Thursday, October 4, 2012

Elementary Practical Life

The boys have spent several quiet afternoons sitting together on the couch and sewing.  They have graduated from sewing on plastic mesh with yarn to sewing on cross-stitch fabric with floss using a hoop.

The are not threading needles or stopping and starting independently. If anyone has any tips for teaching boys to do these things independently I would be very appreciative.


  1. There is a way to tie a little loop at the end that was simple-simple-simple for the 3rd year primary students at a primary school where I did my student teaching - but my complicated adult mind never did get the hang of it!

    For my son, when doing cross-stitching (which he loves!), I have him use half the number of strands he actually wants, so that he can fold the whole set of strands in half, insert the loop through the needle (this is easier already, then threading the ends) and slide the needle a bit more than halfway to the "frayed end". Now, when he starts to sew or cross-stitch, he can pull up to start his first stitch, leaving a tail, then back down through the fabric, but now go through the loop before going back up through the fabric. This secures THAT end.

    At the end, with cross-stitch he now has stitches underneath to weave it back through; I am still tying up sewing up for him because he refuses to accept any of the methods I have shown him (too girly perhaps!?) ;) Probably time to get a Boy Scout to show him all about knot-tying!

  2. To thread finer needle eyes there are little 'threader's' sold. I don't know their precise name but the person at the haberdashery should be able to help. Here is a link to them.
    We use these in class only when threading very fine needle eyes. For the regular needles, the children just give it a go. There is high adult dependency initially, but eventually they all get.

    To knot, if the boys know how to make a base knot (from the bow frame), then they could make a double base knot for now.

  3. Thanks! I can't wait to give those ideas a try!

  4. That is so beautiful! Josiah is sewing boho bags like mad for a farmer's market tomorrow. He started flat sewing in Casa. Awwww.

    As to your questions.

    To load the needle (always sounded better for boys that way):
    1. Pinch the thread between your thumb and fore finger. (not - dominant hand)
    2. Take the needle in the other hand (dominant) and position the eye over your pinched fingers.
    3. Slowly roll your finger tips open - little by little - until you see the thread just peaking out.
    4. In a slow, small sawing motion, move the eye of the needle back and forth over the thread. Pull the fingers apart very slightly to facilitate it.

    Note: With multi-stranded threads, light a candle and dip the end of the thread into the melted wax to coat the end to help keep it from fraying.

    A teacher friend does this thing where she rolls the ends together into a knot - I'm not able. I teach kids using method 1 in this web page

    To end when you have completed your sewing:
    1. Leave twice the length of your needle available (sometimes that is very hard for kids).
    2. Turn your frame over and look at the back side.
    3. Look carefully at your last stitch. Without going all the way back through the fabric insert your needle under a stitch.
    4. Pull slowly. Before the loop that you have created closes all the way, put your needle back in through the loop. Pull it tight. (Congratulations you have made the first half of the knot. Do it again with the same stitch and you have a knot.