One day, one of the boys told me what a great week he\’d had and then started to tell me some of the things he\’d learned during that time. My husband had given him some jobs to do and he\’d been shown how to use some different tools. It had given him great satisfaction.
Another day, I was out with the youngest two and two of the older boys were jack-hammering the tiles off the wall in the toilet. I got home a few hours later and saw a workman\’s ute, plus my husband\’s car next to the house and then I noticed a trail of water down our long driveway. One of the boys, who is always very gung-ho about everything, had accidently jack-hammered through a pipe in the toilet resulting in water gushing out everywhere – onto our newly laid wooden floor…down the driveway. His older brother acted quickly and turned off the water at the mains & they called Dad and he called the plumber, who had a good laugh when he heard the cause of the burst pipe.
All that to say that it will cost you something to teach your children skills. Hopefully you won\’t have a plumbing bill to pay, but there will be a cost in time, patience and discipline.
Sometimes I\’d cringe when my children asked me to teach them something. I\’d think, \”mess\” or \”I just want to have some time to read my book\” and not have the inevitable interruptions that go along with learning these skills but I don\’t regret spending the time I did on teaching skills.
I think it is important that our children see us learning by hand. I know that my children\’s interest in learning a skill has often been sparked because they\’ve seen me pursuing my interests or helped their Dad fix something.
Relationship, reading, poetry and nature help fill my soul and always have, but a creative outlet where I use my hands to express myself completes the filling. I need this outlet just as much as I need the others and I try to always have something satisfying I can put my hands to.
Some things that I\’ve done in the past have been too difficult for me to do with a large family or when there were lots of littles around.
I haven\’t used my table loom for years and this scarf was my last project:
I\’d always wanted to try patchwork and quilting and this was my first actual quilt. I signed up for a block a month over twelve months. Each month the materials would arrive but I\’d still be working on the first block. I just did it when I could and spread it out over a longer period of time.
A friend signed up at the same time and she was just as slow as me but we helped spur each other on. The good thing about this was that we were sent fabric we probably wouldn\’t have chosen ourselves and it helped us to think about different combinations of colour, especially when our two quilts turned out so differently. This was pretty basic and the instructions were for beginners like us:
JJ and Zana, my two eldest girls, learnt quickly and went beyond my ability. Their Aunty Deb was a great help and took them to classes in beading and scrapbooking, things that I didn\’t have the time or energy for. These were some projects they did between the ages of 12 and 16 years, following patterns either bought or from a craft magazine:
And this is my ongoing project. It\’s Zana\’s 21st birthday present but she\’s just turned 22. But I am making progress…
I\’m linking this up at Work in Progress at Freshly Pieced. I hope to get the sashing between the blocks done in the next week – I\’ll be using the dark blue material.
Amy asked in this month\’s link up about how we organise our supplies etc.
I have to admit that I \’m not very organised in this department but the key for me in getting time to do something like patchwork (I do it mostly by hand) is to have pieces cut out as you can see above and ready to sew. I can take this anywhere and it\’s surprising how much I can get done in even 10 or 15 minutes. I do the fiddly measuring and cutting on a weekend afternoon when I\’m likely to have less interruptions.
7 thoughts on “Learning by Hand”
Great post Carol. It is amazing what you learn as a child, and I would even extend that to what I learnt just from watching my Mum. I have learnt so much more as an adult too though. Handicrafts are lessons for life.
I love Edith's book, The Hidden Art of Homemaking. Your quilts are lovely. I especially like the first one and the tote bag. I have not done much with quilting – I am not too precise in my sewing, so I think I might get frustrated at the exactness needed for piecing. Things getting ever harder to see would probably compound the problem. But I love to look at the. I do like to do cross stitch (though I need both reading glasses and a magnifying glass to do it) and make cards – I need to get to some scrapbooking.
You'd probably find English paper piecing easy to do. I like this method because it helps with the precision side of things. I'm a bit hopeless on a machine when it comes to patchwork.
What a lovely post. I love all the quilts, and I firmly believe it's all about the journey, not the destination!
Thank you! I love & am inspired by the beautiful work you've done.
Your handiwork is lovely! What an inspiration!
Beautiful words and beautiful handiwork. Thank you for the encouragement today! My daughter is 4 years old and I see her loving these types of projects as she grows.