Not being a zealot, I do not pound the pulpit expecting people of all persuasions to convert to my fiber-ist point of views. I do not spend passion and time bemoaning about how all of the fiber related arts are becoming lost and how there will be no one to pass on the skills to up coming generations. If you spend any time at all reading Blogs about knitting, weaving, dyeing, or quilting you will know this is all bunk (“oh, waily, waily, waily, ye wee skunners” as the Wee Free Men would say from one of Terry Pratchett’s books – my fav author). Younger generations are showing an interest, they just aren’t as easily exposed to it as the generations of girls who were required to take Home Ec(onomics) in Middle School and learn the (ultimate) basics of cooking and sewing. How much that really helped, I’m not sure. My home Ec class taught us how to heat a can of beans and cook hot dogs in boiling water. Such a valuable lesson in nutrition as well, don’t you think? And as for the sewing section; when asked to hem a skirt with a whip stitch, I used a locking hem stitch. This was what my Mum taught me and I knew it to be the correct choice. I flunked the assignment for my failure to follow directions – go figure! My point is that the required Home Ec classes, so fondly remembered by my generation, may not be the best way to pass on these skills. A more successful method seems to be on the order of the After School Club. Middle School and High School age kids (boys too) are meeting in clubs to learn to knit by the droves. This is fantastic and probably a lot more lasting and educational than all the baked beans and falling out hems in the history of time. If there is an artsy club of any kind at the school near you, donate some extra yarn/fabric/paints or what ever to their growth. Better yet, donate some time! As far as our own kids? Expose them but don’t push them. My own daughter has been exposed to all forms of fiber arts since she was a wee munchkin but has only shown a passing interest. Her talents are in writing and that is fine. Yet, I can’t help but be a little proud that she chose to knit a scarf for her Dad this Christmas She may not be as neurotic about fiber as I am but she has her own special form of neurosis, mostly concerning the written word, and I feel my job is well done
So, what was the point before I got so carried away with this side tangent? We gave a weaving loom to our six year old Grand daughter for Christmas. It’s a simple peg loom but a good sized one – just in case she likes it or her Mom wants to play with it too. I was told that at age six, a pot holder loom would be as complicated as she could manage. The School Loom is pretty much the same thing, but a bit bigger and more versatile. She can even use it as a tapestry loom when she is ready. Meanwhile, she caught on quite fast and has truly grasped the concept. She was even showing her Dad how to do it before the evening was over. It did my heart good to see her enjoying it. And now that we are back in Michigan and they are out in Washington (state), her Mom says she is still weaving on it, a few rows at a time but still weaving. She may not grow into a fiber enthusiast but she has been exposed and might stick with it, even if she just picks it up on rare occasions for something fun she wants to make. I can even live with it if the loom turns out to be a great tent frame for her orange bear as they go on a Sultan’s adventure across the desert of her bed spread. She and fiber have been introduced, and she and I are both the richer for it
So, share the joy!