Posts Tagged ‘needlework’

Snowy Owl and the girls in my Unit have, from time to time, heard about Brown Owl’s mother.  My Mom (she’s a retired Kindergarten teacher and I attribute most of my crafty abilities – and lots of other skills – to her) often swoops in to rescue me from sewing projects (of both the Girl Guide and real life varieties).  Last time it was Ditty Bags.  This time she has come to the rescue for the sewing kit project.

Here’s the revised schedule (Sewing Books for Brownies and Guides – Part One) with the new project.  It is still pretty close to the one I posted earlier but revised with a better emphasis on teachability and time available.

  • 6:30 – Guide Unit Business & Opening Activities
  • 7:00 –Needlework Program Work:
    • Intro our task.  Show group examples of what we’re making.
    • Our Sewing Book project has been modified to be more like the Matchbook Needle Book idea from Make it Do.  We’ll do each task on a separate square of felt and staple it at the end.  The cool thing is that each goal can be accomplished in any order.
      • Matchbook Sewing book closed up

    • Break into 4 patrols
    • Demonstrate Active Transition Activity: Guider Shawnna suggested Thread the Needle – girls line up in two rows with hands up to create an arch.  The last couple joins hands and goes through the arch and re-form hands at the front of the line.
  • 7:05 Station 1 – Embroider Page 1 –  On one square of felt, blanket stitch around three edges, make a lazy daisy in the middle, and back stitch a stem on the daisy.
    Supplies – Embroidery Floss, embroidery needles, scissors, and patience.  A helper would be nice too.  And a big magnet (you know someone is going to knock over the needle bin, right?).  Also, you’ll need a stapler for the last session.
    New tip: I just found this neat Tissue paper transfer tutorial from Carina’s Craftblog.

  • 7:25 Station 2 – Sew a couple of spare buttons on a square of felt for page 2  (to be picked off for sewing on to thing you’re repairing – suggest you get two holed buttons.  Or if you have four holed buttons, instruct girls to just sew two holes (any holes are fine).
    In addition for page 3,  thread a couple of needles and pin a couple of safety pins to another piece of felt (pictured below)
    Supplies: Easy thread needles, some thread, scissors.  Some “spare needles” to go in the book, black and white thread for pre-threading needles, some safety pins and bandages (see below).  A big magnet.  And a heavy stapler (a regular stapler, but one that you know is reliable)
  • To finish off, tuck a couple of bandages in the back (Be Prepared!), staple the “pages” together, and seal the matchbook.  Pretty cool.
  • 7:45 Station 3 – Sew your sewing badge to your badge sash.  The badge task is to hem and mend, but this has actual immediate value.  We’ll also try to have some pants on hand to mend.
    Supplies – Badges, Easy thread needles, blue thread, thread snips, old pair of pants with fallen hem and maybe a split seam or two, pants hanger with clips that hang from waist.  Maybe some thimbles, hand wipes, and band aids.  And a magnet.
  • 8:05 Station 4– Demonstrate the knit and purl stitches.
    • New I’ll cast on six hat projects that each of the four patrols will knit and purl on (if you’re a knitter – you’re probably familiar with a community project where every knitter contributes a couple of rows – that’s the idea here).  After the meeting, I’ll finish the projects myself and we can donate the hats to a homeless shelter as a service project.
      Supplies: 6 cast on hats with super chunky yarn.  6MM Circular needles (16″ or 24″circulars).  I cast on 52 stitches, did about an inch of K2 P2 hat band, and then another inch of knit stitch.  Hopefully the girls can get in a few inches on each hat.  I’ll finish it off.
  • 8:25 – closing and wrap up. 

Prepared Kits in a zip bag.

  • Card cut into matchbook shape.  Buy pretty card OR I used an old coloured file folder.  Straight sides are kind of important, but not completely so you decide if your group can handle it.
    For Brownies: I’d pre-cut and pre-fold the cardboard.
    For Guides or older: I’d probably pre-cut the cardboard with the paper cutter at work and give them a template for the folding.  Or if you know someone who is in to scrapbooking, they may have a straight edge cutter that you could use (or that the girls – depending on their abilities – could use).
  • Three pieces of felt just smaller than the middle section of the cardboard.
  • A couple of spare buttons – IMPORTANT – these should be two-holed buttons.  OR if you have four-holed buttons, instruct the girls to only sew two of the holes.

I’ve been thinking about this quite  a lot so it is nice to get it down on a post.  Guide Guiders – please review.  I’m good at thinking through the plan, but I’m not used to this age group.  How do you think this will go??

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I’ve been preparing to lead a sewing meeting for Guides and the plan is to make sewing kits.  While there are plenty of really cute patterns for sewing books and needle books, there aren’t many that a Guide age girl can do without a sewing machine – or that are suitable for me to teach (and that’s key) to a group.   I’m also looking for projects that we can do with Brownies in January or February.

UPDATE – see what we actually did in Sewing Books Part 2

The Guide Needlework Badge requires: Sew a button, sew a hem, mend a seam, demonstrate the knit and purl stitch, and embroider three stitches.  All by hand.  My two inspirations for this are:

  • Matchbook Needle Book from Make it Do.  As presented it is a good project for Brownies to do, but it could be souped up with a jewelry sized baggie with some buttons, maybe some thread in it.
  • Martha Stewart Sewing Book – We did something like this (using this idea as our starting point) two years ago.  We’ll do it again.

Here’s the plan for Guides:

6:30 Arrival and regular meeting actvities

7:00 – Needleworker Badge with Brown Owl Cara.  Round Robin: 24 Girls split into 4 teams – Rotate through the stations

  • 7:00 – Intro our task – Break into 4 teams (Patrols?), demonstrate Active Transition Activity (not sure what that is yet, but an active transition activity is going to help the girls focus – any suggestions?).  Distribute pre-made kits (contents TBD)
  • 7:05 Station 1 – Sew a button on the cover of the sewing book.  Assemble envelope/baggie of spare buttons.  Pre-thread a few sewing needles with common colours for your needle book.
  • 7:25 Station 2 – Embroider – Blanket stitch to bind the sewing book.  Decorate the cover – lazy daisy with a french knot in the middle??  (The last time I embroidered I think I was 8 and I remember sewing my hoop to my skirt).  Someone else will be leading this part.
    Supplies – Embroidery Floss, embroidery needles, Big Bulldog Clips to keep the fold in place, scissors, and patience.
  • 7:45 Station 3 – Sew your sewing badge to your badge sash.  The badge task is to hem and mend, but this has actual immediate value.  We’ll also have some pants on hand to mend.
    Supplies: Badges, Easy thread needles, blue thread, thread snips, old pair of pants with fallen hem and maybe a split seam or two, pants hanger with clips that hang from waiste.  Maybe some thimbles, hand wipes, and band aids.
  • 8:05 Station 4 – Demonstrate the knit and purl stitches.  I’m either going to suggest using Knitting Forks OR I will pre-cast on 24 small bracelet sized projects.  I both LOVE and am TERRIFIED of the prospect of teaching Knitting to Guides.  Maybe Crochet will be better.  I’m conflicted.

8:25 – Closing

To you Guide Guiders out there, how do you think this will go?  We’ll have four Guiders on hand and each station can be done in any order without getting in the way of another task.  And how “letter of the law” do Guides get in their meetings?  We’ll adapt this meeting for Brownies in January/February.  I haven’t forgotten about Brownies.

Your feedback is welcome.  I lead the session on November 14.  (and I’ll be updating this as we adjust our plans – and after the 14th, I’ll tell you how it actually went).

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I will say from the beginning of this that I am a knitter and I’m on a bit of a crusade to get kids interested in knitting – or any needle art.  But I’m not crazy either.  From experience, most kids don’t have the motor skills and coordination for knitting until they’re eight or nine years old (Guider Kathleen points out that even Pathfinders have trouble).  There are too many moving parts that their hands aren’t quite ready to handle.  (I do know a pretty amazing five year old that has some rocking knitting skills – so this isn’t a hard and fast rule – go Charlotte!).

The point of all that is that while I would love to get Brownies into knitting – it just isn’t a skill you can teach to a big group of seven and eight year olds.  Knitting is something that needs to be taught one-on-one.  But you can lay some of the groundwork.


Option 1: Corking or Spool KnittingVideo.
Equipment: Corker and Yarn.  Corkers can be purchased for around $2 – $4 each.  Here’s a tutorial for how to make your own corkers pointed out in the comments below by Spark Guider/Firefly Jenny – although she suggests Duct Tape instead of elastics.
Hint… get tapestry wool.  It is already in small sections – much nicer than having to make small balls of yarn.  I get them in big bags at second hand stores.  The girls love it.  It isn’t expensive (after initial investment of corkers).

Option 2:  Finger Knitting
Equipment: Fingers and yarn.  The only thing is that you have to finish your project without putting it down.  Unless you put your stitches on a holder (like a pencil?)
Check out this tutorial for a Jersey Knit Bracelet.  Finger Knitting with T-shirt fabric.

Option 3: A Lucet or Fork Knitting
Here’s a great video from Radmegan demonstrating how to use a lucet (she also makes and sells lucets).
Equipment: a Lucet/Knitting Fork and yarn.  Dad and I made our own, but you can buy them online.   Here and here (for $4 – $11 each)
I tripped across these in one of the blogs I read and thought the idea was brilliant.  And Dad has a woodshop.  So we made a bunch.

Dad cut them out for me.  (Thank you Dad!)


I sanded out the edges…

And six year old Nephew tested it out.

It was great to spend time with my Dad – and the kids are going to love these things.  But you could also just use two fingers too.

Happy Easter.

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