Posted in Home Economics

Fibre Friday: Spinning and Dyeing

Fibre Friday

Fibre Friday: Spinning and Dyeing

Last weekend I had the great fortune to help organize and of course attend the Maritime Spinners Retreat. This year it was held here on Cape Breton Island. What a time we had! The theme was “Dyeing to Spin” so we spent time dyeing fibre as well as spinning.

I dyed some wool from Cape Breton sheep with G&K Dyes – blue, teal, and black. I simmered it in a pot:

spinning and dyeing

Citric acid was then added to the water to make the dye set (vinegar can also be used). Then I rinsed it out and let it dry. The colours came out beautifully:

spinning and dyeing

The next step was carding the wool to prepare it for spinning. Instead of hand carders, I used a handy drum carder:

spinning and dyeing

And then I had this lovely batt of wool ready to be spun:

spinning and dyeing

I thoroughly enjoyed spinning up the wool on my spinning wheel. I decided to make it fun, lumpy, bumpy art yarn:

spinning and dyeing

During the weekend, in addition to enjoying the company of other spinners, I spun up some beautiful super wash merino wool for sock yarn. I also dyed some silk hankies to spin and the colours turned out just gorgeous. I haven’t had a chance to spin them yet, but I’m looking forward to it. I hope to attend the Maritime Spinners Retreat again in the future. I hadn’t been to one in several years. Next year it will be held in New Brunswick.

Here is what a gathering of almost 100 people with their spinning wheels looks like:

spinning and dyeing

Do you ever have a chance to get away from it all for a weekend at a retreat? What are you or your kids knitting, crocheting, sewing, or spinning this week? Please let me know in the comments below!

Love, Luck &
Laughter,

Kimberly

Posted in Home Economics

Fibre Friday: Make a Cape Out of an Old Curtain

Fibre Friday

Fibre Friday: Make a Cape Out of an Old Curtain

make a cape out of an old curtain

Last week, I promised to show you how to make a cape out of an old curtain. It’s a quick and easy sewing project. You can make a cape for Halloween or to dress up and make history studies come alive in your homeschool. I made this one a few weeks ago for a local haunted trail; it’s a Halloween fundraiser for Two Rivers Wildlife Park. We’ve been volunteering as a family for this event for several years.

I started with an old curtain. Using my son as a model for height, I cut off some excess length at the top of the curtain. I found that when folded in half, the curtain covered quite a bit of his body. Without any more cutting, I just folded the curtain in half, inside out, and hemmed all around the edges:

make a cape out of an old curtain

I left a small gap in one corner:

make a cap out of an old curtain

Then I stuffed all the fabric through the gap, and turned it right side out:

make a cape out of an old curtain

Next I hand sewed the gap closed using a blind stitch:

make a cape out of an old curtain

If you need some help with a blind stitch, here is a blind stitch tutorial video on YouTube.

The final step was sewing in some elastic a few inches from the top of the cape, on what I wanted to be the inside of the cape. When sewing in the elastic, just remember to pull it taught toward you as you sew, so the fabric bunches up nicely:

make a cape out of an old curtain

Here is the finished cape! It doesn’t look like a curtain anymore:

make a cape out of an old curtain

For the closure, I simply used a safety pin. You could also use Velcro or a nice, fancy closure such as a clasp or chain.

Are you making costumes for your homeschool or Halloween? What are you knitting, sewing, or crocheting this week? Please let me know in the comments below!

Love, Luck &
Laughter,

Kimberly

Posted in Home Economics

Fibre Friday: Sewing a Skirt

sewing a skirt

Sewing a Skirt

Welcome back to Fibre Friday! I haven’t shared our latest sewing adventures in our homeschool. My daughter and I have been learning how to sew together in our homeschool. The last project I shared was the adorable jean tote bag she made for a friend. Well, another birthday came around and she decided sewing a skirt as a birthday gift would be a good choice this time.

Since we had already made a skirt once before, for her Elsa dance costume, we used it as a template for sewing a skirt. We just cut out the pattern a little bigger and longer as her friend is a little older.

My daughter made the skirt almost completely independently. First she sewed up each side:

sewing a skirt

Then she hemmed the bottom.

sewing a skirt

And then we tackled the waistband together. I didn’t really know what I was doing when I made the waistband for her Elsa costume. This time, I consulted the book, Sew Everything Workshop by Diana Rupp. I got this wonderful book with the Craftsy sewing class, “Sewing Studio”. We followed the steps, first sewing the “tube” the elastic goes through, then threading the elastic through with a safety pin.

Here is my daughter modelling the finished skirt. As I mentioned, we made the skirt a little bigger so it would fit her friend well. It turned out quite well.

sewing a skirt

Next week, I will show you how I sewed a cape out of an old curtain. It may just come in handy if you celebrate Halloween, or if you like to dress up for history in your homeschool.

What are you sewing, knitting, or crafting in your homeschool? Please let me know in the comments below!

Love, Luck &
Laughter,

Kimberly

This post contains affiliate links, if you click through and buy I may make a few pennies to keep up Homeschooling in Nova Scotia.

Posted in Home Economics

Fibre Friday: Sewing a Tote Bag

Fibre Friday

Sewing a Tote Bag

Last Fibre Friday, I shared how I was teaching my daughter to sew as I learn right along with her (she is 10 years old). We started working on a tote bag together and had cut out all the pieces in my last post.

My daughter had a great time exploring all the fancy stitches that are possible on our machine when we made a tea towel and handkerchiefs. She decided to use a fancy stitch to embellish the pocket of the tote:

sewing

I had never sewn a pocket before and found the instructions a bit mystifying. We read them together a few times and eventually figured it out. First we pressed back the fabric at the top with an iron:

sewing

Then we flipped it over, folded it over, and pressed it again:

Sewing

Finally we got to the sewing part, which is always so much faster than all the pressing:

sewing

The pocket had to be flipped inside out. And then of course more pressing, under this time so the pocket could be sewn on the bag:

sewing
And here is the finished pocket! As you can see, my daughter also embellished the corners of the tote bag itself:

sewing

Then we just had to sew together the front and back of the tote and its lining. This went nice and quickly:
sewing

Here is my daughter sewing the lining into the tote bag. Almost done!

sewing

Here is my daughter modeling the finished tote bag:

sewing

I love how great it looks with a hint of the bright colours of the lining showing. As I mentioned in the last post, we wouldn’t use that crazy fabric for anything else.

My daughter decided to give the finished tote bag to a friend for a birthday present. Here it is with a birthday card tucked in the pocket:

sewing

My daughter’s friend absolutely LOVED it! She was astonished that it was homemade. We are looking forward to many more mother-daughter sewing adventures!

Love, Luck &
Laughter,

Kimberly

Posted in Blog Hops/Walks, Home Economics

Fibre Friday: Learning to Sew

Fibre Friday

Learning to Sew

I’m quite new at learning to sew myself, so I only this week started teaching my 10 year old daughter how to sew! As I suspected she would, she loves it!

I started her off with sewing a simple tea towel.

Learn to sew

All it took was cutting out a rectangle, pressing the hem, and then turning it under and pressing it again. Once the hem was sewn all around, my daughter could have fun decorating it.

Then she decided to sew some handkerchiefs for her grandpa for Father’s Day.

Learn to sew

This was done the exact same way, except we cut out smaller squares instead. She very much enjoyed experimenting with all the fancy stitch patterns on the machine:

learning to sew

Handkerchiefs and tea towels make ideal first learning to sew projects. I’m glad I let my daughter experiment with all the stitch patterns. She really knows her way around the machine now.

My daughter loved sewing so much that she moved on to making her own tote bag. She decided it would make a great birthday present for a friend.

She chose some jean fabric we had on hand for the tote and we cut out the front and back and handle.

Learn to sew

Then she chose some crazy fabric for the tote bag lining and we cut out the front and back.

Learn to sew

Next time I will show you the finished tote bag. I am enjoying learning to sew with my daughter! She’s a natural! She has really caught the sewing bug and you should see the list of things she wants to see next. It’s a good thing we have a bunch of hand-me-down fabric.

What have you been sewing, knitting, crocheting, or making in your home or homeschool this week? Feel free to share and link up!

[inlinkz_linkup id=414669]

Love, Luck &
Laughter,

Kimberly

Posted in Blog Hops/Walks, Things to Do, Places to Go

Fibre Friday: Sewing a Frozen Elsa Costume Part 2

Fibre Friday
Last Friday, I shared the beginnings of the dance version of a Frozen Elsa costume I’m making: Fibre Friday – Sewing a Frozen Elsa Costume Part 1. It’s dance competition season and my daughter will be wearing it for her lyrical dance solo. I’m not finished yet! Some of the hand sewing took quite awhile.

I finished hand sewing all the beads to the bodice. I also hand sewed the bodice to the skirt:

Frozen Elsa costume

My daughter is looking forward to helping me add sparkles to the skirt with fabric spray! I need to start making the gauzy sleeves to attach to the bodysuit that is going underneath.

And then there is Elsa’s coronation cloak. We have some lovely purple velveteen to make it out of. I have started working on the capelet part. I made a mockup out of some spare fabric:

Frozen Elsa costume

I tried hemming it, but hemming rounded edges is HARD! So a friend gave me the idea of doubling the fabric, sewing all around it and flipping it right side out (as I would do for making a pillow). It will make the capelet a little stiffer than the rest of the cloak. I will be keeping the rest of it single so the fabric flows while my daughter dances – it should be pretty easy to finish that part and hem it – it will be a simple rectangle. Hopefully I’ll be done in the next few days. I will share the finished product next week!

What have you been sewing, knitting, crocheting, or making in your home or homeschool this week? Feel free to share and link up!

[inlinkz_linkup id=391371]

Love, Luck &
Laughter,

Kimberly

Posted in Blog Hops/Walks, Things to Do, Places to Go

Fibre Friday: Sewing a Frozen Elsa Costume Part 1

Fibre FridayWelcome to Fibre Friday! It’s dance competition season! I have been busy sewing a costume for my daughter’s Lyrical solo. It’s going to be a dance version of a Frozen Elsa costume. She is a huge fan of Frozen the movie and of the music. She sings the songs all over the house, all the time.

Sewing a Frozen Elsa Costume – Part 1

Once we had decided to make her outfit look like Elsa’s, my daughter had some great ideas for things we could recycle and use. She brought out her old ballet costume (which she had worn so much for dance and theatre, that the bottom had started to wear). We started cutting the skirt pieces off:

Frozen Elsa costume

Once removed, we were left with this:

Frozen Elsa costume

And then we cut off the bottom, leaving just the bodice/bustier part. And of course, Elsa’s bustier is very sparkly, so we bought reflective beads to sew on it:

Frozen Elsa costume

We also bought some beautiful, stretchy fabric for Elsa’s skirt. I took my daughter’s measurements and made my own pattern. I am a beginner sewer, so the stretchy fabric was a bit of a challenge, but I made a mock-up skirt out of some spare fabric first, just to make sure I had it right. And here it is:

Frozen Skirt

It looks great on and my daughter loves it. Now I have to finish sewing all the beads on the bodice and I have to attach the skirt to it. We bought some fabric spray paint and still have to spray it on the skirt for some sparkle.

A bodysuit needs to be worn underneath of course, and we were lucky to find this one at Ginger’s for just $10!

Frozen Elsa costume

Elsa also has sheer sleeves, so my daughter pulled out her Cinderella nightgown, with a gauzy overgown that has a big tear in it:

Frozen Elsa costume

We have cut off the gauzy material and will be attaching sleeves to the bodysuit. So, we still have quite a bit of work to do. I will share where we are at with it next week – hopefully it will be done or just need a few finishing touches as the first dance competition is in just a couple of weeks!

Is your child obsessed with Frozen? What have you been sewing, knitting, crocheting, or making in your home or homeschool this week? Feel free to share and link up!

[inlinkz_linkup id=388136]

Love, Luck &
Laughter,

Kimberly

Posted in Blog Hops/Walks, Things to Do, Places to Go

Fibre Friday: Knitting More Fingerless Gloves

Fibre FridayA couple of weeks ago, I shared about A Knit-a-thon, Arm Knitting, and Fingerless Gloves. Since then, I haven’t got much knitting done (or any other fibre arts for that matter), but I did manage to knit more fingerless mitts.

It’s the same pattern from the book, Knitting New Mittens and Gloves, that I borrowed from the library and shared in my post. I knit some fingerless gloves for charity and then both my son AND daughter wanted a pair!

Here is my son’s pair. He wanted his in the same, blue yarn.

Fibre Friday

For my daughter, I knit some up in a beautiful pink bamboo yarn that she just loves.

Fibre Friday

Hopefully, by next Friday I will have some progress on knitting a dog with my daughter, and on the Crosstown Convertible that I started during the Olympics.

What are you or your children working on this week? Knitting, crocheting, spinning, or felting? Please share and feel free to link up!

[inlinkz_linkup id=383416]

Love, Luck &
Laughter,

Kimberly

Posted in Home Economics

Fibre Friday: Teaching Kids to Knit

teaching kids to knitIt’s Fibre Friday! I thought I would share some tips on teaching kids to knit this week.

Teaching Kids to Knit

My 15 year old son, my 10 year old daughter and I all enjoy knitting. Sometimes we knit while we take turns reading aloud to each other during our homeschool day. Knitting also comes in handy for something to do in the car, or when stuck in a waiting room, or even backstage or on set.  Some Friday afternoons you can find us knitting at the Fibre Friday drop-in at our local library.

Books for Teaching Kids to Knit

Teaching kids to knit can be a lot of fun! I started teaching my children when they were each about 4 years old. I used “A First Book of Knitting for Children” by Bonnie Gosse and Jill Allerton. This book is based on the Waldorf method.  It has fantastic, memorable little rhymes for casting on your stitches to start your project, and teaching the stitches: knit, purl, etc.

teaching kids to knit
I even use these rhymes to teach adults how to knit, so don’t be afraid to learn right along with your children!  The book also has some adorable knitting patterns for all kinds of animals and dolls. I also recently picked up a great book at the library last week, “Knit Your Own Dog“.

Getting Started

To get started, we picked up some cute, fat knitting needles with faces on them (size 8 or larger needles, not too long, also work well).  Each child picked out a colour of yarn they liked from my “stash” and went to work. If possible, choose a nice, soft natural fibre such as 100% merino wool.  After a short lesson working beside them, or whenever they got frustrated, I had them put away the knitting to bring out again another day.

Make it fun! You’re building a memory with them, and it’s up to you whether they have warm, fuzzy memories or not.  If you spend some time teaching kids to knit, it’s something that they can enjoy for the rest of their lives. They can spread the joy by teaching others or through knitted gifts.

Neither of my children really caught on right away at 4 years old, although I know of children who have. My son didn’t really “get it” until he was about 8 years old, and my daughter was 5 years old when she started running with it. We all enjoy teaching kids to knit now, and many of our International Students have returned home knowing the basics.

teaching kids to knit

A good way for children to start knitting is without a pattern.  A garter stitch square or scarf make good first projects.  Garter stitch is accomplished simply by knitting every stitch, for every row.  I find the little one learning gets the most pleasure out of their first project by having the stitches cast on for them at first, so they can get the hang of the knit stitch.  To knit a square, cast on about 25 stitches and then knit each row until it looks square.  For a scarf, similarly, cast on about 25 stitches and then knit until it is the desired length.

The most common problem I find for beginners, is adding stitches as they go, usually at the beginning of a row.  Be sure that when they finish a row and turn their needle around to start a new row, that they give a little tug on the yarn at the first stitch (which is the last stitch of the previous row), preventing them from making two stitches out of it.  Also, remind them to count their stitches after every row for their first project, to make sure they don’t end up with a parallelogram!

If you ever have trouble with a concept, one great way of learning it is to watch free videos on the web, i.e. on YouTube.  Once your child has knit a simple project to start, they can choose other projects – there are so many free patterns on the internet.You can also find knitting books at your local library.

Benefits of Knitting

Knitting is a fantastic, repetitive motion activity.  Studies have shown that engaging in a repetitive motion while learning increases retention rate!  So feel free to have your children knit along while listening to you or an audio book, or even some great Classical music.

Knitting is also a great way to give children a sense of accomplishment and pride. There are so many things we do in our lives that we never actually “finish” and knitting a project is something kids can actually get done. It also feels good to give loved ones those precious knitted gifts!

Learning More About Knitting

You can all study the history of knitting and historical knitting patterns together as a family.  If you have a boy, show him some photos of boys and men knitting socks for the war effort.  Perhaps you would even like to incorporate some geography into your lesson, and look at knitting around the world.  Type “Estonian lace” or “Latvian mittens” into your web browser and see the astonishingly elaborate knits traditionally made in that corner of Europe.

Go pick up some needles and knit with your children – it’s never too early to start working on Christmas gifts! Do you and your kids knit? Do you have some tips for teaching kids to knit? Let me know in the comments below. And feel free to link up with what you’re up to in your home or homeschool!

[inlinkz_linkup id=380925]

Love, Luck &
Laughter,

Kimberly

Posted in Blog Hops/Walks, Things to Do, Places to Go

Fibre Friday: A Knit-a-thon, Arm Knitting, and Fingerless Gloves

Fibre FridayThe Olympics and the Ravellenics are over! Did you knit, crochet, or make something? I didn’t finish the Crosstown Convertible, but it’s on the back burner – I would love to finish it sometime in March!
Fibre Friday

Last Saturday was the annual Knit Fit Knit-a-thon. We spent all day knitting from 10am to 5pm and had a fabulous time. We raised about $1100 or so for the library’s Children’s Literacy programs and knitted, crocheted, and wove hundreds of items for charity! The photo above shows just one wall of the items collected by the end of the day.

I taught a bunch of people how to arm knit and we all made scarves. Here I am modelling one of the three I knit and donated:
Fibre Friday

And here is my friend Chris’ very first arm knit project ever:

Fibre Friday

Before the Knit-a-thon, I took out these two books from the library:
Fibre Friday

I thought the fingerless gloves pattern would be perfect for the day of the Knit-a-thon. I started knitting them last Saturday after arm knitting scarves, and finished them during the week:
Fibre Friday

 

My daughter loves these fingerless gloves, and I will be starting on a pair for her. Hopefully I can also get to the Knit Your Own Dog book and knit some cute dogs with my daughter in the next couple of weeks!

Have you ever tried arm knitting? What fibre arts projects are you or your children working on this week?

[inlinkz_linkup id=378565]

Love, Luck &
Laughter,
Kimberly