Tag Archives: yarn

Indigenous Crafts: Dream-catchers

Indigenous Crafts: Dream-catchers


The Lakota hang dream-catchers where they sleep or over the cradles of babies. Good dreams go through the hole in the center of the dream-catcher while bad dreams are caught in the webbing like flies in a spider web.


6 inch embroidery hoop or large metal ring

2 yards of string or yarn

Beads, wood, feathers




  1. With a pencil make 8 equidistant marks around the embroidery hoop. If using a metal ring, make the marks with the black marker.
  2. Knot one end of the string or yarn on one of the marks. Leave about 3 inches hanging.
  3. Tie the yarn to the next mark and so on until there is yarn looped to each mark.
  4. Tie and loop the string from the middle of one loop to the middle of the next. Do not pull the string or yarn tightly. Continue to loop in this way making three or four rows of loops while occasionally stringing a bead. This is optional.
  5. When only a small “hole” is left in the center, pull the string tightly and knot the end of the string to the previous row. Tie a second knot to prevent unraveling. Trim excess string. A bit of glue will reinforce the knot. This is optional.
  6. Take the original 3 inch piece of string and tie it to the inside of the web. Tie a second knot and trim any excess. A bit of glue will reinforce the second knot.
  7. Tie a piece of string about 5 inches or more to the bottom of the dream-catcher. Toward the bottom half of the string loop two or three (or more) beads and tie a knot. Leave enough string to tie around the tip of a feather. You can make as many as two or three of these but vary the lengths to make a more interesting design.
  8. Reinforce the knots if necessary with glue. Insert feathers into the web of the dream-catcher. This is optional.
  9. Tie a loop of the string or yarn at the top of the dream-catcher so you can hang it up.


Native Americans imbued art into everyday objects: baskets, textiles/weaving and pottery. They placed all their hopes and fears into their art. Colors, patterns and symbols reflected their views of the creator and the inner spirit of people and animals.  These colors, shapes and symbols held different meanings for different tribes but some general meanings apply.


Blue: female, moon, sky, water, thunder, sadness

Black: male, cold, night, disease, death, underworld

Green: earth, summer, rain, plants

Red: war, day, bold, wounds, sunset

White: winter, death, snow

Yellow: day, dawn, sunshine


Curves and spirals

Parallel lines

Flowing lines, i.e. plants and flowers

Birds, fish and human faces

Triangles, rectangles, squares and other geometric shapes


Haslam, Andrew. Make It Work! Native Americans. Minnetonka, MN: Two Can Publishing, 1995.

Gooch, Randall and Temko, Florence. Traditional Crafts from Native North America. Minneapolis, MN: Lerner Publications, 1996.

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Lazy Day Crafts: Weaving With a Simple Frame

Lazy Day Crafts: Weaving With a Simple Frame









Large-eyed tapestry needle (optional)




Strips of fabric




  1. Weaving consists of a warp and a weft. The warp comprises the vertical strings of the loom while the weft consists of the yarn horizontally interlaced through the weft. Take a piece of strong cardboard. Measure and cut ¼” incisions at regular intervals of ¼” to 1/8” on both ends of the cardboard.
  2. To make the warp: Take heavy string (i.e., kite string) and make a knot at one end. Stretch a continuous length of string across the cardboard. In other words, loop the string from one end of the cardboard to the other and back up again. When finished, cut and make a knot in the back or tape it to the back of the cardboard. Always leave a little extra string for knotting at either end.
  3. To make the weft: Think of a theme or a design for the weaving. The design is up to you! Use a variety of materials to weave in and out as you did with the paper weaving. Start with about an inch and a half of warp at the bottom. Make sure strips of material alternate with each row.  Roll the material into a ball if possible and pass it through the warp back and forth for several rows depending on the design. Tuck the end in the back of the warp. Do not tie a knot.
  4. Tips: You can using the tapestry needle to weave. A ruler will help you if the warp so you can pass material through easily but you must lift every other string.
  5.  When weaving is finished, cut any loose thread in the back of the warp but don’t cut too close to the weft.
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Smicksburg PA Photo Sampler

Smicksburg PA Photo Sampler

I took two separate day trips to Smicksburg PA with a friend this October. Smicksburg is a country village in Indiana County with all kinds of craft and gift shops. (It even has a  US Post Office.) It is not far from Punxatawny Pa (home of the famous groundhog, Punxatawny Phil) to give you a geographic landmark.

The area is home to about 300 or so Amish families so it is not unusual to see horses and Amish buggies going by. Besides the craft and antique shops, we stopped by an apple orchard (excellent apple cider and apples) on the first trip. I bought so many apples that I was cooking with apples for a whole week!

The second trip included a visit to  an Amish farm so I could get my quilt repaired. We also visited a spinning studio and yarn shop (Silverbrook Fiber Arts and Sheepskin) in nearby Marchand PA where “spin-ins” as I call them, are held once a month or so.

If you want a day away from the city, consider a day trip to Smicksburg.

The photos above give a sampling of the many sights of Smicksburg PA. For more information go to: www.smicksburgh.net

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Ojo de Dios (God’s Eye)

Ojo de Dios (God’s Eye)

                                    GOD’S EYE


Chop sticks or dowel rods (12” in length)

Yarn in assorted colors


White glue

  1. Cross the chopsticks or dowel rod in the center. Pick a color for the center of the God’s Eye. Tie securely with the end of the yarn.
  2. Loop the yarn a couple of times to secure it further.
  3. Holding the center of the sticks, wrap the yarn under and around one of the sticks a few times. Make sure the sticks don’t show by pushing the yarn together on the stick. Pull snugly.
  4. Pull the yarn to the next stick. Wrap it under and around.
  5. Continue to wrap the yarn from stick to stick by wrapping under the sticks.
  6. If you choose to change colors, tie the yarn to a stick and cut off the excess. Tie on a second yarn.
  7. Continue to wrap until the sticks are almost covered. Make the last wrap and tie the yarn to the stick. You will need extra yarn so cut this piece about 5 “– 6” from the knot.
  8. Place a small amount of glue on the end of the stick. Wrap the end of the yarn over the glue, covering the entire end of the stick. Snip any excess yarn.
  9. Make two small God’s Eyes to hang on either horizontal end of the larger God’s Eye. Use pencils or narrower dowel rods and wrap the yarn like you did in Steps 2 through 8.
  10. Make a loop. Tie it to the opposite vertical end of the stick and hang.

TIP: Small God’s Eyes make great Christmas tree and/or window ornaments. Use pencils to make these smaller Ojo de Dios.

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Summer Camp: Drawing with Yarn and Starch (or Glue)

Summer Camp: Drawing with Yarn and Starch (or Glue)



Three small bowls


Liquid starch or glue



Cardboard in any color of choice

Yarn in various colors and thickness


  1. Pour liquid starch into bowls.
  2. Cut some of the yarn into 12” lengths.
  3. Soak the yarn in the starch separating the white (if you are using white) from the colored yarn because some of the colors will run. Leave the yarn in the starch for a few minutes.
  4. Lift the yarn out one strand at a time and run your fingers down the length to remove the excess starch. Do this with the string if using it along with the yarn or instead of the yarn.
  5. “Draw” with the yarn by dropping it on the cardboard in a random pattern. Repeat this with the other strands of yarn combining the colors in a pleasing design. Alternate with string.
  6. Fill in some of the shapes that you “drew” with more yarn so that some of the shapes are more solid than others. Consider separating some of the yarn so that white or negative space shows throughout the design. (See the samples.)
  7. Finish the “drawing” and place the art on a flat surface until it dries. Weigh down the corners with heavy objects in the meantime.


Draw a design or object on the cardboard and follow the procedure above.

Inspired by: All-Around-the-House Art and Craft Book by Patricia Z. Wirtenberg

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Summer Camp: Paper Bag Animals/Paper Bag Pets

Summer Camp: Paper Bag Animals/Paper Bag Pets


Paper Bag People and Animals

Paper Bag People and Animals


Lunch size paper bags, brown or white

Newspaper (or similar material)



Scraps of construction paper

Paste or glue

Ribbon and/or yarn

Sequins, buttons, seeds (for eyes, nose mouth)

Crayon and/or markers and/or colored pencils

Clip art


Pipe cleaners (for whiskers)

Wiggle eyes

Rubber Band




  1. Choose the pet or animal you will make.
  2. Stuff 1/3 of the bag tightly with crumbled or strips of newspaper (or similar material) to form the head (about two or three sheets).
  3. Gather the bag at the base of the head. Tie it securely with string or yarn.
  4. Stuff the rest of the bag with more newspaper and tape the bottom of the bag closed.
  5. Cut eyes, nose, mouth, and paws from construction paper or use sequins, buttons or seeds. Use pipe cleaners for the whiskers.
  6. Tie a ribbon or piece of yarn around the neck.
  7. Add buttons or other decorations to dress up you paper bag pet or person.

Alternative Projects:

  1. Make a paper bag person. Use yarn for hair and wiggle eyes. Follow the directions above.
  2. Stuff only the top 1/3 of the bag. Insert a long stick (like a ruler) into the head and secure with string, yarn or a rubber band. Use as a puppet and put on a play for your friends! Read the books below for more ideas:

Gauch, Patricia Lee. Poppy’s Puppet

Marsh, Valerie. Puppet Tales




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