You know that we love crafts in our home, and we like to try new things, too. Our most recent endeavors have been learning to knit and cross stitch as a mother-daughter project during this year when it’s more important than ever to relax and take care of your own mental health.
Mental health can be very difficult to do when you’re home educating, have a husband working from home full-time, as well as working from home yourself. There’s always something that needs to be done and someone who needs help or attention. Not to mention that many craft skills can also be considered life skills, too.
Love Crafts Mother-Daughter Craft Time
We partnered up with Love Crafts for this fun review. They kindly sent Kallista and I some crafty supplies and let us have all the fun in exchange for our honest review.
Kallista had been asking me to knit her a scarf as I did when she was a toddler so I suggested she knit one of her own. I’d tried to teach her how to knit a year ago, without success. And again earlier in the year, but it was slow going, and she put her project aside after only a couple of rows.
This time, Love Crafts let her choose some popcorn yarn. She was so happy she actually did a happy dance around the house when it arrived! She siad she was so happy she was almost crying!
I may have been a little over-ambitious myself – I do love a challenge – and I couldn’t resist a cross stitch kit that reminded me of a weekend trip to Lake Kawaguchi to see Mt. Fuji in mid-January in 2003 when I was living in Japan. It was an amazing weekend!
I’m sure you can see the similarities of those two images, although one is in winter and one is in spring, with Japan’s famous cherry blossoms in full bloom framing Fuji-san.
Cross Stitch Challenge
When the Riolis Sakura – Fuji Cross Stitch Kit arrived it seemed larger than I’d imagined in my mind – it’s approximately 33,000 stitches! Oh my! It was a little intimidating, but I spent a little time making a grid of 30×30 squares off the centre lines to start.
I did make a couple of errors when I started and was up until 1am one night taking every stitch out to start again, losing a few days’ work. I wasn’t very happy….but it was a learning experience.
Perhaps I should have started on the top right of the picture so by the time I hit the main focus of Mt. Fuji I’d be an expert. However, I was afraid if I did that things could be off-centre if I miscalculated somewhere along the way. Also – there was quite a bit of stitching with just a few colours so it gave me time to gain experience with the easy stitches, compared to the trees that are quite fussy with many colours.
I’m wondering if I’m the only person who copies out the pattern and then crosses off the stitches with pen as I go so that I can more easily keep my place? Each A4 page is about 1/6 of the finished project.
As life turned out, I was handed first a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, only to have it taken away a few weeks later. I was very disappointed and spent a few days sulking – and stitching to take my mind off it. It was good to take a break from the day and stitch for 30 minutes or occasionally while watching a movie with the family.
Then life took another turn and I was too busy for anything else over the past month or so. Unfortunately, my relaxation time has again halted, but in another month I should have a little more time for personal projects.
Keep an eye here on the blog and on social media and you will see how I’m progressing. I’m really enjoying having a longer craft project on the go and the satisfaction of seeing the picture evolve.
Knitting A Scarf With PomPon Yarn
As I mentioned above, Kallista does love crafts and was very keen to learn to knit, even though she’d not been very successful in the past. She felt a little more pressure to do well now that winter was approaching and a review was in the works, too.
There are just so many different types of yarn at Love Crafts and an endless array of colours to choose from, it took Kallista days and days to decide on just what she wanted. Eventually she settled on wanting to make a scarf with Rico Creative Pompon yarn in Baby Blue and Pastel Mix for a groovy fringe. Love Crafts also sent Kallista a pair of knitting needles all of her own, too.
I had only used this type of yarn once, 10 years ago, and the woman in the small craft shop showed me how to cast on using pompom yarn. I couldn’t remember how to do that, so I looked it up and found this helpful video.
Although you might think that learning to knit with pompom yarn would be difficult, after trying to teach Kallista using regular yarn, I thought that this might be a good way to learn because with only two stitches between pompoms, it’s much easier to keep a consistent tension throughout the project. Also, when you use pompom yarn, because of the bulk of the pompoms, knitting a whole scarf takes a lot less time, and I wanted her to do a project that she could easily see progress in and not become frustrated with the time involved.
Things were slow to start out with, and it seemed like I’d cast on enough stitches for a whole scarf’s length as Kallista learned how to knit without adding or dropping stitches.
However, the timing on this project was just right as she was very determined and persevered, catching on with how to get things just right and her confidence grew. It took a week or two before she was on a good roll and what was done didn’t have to be undone anymore.
Kallista’s technique improved the more she did, as expected. She liked to sit next to me and knit while we had a tv program on in the background either before or after our evening meal. She also took to sitting in bed and knitting to wind down at the end of the day before going to sleep.
It wasn’t long before great progress was seen and her scarf was increasing in length daily.
All that remained was to attach some of the multi-coloured pompom yarn onto the ends of the scarf for a funky fringe.
Then before we knew it, she was done! And just in time, too, with a light dusting of snow on the ground she was happy to go out and have fun catching snowflakes.
Kallista wanted to keep knitting, so she quickly crafted a cover for her Barbie doll’s bed. As you can see, when you use the multi-coloured pompom yarn, it creates a really nifty pattern. This time, she was able to cast-off on her own, too.
Kallista is so proud of her projects, and is already thinking of what her next one will be, now that she has her knitting technique down-pat.
Love Crafts & Life Skills
As I mentioned at the start, knitting and cross stitch were once considered essential life skills. One needed to know how to knit to provide clothes and bedding for their family. Cross stitch/embroidery doesn’t seem so essential at first, as it’s often used for art or adornment of items, however, it can be traced back to 200-500AD in Peru, and here in Europe, during the 1500s, cross stitch/embroidery was used as a way to teach children the alphabet, (I have used street signs for this, which is not nearly as colourful) and numbers, and even maps!. There’s a lost of interesting information at the Cross Stitch Guild.
Once you know the basics of these two handicrafts, you can use your knowledge to create beautiful items for your home, and even incorporate your skills into mending…imagine a shirt, skirt, or trousers that may be fraying or have a small hole – you could design a pattern to cover the flaw and make a unique item of clothing!
Kallista and I have both really Love Crafts and look forward to doing more of them together in the future. She will first begin with a new knitting project while I continue with my Mt. Fuji cross stitch. We hope to purchase a corner lamp for our front room to make crafting easier in the dim winter light.
Follow us on social media (the links are in the sidebar) to see how things progress, and I’ll certainly write another post when my project is finished, too.
If you’re currently working on a craft project, let us know in the comments and let us know what it is!
How To Purchase From Love Crafts:
It’s easy to make a purchase from Love Crafts right online (no need to go into a shop) and you can easily spend hours browsing the thousands of items available.
If you’d like to try out these crafts, these are the items we used from Love Crafts: