Saturday, February 5, 2011

Sewing With Kids, Lesson One: Patience

Shortly after Christmas, Charlotte said she wanted to sew a scarf, and also informed me that she had already designed it. I was thrilled. It has always been my dream that she would want to sew, and in anticipation of that I was ready with her own Featherweight, purchased long before she was even born.

She is 4 1/2 and unbelievably bright. However, I wanted her to understand the concept of sewing but was unsure how to convey that in a way that would make sense to her.

Talk about incredible timing. At that very time, Deborah Moebes of Whipstitch said she was starting a series called Sewing With Kids, geared to 3- to 8-year-olds, all about introducing sewing skills to little ones. I can't even begin to tell you how excited I was, because it meant Levi could also take part in the lessons as well.

Deborah's first lesson was titled "Patience." In the introduction, she said: "The very first skill new fingers must master in order to work their way up to the sewing machine is simply understanding what sewing is and how it works. Seeing that thread can hold things together and keep them there, so that the finished product is something more than the initial bits and a huge part of conceptualizing sewing."

EXACTLY what I was looking for.

Lesson One involved dyeing pasta shapes and stringing them together, the standard macaroni necklace.

I chose three different shapes and got food coloring. And did you know that you can now get food coloring in neon colors? Awesome!

Charlotte chose the colors she wanted and we made little bowls full of dye, just like dyeing Easter eggs.

I thought Levi would find this very fascinating. Interestingly, he looked to see what we were doing, and then announced he would rather read. How can you argue with that? He got a stack of books, made himself comfortable and started going through the books.  However, he did say that he wanted to "sew" the macaroni when it was time.

That morning we had time to dye our pasta and let it dry, but no time for sewing. We saved that for another day.

Day Two:

We spread all the pasta on the table, and Charlotte and Levi had their strings cut and ready to go. I told them they could do whatever they wanted, and gave them a few suggestions, like pick one color but use all three shapes, pick a shape and but change the color every other one, etc., just something to get them thinking about pattern and design choices.

Charlotte immediately said she wanted to do a "pattern." Yay! I watched to see what that meant to her. She stuck with rigatoni and chose three colors, and just repeated the pattern over and over.

Levi, being a total boy, "drove" his macaroni onto the string. I kept hearing him making this "bup bup bup bup" sound, so I asked him what he was doing. "Grandma, this is a truck" (duh!)....bup bup bup...." until he had driven eight pieces of rigatoni onto the "road" and declared that he was done and was ready for a snack. But as I watched him, he also instinctively decided on a pattern, three "trucks" of one color, two of another color, and three of a third color.
I'm so excited about this series of lessons. They are well planned and extremely well written, and this morning I finished purchasing the supplies for the next two lessons,which involve lace-up cards (Lesson 2) and plastic canvas with yarn (Lesson 3).

This is a win-win thing for me. Planting the seeds of sewing knowledge for the future, while at the same time having a great time "playing" with Charlotte and Levi.

The winner of The Quilt Show certificate giveaway is Jen, and you should definitely check out her blog,
The Quilty Home. Jen, I'll be in touch with the information.


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Jocelyn said... #

Charlotte looks so intense working her string. Very sweet pictures.

Terriaw said... #

Aw, that looks so fun! What a cool way to show kids how to make something. Very focused grandkids you've got!

Carla said... #

Oh, Cindy, thanks for this post. I went to WhipStitch and checked it out.....I'll have to start my grand daughters on sewing lessons for sure!

free indeed said... #

I'm hoping to be doing this with my grands, but the majority of them live away. This first lesson might be a fun activity for their next visti this summer. I'll just teach in installments! :)

girlyhurley said... #

I love this idea! What a great resource! I am so going to try this with my girls!

I've been "blog stalking" you for quite some time! I love what you've been working on and am jealous of the time you have to spend on your projects! Not to mention the fabrics you are working with! Some day. . .some day!


Anne at Film and Thread said... #

Being a Grandmother has got to be SO fun! Esp. with such adorable grandchildren. Lucky Charlotte to have her own Featherweight!

wishes, true and kind said... #

How fun for your lucky grandchildren, and what a great series of lessons!

k said... #

Fun! I'm going to do this with Ezra! Thanks for the idea!

(Hello, exclamation points. Geesh.)

Grandma G said... #

I've been wondering if I'd have the 'patience' for dying that pasta. But now I don't have to... Courtney got lots of beads for her birthday! She's already shown 'me' how to make a necklace. ;)