Crafting has always been a part of me, so I find myself working when my little one is around lots, specially so during the summer holidays. In my house you will find my embroidery tools, or my sewing box or my hooks and needles around all of the time. Partly because I like to have them handy for when I have 5 minutes to work but also unconsciously because I want to transfer him the love of what I make.
However this is the way I was brought up too. I have plenty memories of my grandmothers and my mum sewing, knitting, painting and cooking all while we played around. As a child I would sit at the pedal of my grandmother's Singer and help her move the pedal while she sewed. Her scissors and all sewing implements were in the drawers in her sewing table, and I remember admiring them and opening the drawers many times. I knew what the tools were and that I was not to touch them. I respected them and I loved them too!
I also loved joining in, so from early on I was making clothes for my dolls (gluing scraps of fabric together) or knitting wonky scarves or ironing the clothes in my play ironing board (aka old bench) and iron. Came the time of carnival (there was no dressing up for Halloween at the time) or school plays, we would rummage in a drawer of old clothes and make things out of them. I always loved my costumes and my earliest memories are a Hawaiian skirt made out of a potato bag, a colonial dress in blue fabric and black lace, and a 60s skirt for a rock and roll dance made out of my mums old green striped dress...
For every occasion there was a handmade gift, partly because we couldn't afford otherwise, but partly because it is what we did. Pencil holders made out of tins, Paper Mache whatever you can imagine, etc. It is what we did.
And so as I don’t know any better that’s what I do at home. We have had our issues, like the time my son grabbed my bird crewelwork embroidery to look at the pretty bird whilst his fingers were covered in chocolate (I am yet to clean that stain)… but generally at 3 years old he understands and respects my tools, and he loves copying and being involved. So we colour together and lately we started embroidering together. First with perforated paper and last weekend for the first time with actual cross stitch tools. The needles that were in my sewing case (blunt needles for cross stitch) and Aida fabric, the same one I use.
My son also knows about wool, you may have seen in my stories the videos of him winding up yarn. He is also learning to make pom poms, and I am planning to get him into dyeing yarn and finger knitting as soon as he is ready.
I adapt the materials as much as I possibly can, but generally he asks to do things there and then so I have to improvise. I won't lie it is messy, there is a bit of shouting involved some times when I see he is about to mess up with the bits I don't want to share... life is real, not the imaginary tale in my head and he is 3! But we try, we inspire each other and we try to share a special time of what mum does.
Creative parent equals creative child? I don't know yet. I may figure it out in a few years time. But I hope to be transferring the love of handmade, of working with your own hands, of creating. I hope to be giving him the confidence that he can make things, that he can transform a material into something beautiful, that his hands can create what he imagines. I hope to be transferring the love of hand made... and secretly I am hoping that it will also lead to him appreciating what I do... and how much love goes into it.
Do you share what you do with your child? Be it your job or you hobby? I would love to know.