I developed my love of crafting at an early age. My interest came from watching both of my grandmothers and my mother make household and gift items as well as homemade clothing. I watched both of my grandmothers sew quilts, crochet and create the most wondrous things. My mother made most of my clothing when I was a little girl and I had a large wardrobe thanks to her nimble fingers and those of both of my grandmothers. Whether it was homemade curtains, quilts, toys, clothing or other practical items for the home–I watched a woman in my family create it and developed my own interest in crafting.
Now that I am older with two daughters of my own, I have carried on the tradition of crafting and teaching my girls how to make things for themselves. I started making simple crafts with them at a very young age in order to instill an interest in handcrafts. Creating craft projects helped them with fine motor skills and dexterity while encouraging their creativity. They also learned the joy of giving when they gave their handmade treasures to grandparents and other loved ones.
When they were old enough, I began teaching them simple hand sewing with a needle and thread. They learned to make easy projects for themselves and to give as gifts. I eventually taught them to use my sewing machine and now my 11-year-old daughter sews homemade gifts at Christmas and for birthdays.
I have tried to teach my children (especially my girls) how to make many of the things I make–for decoration and practical purposes. I taught them both to crochet and they have made small scarves and other crocheted items for their dolls and for friends.
When I decided to re-learn to fingerknit–something I had first learned to do many years ago as a Brownie Scout–I taught my daughters how to do it as well. That Christmas, my girls made everyone they knew fingerknit scarves!
Many of the craft projects I learned as a girl, I have in turn taught to my daughters. They know how to make corn husk dolls, clothespin dolls, soft cloth dolls, assorted Christmas ornaments, crochet, sew and many other things. When I make homemade projects, I usually let my kids help me decide what to make and help me plan how to make it.
Just as I have fond memories from childhood of watching and helping my mother and grandmother make assorted craft items, I hope my girls will have similar memories with me. My girls have watched me make decorations for our home, sew pot holders, sew clothing and create gifts for friends and family members.
I have found that many times when I am crafting with my girls, I start talking with them–sharing the memories I have from my childhood. I share my memories of learning to make similar items with my mom and grandmothers. While my daughters have a close relationship with my mother (their grandmother) and one of my grandmother (their great-grandmother), my other grandmother passed away in 2010 and was bedridden with dementia for a few years beforehand. My children never knew her the way I knew her and I have found that talking about my favorite memories of her–making homemade items to decorate with or give to the family she loved so much–makes her memory sweeter and her loss easier to deal with.
Crafting is more than just a hobby. It is a connection between generations and a means of passing down family traditions. A home that is full of crafts is a home that is filled with love and creativity.
Read more by Tamara L. Waters:
How to Make a Clothespin Doll
Make a Corn Husk Doll
Learn to Fingerknit