March 23, 2012
A couple of years ago, my daughters and I were searching through a little antique shop for a gift and saw a bunch of tiny walnut pincushions. These were so miniature and sweet that I decided to make them that year for Christmas. Cracking the walnut in half is the most difficult part of this project, but, If you can manage it, the rest is as easy as can be!
Side view of my walnut pincushion
Brief Description: These tiny walnut pincushions make unique gifts. Trifles like these also are excellent additions to miniature collections and novelty boxes.
1. one cleaned walnut split in half and hollowed out.
2. tiny pincushion template
4. decorative button
5. small handful of cotton stuffing
6. a small swatch of woven check or plaid
7. tacky white glue
- Cut a piece of woven check fabric after drawing around the template provided. (3 inch diameter circle)
- Sew a loose straight stitch around the edge of the fabric circle.
- Gently pull the end of the thread in order to create a pouch for the cotton to be stuffed.
- Stuff the cotton in firmly and sew the edges tightly down around the stuffing.
- Sew on a button for decoration.
- Stuff the walnut half with cotton and then glue the tiny pin cushion on top of the walnut.
Top view of my walnut pincushion.
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March 20, 2012
Preschool and Kindergarten sewing activities that will improve eye-hand motor skills are a must. Below, I have listed the most common supplies that even a homeroom teacher may adapt for quiet time use with her small charges. Teachers should only supply large, plastic, round-tipped needles to children this young!
- Lacing Cards
- Stringing Giant Beads
- Sew’n Sew (wooden sewing block)
- Stringing cereal
Sewing activities for first through third graders may be similar to the above suggestions only slightly more complicated in nature.
- Two-sided felt animals with pre-cut holes. Teachers can also craft projects like these using paper.
- Stringing small beads
- Stringing dried fruit or candy as a gift for a parent
- Sewing decorative threads to pre-printed holiday cards
Sewing for fourth graders and up! Although there are many children younger than nine or ten who can sew, we suggest that teachers wait until fourth or fifth grade to introduce kids to sewing projects in the classroom. This is because sewing with sharp needles requires some mature accountability on the part of a student. Teachers need to be in charge of any artistic activities that involve this kind of risk taking. A sewing needle can seem harmless enough, but, there are many health risks involved when open wounds are probable, even when the wound is the size of a pin prick. So proceed with caution and write a note home or send an e-mail to your student’s parents explaining that their child will be expected to conduct themselves appropriately with sewing materials in your classroom.
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March 20, 2012
Every spring my daughters and I collect from their closets clothing and other items that they have either outgrown or no longer need.
These items are then donated to charity.
However, given the fact that I am very sentimental about my children, it often makes me sad to see them throw away those things that I have associated fond childhood memories with. Of course, you can not keep everything.
This sample banner, I think, helps me to demonstrate just how my students may use some of the old garments and novelty toys they might label as “toss offs.”
This image of a young teen is from a marvelous book. I will find it in my bookcase sometime today and link to the author/artist here.
Students may even include text in their samplers; here I have used a permanent ink marker to write a story directly onto the fabric.
Here I have demonstrated that students don’t need to follow stricter rules used by quilters when they are thinking about their designs. I’ve used both the reverse and the front of this fabric within the same design.
The batting here is used as though it were fabric and some of the edges of fabric are left raw and frayed. Small plastic toys from my children’s old toy bins are also sandwiched between layers of material.
Even a silk flower from one of my younger child’s old costumes finds it’s way into the mix!
Finally, I have backed my textile sample with fabric from a skirt once worn by my youngest.
March 17, 2012
Above is one of many teacher “samples” I have created to instruct students in the textile arts.
Textile pieces don’t need to be assembled like traditional quilts. Students can add pockets, pleats, layers, beads and blanket stitching wherever they prefer in order to create unusual designs.
I have sewn a clipped and ruffled center to this fabric flower from felt. In the flower above, I have used several embroidery stitches to accentuate the design in a alternative way. A variety of applications and methods may be used to incorporate texture into textile artworks.
Some of my fabrics are purchased from a store and others are hand-dyed or painted during my classes. I teach students a wide variety of methods so that they may choose those techniques that appeal to their own creative interests.
In this photo, you can see that I am starting to add even more visual and tactile information to my small banner with the introduction of bright yarns and threads. It is important to teach students that they do not need to rely on machines to produce elaborate work. Very few young people have the income or materials to produce artworks apart from what they can manipulate by hand on their laps. They must be taught independence and ingenuity apart from their financial means in order to survive as artists.
I chose to back my textile piece with this lavender leaf patterned fabric. Finishing artworks on both sides is professional. Art teachers instruct students to be professional in order for them to achieve excellent results.