February 4, 2015

Our newest favorite little craft

It seems like everyone I know these days is getting into (or back into) embroidery. OK, well, lots of moms with little kids I know, which, I grant, is a pretty small group. 

You tend not to think of embroidery being a great craft for little kids, what with the sharp needles and need for finger dexterity and patience and all. But my kids are the ones who asked to take it up, after having watched me embroider little toys for them here and there over the years.

Colin learned to embroider last year in his Waldorf kindergarden, and he liked it so much he embroidered half a dozen little swatches last year, which we sewed into lavender sachets and gave as Christmas gifts to friends and family and teachers. He even helped me at the sewing machine!

But recently, when Colin asked to get out his embroidery kit again after a bit of a hiatus, Archer asked for a kit of his own. "Wasn't three a little young for embroidery?," I worried. Well, after all he is three-and-a-half (as he reminds me daily). So I let him give it a try, and he took to it like a fish to water. Now, with only a little supervision, he can make and follow his own designs. He loves being able to do anything his big brother can do.

And I do love sewing with the boys. It teaches them hand-eye coordination and finger dexterity. It's easy for them to let their creativity run wild, but without any mess, and it is quite simple for me to fix their mistakes. There is also a lovely and useful project at the end for them to be proud of. 

Colin just finished a "shape sampler" of his own design, and we've made plans for him to embroider his alphabet over the coming months as a big project to sew and frame for his bedroom. Yet, there's nothing terrible precious about the product. I have ripped out stitches from finish projects they didn't seem to care about so that we could reuse the linen, which were scraps to begin with from a pair of Ikea curtains I hemmed years ago.

Mainly what I love about embroidering with the boys is that it makes us all slow down and be still, which, if you know little boys, almost never happens.  It helps Archer to stay quiet in the afternoon, while Virginia is sleeping. It helps Colin unwind from a long day at school. And it forces me to neglect the dishes and the floors and to postpone starting dinner until I realize its too late to cook anything and Kevin will have to take us out to dinner—again.

But most of all when we embroider we have to sit on the couch together. We can't do anything else, except maybe listen to some music and be in each other's company. It helps me savor these fleeting moments with my boys when they are still so very young and just want to be near me and doing, well, just about anything really.

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