Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Pamela's Latest Critter

Pamela just finished her first candlewicked dog. This project is a perfect example of how we weave Charlotte Mason and RDI together. Charlotte Mason believed the best handicrafts for children are those that are useful. Pamela's project is pretty enough to decorate any spot in our home. Charlotte also recommended handicrafts that developed fine motor skills. When Pamela was eight years old, she could hardly weave a shoestring through a lacing card. A decade later, she can sew beautiful artwork.

I try to working referencing, declarative language, and nonverbal communication when we make her projects. Today, for example, we shopped at the store around the corner to find the wooden acorn to hide the hoop screw. I pointed to things that would look silly (like doll hair or huge flowers) for fun. When we did the final touches, we each had roles: I held the ribbon, while she cut. I tied the ribbon, while she glued on the acorn.

Here are the steps we do as a team to make her candlewick critters.

* First, she draws an animal to fit the size of the hoop (five to six inches in diameter). Then, I trace it onto graph paper and make the dots. I bought a cutter used by quilters and a frame so that she can cut out a nine-inch-diameter circle. I transfer the dots to the muslin with a fine-tipped permanent marker.

* Then, she picks out the color of thread she plans to use for each part of the animal. We also pick out acrylic paint, ribbons, and decorative touches.

* Next, she makes French knots for all the dots. At first, we worked side by side until she got the hang of it. Now, she only comes to me when a knot went awry (which is not very often). In her first project (a red bird), I spaced the knots far apart. Now, they are closer together because she can take on more sewing per project.

* After three projects, I taught her the satin stitch, which she used for the collar and the nose of the dog. Whenever she learns a new stitch, we work side by side until she has mastered it. The next stitch she will learn is the running stitch. Very gradually, we will add more stitches and become more sophisticated.

* I use little tricks like masking tape. My mother taught me that the back of a needlework project ought to be as neat as the front. I achieve that by weaving threads into the back loops. To avoid getting them tangled while Pamela sews. I tape them to keep them out of her way.

* I do the detailed sewing (hemming the fabric and attaching the lace). I tried a hot glue gun with the first project and my thumbs got in the way and made a huge mess. It did not pass my mom's neatness test. I prefer spending the time sewing because it looks neater and allows you to wash the project more easily if it ever gets dirty.

* Pamela paints the outer piece of a very cheap wooden hoop. When completely dry, I attach the hoop, and we do the final decorative touches together.


LAA and Family said...

What lovely work Pamela does! I hope we have something like this to do with Samuel some day. Great job working together to accomplish this Tammy!

Niffercoo said...

It's beautiful! I showed it to Riley and she wants to learn how to do it, too! :)

The Glasers said...


Let me know if Riley needs more specifics.


Pamela's handiwork is the culmination of years of baby steps.

LAA and Family said...

Baby steps, just like my working with Samuel at the kitchen table has been. I can relate to that, makes any activity approachable!