Preserving Nearly Extinct Knowledge

I met a lovely women on the train this morning and we were taking about teaching children how to sew and crochet, or do crafts, as an agreeable way to get through summer boredom. I approve, I wish more people had the same outlook. Sewing and crafting has become almost a lost art, and it makes me want to cry, it’s making a comeback with all the back-to-the-landers who are trying to learn every bit of lost knowledge, and with people who are nostalgic about their grandparents, but for the most part people are moving forward with technology at an alarming rate. Don’t get me wrong, I love crafting and I love technology too, but I still think the two can and should coexist. For example, I find a lot of my patterns online, and scrapbook them into perfect size and look. It’s hard finding people who are interested in learning these vanishing arts, however, think of all the eager young minds who will be bored to death this summer, and how excited they would be to learn something new! If you know any kids, take a moment to teach them a craft, or learn one with them! And on that note, I thought today I’d post just a few tips that are often not mentioned in how-to books.

I’d like to first say that I started learning how to embroidery when I was five years old. I remember that I had to have someone thread my needle and make the knots, but I was sewing! And proud of it! I wanted to create the same feeling of knowledge and accomplishment in my own daughters, so I started teaching Meg to embroidery when she was six, I did all the thread and knots, and let her focus on learning to stitch. Also, just the other day started her learning to make crochet chains, the first step into learning that wonderful craft. Kaylee, not to be left behind, demanded to be taught how to sew as soon as she turned five. Here is a pic of her a couple weeks ago finally getting to embroidery!

Kay working on her first embroidery project


A few quick overlooked tips for teaching youngsters, or anyone, how to craft:
♥ Stay excited about the project, excitement is catching.
♥ Baby steps – don’t try too much at once, and take breaks.
♥ Make sure you have all the tools first, no sense it ratcheting up excitement over a new project, only to discover that you don’t have tapestry needles and JoAnn’s is closed for the night, oh the whining and lamentations….
♥ For Crochet: start by having your student learn to chain, the chains don’t have to be perfect, because it’s not about learning chains, it’s about learning how to hold the yarn and hook properly. My grandma forced me make chains for months before she’d continue my lessons.
♥ For Embroidery: start with short stiches, a small pattern such as this is perfect: Kitten

Because I taught Meg how to digitally scrapbook long before I taught her how to sew, she not only embroidered every stitch of her first project, but with only a little help she designed it using Photoshop. Her first creation:

Meg’s first pattern


As a quiet dark evening falls over our tiny corner of Hillsboro, I pull out my sewing and the girls ecstatically gallop off to get their own projects to ‘sew with mom’, like mother like daughter, my seven year old meg has three different projects that she is working on at the moment. And I hope she continues to carry on the knowledge of sewing and passes it on to the next generation.

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