Saturday, November 24, 2012

jokes for five year olds - IV

Two biscuits were sitting in the oven.  The first biscuit said to the second, "Wow, it's getting really hot in here."

The second biscuit said, "Holy cow!  A talking biscuit!"

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

finger knitting with children

  A few days ago Naiya came home from school all excited about her new skill.  She learned finger knitting in her Waldorf kindergarten and was able to teach it to me herself in about three minutes.  (I love it when the craft sharing switches direction from daughter to mommy!)  I never knew this was so super easy.  It's much like spool knitting but done on the hand.  Since we've never been able to successfully knit on our little doll spool, (perhaps because we wind the yarn too tightly?) we were glad to find this simple alternative.

  I know many, many of you probably already know how to do this and, quite likely, there are lots of tutorials around on the internet but, what the heck, this project was so delightful for me, I'm just going to share here anyhow.

  I tried to photograph Naiya's demonstration, but it's a bit challenging to get a six year old to stop for a photograph each step along the journey of creation, so these are my dry, calloused hands you're seeing.  (Also, it's hard to take photographs of your own hands when one of them is holding the camera.  I hope it still makes sense.) 

1) Begin by winding the yarn around the thumb of your non-dominant hand a few times.

 2) Holding the ball of yarn in your dominant hand, draw the yarn over the index finger, under your middle finger, over your ring finger, under your pinkie...

3) Going back the other direction, the yarn will cross the opposite side of your fingers - over the pinkie, under the ring finger, over the middle finger, under the index...

4) Push this first back and forth round down toward your palm and repeat the same patterns from steps 2 & 3 - over, under, over , under and around the pinkie and back...

5) Push this second layer down toward your palm.

6) Starting with your index finger, tuck your fingertip under the lower loop and straighten the finger to push that loop to the back of that finger.

7) Repeat with each finger across so you're once again left with only one row of loops.  Your first row of knitting is complete.

8) Repeat a single round of winding - front, back, front, back around the pinkie, etc. to make the two rows of loops again.  Repeat the finger tucking and looping over as seen in steps 6 & 7.

Just keep repeating this process of winding to make two rows of loops then pulling the bottom loops up and over to the back until a chain begins to form on the back of your hand.  (You can release the wind around the thumb after the first round.  It was just meant to hold the yarn in place.)

Make the chain as long as desired.

Should you be working with children who tire of the activity before it is complete, Naiya suggested removing it from the hand by running a popsicle stick through the four loops to keep the project from unraveling.  Carefully place back on the hand when the child wishes to continue.

To finish off the end, cut the yarn with a few inches to spare and run the cut end down through the top of each of the four loops. 

After it has gone through the last (pinkie) loop, gently  slide it from the hand...

...and pull the end tight.

Voilà!  Finger knitted rope.


  Now, what do we do with all of these strands of beautiful handwork?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

maple leaf crowns

Autumn has brought with it the amazing hues of this season and, here in Portland, the maple trees offer up the most extraordinary palette of technicolor leaves.  Every day when I pick Naiya up from school, the teachers seem to have made some child or other one of these beautiful crowns.  Hers came a few days ago just when I had collected leaves to put together a little how-to to share with all of you.  Aren't they gorgeous?  They're a little bit like the daisy chains of Summer in that they require no special tools or materials other than that of which they are made.

Simply break off the stems from the fallen leaves and overlap a third of one with about a third of another.

Carefully thread the stem through to sort of staple the two leaves together.


Lay an additional leaf and thread another stem...

Then another...

...until the band fits your child's head. 

Connect the final leaf to the first (with the stems either hidden inside or displayed out) and let your Autumn Princess or Prince enjoy her/his seasonal coronet.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

apple stamped capes for martinmas

A few years ago, when Naiya was still in preschool, the children and their teachers at her Waldorf school made these sweet capes for our Martinmas Lantern Walk.  We still have ours and take it out every year when we take our walk through the neighborhood on November 11th.  They're of such a simple design and young ones love the apple painting portion of this creation so I thought I'd share them as a Martinmas family craft.

They're made out of a single piece of wool felt and some felted yarn for the braided tie.  For our four year old the fabric measured 32" x 36" and this size still works for her at six.  Our finger knitted draw string measures about 36" as well.

Begin by laying out the flat fabric.  Using apples cut in half on their "equator" (which, in all apples, reveals a magical star), dip the open side in red paint and stamp the fabric at random intervals.

After allowing the paint to dry, fold the fabric in half with the stamps on the inside and sew across one of the short ends with a broad running stitch.  This creates the hood of the cape.

Measure about 12" down from the seam just created and cut three holes in a line in from the outside edge.  The first is only 1/2 an inch from the edge and the other two are about 3/4 inches apart.  Repeat on the other side.  These are holes for the drawstring.

Fold the fabric to align all three holes.  Using a thick braided or finger knitted yarn (about 36" long), run the drawstring from one side to the other.


Maintain the fold up to the top where the seam was sewn and place a few stitches at the peak to create a folded edge around the entire hood.

With needle and thread, stitch the drawstring at the center back.  Since we used wool felt, there was no reason to hem any edges.

It's made a warm and festive wrap for our evening Lantern Walk three years running.

Father Sun, Father Sun, will you lend me pray
A little flaming lantern to light me on my way?
The fairie folk have vanished from the meadow and the glen
And we would fain go seeking till we find them once again
Oh, lend me now a lantern that I may bear a light
To find the hidden pathway in the darkness of the night
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