Thursday, July 11, 2013

Textile and Yarn Crafts For All The Family

Guest post by Melissa Hathaway


Textile and Yarn Crafts for All the Family!
When the summer holidays come around it can seem like a lot of free time is suddenly thrust upon you. Creating things from yarn, fabric and other mediums not only brings with it the satisfaction of accomplishing something but also teaches new skills and is something the whole family can participate in. Patterns and materials are readily available, so there’s nothing stopping you from experiencing the excitement of home crafts today!
What to Make
The list of crafts that are easy and fun to learn are endless. Most of the time the actual making is the best part but you have an added bonus of an end product that is useful, hard wearing and even fashionable! To help you out, here are some ideas of child-friendly crafts:
Cross Stitch
Cross stitch is a craft that has been practiced through the ages, probably originating in ancient Egypt. Using woven cloth, pictures are made by sewing crosses next to one another. The effect when you stand back from a well sewn cross stitch panel is that of a painting or even a photograph! Cross stitch is easy to learn and patterns are readily available. You can start with just a small sample of your initials say, and build up to a complex picture. The materials are not expensive, and thread can be bought for around one dollar. If you enjoy taking on a project over a few days or weeks and ending up with a work of art cross stitch is for you!
Crochet
Crochet uses a hook to loop yarn in various stitches, forming circular and cylindrical objects. Once learnt, you can create anything from lace doilies to socks and shawls. It can seem a little complicated at first but like all crafts, patterns are available for all levels of competency. Simple designs can be tried out first. Crochet starts with a simple chain and even young kids will be able to pick this basic technique up in no time. 
Knitting
Knitting is centuries old but no one knows exactly where it came from! Cute sweaters, hats, gloves and more can be created if you take up knitting. Using a pattern and two long needles to loop yarn together you can start with something easy like a scarf and end up completing a Christmas sweater that you’ll wear for years to come. Teaching kids to knit may take a bit of perseverance, but they'll have a valuable skill for life. 
Applique
Applique is the art of sewing a patch neatly onto a piece of clothing or fabric. There are so many fancy patches available, ranging from your kid’s favorite superhero to pretty flowers, stars and virtually anything you can think of. You can also use the technique of applique to make quilts and bed spreads. This is a fun and relatively easy craft that you can use to make matching textile sets for your home or renew old clothes. Start kids off with basic shapes, chunky embroidery needles and brightly-colored thread. 
What You’ll Need
All the crafts mentioned require a different set of tools and materials. It’s really easy to come by these at your local craft store or on the internet. Even stores like Target or Walmart stock an increasing range of craft products these days. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on supplies and, remember, you’ll get a usable item at the end of the process. Take advice from friends or family who already participate in crafting so you know what you’ll need and what might not be necessary. It's always best to start with the very basics and add to your kit once you're sure you're going to stick to your craft long-term. There are lots of crafting kits for kids out there, usually very affordable and containing everything needed to produce a whole completed project, be it a knitted scarf, a Disney cross stitch or an appliqued tote.
Once you’ve started up you’ll find out what works best for you and which materials you’re happy using. Apart from the material aspects the most important things you’ll need are enthusiasm and patience. Learning a new skill is rewarding but you’re bound to make some mistakes and become frustrated at times. The time it takes to make something, especially when you’re learning a new craft, can range from an hour to several weeks. It’s vital that you have the diligence to finish off a project - the satisfaction levels are worth the wait! Teaching your kids new crafts is a great way to bond as a family and for everyone to learn valuable new skills. They’ll learn with you and take pride in creating new things. It’s something to fill hours of unplanned school holiday time whilst keeping their minds *(and hands) active. Be sure to keep projects small at first to keep kids engaged. Once they’ve mastered a few things though you can step up the skill level and sit back as they enjoy showing you what they’ve made.
What You’ll Get
Enjoying home crafts is not just about the ultimate satisfaction of using something you have made with your own hands. The skill and repetitive nature of the craft itself is calming and therapeutic. Crafting is a great pastime for adults and kids alike.
Home crafts are great for the environment too. By making something yourself instead of buying a factory produced item you save money and air miles. You can turn old clothes you were going to throw out into something new and fashionable by appliqueing on patches or embellishing with crochet motifs. With any craft you will end up with a unique piece of art. Crafting is both fun and educational and is the perfect answer to what’s going to fill up the hours during the school holidays.

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