I can't believe it's October already - it doesn't seem all that long ago since I was having to wear shorts and sandals, but now it's freezing! The weather may be a little less pleasant, but being able to snuggle up with warm projects is definitely a perk. Also, today (10th October) is National I Love Yarn Day, so I thought it would be the perfect day to share some the projects I have been working on recently.
Remember the 80s inspired jumper that I started in April? Well, I have finally finished it! I completely love it, and although it is made in double knit and is a little short, it still keeps me very warm. I'm a bit obsessed with the colours too. Here's a photo - what do you think?
Also, I've been doing a lot more crochet lately and have started working on a hat. At the moment, it isn't looking the best but the colours are so pretty - here is a photo.
It is made using a merino yarn that unfortunately, we do not stock. However, we do stock some other merino yarns. Personally, I don't find it too hard to work with but it is important to make sure that moths to not come anywhere near or it is much more difficult. I recommend buying some wool wash (which we do stock) when buying any pure wool and washing your garment with it once you have finished making it.
Yesterday, I started working with one of our new-in yarns, Stylecraft Softie Chunky. I'm making a waistcoat using one of the new patterns and I love it. Because of the way the wool is spun, I wouldn't necessarily recommend it for first-time knitters; however, it is immensely soft. At the moment, I haven't got far enough into it to take photos, but I'll show you some as I go on and am super excited to see how it goes!
That's all from me today - the projects beckon me! Until next time, happy crafting,
How To Fit Crafting into Everyday Life
Now that we are slowly getting back into our normal lives, things are starting to get pretty busy again - already I am being set science tests, language quizzes and lots of homework. Fortunately, I don't mind too much because I like to have things to do, but it does make me wonder, how do we even get time to craft with everything that goes on in our busy lives? For me, crafting is really important as it helps me to wind down after a long day or prepare me for the beginning of one, but I haven't had a chance to do a lot lately. Are any of you feeling the same way? Recently, I have started thinking about ways to work crafting back into my life, and I thought I would share a few of these with you.
1: Have Smaller Projects
When you're in a rush, working on a huge jumper or an adult-size blanket isn't always a good idea. Whilst it is rewarding to finish a big project, it can be hard to get into one when you have a lot on your mind. I have to admit, the knitting and crochet projects that I have on the go at the moment are not doing me many favours when it comes to this, but once I have finished them, I plan on making some smaller things out of the wool I showed you last week. I'm not sure what though - do leave a comment if you have any ideas!
Even simpler still, I have been doing a fair bit of scrapbooking and collage. At the moment, I'm working on a happiness book, which I'm really enjoying because I can pick it up and add stuff to it whenever I like. Mine is pretty cheesy - it is almost all rainbow stuff, memes and inspirational quotes - but working on it or even just flicking through it lifts my spirits without making me feel guilty for taking a break.
2: Work Crafting into Your Routine
Whilst some kinds of craft can take a while, not all of them have to be this way; in fact, it is much easier to work a bit of craft time into your day than you would think. Think through your day: your morning routine, work/school, your evening routine and everything in between. Whilst it may be pretty choc-a-block, there are probably some points in your day where you don't have quite as much going on. I can think of three main ones in my life: when I'm travelling, after dinner and just before bed. Those may only be ten minute gaps on some days, but ten minutes is plenty of time to do a few rounds on a sock, colour in a few sections on a mindfulness colouring book or to sew up a few seams on a sewing project. Today, I finished one of the fronts of the cardigan that I am working on and plan on casting on the back later tonight!
3: Crafting With Friends
Now, this probably isn't something I would recommend doing every day but, once in a while, perhaps it would be good to meet up with someone (most likely virtually at the moment!) and craft with them. Not only will you have a set time planned for crafting and a commitment to make, but doing your hobby with a like-minded friend could make the experience even more enjoyable and beneficial.
4. Turn Work into Craft
This one is much more aimed at students, particularly those in secondary school. Do any of you get set tasks that are quite ambiguously worded, such as "revise" or "display what you have learned in today's lesson in a format of your choice?" I know I certainly do! When I started secondary school, I often had no idea what to do when asked to revise, but now I have found the perfect way - through the medium of craft. Take mind maps. Teachers seem to love mind maps and I completely get why: they are such a simple and fun way to display everything you have learnt, and summarising information in this way can really help it to sink it. Alternatively, you can use them to organise your day, your feelings and so much more. Mind maps can be whatever you want them to be, whether that is a simple spider diagram or something that looks a bit more like an art project, thrown together with photos, fun stationary and lots of love. Here is one I have made for my upcoming biology test.
There really are so many ways to fit crafting into your everyday life, whether that is through finding small projects, using your time wisely or even using craft as a tool to help you in your busy life. That's all from me for now, but until next time, happy crafting!
This Week in Craft
This week has been a major week for me and many others across the country - it was my first week back at school since March. At first, I was really nervous to go back because of Coronavirus but, actually, the experience was better than I had expected.
At my school, not a lot has changed; we are still able to sit next to our friends and have different teachers for different subjects, but we now also have to sanitise our hands as we come into school, keep our distance from teachers and stay in a set area of the school, away from other year groups. We also have the option to wear face coverings and have time at the beginning of the lesson to clean our desks if we wish. Whilst I wouldn't describe it as perfect, I do feel safe, and when I have asked people to keep a bit of an extra distance to make me feel more comfortable, people have respected that. Overall, I'm happy to be back.
However, this isn't the only thing that has made going back to school a little different for me. This year, I have started the GCSE curriculum. Again, I was prepared for it to be a hugely stressful thing but it really isn't - in fact, I'm actually enjoying it. At the moment, we are mostly just revising and building on what we did a few years back. Of course, I am having to do more revision and homework than before, but because I don't have to do any subjects that I particularly dislike, I do want to put the effort in. At the same time, downtime is very important too, and I have still had plenty of time for that.
Remember last week, when I mentioned that I was having a bit of a clear-out of my craft stuff? Well, through this, I have found so many amazing art supplies and balls of wool that I completely forgot I had! I'm not sure what I'll use it all for, but I'm starting to get a few ideas. Here are some photos of the things I have found:
Also, I am continuing to work on the Creative Smile cardigan that I mentioned a while ago. Attached is a photo of how it knits up - isn't it pretty?! I'm a bit obsessed...
That's all from me today! I hope you have all been getting on well back at school or work too.
Craft and Mental Health
Now that September is here, many of us will be going back to work or school and whilst this can be exciting, it can be daunting too, particularly if you live with someone who has been shielding or have been shielding yourself. Also, workplaces and schools will look a little different, and that change can be enough to bring anyone down, whether they have pre-existing mental health conditions or not. As I have mentioned many times before, crafting is an amazing way of dealing with stress, anxiety and even depression. But how? Today, I will explain a few ways in which you can use craft as a tool to help you with your mental health.
Often, we are encouraged to talk about our feelings; however, this can be really stressful and upsetting in itself. Having said that, getting negativity out of your system is so important too. This is where craft comes in - through craft you can express your feelings without using words and without feeling forced to share anything embarrassing or upsetting with anyone else. It could be something really simple, such as a blanket, jumper or stuffed toy that you specifically use when you are feeling down. Alternatively, you could make something to help you feel uplifted, such as a funny collage or vibrant scarf (particularly if it is red, yellow or green as these colours, in the correct amounts, have been proven to boost happiness). I have been gathering a lot of art materials so that when I am back to school, I can do some crafting to express myself. I'll let you know how I get on!
Also, when it comes to knitting, crochet, macramé and other crafts that use your hands, there is another way to let your emotions go - through your tension. Naturally, I'm a very loose knitter and my crochet tension isn't a lot better; however, if I'm upset, stressed, or even just watching a good drama on TV, it becomes a lot tighter. Whilst this isn't great if you are doing something that needs to be particularly neat, taking my aggression out on a more experimental project does help sometimes!
One of the worst aspects of many mental health conditions are the hard-to-block-out negative thoughts. The only true way to keep these feelings at bay is to engage your senses, and craft is perfect for that. The sound of your knitting needles gently clicking or scissors snipping, the soft texture of the wool (particularly if it is chenille or silk), watching the project grow and the ball shrink, reading through the pattern, even the smell of the wool - yes, some wools do have a smell! All that leaves is taste, but a warm, comforting meal, a cup of tea or a slice of cake can easily fix that. I don't know about you, but all that this scene needs to make it my idea of heaven is good boxset or movie. Ahh, bliss!
On a more serious note, it is important to pick the right pattern if you plan on using one - it must be challenging enough so that it does distract you but not so challenging that it brings on more stress. I would recommend learning the basics of your craft of choice on a good day then picking a pattern that describes itself as "beginner" or "intermediate" (most patterns state their difficulty level on the front or inside the pattern itself). Personally, I recommend socks as these have enough challenge and they are also portable, meaning you can work on them whenever you need.
3. Gaining a Sense of Self-Worth
Another key aspect of many mental illnesses is feeling low on self-esteem, perhaps feeling like you are no good at certain things, or that people do not like you. I definitely can relate to this one, but whenever I give my friends and family homemade gifts, the feeling disappears for while and seeing them use the present afterwards makes my day. Now, you may be thinking "What if I make something for someone and they don't like it? That will make me feel so much worse." That is true, but seeing as craft has such a broad spectrum, it is a lot harder to go wrong. Below are a few things that I make as presents that people almost always love:
Also, even making things for yourself can boost your self worth, as by making your own clothes rather than buying it from someone, you are helping the environment, particularly if you use natural materials.
4: Crafting Socially
Whilst we still cannot meet up in large groups, social media and group calling services are still there to allow us all to connect virtually. Why not arrange a virtual craft club between friends? That way, not only can you see friends again if you have not already and can craft together, you can also use the time to talk about your mental health, worries or whatever is on your mind. If you don't know if your friends are into craft then ask them. Even if they are not, they will appreciate you reaching out and may want to give it a go.
There really are so many ways to use craft as a tool to boost your mental health, whether that is through letting your feelings out, taking your mind off of your worries for a while, making presents to boost your self-esteem or even using craft to connect with others. If the thought of trying craft does seem daunting then remember, craft can be whatever you want to be; it can be as simple as doodling and making collages or as complicated as making a wardrobe and filling it with homemade outfits.
That's all from me today. Until next time, happy crafting!
Learning to Craft
Crafting has been proven to have many benefits - it can help you feel relaxed, allow you to express your emotions in a different way, give you a great sense of achievement and so much more. But where do you start? At the moment, we are not offering lessons; however, there are so many other ways of learning new kinds of craft.
Over the past couple months, I have mentioned the instructions that are on the Great Community Sew website and towards the beginning of lockdown, I shared my instructions on how to make fingerless mittens on this blog. The main reason I like written guides a lot is because anyone can make them and access them, whether that's in the form of a blog post like I did or just a few bullet points to help a friend. Also, whilst written instructions can be difficult to understand sometimes, particularly if pictures or diagrams are not used, you can take your time with written instructions without having to make the effort of rewinding a video or asking someone to explain themselves again. I find written instructions particularly helpful when sewing because I often use up a lot of space and would not have room to prop up a computer or tablet that is playing a video, whereas written instructions don't need to be in plain sight in the same way so are much more practical for this sort of thing. Additionally, I am quite new to using sewing machines so I need to go slowly and take extra care at the moment, which is hard to do when you are trying to follow along with a video.
Another popular option for learning how to craft is using video tutorials. YouTube is a great place to look; you can find tutorials on pretty much anything, not just craft. In the past, I have used it for computer programming (I am a huge computer nerd!) and general studying but, otherwise, I haven't had much experience with video tutorials, particularly not with crafting. So, to get a better understanding, I had a go at Macramé using this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-JUjQ-15ZE. I must admit, I wasn't the greatest at it but that was probably because I didn't have quite the right materials rather than due to the quality of the video. In fact, I felt that this video explained the steps really well and would love to try it again but with better materials. Below is a picture of what I made using this tutorial.
Personally, I do like video tutorials; it can be really helpful to have the steps played out in front of you and to be able to pause and replay certain steps as and when you need. The only reason I use them so little is because my parents know a lot about crafting, so I can always go to them for help.
However, everyone has a different style of learning and teaching, so you do have to experiment and find the right videos for you. When I was learning Macramé, I did come across one other video but I found it a bit harder to understand because it seemed to be quicker and it also had no voiceover (sounds fussy, I know, but I just find it so much more helpful). When looking for videos, I would recommend looking for ones that have lots of views or likes or ones that have been made by a verified account (an account with a tick next to its name) because this often means that the video/account is good quality and that many people have found it useful. At the same time, if you do find a popular video confusing, it does not mean that you are stupid or wrong; it just means that you prefer to learn in a different way. Also, it's pretty important to make sure that the video you are using comes from the country that you live in rather than abroad, which may sound strange but it is necessary because different countries use different terminology and it can be confusing.
Patterns and Magazines
In my opinion, patterns and magazines are not necessarily the best for learning new things as such but I do like to use them once I have learnt a new craft to expand my ability a little. For example, before lockdown, I knitted a lot but rarely crocheted. I had been taught when I was younger and had picked it up again but I could only do double crochet, which, let's face it, can get very boring, very quickly. This was until I was given a granny square book. The book itself didn't actually teach me the stitches so I had to look into that myself, but it taught me how to combine the stitches to make cool patterns such as bobbles, clusters and popcorns, which I later used for other things. Below are a few pictures of the crochet stitches that I learnt over lockdown.
If you want to try working with a pattern, we sell knitting and crochet patterns for £4.00 each or £3.50 if you buy it with the wool.
In conclusion, I actually don't have a favourite way of learning to craft as I have had good and bad experiences of all these different types. Having said this, I would, as a general rule of thumb, recommend written instructions if you are the sort of person that prefers to self-teach in solitude, videos if you liked classes or learning in groups before the lockdown and patterns and magazines for further practice once you have finished learning.
That's all from me today, so until next time, happy crafting!
Face Mask Face-Off
Now that lockdown restrictions are being eased and we are starting to reach normality, it's important to wear masks where possible so that we can continue to keep everyone safe. But what kind of masks should you wear? There are so many different kinds of mask on offer so today, I will be telling you what I think about just a few of them.
Face Masks Without Shaping or Pleating
Face masks that have no shaping are made of just two or three rectangular pieces of fabric and do not require any complicated additional features to allow it to mould it to your face. Instead, you just gather the sides before you put it on each time. These masks are a less well-known and less widely available option; however, I would recommend trying a mask like this, particularly if you are a beginner to making masks or you often feel uncomfortable or unable to breath when wearing one, because it is secure on the sides but has much more room inside. I also find that it does mould to my face quite well, but others that I have talked to disagree. Overall, I would say that this kind of mask is a bit like marmite - you will either love it or hate it.
Personally, I have not had much experience wearing or making pleated masks but I have had a couple medical appointments recently and I have had to wear pleated surgical masks for these. I find them a little uncomfortable and sometimes they don't seem to shape to my face fully. As well as this, I do try to avoid the single-use surgical masks where possible because reusable masks are better for the environment, On the other hand, I know that people who have particularly flexible ears prefer the straps that are in surgical masks to regular elastic. Also, these masks are more widely available and are pretty popular with people that I have talked to, so I would recommend trying them.
Our personal favourite in the shop is the shaped mask, which is very quick to make and feels secure and protective without being too restrictive. What's more, if you are a glasses wearer, this is perfect because from my experience, these shouldn't make your glasses steam up much. Because we love them so much, we are now selling them in our shop at £4.00 each, with a flexible wire in the nose for extra shaping. Above is a slideshow of the types that we have on offer at the moment. Alternatively, if you want to make your own, we sell fabric, elastic, thread and other haberdashery items.
As I wrote this blog, I held a vote between friends on what their favourite type of mask is, and the winner was the shaped mask, with over half the vote. However, shaped masks are not perfect for anyone. If you haven't found a mask that is comfortable for you, keep looking. Or, if regular masks are not for you, you can wear scarves, snoods or bandanas; as long as it covers your nose and face and is secure at the sides, it will legally pass as a face covering.
That's all from me today! Happy Crafting!
A Guide to Ball Bands
Now that we are open, many of you can start a new knitting or crochet project for the first time in what felt like forever. I could say that I missed this feeling but, to be honest, I have so many projects on the go or waiting to be started already that I didn't get a chance to! Nevertheless, starting something new can be exciting. That is until you start reading the ball band. There is so much valuable information on a ball band but fathoming it out can be confusing, regardless of your knitting/crochet experience. Fear not; today, we will look at everything you need to know before you start a project and where to find it. I will be using the Creative Smile Super Chunky ball band as an example, but the information is pretty much identical on all ball bands, albeit in a different layout. Below is a picture of the ball band.
The Main Section: Brand Details and General Information
This section is the part that bears slightly less importance when you are starting to work with the yarn, but it can be quite interesting to know these details. At the top is the name of the brand that makes the yarn (Rico in this case) followed by the name of the yarn itself (Creative Smile). This may seem stupid and obvious but it is so important that you keep these details in case you need to order in more - you may be sure that you have enough but there is every possibility of the tension being not quite right or the pattern miscalculating the number of balls you need.
Below this is the amount of grams and metres per ball. The amount of grams can sometimes be useful if you are doing a pattern using a different yarn to what it used originally but using the amount of metres is much more accurate because some wool can be very light, meaning you can get a hundreds of metres on a 50g ball, whereas that won't be the case for something thicker and heavier. In my last post, I explained how to calculate how much wool you need to use for a pattern if you are using something different to what it suggests.
Then, below this, it tells you what materials are used. This may not be a priority for you necessarily, but if it is, for whatever reason, then here are a few tips:
Finally, we have where the yarn was produced, which is pretty self-explanatory. A lot of wool is produced abroad, though if you are trying to reduce your carbon footprint by buying things that are produced locally, I recommend yarns from the brand West Yorkshire Spinners, which we do stock.
Tension and Sizing Information
Now we will look at the tension and sizing information, which is particularly important if you are following a pattern but not using the yarn that is recommended. The first symbol shows which needle or hook size (in millimetres) you should use when working with that yarn. Next is the tension square. When you are following a pattern, you should check that the tension is the same on both the pattern and the ball you are using. In the tension diagram on this ball band, you can see that, to make a 10cm by 10cm square, you need to cast on 11 stitches and do 14 rows. If I wanted to use this to make something that has the same tension or similar (eg. one more/less stitch or row). Then, to check that your tension matches the tension square, you need to try knitting it up. So, in this case, you would cast on 11 stitches using 8mm needles and do 14 rows. If your square matches the measurements that the ball band shows, your tension is correct and you are ready to start the project. If not, try bigger needles if it is too small/tight and smaller needles if it is too big/loose.
The bottom two diagrams are a lot less complicated and are not too important unless you are not following a pattern at all. These tell you how many grams you need for a certain size jumper. In this case, you need 700g (ie. 14 balls in this case) for a size 14/40inch jumper. Also, do note that not all ball bands have this diagram.
Finally, we have the washing instructions. I won't explain every symbol that exists because there are hundreds of them, but I will explain the ones shown here and a few others:
If you come across one not shown here, you can find it online by searching for images of washing instruction symbols.
And there you have it - you now know how to navigate a ball band! If you have a specific question about a ball band you have, do let us know in the comments!
Today I thought I would go through some frequently asked questions about knitting and the shop in general.
Q1: Why knit/crochet?
Personally, I knit and (occasionally) crochet for a range of reasons. Firstly, I love the fact that it is so free and creative; with the range of different stitches and kinds of wool that exist, it is easy to add a personal touch to your home through these crafts. As well as this, it is a great way to unwind and deal with stress. Whilst trying to learn while feeling tense might be a bad idea as it can take a little while to fully get to grips with it, it is easy enough once you know how it works. Some of my friends have found knitting to be very helpful when feeling anxious and for some, such as Irish chef and now author James McIntosh, it has even helped through episodes of severe depression. Sometimes, you can knit or crochet whilst watching TV, making it perfect for people who like being busy in some way. However, I wouldn't recommend this if you are trying a new and/or complex pattern.
Q2: Do you offer lessons?
bromleyUnfortunately, we can't at the moment because of everything that is going on. However, if it is safe enough, we will consider running classes in the new year. In the past, we have done classes in knitting, crochet, Tunisian crochet and needle felting. We do not arrange any courses until we get enough uptake, so if you are willing to take part in one of these classes, feel free to come in and give us your phone number so we can contact you and arrange a date when enough people have signed up and when it is safe to do so. Also, we are willing to teach children when it is safe but they must be ten years old or over.
If one-to-one lessons are more for you, we do have a teacher that comes in once a month. Of course, this has also been put on hold at the moment. If you are interested, do keep an eye out on our social media accounts (@avicraftwoolbromley on Facebook and Instagram) and our websites to see when this starts again.
Q3: What are your opening hours?
We are open from 10:00am to 1:30pm on Tuesdays-Saturdays.
Q4: What are the different thicknesses of yarn?
Here are a summary of different thicknesses (or weights) of yarn that are available
Q5: What needles should I use: wood, plastic, or metal?
This completely depends on your tension and what you are doing. If you are loose knitter or you are making a toy (which needs to be very tight or the stuffing will show), wooden needles are best as they help to grip and tighten the stitches. Alternatively, if you are a tight knitter, metal is good as it is much more slippery, meaning it cannot tighten the stitches in the way that wooden needles do. But mostly it's down to personal preferance
Q6: What is warmer: acrylic or wool?
Acrylic is warmer overall as it is very good at storing heat. However, wool - or any natural fibre - is better at regulating temperature.
Q7: Do I have to stick to the yarn in the pattern?
You do not need to, but there are a few things you need to check before you start:
That's all from me. I hope that this has given you all of the knowledge you need for your next project. If you have any other questions, do leave a comment below.
A Summer Update
Happy August! Today I wanted to give you a brief update of what we have been up to in the shop as well as the crafts that I have done this week.
You may remember that a couple weeks ago, I mentioned a few wools that are on sale. Now, we are starting to add these and other wools to Ebay. So far, we have added a range of yarn brands, including King Cole baby wools and super chunky yarns. We have also added Rico Dream DK and Stylecraft Batik DK to this website. Be sure to click Online Shop and have a look once you have finished reading. Below is my favourite colour in the Stylecraft Batik Elements, called Galium.
I have also started a couple new projects this week. On Thursday, I started making my own face masks. If you have wanted to do this for a while but have found it stressful, confusing or felt generally unmotivated, fear not - they are a lot easier than you would think! For beginners, I recommend buying a kit from us and using instructions from https://www.bigcommunitysew.co.uk/ as this website offers a range of variations for sewers of all abilities. Alternatively, if you have been struggling to find materials, we sell elastic, fabric, pins, needles, sewing thread and other pieces of haberdashery.
As well as this, I have started a long cardigan in one of our new wools, Rico Creative Smile. It is a multi-coloured super chunky yarn, meaning that it will come to great use in the winter months, though I have had to put it on hold for a couple days because of how hot it has been (35°C temperatures and thick wool are a terrible combination!). It costs £4.50 a ball, making it a bit of an indulgence, but an indulgence I would definitely recommend because it is incredibly soft and warm without being bulky.
That's all from me. Next week, I will be focusing on some frequently asked questions, so feel free to leave a comment, contacting us via our social media pages or using the contact us section of this site if there is anything you want me to answer.
Until next time, happy crafting!
How To Get Your Kids Crafting
Parents, I bet you are overjoyed that home-schooling is over. At last, you don't have to try and teach your children things that you barely remember yourself or fathom out digital learning. However, the kids are still with you and, now that the summer holidays are here, schoolwork is not being set to occupy them. That means you have to come up with ideas by yourself for the next six weeks, right? Wrong! Crafting is the perfect way to keep the kids busy. "What about all the mess? Surely, my kids can't craft much without our help but I need to get on with paperwork/do things around the house/knit whilst watching a box set," I hear you cry (and before you start feeling guilty for feeling this way, remember that taking time out does not make you a bad parent). Well, fear not! Below are a few ways to make crafting fun for the kids without the need for any hard work on your part.
Some children, particularly younger ones, are naturally creative. When I was younger, I fell into this category, which was great as it meant I could keep myself occupied for ages. Having said that, it did also mean that my room was loaded with drawings or other crafts that had little purpose and often ended up on the floor or stuffed in drawers and never seen again. There is an easy way of preventing this: convert crafts into hanging ornaments. I would recommend having glue (which you can buy in Avicraft, the shop left of us) and ribbon (which we sell a wide range of, including ribbons with rainbows, Disney characters or plain colours) on hand at all times, so you can quickly hang up anything that your child makes somewhere in the house or even on the Christmas tree if it is a festive craft. Not only will it be out of the way and less likely to get damaged, but your child will also feel immensely proud. Alternatively, you could frame pictures, or stick magnets onto children's crafts and decorate your fridge or freezer with them.
Another way of avoiding mess around the home is by encouraging kids to make or decorate things that are useful, such as mugs, plates, bowls, bags and plain t-shirts. You can find lots of these online. I particularly recommend the website Baker Ross, which sells lots of plain items to decorate as well as other kits and materials. Decorating things may not seem like a great idea at first because it often involves paint and we all know that paint and small children can be a bad combination. Instead, I recommend paint pens, which create only a little more mess than normal felt tips. Below is a mug I decorated when I was younger.
Giving the Kids Freedom
,One of the main reasons why I love craft so much is because of the freedom that comes with it; you can make pretty much anything if you put your mind to it. Why should this be any different for children? Of course, it is important to keep them safe, so it might be a good idea to set rules on scissors and sharpeners for younger children. However, it is so important that you do not stop your child from being creative and even a little chaotic from time to time as it can help them to be more focused and organised when they need to be and ultimately, lets them be themselves, which is important at all ages.
A safe and fun way of letting kids be creative is collage. With collage, there is very little setup and you probably will not need to buy anything new - all you need are some old magazines/books, paper to stick things onto, scissors and a glue stick. You can also use felt tips, stickers, pieces of fabric, buttons, spare yarn or anything other craft materials that your child wishes to use. With collage, kids can be as neat or as wild as they like and you can also adapt it for the child's needs by cutting pictures out for them the night before or getting scissors that are less sharp or spring assisted. As a child, I used to spend hours making collages, though collage can also be enjoyable for adults too. Below is one I started recently. It looks a bit bare at the moment but I plan on adding a few picture of things I have knitted over the years.
Keeping Kids Interested
Most of these tips so far have been aimed at children who have a natural creative flair. However, some children do not and that's okay! Whilst I was imaginative as a child, I was very literal too and loved structure (and, to be fair, that has not changed). Below are a few suggestions to give you child next time they ask what they should do:
A Final Piece of Advice
All children are different, so keep trying with craft until you find what works for them. If these tips don't help or you need something more specific, you can find instructions for lots of crafts online (both in written form or as videos). At the same time, don't feel pressured to be productive every day - all that matters right now is that you and your child are safe and happy, whether that means getting creative or relaxing in front of the TV! Just keep enjoying yourself - you've got this!
My name is Sharon the Sheep, the owner of Avicraft Wool Shop in Bromley Kent..