I’m really excited about this post since I get to share with you another part of my life that I am very passionate about.
What is a Handicraft?
1. skill or dexterity in working with the hands
2. (Clothing, Personal Arts & Crafts / Crafts) a particular skill or art performed with the hands, such as weaving, pottery, etc.
3. (Clothing, Personal Arts & Crafts / Crafts) the work produced by such a skill or art local handicraft is on sale Also called handcraft
My mother was Amish until her mid-20s and in early years learned so many handicrafts, namely crocheting, sewing, quilting, rug-making, and canning. Of course, she learned all of these handicrafts from her mother, my “Mammie” Liddy from Seasons: A Real Story of an Amish Girl. It is very important to the Amish way of life to hand down life skills and handicrafts.
Some of my fondest memories growing up when we visited my Amish “Mammie” Liddy was when her quilt frame was up in the living room and we’d sit around it and chat. Since she was getting paid for it, I never learned . . . it wasn’t the right place for a beginner. Someday, however, I’d love to learn to quilt. She would also occasionally bring out a rag rug and let us choose one. She also gave me one for my high school graduation, and I had it in my dorm room in front of my bed all four years. She made us grandchildren patchwork dogs one year also. My childhood was filled with handicraft items.
Now that I’m a mom of two little girls, these things have become even more important to me. I learned some of these handicrafts growing up, but it wasn’t until adulthood that I realized how important these skills can be. Crocheting, some sewing, and repurposing and painting old furniture has become my favorite hobbies.
As a homeschooling mom I want to incorporate handicrafts into our lesson plans. My oldest, Felicity, is six and in the first grade—such a wonderful time to begin with some of the basics in so many handicrafts. Since we incorporate a lot of Charlotte Mason methods in our homeschooling, handicrafts fit right into our philosophy.
Last week I started Felicity on finger knitting! She was excited all week for our Fun Friday Handicraft time. My youngest, Mercy, is three, and she joins in with school when she wants and I decided to let her “play” finger knitting with us.
It gave us a complete rundown of the basics, and we were off. I have TONS of yarn since I’m a crocheter (though I rarely have time lately since starting my Amish historical book series), so I have a huge variety in my stash.
Here are a few pictures on how our first try at handicrafting went.
As you can see Felicity got very into her new skill. Mercy was just as enthusiastic, and I let her have at it.
I encourage you to bring back these skills most kids will never learn to do. Yes, my kids play with iPads and iPhones and know how to work our AppleTV, but we do our best to limit that and put handicrafts and nature studies in front of them as much as possible. If you didn’t notice both girls were extremely proud of their handicraft and showed them off proudly at the library.
Here is a great resource about handicrafts. This website is filled with information on handicrafts.
Handicrafts aren’t just for the skill, though. The quality time we got with one another learning this skill was worth more than the yarn in gold! Felicity and Mercy are growing up fast, and I want to soak up every minute possible. I want them to look back at their childhood and remember it as unhurried and filled with face time with people who loved them and invested time and energy into them.
YOUR TURN: What handicrafts did you learn as a child? What have you taught your children or plan to? I’d love to hear your thoughts on handicrafts and life skills.