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

3 Ways To Avoid Boredom on Winter Break Trips

Posted by Libby Foxman on Tue, Nov 01, 2016 @ 11:00 AM

3 Ways To Avoid Boredom on Winter Break Trips

            As thanksgiving and winter break approaches, it is time to start planning for long road trips or plane rides to visit family. With the dreaded question of “are we there yet?” looming, we have compiled a small list of ways to keep your kids occupied on those journeys. Not only will these activities keep your kids busy but they can learn and practice important skills.

 

Movie Sing-A-Long

A great way to pass the time is to have a movie sing-a-long. A lot of Disney movies sell versions that display the song lyrics so your children can sing-a-long to their favorite movie. This is also a great way for young children to practice their reading skills. Since they mostly know the words to the songs, they will be able to associate the words they are singing to the words on the screen. The excitement of this activity will also tire them out so you can enjoy some quiet time after all of that singing. 

 

Car Games

            An easy way to pass the time on a car trip, without needing to bring anything along, is the License Plate Game. As you are driving, see if your kids can find the license plates of as many different states as possible. Obviously, if you are on the east coast, chances are pretty slim that you will find a Hawaii or Alaska license plate but your kids will be so excited about every new state they find. Like the movie sing-a-long, the license plate game is also a great way for your children to practice their reading.

 

Knitting

            Knitting is a great activity to do while traveling because not a lot of materials are needed and the ones that are, are small and portable. All that is needed are knitting needles and yarn. In the same time that it takes to get to your destination, whether that is by car, train, or plane, your child will get a good start on their knitting project. They can also continue with their projects during their down time over the break. By the end of the holiday break, your child could have a new hat or mittens for school!

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            If your family is home for winter break, The Handwork Studio offers Winter Break Camp. During this one-week camp, campers will be introduced to practical handwork arts such as hand and machine sewing, weaving, and knitting. If you think your child would be interested in this fun winter break camp, head to The Handwork Studio’s website or call (610) 660-9600 to register.

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Tags: kids knitting, knitting classes begin, Knitting, The Handwork Studio, Winter Camp

Get Started With Knitting by Casting On

Posted by Megan DiFeo on Thu, Oct 08, 2015 @ 11:39 AM



Are you ready to start knitting?

Maybe your friend knits, or you child has learned to knit with us at the studio. No matter where you find yourself on your creative journey, learning to knit can be a fun and relaxing way to stay creative. But first, you need to learn how to get started!  

Check out our video on how to cast on which is the first and fundamental step in knitting.


Tags: kids knitting, Knitting

Knit and Crochet Halloween Costumes

Posted by Megan DiFeo on Tue, Oct 28, 2014 @ 11:16 AM

Knit + Crochet Halloween CostumeaIf you've been on the internet this week you probably saw the cutest Halloween Costume photo gallery from The Ellen Degeneres Show. We loved so many of knitted and crocheted projects that we created a Pinterest Board to share some of the favorites that we found.



Some of the costumes have patterns linked to them for creating and others are for purchase from sites like Etsy. Even with Halloween just a few days away, there is always time to think of next year. Also, kids love dressing up all year round so why not try your hand at some of the projects below? We'd love to see what you create. Check out our board below and be sure to hop over to our Pinterest page and follow us!



Follow The Handwork Studio's board Knit + Crochet Halloween Costumes on Pinterest.




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Upcoming Events At The Handwork Studio:
One Day Camp on Nov. 4th


One Day Campv for Election Day

Tags: kids knitting, Crochet

How Do You Teach Knitting & Machine Sewing to Kids?

Posted by Laura Kelly on Tue, Jan 22, 2013 @ 11:38 AM

Teaching Kids to KnitHow do you teach your child to knitt?  To machine sew?  To embroider?  It is really very simple and what we do everyday in classes, camps and workshops.  Hint: It isn't about crafting at all.  

 

  1. With patience - Try a new craft and you will remember how frightening it is, how much you don't want to make a mistake, how silly you feel when you don't get it right.  Kids feel all that too.  Make sure you let them know it is ok to make mistakes.  Everyone does.
     
  2. With love - Remember it is about passing something down, not about teaching perfection.  They will ALWAYS remember you were the one that taught them.
     
  3. With fun - Our philosophy is that if we make our classes fun, kids will keep coming back.  If kids keep coming back they will eventually learn with time, with age and with motor skills.  The goal is to keep them coming back!
We hope you will find time to craft with your kids.  You'll get more out of it then they will:)

Tags: kids knitting, education, 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

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

The Handwork Studio's 5th Annual Student Art Exhibit...Sew Beautiful!

Posted by Laura Kelly on Thu, Apr 26, 2012 @ 10:08 PM

There’s something to be said for the First Friday’s in Narberth.

The stores are open late, live music fills the air and on that first Friday in May, The Handwork Studio is abuzz with the glowing laughter and pride of our artists.

This year, the studio celebrates it’s 5th annual Student Art Exhibit.  The exhibit is an opportunity for all of our artists to showcase their finest works and share with friends, family and the community at large the fruits of their very crafty labor.  And quite frankly, it’s awesome.

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I hope that you’ll join us this year as our studio is transformed into one of the Main Line’s most exclusive art hangouts on Friday May 4th, from 7pm-9pm.  Come out and enjoy the show!

As we wrap up the 2011/2012 year, we’re looking ahead to Fall 2012 and beyond!  As of May 1st our Fall Session will be available for you take part in.  I recommend that you plan early so that once registration opens you’ll be off and running before you can say “yarn”!  You can register online by clicking here Fall Class Registration

Or you can call us in the studio, we always love speaking with our friends, new and old.

We hope to see you on First Friday!

Tags: kids knitting, handwork classes begin, kids art classes in narberth pennsylvania, Kids Birthday Parties, art exhibit, creativity, imagination, First Friday, Fall Class, Registration, Fall Class Registration, Summer Camp, Narberth, Kids Camp, Crochet, kids, fun kids activities, activities, Narberth kids' activities

FiberPhiladelphia 2012

Posted by Melissa Haims on Wed, Mar 21, 2012 @ 06:30 AM

Hi there! Miss Melissa here for a double shot of blog posts. Last week I wrote about the American Camp Association's Tri State Camp Conference and while I was there I talked A LOT about FiberPhiladelphia and promised to share more details... Here they are:

FiberPhiladelphia 2012 is an international biennial and regional festival for innovative fiber/textile art. Exhibitions are happening at more than 40 locations including major institutions and independent venues during the event. They will include work by renowned international artists and a new generation of artists breaking into the field. The first shows began in January and they stretch until June.

Now, if you've been reading our blog, you'll know that March is National Craft Month. But did you know that on March 2nd May Michael Nutter declared by official proclamation that March is Fiber Arts Month in Philadelphia? Well, friends, it's true. At the opening ceremony which was held at Moore College of Art and Design we were treated to a welcome address by Mayor Nutter (at a yarn bombed microphone), an introduction by Dr. Happy Fernandez (President of Moore), another intro by Amy Orr (Executive Director of FiberPhiladelphia 2012) and finally, a keynote lecture by Elissa Auther. She is the author of String, Felt, Thread: The Hierarchy of Art and Craft in American Art (Minnesota, 2010). Click here to see photos of this amazing event and the opening that occurred afterward at the Crane Arts BUilding! 

Miss Melissa yarn bombing Mayor Nutter's microphone.  Mayor Nutter at said Microphone.

Yes, that's me yarn bombing the microphone that Mayor Nutter, et al, spoke at.


Now, at this point, you may be asking yourself why I am writing about this. What's the tie back to The Handwork Studio? Here's the deal: I work for The Handwork Studio year round as the Director of Curriculum and Education, but I'm also a fiber artist who makes and shows work in galleries. I was drawn to FiberPhiladelphia in January 2011 by a fellow fiber artist and the next thing I knew I found myself on the Executive Board of this fabulous festival surrounded by the most amazing individuals: artists, curators, students, designers and volunteers. Together, we created the single most important Fiber Arts event in Philadelphia in the last 20 years. I am so proud to be a part of this group and promote the exhibitions, support our business sponsors and spread the word.

So please stop by The Handwork Studio and pick up one of our directories and plan your visit to our shows around the city today! You can also find them at many locations around town; check the website for a list of our exhibitions and support your local fiber artists!

Full Disclosure / Shameless Plug:

I have a number of shows during the festival that I would love for you to share with your children, friends and family. Click here for the full exhibitions list and search for "Melissa". You can see some of the work I do when I'm not knitting bunnies and sewing marshmallows!

If you're reading this, chances are you have a little fiber artist at home and in that case I would strongly recommend that if you're in the Philadelphia area between now and the end of April, take them to see Cold Comfort at The Schuylkill Center for Envrionmental Education. This show has been delighting the little ones (and not so little ones) since January and is a real treat, both indoors and out!

little tree hugger at Cold Comfort.

Enjoy!

Miss Melissa

 

Tags: kids knitting, crafts, kids programs, art exhibit, fiber arts, stitch, travel, Workshops, website, National Craft Month, Narberth, Reccomendations, Sewing, Knitting, Crochet, Fun, kids, fun kids activities, project ideas, camp, Handwork, Narberth kids' activities

Greetings from ACA Tristate!

Posted by Melissa Haims on Fri, Mar 16, 2012 @ 12:58 PM

This post was supposed to be about FiberPhiladelphia 2012, a citywide international biennial of fiber arts taking place right this second. However, currently I am sitting in the Atlantic City Convention Center at the American Camp Association's Tri State Camp Conference and I am, as usual, blown away by the professional development that our staff at The Handwork Studio has the opportunity to take part in.

But because I promised a bunch of people that I would talk about FiberPhiladelphia in this blog post, i'll post a few photos at the end with a couple of links and then NEXT week I'll blog in more detail about that.

In the meantime, let me tell you how our staff is preparing for your children to have the best summer camp experience.... 

We are at the world's largest convention for camp professionals learning about the safest, smartest and most efficient ways of providing that experience. Each day we take part in workshops that teach valuable lessons and offer useful insites on topics such as Setting and Reaching Goals, Building and Maintaining Positive Parent Relationships, Creating the Best Possible Young Leaders and Helping Your Staff be the Best.  

The Handowrk Studio Staff (Miss Laura, Miss Julia, Miss Alisha, Miss Eva, Miss Amanda and myself) even taught a workshop about bringing needle arts into other camps and how important these traditional handcrafts can be to children both socially and emotionally (and they are all secretly about math!).  

The very last Keynote Speaker was Rosalind Wiseman, best-selling author and internationally recognized expert on children, teens, parenting, bullying, social justice, and ethical leadership. She is the author of Queen Bees and Wannabees: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and the New Realities of Girl World, the groundbreaking, best-selling book that was the basis for the movie Mean Girls. What an inspiring message she sent us, as camp proffessionals, about talking to our children and helping them make the best decisions for themselves. 

What an insightful and amazing experience for our staff!

Finally, here are the images and directions that I promised to a few of you while attending our workshops at Tri State:

Yarn Bombing (aka Knit Grafitti) 

Cold Comfort: Knit Graffiti by Melissa Maddonni Haims
At the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education
in the Andorra section of Philadelphia
February 24 – April 30, 2012
Click here to check out more photos on their Facebook page.
 

This could be a great community knitting or crocheting project for your campers who are just starting out with their handwork and will feel a sense of unity when they join their works together to yarn bomb a significant tree or pole on your camp site.

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Yarn Bombing on chicken wire fences 
Shagging... new textile works by Kathryn Pannepacker (& community)
The William Way LGBT Community Center in Center City Philadelphia
March 8 - April 27, 2012
Click here for details about the show.
 
 

These are chicken wire fence peices that have been looped with various types of yarns that have been doubled or trippled and cut into 6-10" lengths. This could be a great project to do on a fence on your site! And you don't have to use yarn - be creative - you could use recycled materials such as old clothes, plastic bags, and maybe do them in your camp colors! 

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Another Project done by Kathryn was was on a loom that was an old garment rack that had been wrapped with a warp in front of the Library in Center City and a could of us Handwork Studio instructors happened upon it one day a few years ago - this is Miss Stephane and I. We pulled over on the side of the road when we saw this random loom chained to a bike rack and, well, we always travel with bits and peices of yarn and fabric so we jumped out and had at it! You could do this inbetween two trees!

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PLARN! Yarn made from plastic bags!

The photo below is of a plarn chair i created in the fall of 2011 that is currently in the Schuylkill Center Exhibitions. 

Here are some links for directions:

http://www.crochetspot.com/how-to-make-plarn-plastic-yarn/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Qq3-gppZKY

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Good luck and enjoy! I'll be back next week with more on FiberPhiladelphia 2012!

Best, 

Miss Melissa

Tags: kids knitting, Miss Julia, crafts, kids programs, fiber arts, teach kids to knit, stitch, Miss Alisha, Summer Camp, Kids Camp, Knitting, Fun, fun kids activities, project ideas, activities, camp