Sunday, November 29, 2009

Just for Me

It seems like I am forever crafting for others...the kids, the home, customers, friends. It's been so long since I've made something just for myself....

Back in 2006, I was fortunate to be able to attend SOAR (Spin-Off Autumn Retreat) in Lake Tahoe. I purchased some lovely Polwarth/silk fiber from a booth that said that they raised the sheep themselves up in Canada. I spun up the yarn on my spinning wheel, and then the yarn sat in a knitting bag...and sat...and sat....

I always knew that I wanted to make something special with the yarn, but who knew that it would take another two years before I did anything with it? The yarn was soft, warm and beautiful, but not enough for a scarf or larger project. Finally, I decided to Tunisian crochet a rectangle with a slightly ruffled edge, using a knit stitch. Then, the project sat...and sat...and sat....

Finally, this past week, I pulled the rectangular piece out of my "UFO" (unfinished objects) box and decided that it was time to make something just for me! Not to sell or give as a gift...just something special that I could enjoy and use. I debated on what type of button to add, and finally decided to put every button that I liked on it!

I wore it for the first time today while going on a walk with the family. Guess what? The neckwarmer was warm, and soft, and best of all -- it made me smile. I think that I need to remember to stop and make myself something now and then. Hopefully next time it won't take 3 years to finish! --Jennifer

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Handwork in the Dell: Fiber Arts Workshop

An amazing group of women joined us for a day of spinning, Tunisian crochet, knitting and weaving on 11/20/09. Surrounded by rovings and carded batts, we worked on spindling, learned the basics of Tunisian, started simple knitted gnomes, and looked at samples of different types of weaving. A few people tried their hand at the spinning wheels!

Lunch was at Steiner College, and we had some time to visit their amazing biodynamic gardens and the magical bookstore.

This workshop will be offered again March 6, 2009. For more information and to register:

Can't come to our handwork shop, but you would like a copy of our 20+ page handout? We have it available for sale on the same website in pdf format. The handout includes verses, songs, information about setting up the handwork room, articles about handwork, a sample circle time, and a simple pattern for knitting and Tunisian crocheting gnome puppets.

We are planning some days just for spinning and other handwork coming up after the holidays. Let us know if you would like to come to a specific type of workshop and we'll create one to meet your needs! We also travel...if interested, email us at:

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Simple Weaving

Children love to weave...there's something about the in-and-out, back-and-forth motion that is soothing and creative at the same time. Here's a verse/song for winding yarn onto stick shuttles:

Up and down
Up and down
We are making figure eights
Up and down
Up and down
We are loading shuttles

Don't have a loom? Floor looms and table looms can be a bit pricey. Potholder looms, Hazel Rose looms, Sprang looms, and other small looms are wonderful options...or, you can make your own loom out of cardboard to create pouches, pencil cases, and cup cozies.
Never throw away a coffee sleeve again! They make wonderful little looms. The key is to cut an odd number of slots. Joey is shown here weaving with a naalbinding needle, yarn, and a coffee sleeve. She then crocheted a flower and we put it on a glass jar with crochet hooks in it for display.

And, for the young ones, a pine cone, yarn and beads is a simple, but beautiful weaving project. This may be incorporated with a nature walk to find the cones, a winter poem or song, selecting winter-colored beads, stringing the beads, weaving in spiral, and observing how spirals occur in nature. It makes a cute little gift, tree decoration or addition to a nature table.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Storytelling - Letters and Drawing

Girl With One Hand (V - valley, visitory, vines) - Asia

Each week, Mommy tells a story. Usually it's a fairy tale or folk tale from a different country. Stories come from Grimm's Fairy Tales, Enki, or Earthschooling. She acts it out, uses props, and then we discuss the story.

Each story features a letter that Wilson is learning for the week. There usually is some type of verse or song that is repeated. This verse is typed out, Wilson draws a picture from the story, and then we pastel the background. Can you find the letter hidden in each picture?

Nixie of Mill Pond (W - water, wave) - Western Europe

Princess of Peony Peak (P) - Asia

Rapunzel (R) - Western Europe

Yeh-Shien (Y) - Asia

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Homelearning Snippets at Syrendell....

What have we been up to lately?
Crafted a pencil holder out of wood
Explored chemistry (iron filings and magnets, oxygen/fire, observations)
Visited the Folsom Zoo Animal Sanctuary

Rehearsed on saxophone at jazz band
Wound our handspun, naturally-dyed yarns onto shuttles to prep for weaving
Attended gymnastics class

Attended tap, jazz and ballet classes

Took a clarinet lesson

Played made-up games with balls and sticks

Danced the Tinikling (Filipino)

Tried on costumes with cousin and rehearsed with professional ballet dancers for the upcoming Nutcracker Ballet!