We have one more week of preschool left before summer break. The nature bags we started stitching in February are slowly being finished. Having the kids stitch up their own pouches is a tradition I started last year. It is such a process sewing with little ones and they have taught me so much along the way. He is a peek at my work table about a month ago.
I start with the basics...they all get to see the coats and sweaters I have washed in hot water to felt...they get to see something old recycled into something new. We practiced our sewing on stitch cards. We talked about the construction of the bag (how to fold a rectangle of wool felt to make the pouch). Then finally the children get to choose a color of wool and select a yarn of choice. I am fascinated by some of the combinations of colors they decide to use.
A close up of my work table.
The yarns are selected from the basket. As each child decides on their color, I begin the process of crocheting the straps to stitch on in the end. As yarn tails and scrap wool are cut they get placed in one basket to be used for stuffing a future project (perhaps a snowman?). Larger pieces of wool that can be cut into squares are reserved for another craft (maybe an ornament?). Nothing goes to waste.
Varying stages of completion.
I have learned that when stitching with young children, if you can find a way to allow them the experience of sewing in a somewhat controlled way, the child will benefit dearly. How I do this is by having the child sit on my lap so my arms can reach around him. I hold the pouch in my hands and in working the blanket stitch, I hold the yarn in back of their stitching so the one task they have to focus on is pushing the needle through the fabric (trying to space the stitches as evenly as possible) and pulling it through the other side. They don't need to know more then that right now. They pull the stitch tight, I move the yarn to the back again and they take another stitch.
It's hard work moving the needle through thick wool. But most of them really enjoy the process and want to do it all by themselves.
Here are the lovely stitches of two of my four-year-old boys.