final batik.

While this isn’t the “maker” project for me (too much of a perfectionist to deal with the loose nature and all the imperfections that come with applying hot wax to muslin), I am happy I worked with 12 middle schoolers for 10 weeks and was exposed to something new.

I love making things with my hands. I love teaching the making. I love seeing kids’ progress, their ebbing and flowing, their unhappiness with the product, and their happiness with a product. I, too, experience all of that, all the time. It’s the maker way. It doesn’t mean you stop.

For now, here is my final batik of the term before I ironed out the wax. I’m happiest with this one, of all the batiks I made this term. I doubt I’ll be doing this again, but you never know. I think this batik will turn into a zip top pouch for all my knitting notions.

What do you think?

batik 2.

A few months back, the school where I am a librarian asked if I would be willing to help teach 10 eager middle schoolers how to batik. I had never batiked before, and knew very little about it. Of course, I found myself saying yes because I love learning new skills, being exposed to all different types of craft, and heck, working with kids, and our hands, to make things.

We are in our last week or two of batik. I don’t know if this really is the fabric craft for me; I’m kind of a perfectionist and it’s really impossible to paint wax on muslin the way I think I want to. But I’m beyond happy to have spent these 10 some odd weeks learning something new and exposing kids to something, too.

Here is my last batik, after the waxing. I will dye it on Friday and then turn it into something, like a zippered pouch for my knitting notions.

licorice knitting, 6.8

It’s finally the end of the school year, which means much excitement at the prospect of nurturing my own creative endeavors; with that, I wanted my last knitting class to be playful and usually that means we bring candy, cakes, and all manner of sugar-filled foods for the gobbling.

Instead of just eating (there was plenty of that, mind), we decided to try knitting with red licorice, which proved a win and loss. The kids loved it; the knitting, the eating, the sticky fingers. But it was just too hot and the ropes not nearly long enough to really get anything truly going of the knitting, so we mostly ate…

…and of course the kids loved the shakes and sugar highs that took them through the rest of their classes. Until next year, you can check out more knitting with candy at the class flickr set.

student progress, 5.20

More progress on that incredible turtle shell one of my student’s is working on; she has spent the entire year on the “Sheldon” project and learned tons of skills from it. This particular student loves to try to understand the pattern herself and asks questions after experimentation–the best kind of knitter, in my humble opinion.

student technique, 5.13

One of my students has been diligently working on this pattern all year. She hasn’t wavered; she hasn’t swayed. She has learned some serious skills from this particular pattern…and it’s all coming to fruition.

With just a month left, there’s just the shell to be worked–and I swell with pride because this shell requires a lot of new skills, like working with more than one color at a time, carrying the yarn up the side of the work, and slipping stitches in the front and back to create those shell “window panes”.

Knitting teacher pride.

paper cranes for japan, 5.13

The students at my school are folding paper cranes en masse; it’s all you see in the halls these days and is part of an effort to ship 1,000 of them to an organization that donates a whole bunch of relief money (in exchange for the cranes) to Japan in the wake of the tsunami.

We’ve definitely reached it here, and then some. You can check out the project here; and learn about its origins here.

valentine pride, 2.14

One of my little knitters has been feverishly working for a week on Valentines gifts for Mum, Dad, and friends. C. ended up making these winged hearts; the one pictured above is for Mum and you can see on her face how pleased and excited she is with the end result.

Nothing is better in knitting than that moment of realization: “I made that!” C. definitely had that excitable moment with this project and I was lucky enough to capture it.

beaming with pride, 1.13

One of my knitters has completed her first sweater! This is a monumental moment for me as a teacher, but also for AB, who has done something at 9th grade that I never dreamed since I was, for many years, dedicated solely to knitting smallish items, with zero patience for something as time consuming as sweater knitting.

AB’s “February Lady Sweater” has since these snaps received buttons and woven in ends, so that makes it completely finished off and gifted out to her older sister. This kind of lace work requires much dedication and deserve proper praise.

Isn’t it a beaut?

As always, snaps of the kids’ work at the flickr set–and a few final snaps of AB’s sweater, with buttons and all, to come next week.