Purls of Wisdom

Upgrade Your Back-to-School Wardrobe! 10 Fun & Crafty Ways to Upcycle Clothing

Posted by Marjanna Smith on Sun, Sep 02, 2018 @ 10:00 AM

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                      Source: Google Images

Looking for a fun, unique way to be creative with your family? How about a cheap and eco-friendly one? Try upcycling, the perfect combination of originality, creativity, and sustainability for you to try with your kids. Read on to find out what it is and how you can do it at home.

What is Upcycling?

Upcycling is the reuse or repurposing of an old object into a product that is more useful or more beautiful than the original. Upcycling can be super simple and kid-friendly -- for example, instead of throwing out old CDs and magazines, you can make them into mosaic picture frames and woven coasters. It can also be more complex, such as repainting and repairing a piece of furniture instead of kicking it to the curb.

Why is Upcycling Important?

You may be thinking, “Why should I take the time to upcycle? Isn’t recycling good enough?” Well, there are a lot of reasons why upcycling is so important. First, let’s establish the difference between recycling and upcycling. While recycling involves breaking down material to be reused (which decreases the material’s value), upcycling is all about finding new, creative ways to reuse the material (thus increasing its value)! So, like recycling, upcycling reduces the amount of landfill waste you generate; however, upcycling also creates a new product that has a functional and/or decorative use.

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                        Source: Google Images

Next, let’s talk about waste. Remember that helpful catchphrase that everyone uses when talking about how to be more eco-friendly? Reduce, reuse, recycle! Well, I recently learned that these three actions are actually in order of importance. First and foremost, we should make the effort to reduce the amount of things we buy and resources we use (i.e., taking shorter showers and avoiding impulse purchases that we don’t really need). Next is reusing, which includes upcycling! Last is recycling -- so, while it's obviously important to recycle, it is more important to prioritize those first two steps over recycling.  

What Can I Upcycle? Why Should I Upcycle Clothes?

Upcycling can be done with any object or material you can think of -- if you can repurpose, modify, or personalize it, you can upcycle it. For this post, I decided to focus on a popular material of choice for "upcyclers": clothing. Clothing is a great medium for upcycling because it is versatile, available, and can be modified in an infinite number of ways. Clothing is also a big issue when it comes to keeping our planet clean. In 2014, the U.S. alone generated approximately 32.44 billion pounds of textile waste even though 95% of all textiles have the potential to be reused or recycled. This number will only continue to increase unless we raise awareness of this issue and the different ways we can reduce, reuse, and recycle clothing.

Now that you’ve learned how upcycling is an economical, eco-friendly, and creative activity, you must be ready for some inspiration! Whether you have thrift store finds, hand-me-downs, or old clothes of your own, here are 10 different ways you can upcycle them with your kids.

1. Tie-Dye

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Tie-dye is a fun, kid-friendly way to upcycle that never goes out of style. This easy DIY will instantly upgrade any plain, light-colored clothes (and it can camouflage stains). Dye a t-shirt, tank top, skirt, pair of leggings -- or even accessories like headbands or socks! Thinking outside the box is encouraged. Let your kids’ imaginations lead the way as they combine colors and patterns into their own custom work of wearable art. Check out this guide to tie-dye for plenty of tips, tricks, and pattern ideas.

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Don’t have any white clothes laying around? Don’t worry! If you have solid-colored clothing, try tie-dyeing with bleach for a new twist on this classic activity.

2. Freezer Paper Stencil

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Who knew that you could use freezer paper and paint to add a design to a t-shirt? I didn’t until I found this tutorial on how to do it, and it looks as simple and fun as the pictured results.

3. T-Shirt Tote Bag

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Basically all you need to make this tote bag is an old t-shirt, sharp scissors, and 10 minutes. This no-sew project is a great way to repurpose a t-shirt that is too big or no longer worn.

4. Patches, Pins, and Appliques

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Personalize an old hand-me-down (or even cover up stains or holes) by adding some 3D art to your clothes! You can buy patches, pins, and appliques at craft stores and online, or you can make them yourself! See this tutorial for no-sew felt appliques and this tutorial for no-sew fabric flowers. And if you’re up to the challenge, you can try making embroidered patches by hand.

5. Stamped Clothes

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To make your own printed clothing, all you need is a stamp and some paint! You can buy stamps of all kinds at your local craft store, or you can make a quick DIY stamp out of a kitchen sponge, sponge brush, or even a potato! Then simply dip your stamp in acrylic or fabric paint and press it onto any piece of clothing that you want to make 100% cuter.

6.Throw Pillow

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Your child doesn’t have to say goodbye to that beloved t-shirt that has become too small to wear -- preserve it as a throw pillow! Try the no-sew, hand sewed, and machine sewed version depending on your available equipment and skill level. Leave the shirt plain or embellish it with buttons, sequins, fabric stickers, or paint designs! 

7. Unconventional Dye Techniques

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Looking for something different from the average tie-dye or bleach methods? Try using some Elmer’s glue to draw a design or make a pattern with found objects and let the sun do the work!

8. T-Shirt and Tank Top Upgrades

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Cutting up a top is a surprisingly popular DIY project -- and there are sooo many ways to do it. Turn a regular old t-shirt into a cold shoulder top, workout tank, or tie-front tank. Also, don’t hesitate to explore the internet for hundreds of other ideas.

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If you're looking to use an old shirt in a completely new way, you can repurpose t-shirt fabric! From a simple headband to a woven pillow, t-shirt “yarn” has many colorful and practical applications.

9. Peplum Shirt

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Embrace the timeless style of a peplum shape in your upcycling endeavors! Convert an oversized t-shirt into a peplum top or increase the charm (and length!) of a shirt by adding a different colored fabric for a trendy color block effect. While this project can be created through hand sewing, it is also an excellent way to practice and develop basic machine sewing skills.

10. Denim Shorts Upgrades

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Cut an old pair of jeans into shorts and make them stylish using a variety of techniques! This video shows how to do modifications such as adding lace, bleaching, painting, and adding patterned fabric.

 

Have fun with your new, upcycled clothes! And don’t forget to share your upcycling projects with us on Instagram using the hashtag #SewMoreLove so we can see your wonderful creations!

If you and your family is feeling inspired after your adventures in upcycling, make sure to check out The Handwork Studio’s camps and classes so your child can continue to make more handmade art! Our students flourish in our nurturing environment, and we encourage creativity and original projects while developing handwork and needlework techniques for multiple skill levels.

Tags: kids knitting, crafts, kids programs, creativity, imagination, Fall Class, Fall Class Registration, How to Tuesday, fiber arts, teach kids to knit, stitch, embroidery, Machine Sewing, Studio, Fall, Sewing, Knitting, Fun, Teen Fashion Bootcamp, Fashion, kids, fun kids activities, project ideas, activities, camp, Fashion Bootcamp, Fashion & Machine Sewing, Fashion Design, Sewing Machine, Kids' craft class, Gifts, Kids' craft class, tie-dye, Eco Fashion, Upcycling, Inspiration, Kids Activities, Embroidering, sewmorelove, clothes, clothing, blogging, mom blogs, sustainability, DIY projects, t shirt DIYs, repurpose clothes, eco friendly, DIY, thrifting, back-to-school, blog, craft blogs, tutorial, upcycle, sustainable fashion, kids DIYs, DIY ideas, t shirt pillow

How To Continue Creative Projects During The School Year

Posted by Libby Foxman on Tue, Oct 18, 2016 @ 11:00 AM

How To Continue Creative Projects During The School Year

 

            Now that the school year is in full swing, children have much more responsibility and work to do everyday. However, this does not mean that the fun, creative projects they were able to do all summer have to come to an end. You can incorporate fun projects into the schoolwork, use them as a way to de-stress, or enroll in year round classes.

 

Incorporate them into schoolwork

            There are many ways to incorporate creative crafts into your schoolwork, whether it is by making or decorating school supplies or using it to help you study. For an upcoming quiz in any subject, the use of color has proven benefits to increase memorization. Decorate your notecards with colored patterns to help you remember events or definitions. Orange is beneficial to memory and analytical thinking. If you make this one of your key colors on notecards, it may help you when it comes time to be tested. Children can also continue their creative projects during the school year by making their school supplies. They can decorate their backpacks with tags. The Handwork Studio’s How-To-Tuesday Luggage Tag video can also be used to make backpack or gym bag tags!

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Creative Crafts to De-Stress

            Between homework, upcoming tests, and after-school activities, the school year is a stressful time for many students. It is important for them to have an outlet where they can disconnect from these requirements and clear their minds. Handwork crafts have been proven to be beneficial to de-stressing. The repetitive motions required for sewing, knitting, or weaving prompts relaxation because it is not a difficult process where you need to be constantly on your toes. Occupying your mind with these activities will allow you to come back to your work refreshed and reenergized.

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Year Round Classes

            One of the best ways to continue creative crafts during the school year is to look into year-round classes. These classes will allow students to get instruction and advice from seasoned professionals. They will also have scheduled time to do these projects rather trying to fit it in between everything else. The atmosphere of being in a non-stressful environment will give kids some well needed down time.

            If your child is interested in continuing their creative projects through out the school year, The Handwork Studio offers workshop, one-day classes, and winter and spring break camp year round. Head to their website to check out the programs and register there or by calling (610) 660-9600.

Tags: Machine Sewing, Workshops, Sewing, kids

Why Working At Summer Camp is a Great Place to Learn Leadership Skills

Posted by Libby Foxman on Tue, Jul 05, 2016 @ 11:00 AM

It is important for young adults to develop leadership skills before they head off to work or college. These skills will teach them communication skills, to be hard working, dedicated, and able to be assertive in their workplace. One of the best ways to develop these skills is to look into counselor-in-training (CIT) programs at local summer camps. To be a part of the CIT program, you are usually a few years older than the oldest age group at the camp. You will assist the lead and junior counselors with the campers, usually picking up their lunches or taking them to the bathroom or to different activities through out the day. However, the responsibility and assertiveness you must have to be respected in this position will teach you great leadership skills that can be applicable in every stage of life.

 

You are responsible for children

            Although, as a CIT you are not solely in charge of a group of campers, there will be times where you have to take the campers from activity to activity without an older supervisor. Due to this, you need to have a sense of responsibility. You’ll have to know how many campers you have and where they are. Parents and lead counselors are leaving these campers in your care so you need to show that you are responsible enough for this position. Probably the biggest responsibility a CIT will have is their campers’ safety. Since they are in your care, you have to ensure that they are returned to their parents happy and healthy at the end of the day. Once in the workplace, leaders take responsibility for their actions and manage their own time and work.

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You have to set an example for your campers

At camp, you are one of the leaders of the group and due to this, you have to set an example for what is acceptable behavior. Young campers are extremely impressionable and will look to you for clues on how they are meant to act in certain situations. If you are setting a bad example through your language or behavior, they will mimic that. This teaches all CITs to be aware of their surroundings and who is listening. This awareness will be beneficial once you begin working in an office environment. Knowing how to behave in different environments will make you an attractive employee.

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You have to work with others

            In a camp setting, you are constantly surrounded by people, both counselors and campers, who need your attention. This will require you to not only create a balance between where you are needed but also to learn how to communicate effectively. While being in charge of young children, it will be crucial for you to communicate with lead counselors to let them know what you are doing. Lead counselors are in a position of authority, so you cannot speak to them as if they are one of your friends. Learning how to communicate with lead counselors will be good practice for when you have to communicate with your boss. Learning how to differentiate who you are talking whether it’s a supervisors and camper is a valuable skill to have.

            If you are interested in gaining these leadership skills, visit The Handwork Studio’s job listings page to see what is available or call 610-660-9600 for more information.

 

Tags: Summer Camp, Kids Camp, The Handwork Studio, Summer, kids, Handwork, jobs, careers

A Parent's Guide to Summer Camp

Posted by Libby Foxman on Tue, Jun 28, 2016 @ 12:00 PM

 

            Gone are the days when a camper’s only options for summer camp were day camp or sleep away camp. Luckily, besides those two awesome options, we now have even more! There are still the classic sleep away and day camps but also specialty camps, volunteer abroad programs, and virtual summer camps. To make your summer planning a little easier, here is you guide to summer camps.

Day Camp:

            Day camps usually touch on a wide variety of activities so that campers can move around through out the day. This includes different sports, swimming, theatre, arts and crafts and more. Day camps are great for younger children because they are given the opportunity to try many different activities to see what they have a genuine interest in. They are also a great introduction into camps for those who aren’t quite ready to leave home for the summer.

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Sleep Away Camp:

            Like day camp, sleep away camp also has campers moving from activity to activity through out they day. However, rather than ending their day in the late afternoon like day camp, these campers will stay over night for up to a few weeks. Due to this, sleep away camps will usually offer some nighttime activities such as dances, barbeques, and movie nights. This allows campers to develop deeper friendships that will last a lifetime; however, do be prepared for the homesick campers.

 

Specialty Camps:

            While day and sleep away camps allow campers to try out many different activities, specialty camps focus on one specific area so that campers can really enhance the skills needed for it. Specialty camps can be found for sports, theatre, the arts, and more. It’s a great way for campers to either develop skills in a new area or get more practice in something they already love.

 

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Virtual Camps:

            As technology continues to advance, it will continue to play a larger role in the lives of your children. You can order your groceries online to have them delivered, get a college degree online, or do all of your clothing shopping online. Now, campers are also able to participate in virtual summer camps. At these camps, campers can make projects, research new ideas, and go on “virtual adventures”. Many of these camps are specialty-oriented, free and provide the campers with individual attention; however, they do lose the nature aspect that other summer camps offer.

 

Adults Only Summer Camp:

            Why should the kids have all the fun this summer? The New York Times recently reported on adults-only summer camp to get you disconnected from your technology. Camp Bonfire is an adults-only summer camp but with the same activities and atmosphere as the sleep away camp you went to as a child. This is a great opportunity to get outside and de-stress from work and technology while your kids are also away at camp.

 

            Planning for summer can get lost on you when the end of the school year is so busy. Hopefully this outline of all types of camps available in the summer will make your planning a little less stressful and if doesn’t, check out that adults only summer camp!

 

The Handwork Studio is a specialty camp that focuses on kids' needle arts, machine sewing, and fashion. With locations up and down the east coast, The Handwork Studio employs professional artists, instructors, and teachers that will teach their campers skills such as hand and machine sewing, knitting, embroidery, and quilting. During the one-week sessions, campers will put theses skills to the test and bring home treasured handmade projects.

 

 

 

 

Tags: Machine Sewing, Fashion Camp, Summer Camp, Sewing, Summer, kids, Handwork

Meet The Campers

Posted by Catalina Lassen on Tue, Jun 14, 2016 @ 10:54 AM


       At The Handwork Studio, we pride ourselves on our campers’ enthusiasm, passion, and dedication to what they are learning in their classes. We hope to inspire hard work and creativity into their creations that will lead into a life-long passion. My name is Libby Foxman and I am the Marketing, Public Relations, and Social Media intern at The Handwork Studio this summer. I am excited to be a part of this team and share with you blogs and updates on social media. I first heard of The Handwork Studio from my sisters, Emily and Grace, who took camps here and had amazing experiences.

 

       Emily Foxman, who is now 22, participated in the Fashion Boot Camp at The Handwork Studio when she was 15. There, she was given the opportunity to design a collection and create 2 dresses. She says that the highlight of the class was visiting Mood Fabric Store in New York City. Emily says that Fashion Boot Camp helped develop her love of fashion and would recommend it because it was “an extremely effective way to learn so much about the fashion industry in one summer.” What Emily had learned in Fashion Boot Camp has made itself relevant in her everyday life. She now has a fashion-focused instagram and blog and enjoys designing her own pieces in her free time.

 

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       My youngest sister, Grace, who is now 12 years old, took Fashion and Machine Sewing Camp at The Handwork Studio. She remembers it as a fun and unique experience. In the class, she was taught to use a sewing machine and the other skills needed in order to create her own projects. The students made laptop cases, bags, and sweat pants. Grace says she “felt fulfilled when [she] was able to make her own things.” Our teachers strive to create this sense of fulfillment in their students because we want them to see how hard work and dedication can pay off. Grace says she would recommend this class to others who want to learn life-long, useful techniques because “it was a fun and unique experience that introduced [her] to great friends.” 

 

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       The Handwork Studio offers a number of summer camps including, Handwork Day Camp, Fashion and Machine Sewing, Fashion Boot Camp, Sew-Tech Camp, and Glamorize Your Doll. Be sure to check out The Handwork Studio website to see the full summer schedule and live chat with Miss Catalina to find the best class for your kids. 

 


 

Tags: Sewing, kids, camp, Handwork

Thanksgiving Craft Project For Kids!

Posted by Megan DiFeo on Wed, Nov 26, 2014 @ 11:03 AM

Handmade Turkey Craft Project For Kids
Here at The Handwork Studio we're all about crafting for every holiday. Since Thanksgiving is tomorrow we wanted to share this video of how to make a stuffed Thanksgiving Turkey. We're using polyfill to stuff this turkey not bread! This quick kid's craft project should take less than an hour to create. You'll need a few supplies to make this project happen:

  1. Felt

  2. Embroidery needle and thread

  3. Needle Felting Tools

  4. Polyfill (or leftover scraps to stuff your turkey)

  5. Animal eyes

    This video will take you through the steps of creating your stuffed Turkey.

 

From our Handwork Studio Family to yours - we wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Tags: crafts, kids, Thanksgiving, Handwork

Teen Fashion Bootcamp | A Truly Unique Camp Experience

Posted by Megan DiFeo on Sun, Apr 13, 2014 @ 12:30 PM

Fashion Bootcamp 2014

Teen Fasion Bootcamp - A  Truly Unique Experience    


April Johnston, our Teen Fashion Bootcamp Instructor and Project Runway All Star, is back this week with more information on our popular Teen Fashion Bootcamp for kids ages 11-15.

Today's video is all about why The Handwork Studio is a special place and our programming in one-of-a-kind. With over eight years experience, April explores how we work to inspire your child and help take their creativity to the next level. Click here to watch her video!

April will be leading the program in our Rosemont location only and space is limited - register today to reserve your seat for this special fashion opportunity.  


Got questions? We've got answers. Simply call Miss Alexis at the Studio Monday-Friday from 11 am - 7pm at (610)-660-9600.

We'll see you next Friday with another video from Miss April.

Have a great weekend!

Tags: kids programs, Fashion Fashion Bootcamp, Summer Camp, Kids Camp, Fashion, kids, camp, Kids' craft class

Getting ready for another fabulous Summer at The Handwork Studio!

Posted by Melissa Haims on Wed, May 23, 2012 @ 12:42 PM

Summer camp is right around the corner and I've been spending the month of May at Rosemont College in our storage rooms sorting, folding, cutting, piling, and labeling. There has also been an extraordinary amount of shopping, as you can imagine! This image is of the room I'm working in right now!

getting ready for summer camp! 

When I started here 5 years ago we had 2 summer camp loactions; Rosemont College and our studio in Narberth, PA. This summer we will be in 22 locations across 7 states!  I've been sourcing our materials for all of the camps for the last 3 years. Throughout the year my team and I develop a robust curriculum and then research the best vendors to partner with. I look at prices, materials and the manufacturing locations. It's my job to buy the best quality (cottons, wools, bamboo knitting needles) at the lowest costs and pass the  savings on to our clients so our camps can remain affordable. I'm also concerned about sustainability, which might surprise you since (unless you are talking about nature camp) you don't really here about the environment and camp in the same sentence. But... did you know that all of our felt is made from recycled plastic bottles? It is! Additionally, I try to buy local, whenever possible, and I never pay for shipping! (Mostly because I'm buying local and can go pick it up in The Handwork Studio Van!)

The Van!

One of our favorite local vendors is Gaffney Fabrics. I know I’ve blogged about them before, but I would be remiss if I didn't mention them here. As a business partner, The Gaffney family (Joe + Lenore and their daughter, Kate) understands our needs and our students.  The search all year for the fabrics that they think we might like and then we work together to determine costs and quantities. 

I would also be remiss if I didn’t' mention that Kate Gaffney and I went to grade school together and life brought us back together through our business adventures... This photo was taken in the 8th grade. That's me on the left. And yes, Kate is still that much taller than me. But she doesn't have braces anymore.

Miss Melissa and Kate Gaffney

From Fiber Crafts to Fashion Boot Camp, I look forward to sharing our hard work with your campers this summer. 

                      XOXO

                     Miss Melissa

Tags: kids knitting, Story Time, crafts, kids programs, creativity, imagination, teach kids to knit, stitch, Summer Camp, Kids Camp, Sewing, Knitting, Crochet, Fun, kids, fun kids activities, activities, camp, Handwork, Kids' craft class

Crafting Mother's Day - Handwork Studio Style!

Posted by Eva Laverty-Wilson on Wed, May 09, 2012 @ 09:36 PM

This card is made of machine sewn fabric!Happy Mother’s Day everyone!!

As you can only imagine everyone around here at The Handwork Studio loves our mothers. Many of you probably even found your passion for needle arts from your mothers. And we even love each others’ mothers! I can’t even begin to tell you how many great things I had heard about Julia and Alisha’s moms even before I met them! (Hi Randi and Gail!) And then there was that time that Julia and I Skyped with my mom and my cats! Boy, was that funny!

So this Mother’s Day you should show your mother how much you love her! And what's a better way to show her by making her something! I actually got my idea for part of my mother’s day present from The Handwork Studio itself. It is based off of one of the projects we made for Spring Break Camp. We made the cutest ‘Hoppy Spring’ greeting cards that I translated into a card for my mom. You can see my inspiration here at an earlier blog post: Crafting Spring Camp at The Handwork Studio.

I used lots of fabric, did some appliqué, sewed on some paper, gave it some structure with card stock, and presto-chango we had a mother’s day card!! The background of the card is even some vintage fabric I picked up at a tag sale with my mom in my home town.

Sew your own Mother's Day card!

So you can see that you can make your mom a present out of anything! Get creative! And don’t forget about Dad! Father’s Day is right around the corner…

-Miss Amanda

Want to get creative with us this summer? Summer Camp is also right around the corner!

Register Now!


Tags: crafts, creativity, imagination, Sewing, kids, project ideas

The Handwork Studio On Location: 'Extra Yarn' with Mac Barnett

Posted by Eva Laverty-Wilson on Sat, May 05, 2012 @ 09:54 PM

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Have you ever had extra yarn? Though we often don't give a second thought to those leftover strands that dwell after our many knitting projects (because really, what would you do with them?), author Mac Barnett gave those bits we call scraps a second chance in his new book, Extra Yarn. Soon after we at The Handwork Studio discovered this gem of a story and decided to share it with our camps, Children's Book World in Haverford, PA invited us to visit and craft during a cozy gathering with booklovers and the author himself! 

Extra Yarn tells the story of a girl named Annabelle who lives in a monochrome town, but when she discovers a box of colorful extra yarn, a new world unfolds for Annabelle and her fellow townspeople. Can she knit enough to turn this town colorful once and for all?

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Check out Miss Julia's visit to Children's Book World for Mac Barnett's author signing and exclusive reading of Extra Yarn on our Facebook page! We were sure to choose a craft that used the yarny bits we gather every day in the studio and with them, created bright bouquets of Spring flowers! 

Tell us, what do you do with your extra yarn? 

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Interested in crafting with us at summer camp? It's just a few weeks away! Register now for a fun-filled week (or more!) where your child will learn new skills and create awesome projects!

 

Register For Camp

Tags: kids knitting, Story Time, Miss Julia, crafts, kids programs, spring, Summer Camp, kids, fun kids activities, activities, camp, Handwork, free craft event