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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