young pups, new tricks


This time a year ago my littlest pup started school. It was a watershed moment for both of us, and the year that has passed since that point has been particularly eventful.  Looking back through our photos for last year, I realise that sewing and knitting ‘firsts’ for the little people in our house were woven right into the highs and lows of last year:

Dilys Learns to Sew: Hearts for Opa

This time last year I challenged the kids to make felt heart badges a la Purl Soho. We spent Valentine’s Day with my lovely Aunt-in-Law and her family, as we often do because 14th February is her birthday. I’d brought along a little kit of felted wool from old jumpers, embroidery thread, needles and safety pins so that the girls’ cousins could join in. Five of them had a go, aged from 11 down to Dilys, only 3! This was Dilys’ first real experience of sewing. Here she is showing her prowess with a needle (wearing an example badge I made for her earlier). These heart badges went on to take on a deeper significance – Many of the family wore the badges the kids had made for them to my father in law’s funeral in March. He was buried wearing a green one that Dilys had sewn specially for him.

Pom Poms for Many Occasions

When I was little, I remember always getting a little bored waiting to fill my cardboard pom pom ring with wool, so until last year I’d put off making pom poms with the kids. But just before Easter I discovered the route to almost instant pom pom gratification by winding yarn around a fork! Needless to say, the kids and I have since enjoyed lots of pom pom fun, from decorated socks for the school stall at the town carnival, to tails for Easter rabbits and black spiders at Halloween… not to mention my eventful and rather ambitious evening making pom pom christmas stockings with 15 Brownies who had varying levels of experience with a needle (I was too busy averting disaster that evening to attempt any photography…)



The kids made the pom pom tails for these rabbits and later made their own rabbits – both pink! (but somehow I omitted to photograph their versions – apologies – they are now deep in storage in the ‘Easter Box’).

Around the time of ‘the pom pom epiphany’ I was toying with the idea of setting up some kids sewing sessions – pom poms started infiltrating my ‘branding’…


I ran a trial kids sewing session with some friends. We made felt animal pouches – pom poms feature again! Dilys made the fierce looking one with the yellow teeth!


At the end of the year, you can see that Dilys is now absolutely keeping up with her big sis – here are the Christmas stockings in progress – before pom poms have been added:


Getting the Knack of Knitting

I tried teaching Rose to knit when she was about 5, inspired by Ginny Sheller at the Small Things Blog. It was awkward and difficult and clearly not the right time. However, this year (she’s now 7) Rose’s will was piqued on a visit to my mother in law, who hosts weekly craft afternoons for the local ladies in her village. On the week we were visiting, the group were knitting squares for a blanket for a church aid project. One of the ladies offered us a spare pair of needles and we were away:


I particularly like this picture because the girls are wearing smocked dresses that my grandmother made for my sister and I when we were exactly the same ages as my two girls are now. Somewhere my mum must have a picture of us both wearing them…

It didn’t escape my notice that Rose’s interest in knitting coincided with a group event – there is something so special about being part of a community of people making something together. She’s practiced hard this last year, and is now an important part of a family knitting project that will be revealed in due course…


Teamwork on the Maiden Sewing Machine Mission!


I bought Rose this old ‘windy-handle’ Singer a year or two ago from a local junk shop. We’ve sewn a few things together on it since then, but this year Dilys was old enough to be part of the sewing machine team, and I could hardly contain myself watching them reach sewing machine independence together! A special moment of harmony, cooperation, and intense concentration – They are making skirts for their Clothkits dolls. Perhaps we should all dress up in fur coats and wigs for sewing?

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