Thursday, March 19, 2009

On Handwork

I often call toys that are handmade by parents "lovies," because they are so filled with the tremendous love we carry for our child. The toy is filled with your soul and offered hand to hand, heart to heart.
-Sharifa Oppenheimer in Heaven on Earth.

Often, while Noah plays, I try to do some kind of handwork nearby. This allows me to nurture my creative side while at the same time allowing him to play independently, free from an adult's sometimes limited imagination. Yet, I am still close-by so he can check-in as needed to show me something or get a quick snuggle. On a good day (barring a restless night's sleep or teething pains) he will play contentedly on his own for up to an hour while we sing or listen to music and I do handwork.

I soon discovered that this is not the time for projects that require huge amounts of concentration, such as the fancy cabled socks with the complicated chart to follow. It is a good time for polishing some of Noah's wooden toys with beeswax polish. Last week, I finally put the finish on the train that Grandpa Ted made Noah for Christmas. This train (well...the engine at least) has been making many laps around the living room and kitchen lately.

I have also been working on some knitted animals from Toymaking With Children. The patterns are simple enough that I can put down the knitting and pick it up again whenever I need to without worrying about loosing track of where I am. There is also something special about making handmade toys while the receiving child plays nearby.

Over the past several weeks, there have been many additions to the farmyard.
A rooster and hen.
A cat for Grandma.
A donkey, pig, and sheep.
I am currently working on one very special crocheted project that will be revealed soon. Can you guess what it is?



  1. It sounds so cliche, but I love rocking and knitting while my boys play - or while Aidan plays and Oliver is wrapped up on me taking a nap. I love how your knit animals came out. I have that book, it's just been buried since we moved. I need to dig it out.

    I love your pics. You guys have so much natural light - I love it!

  2. I love all the great knitted animals you made! I have to say that's one of my least favorite parts of many Waldorf books...all the knitting. I much prefer crochet and the patterns don't really translate well. By far, though, I think the cat is my favorite!

  3. I have a Noah, too. :-) he's much older now, but it was nice to think back to wooden & handknit toys for a moment. Bright blessings!

  4. You are so talented! I loved the rooster and the hen!