This time of year it is tempting for many children to fall into a pattern of school and television that becomes uncreative and boring. My daughter Autumn recently began showing an interest in my needlework and asked for a project of her own.
I fondly remembered my own first embroidery kit. My famous trick was to embroider my dress to my project seconds before the school bus came. My mother would always cut it off, and when I returned home the project would always still be complete to the point of being cut. My mother must have done a lot of embroidery!
When I began to search for a project for Autumn, I found that the dime stores and department stores no longer sell children's needlework projects. I assumed that there must no longer be a reason to manufacture the kits, and I almost gave up.
A friend told me that she thinks that children do as much needlework as ever. But she felt that the manufacturers had caught on to the fact that it was actually easier for a child to use the little needles that adults use and that the stitches I was thinking of as too small for Autumn were actually quite big to her.
Soon after the discussion with my friend. I bought Autumn a crewel work project and a rug pillow to hook. She mastered both crafts the same night that she received them. I have watched her apply the patience of a saint to tiny French knots that would send me out the door screaming.
Because of the attention Autumn was receiving over her quick completion of projects, our two boys decided they would like to get started on a project. I got them each a rug. they are both enjoying it, and as 10-year-old Josh says, "A model you have to let sit. This is great. I can sneak it into my bed and you'll never know it!"
Needlework is a good alternative to cartoon reruns on television. It is not only something new and different, but the children have beautiful colors and interesting textures to work with.
When kids have completed their projects, they have something that is useful and beautiful which they can feel proud of. They also develop skills they can take through their lives, like hemming their own clothing and repairing buttons and rips.
Autumn has taken to needlework so well that it is difficult to keep her in projects. She has just started needlepoint, and she is very good at it, too.