Life is like that... one stitch at a time, taken patiently. " - Oliver Wendell Holmes
Handcrafts mean so much more to me than just a learned
skill. It is a creative outlet, an expression of self, a gift that can be given,
a discipline that carries over into other aspects of life, and yes a skill that
can be relied upon and even used to support a life and family.
Charlotte Mason’s brief words on handicrafts: “The points
to be borne in children's handicrafts are: (a) that they should not be employed
in making futilities such a pea and stick work, paper mats, and the like; (b)
that they should be taught slowly and carefully what they are to do; (c) that
slipshod work should not be allowed; (d) and that, therefore, the children's
work should be kept well within their compass.” She also says that they, “should
form a regular part of a child’s daily life.” 1/315, 316.
from knitting! Tearing out a whole day’s worth of stitches after finding out I
had added a few too many to each row as I went along. But in the end having a
quality piece of work show for it made the journey that much sweeter.
I didn’t really begin to see the value in such things as
woodwork, gardening, preserving food, knitting, sewing, quilting, or photography
until I had my first son. For some reason having this little life next to me made it
all take hold inside. Maybe it was the concept that one income was going
to have to stretch just a little bit further now, and I might like to make a few
things myself instead of buy them. Maybe it was the desire to see my child in
those cute little knitted hats that I saw on the cover of every parenting
magazine. I know a little part of it was that I didn’t want to see a
handicraft end when Grandma passed away. I wanted to be the one who grabbed a
hold of that family heirloom of needle and thread. I want to pass it on to a future
generation. I look forward to teaching even my son the art of
knitting as Charlotte says, “slowly and carefully.”
exquisite instrument to be used in a hundred movements exacting delicacy,
direction and force; every such movement is a cause of joy as it leads to the
pleasure of execution and the triumph of success. We begin to understand this
and make some efforts to train the young in the deft handling of tools and the
practice of handicrafts. Some day perhaps, we shall see apprenticeship to trades
revived and good and beautiful work enforced. In so far, we are laying ourselves
out to secure that each shall "live his life"; and that, not at his neighbor's
expense; because, so wonderful is the economy of the world that when a man
really lives his life he benefits his neighbor as well as himself; we all thrive
in the well being of each.” –Charlotte Mason, 6/ 328
where to focus my energy. It emphasizes that the outcome is so much more than a
cute little decoration to hang up for a holiday. What we create has to have a
sense of purpose, a duty to fill in order to be worth our time to learn and do
it. It can even benefit our neighbor. There’s just something about a handmade
gift that warms the soul knowing the love and time put into it.
During wintertime it's nice to have something to keep hands busy.
Working on some of these things gives a sense of
accomplishment and value. I have something I can do well and even give to
others. Every child needs to have something they enjoy and can do well,
something of value. I have often seen kids at school who don’t and it’s sad. If these kids had that sense of accomplishment inside them, I believe it
could even ignite their desire to learn in other subject areas and motivate them
to be a life long learner. It has for me.