do everyday and the things I could do as routine that may help instill a love of handmade in my son. Everyday crafting introduces him to a family tradition – crafting as life. My little guy is still a too young to do too many organized crafts, but I was thinking that there are so many little things every day that I can do to engage with him in a craft-centered life.  One of my other favorite pastimes (outside of knitting) is baking.  Baking is a way that I show love, and I bake many times a week for my family.  My little guy loves to help and since I bake as often as I do, we’ve found things that he can do that are helpful and fun. He engages in craft when he mixes or pours or even eats (safe-to-eat) dough.  He is engaged in the process and I hope that it keeps him interested in getting his hands dirty for life.

During this reflection on the life-crafty, I decided to make another kids-crafts activity to spend time with my son and to encourage him to explore the world through crafting.  Also, as you may have noticed in my previous posts (here & here) that I am highly motivated to use up scrap yarn.  I have so much of it and I just can’t bring myself to throw it away. So, this week we painted with yarn tassels.

Yarn tassel paintbrushes  

I didn’t make a tutorial because it is very basic, so instead here are a few words about what we did. See the pictures sprinkled throughout this post for an idea of what we did as well.

I found some scrap yarn of different weights and colors and I made some tassels out of the different yarns. Using R.O.Y.G.B.I.V. rainbow colors I made 7 tassels and matched each tassel with a like color from our finger-paint collection.  

We dipped the tassels in their matching colors one by one and then smudged, wiped, and blotted the paint onto the paper.  It was a lot of fun. Although, my sweet little boy is accustomed to using all the colors in our finger-painting set, so he had a bit of a meltdown during our craft time. BUT it still turned out to be a beautiful project.  Maybe full-out tantrum mode brings out his inner artist? Let’s hope he drops the tantrums and keeps the artist as he matures.  

This is a very simple craft with big results.  Honestly, I thought it would be a hot mess, but instead it is beautiful. I saved the tassels and will bring them out for more craft-times in the future.

If you make this activity with your littles, be sure to share it with us on Instagram using #knittinlittle or tagging us @knittinlittle.

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