This summer Kinsley decided she wanted to learn how to sew "for real, mama" so I thought it was time to start her on some handwork of her very own. I always try to make sure the girls have supplies out where they can easily get to them whenever they feel like working on something. Kinsley kept her sewing in a basket on my sewing table so the needle would be out of sister's reach but it was still available to her at any time. It is so important to me that the girls get involved in creating with their hands for so many reasons. I think it is very important for them to have that connection to handmade items and to really understand the work that goes into the things we have. Handwork like embroidery is also great for their fine motor skills and coordination.
With Kinsley just beginning to really show interest I didn't get too technical with her instructions. I simply hooped a lightweight cotton that would be easy to push a needle through and gave her a needle sharp enough to easily work with but still dull enough to not really hurt if she pricked her fingers, which easily happens. A burlap material and a blunt tip needle would work really well, we simply didn't have any on hand and I wanted to get her started while she was still enthusiastic about it. She knew how to make a basic stitch from the cardboard lacing boards she has had for quite some time so there wasn't much involvement on my part, I simply sat nearby to answer any questions and help her along if she needed it.
Some days she would sit and work on it for a long time, other days she wouldn't touch it at all. Finally one day she declared that she was finished sewing. She thought about what she wanted to do with it and though I suggested a wallhanging or doll blanket she settled on "A pillow for sissy" and got right to work.
She did a really good job keeping her lines straight too.
I stepped back and let her take the reins on her project only helping to turn the pillow and pull out the corners. She was so proud of herself for getting to use the real tools and do everything just like mama does. I think that is a good lesson for us as parents, that just because they are small doesn't mean that their work is not as important. To them, their pursuits are just as important as anything we may be doing and even if we think it may be silly it isn't to them. I try very hard to make sure I remember that with the girls and give them the freedom, respect and materials to ensure whatever they are attempting has the opportunity to develop. Whether that is letting them stay up a bit later to finish a project, making sure they have high quality art materials to work with or just saying "Yes" when they want to take on a project I am not quite sure of, I try to let them know I value their work as much as they do.
Next I think we will work on learning a few embroidery stitches and maybe do some finger knitting, when she is ready again.