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Filtering by Tag: yarn crafts

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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Succulent Wreath

Andrea Sanchez

While I was pregnant I kept swooning over all the weavings and felt flower wall hangings that were popping up. I really like the idea of making something special for each of my children to decorate their nursery. For D, I made a sheep mobile. But for N I had my heart set on a wreath of succulents. 

For this wreath I used the succulent pattern from Lia Griffith (Part 1 and Part 2) using felt from Benzie Designs (their Succulents palette), the yarn is from Spud and Chloe (Outer in Soapstone)

To cut out the felt pieces, I cut out the paper template and then taped it to the felt with a little piece. 

I chose two large succulents and three smaller ones. I loved making these so probably could have gotten carried away with making them but felt that five was a good number. I used the sharpest scissors I had and hot glue to assemble. 

Once they were assembled I cut a small piece of felt that I used to secure the whole set. I went ahead and cut a larger piece than I needed and just trimmed it later. 

Prior to assembling the flowers I had cute and secured some lengths of yarn to the bottom of the hoop. I really just eyeballed it but they ended up being about 2 feet long. 

I put the hot glue onto the hoop at the place where I wanted my flowers and stuck them on. 

And that was it! So easy! The hardest part beside all the cutting (I did manage to do that over the course of a couple days with my still meager free time) has been to make sure the wreath is balanced. It wants to pull to the left because that's where it is heaviest so I may attach something to the back to make sure it is centered. I really enjoyed piecing the flowers together and may be up for another felt craft soon. Do you guys have any suggestions on good sites for patterns and/or felt resources? Let me know in the comments below.

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Stop Light Pom Pom Sorting

Andrea Sanchez

This week we have guest blogger Nikki Wagner sharing a fun pom pom activity for your kiddos! 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.

This week I made pom pom sorting activity for my little man in hopes that I could use up stashed yarn and find a new a fun way for him to pass time. And boy do I love to find a project that uses up my yarn stash! Make this project your own, as these instructions are a guideline to give you the basic idea of what we created.  I like crafts that are easy and fun, and with a toddler that is worth its weight in gold, amiright!? 

In my yarn stash I have some red, green and yellow - voilà - stop light colors!  Also, making 9 pom poms with 3 colors seemed attainable for me, so I went with the stop light theme. You could really do any colors that you have (and nix the stop light theme), this is really just a two-birds-with-one stone kind of way to get rid of some yarn and occupy the kiddo with a fun activity. 

In essence: Two bowls are stapled together at the rims with bottoms outward to make what I’ll refer to as a “bucket”.  One bowl is cut along the top so that little hands can stuff the color-matching pom-pom into the color-matching bucket (aka color sorting). You make three buckets and string them together and there you have it, a stash-busting, pom-pom sorting activity. 

Age Level:

Toddler (Knittin' Little note: Sorting by attribute is an important skill that students are practicing through preschool and into Kindergarten!) 

What we used:

  • Green, red and yellow yarn, approximately 20 g of each, and a little extra for yarn scrap in the color of your choice. 
  • Pom-pom maker (affiliate link)
  • 6 paper bowls
  • Stapler with staples
  • Green, red and yellow markers
  • Poster tack
  • Hole punch
  • Scissors 

Make your buckets: 

  1. First, have your child color on the bottom side of one bowl with a red marker.  If he or she can’t color the entire bottom of a bowl (like mine), no worries, just encourage him/her to color enough to recognize which color should be sorted into that bucket.  
  2. Then check out the artwork on the bottom of the bowl and pick the area where you want to cut an opening. More specifically, measure 2” from the top and make a mark so that you’ll have an idea of where the cut should be made.  Then cut across the top of the bowl to create an opening.  
  3. Choose an unmarked bowl to be the backside of the bucket.  Take the cut/red-colored bowl and match the rim together with the unmarked bowl, then staple the two bowls together with the bottoms facing outward. I used only two staples on each side of the bucket along the rim. 
  4. Punch a hole at the very top of the bucket and punch a matching hole at the very bottom of the bucket. 
  • Repeat steps 1-4 Substituting a yellow and then green marker to make yellow and green buckets. Now you have your three buckets: red, yellow and green.

Pom-poms: 

  • I am in love with my pom-pom maker and for this project I made my 9 pom-poms with a small pom-pom maker; 3 pom poms for each color.  Use approximately 5g of yarn for each pom pom.  If you do not own a pom-pom maker and want to try to make a pom-pom here is a helpful video tutorial by Bernat Yarns: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSFZ42uq6x4

Assembly: 

  • Cut a 11” piece of scrap yarn in your choice of color with which to hang your pom pom stoplight. Then cut that 11” piece of yarn into 3 separate and smaller pieces: 1 piece – 5” long and 2 pieces – 3” long each. 
  • The red bucket is placed on top. With the 5” long piece of scrap yarn, thread the yarn through the top hole of the red bucket.  Secure the ends of the yarn with a tight knot. 
  • Take a 3” piece of yarn and thread it through the bottom hole in the red buck and through the top hole of the yellow bucket, and then secure it with a tight knot. 
  • Take another 3” piece of yarn and thread it through the bottom hole in the yellow bucket and through the top hole of the green bucket, and then secure it with a tight knot.
  • Optional: Place a little piece of poster tack on the back of each bucket to hold the buckets in place along the wall. Not crucial, but a nice touch. 

Hang your creation with the yarn attached to the top of the red bucket, we used a wall tack to secure it to the wall. Get sorting! 

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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