Fun with yarn for kids & podcasts for us grown-ups

Boredom breeds creativity. Unfortunately, it also results in whiney kids. So if you have children who might be bored this long weekend, and yarn lying around that you don’t want to keep for something special, this post is for you.

yarn feathers by Studio Knit

Crafting is great for kids…

It is so important for kids to be creative with their hands. I could rant for ages about the harm of television and devices, but I am just as guilty as the next parent of allowing my kids way too much time with eeeevil technology. Being a child nowadays is so much more complicated than when I was growing up. I do believe technology, as great as it is, plays a big part in this and I frequently wish life were simpler for my kids. Simpler, slower, calmer and quieter. So yarn crafting is on my to-do list somewhere this weekend.

The benefits of crafting are endless, especially for kids. Yarn crafts possibly even more so. Kids feel empowered when they have created something. It is a huge boost to their self-esteem to complete a creative project. When they learn a new craft, it creates a positive emotional response to learning. It improves their coordination and fine motor skills. They learn to memorise a repetitive procedure and to follow a process, which in itself can be quite meditative, amongst other benefits. It helps them focus and concentrate. Their visual processing abilities improve, which helps them in so many ways with reading, writing and maths skills and with organising their written work. It is an invaluable way for them to explore their imaginations and to express themselves, their thoughts and feelings. The list is endless.

I got to see and experience these benefits, and more, first-hand (with kids not my own). I started an extra-mural knitting & crochet group for the foundation phase (grades 1 to 3) when I was teaching. When I suggested it to the staff, the response was hesitant. No-one thought it would be a popular extra-mural, me included. But I wanted to give it a try. And everyone expected it to be a girls only group. In a very short time I had 60+ children attending knitting at one time. This made it impossible to teach them how to knit with needles and crochet with hooks. Most needed one-on-one assistance. So I changed tack to finger-knitting. When their finger-knitting got to a certain length, they “qualified” to learn to knit or crochet, their choice, and I’d teach them how to use knitting needles or a crochet hook.

Nearly half of the class were boys. Surprise!! They were the most adept at knitting with needles and the most incredible knitters in the group. [As an aside, it’s so strange that none of them were interested in crochet. Maybe the knitting needles are like little swords to them and make them feel like little knitting warriors or knights? I never asked. Even though none of my boys were interested in crocheting, I did meet a very funky dude at Arthur Bales last week who crochets, so they’re out there.] The kids who attended loved it and were so proud of their accomplishments. It was also awesome to see how the skills they were gaining while having fun with knitting carried over into the classroom.  

…and not all yarn crafts need a hook or needles 

But, let’s face it… as ludicrous as the idea may be to you and me, knitting and crochet aren’t for everyone. Kids included. Luckily there are other awesome projects that can be made with yarn that don’t involve knitting needles and a crochet hook. Take a look at Play Ideas – 20 Knotty Yarn Crafts For Kids. Great for a wide variety of ages. 

This video has some more great ideas…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gywPN3tYlvo&frags=pl%2Cwn

 

If you want to try four-finger knitting, you can either go to the Fibre Flux blog for their photo-tutorial or watch their video. You may want to try your hand at making this Bean Creative Finger-knit Beanie. Bean Creative has a variety of other great videos on how to finger crochet, how to connect finger knitting and how to make a vast variety of items using these techniques. Take a look at the list of videos on the Bean Creative YouTube channel

 

There are some really fun creative ideas with yarn in this video by 5-Minute Crafts…

I especially love the bit where they take cat-fur off a brush, spin it with their fingers and then knit with it 😄. Every time I brush my cats, the thought of trying that has crossed my mind. But I’m not sure it would work, or be worth the time and effort. Anyone out there have a cat-fur knitted FO/finished object? 

 

If you liked the feathers idea in that last video and you’re keen to try making a dream-catcher, DiYana will show you how to do that here. The feathers in the 5-Minute Crafts video can also be made using cornstarch (Maizena) and water instead of glue. This Studio Knit photo tutorial and video will show you how.

 

And now for a quick something for us grown-ups…

How about a podcast for us gals (and guys?) to watch or listen to. We have to “adult” all  week and deserve to just chill with a podcast for a bit while we crochet or knit. I don’t know about you, but for me, weaving often requires a trance-like state of undivided attention. Audio podcasts work for that. The Knitting Podcast website lists a huge number of international audio and video podcasts to choose from.

I recently came across quite a new podcast, YarnCreations, by Adele Marais (@myyarncreations on Instagram). The first four episodes are in Afrikaans. Episode 5 and onwards are in English. What a lovely person and such a talented lady! She is full of advice and info and her projects are inspirational – there’s so much to learn from her. She’s done some workshops at shops in and around Pretoria, but I haven’t managed to get to one. Until I do, I’ll continue to enjoy her podcasts. Thank you for sharing your talent and knowledge with us, Adele.

Wooldiaries is a super-entertaining podcast that I love. You feel as if you have a friend chatting to you while you’re knitting together. You may even catch yourself trying to join in the conversation. Even though Sally (@sallyistm on Instagram) has put her podcasts on hold, there are 68 episodes for you to catch up on before she gets back to it again. Hopefully sometime next year? (Hint, hint, Sally 😉.) In the meantime, you can catch up with her at a variety of classes and workshops she’s doing at The Yarn Tree and at Craft Academy Fabrics & Fibres

 

Update on the baby-cat…

…for those who’re interested in how Quidditch is doing. It seems that all he needed was just some biltong! Really! When Daiquiri (who died last month) was sick, we had a constant supply of biltong to entice him to eat something. Of course, the other three cats would get some too. We didn’t even realise that we’d stopped buying biltong when he died. Or even consider that the loss of this routine would have such a huge impact on our one year old baby. And it’s not as if there’s been a shortage of other treats. 

Christo brought some biltong home last night and Squiddy experienced a total biltong high. He’s back to being his usual king-of-the-castle self – attacking passing feet, cats, trailing gown-belts and so forth, chasing kibble across the floor, eating pills from our fingers as if they’re cat-sweeties, going outside, playing with toys, screaming at the bathroom door because he’s been locked out, as if he’ll die within seconds if it’s not opened pronto. My relief is unspeakable! His 8,3 kg physique is much sleeker – he’s lost some weight over the past two weeks and now has a long flap of skin hanging from his belly that sashays from side to side as he walks. I wonder how we’ll get him back on form? 😉

Have a super long weekend yarn-lovers! See you next week xo

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