My second-grade students love to stitch. They started to learn last year when they stitched their name in a piece of burlap.
Please see https://sharpenedpencilspoundedclay.com/2018/06/06/first-grade-weavings-and-sewing-projects/ to learn more about what they did with that.
Since then, that’s all they want to do for every project. I kept telling them we’d get to it, and finally we did. In hindsight, I wish we would have started at the beginning of the year. It is transformative. It brought us all together on the carpet, sharing tips and frustrations. Next year, I will make this a priority.
Only one needle was broken during our unit. Some students did lose their needles (found them on the floor or behind the yarn station) but this was due to poor management on my part. I could easily make a needle manager position or develop a number system.
For this project we spent a good amount of time looking at YouTube videos. We gathered on the floor with our burlap in hand, following the videos along, getting lost, pausing, restarting. The great thing about a sewing circle is that you can just get together on your carpet, nice and cozy with each other, and watch the kids teach each other, or their teacher, how to stitch.
We concentrated on the running stitch, back stitch, chain (or split), zig zag, detached chain, and the french knot. If you can do a french knot, you can do anything. This was the goal, the peak of embroidery skill as far as we are concerned. My teaching assistant, Ms. Nilam, made a reference chart to help us learn the names of the stitches and set up our goals.
Students got to take up to two pieces of burlap. They filled these pieces with all sorts of stitches.
After we practiced, we had to make a plan for what our project would be. Students had to label their stitches on the drawing, and they had to try to include three different stitches.
Once we finished, I framed a few using masking tape. This will help prevent further fraying of the burlap.
I asked this student why she chose TAB for her practice piece. She couldn’t say. Maybe she’s heard me mention it to other teachers. Doesn’t matter. I love it!!
The student who created this one named it “Evil Teddy Bear.”
Since we’ve stitched, I’ve had a few parents come in asking me for how they can help their kids with stitching at home. It would be great if the families could stitch together and I plan to look into this for next year with either a felting station or an embroidery station.
By the way, I thought that we could do embroidery into old sheets I have on hand. No. The fabric needs to have a looser weave to it, like cross stitch fabric. This may be a goal for the future. If I can get embroidery hoops, floss, and fabric, I can make a new station.