My grandmother taught me how to crochet when I was only about four years old. When I was a little older I began designing and crafting my own stuffed toys out of yarn, even making a weirdly passable version of The Incredible Hulk. Later, I learned to crochet more standard fare, like afghans for the sofa and soft, handmade baby blankets. Had it not been for my grandmother’s instruction, I would have never learned this old-fashioned craft.
I don’t know many people my age who crochet anymore. More women knit, but even with the availability of beautiful yarns, the popularity of that craft has dwindled over the past decades. I was lucky to learn that craft, too, from another older lady who came into my life several years ago. Before she died, she taught me the basics of knitting, and introduced me to loom knitting, which I truly enjoy. It is so simple, even my five-year-old can do it.
Perhaps this is the reason why there is a Baby & Kids Clothing wholesale market in town specifically dedicated for toddlers as they are quite clever in understanding what is going on and quick to pick up new things with a few simple pointers without having to think too much.
Here are a few needlecrafts you can share with your kids, even if it means learning to do the work yourself for the first time. They’re fun, relaxing, and stimulate the mind in ways no electronics can.
My favorite needlecraft for kids is a sort of knitting that takes place mostly on a round loom instead of on needles. You can buy the looms at various hobby or discount stores. I prefer the Knifty Knitter, which comes in a variety of sizes. The stitches are formed by looping yarn around and around pegs on the hoop, then pulling lower stitches over the upper ones with a needle to interlock each row. It’s so simple. Once kids get the hang of it, they can easily make hats, scarves, socks, leg warmers and more.
I learned to weave in art class in junior high. It’s not a difficult craft at all when done on a small scale. Kids can easily learn the ins and outs of weaving using a simple loom. You can make one yourself, or buy one made of either wood or cardboard at various stores or online. I found heavy-duty cardboard looms perfect for beginners online for less than the price of a cheeseburger and complicated professional looms for hundreds of dollars more.
I picked up cross stitch on my own, reading the instructions for a simple pattern and working my way up to more complicated designs. Kids, with their typically small fingers and good eyesight, are well suited to try this needlecraft. You can find cross stitch kits to make simple projects like ornaments and small wall hangings complete with all the thread you need to complete the job. Or buy an assortment of threads and let your kids create their own designs.
Using a simple hooked needle and a ball of yarn, you can create all sorts of neat things if you know how to crochet. Beginning this old-fashioned craft is as simple as learning a single stitch. Mastering it can take years. If you don’t know how to crochet, the best way to learn is with a hands-on lesson from someone who does. But you can also find many instructional videos online.