The Handwork teacher

I am a mother to two beautiful girls and I teach Handwork and Fine Arts in our local waldorf charter school in Arizona.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

supply list for Handwork

supply source
since I am doing lots of ordering right now I will share some places to order waldorf Handwork supplies

If you have anything to add, just let me know and I will add it to the list....thank you to those who added already

1) brown sheep for yarn...I like bulky because when you make animals and you stuff them it does not show as much. worsted is thin and can show the get further faster with the bulky as well

2) earth guild for plant dyes.....and there is the place in england that I got a bunch of stuff but I can't remember the name at the moment.

3) for cross stitch stuff.

4) dowels for knitting needles

5) darma trading for silk and cotton/ hemp material for handwork bags

6) bamboo and metal crochet hooks from joann fabrics size G or H

7) roving and doll supplies

8) wool batting and roving. they only do phone orders...there is no web site....$5.85 per pound! West Earl Woollen Mill, Ephrata PA 717/859-2241

9) for knitting and crochet. They are fast, inexpensive and producers.

Handouts I am working on

Is my safety sheet to scary? its at the bottom?

6th grade Handwork curriculum

Supply list: Fabric scissors, sewing needles with big eyes, thread and handwork bag. Cool looking socks for your monster (new or no stains).
$ 3 for Endangered Animal adoption project.

1) Making table animal puppets. Endangered Animal project.
2) Marionettes. Working with a fairytale. Puppet show for the Kindergarten.
3) Table puppets…star children
4) Pen Pal exchange.
5) make a sock monster
I agree to get my supplies by the
2nd handwork class and I agree to do my work in a timely manner, if this means that I need to bring my work home, I will be responsible about bringing it back to school on my Handwork class day. If I forget to bring it to school I will call my parents to bring it to school during class or at pick up.
Student Signature:
Parents Signature

7th grade Handwork curriculum

Supply list:
1) 3 felting needles (you can get these at Joann fabrics or at the school store) they are about $1 each. They tend to break if bent, so your child may or may not have to get more throughout the year.
2) Handwork bag

This year the 7th grade will be immersing themselves in the mysterious world of fiber arts. This curriculum is directly linked to their overall feeling, thinking and willing forces that are building in the 7th grade classroom and Main Lesson blocks.

1) We will begin their session with wet felting pin cushions
2) The children will needle felt a person
3) They will end the Handwork session with felting slippers

I agree to get my supplies by the
2nd handwork class and I agree to do my work in a timely and safe manner.

I have read the 7th grade Handwork safety handout.
Students Signature:
Parents Signature

7th grade Handwork curriculum
Safety information

First off I would like to say that hundreds of Waldorf schools use felting as part of their Handwork curriculum and no serious injuries have occurred (beside minor pokes on their finger tips) This information sheet is not meant to scare you but to keep you informed and to set strict guidelines for class.
In the 7th grade Handwork curriculum we will primarily be using felting needles for their projects. Wet felting will also be part of their handwork curriculum but will not be done at the same time.
Needle felting is performed by using a single barbed needle (originally used in commercial felting machines), wool fibers and a foam mat. The needle is held in the dominant hand and by repeatedly poking fibers together, the wool will mat together to create a three-dimensional felted sculpture.
The felting needle is made to be sharp (just like a sewing needle) with very small barbs along the shaft. The barbs are there to help grab the wool fibers and push them into the sculpture.
First time felters often poke themselves when not looking at their work.

* If your child is poked by the Felting Needle, your child will wash their hands, disinfect the wound and sterilize the felting needle (this process is taught in class)

* When moving around class the Felting Needle MUST remain in the foam pad. Felting needles can only be used while seated.

* Children may not pretend to jab each other with their needles or intentionally poke their fingers with their needles.

*Due to blood possibly getting on your child’s needle; it is mandatory that your child only use their own felting needles. If the felting needles break, they will need to be replaced.

There are no known cases of tetanus linked to needle felting but as a safety measure we ask that you be aware of this. If you do not vaccinate there are online sources that suggest Homeopathics be used: Ledum, Tetanotoxinum and Nux Vomica were suggested. But check with your Homeopath for more information before taking anything.

crochet hooks

These are the hooks I am "hooked" on :)

they are metal and bamboo! the bamboo feels just like their thick pencils in class and since the crochet hook supports their dominant hand for handwriting.... it is perfect!

Bear pattern for a waldorf 1st grade

The cool thing about being a Handwork teacher is that there is immense freedom in what you teach, how you teach it and creating your own patterns.

A book that I often use (and love to alter or get ideas from for 1st and 2nd grade) is the

A First Book of Knitting for Children and

Knitted Animals by Anne-Dorthe Grigaff

If you don't have a book budget at your should ask for one!

The lion pattern I use is from "a first book of knitting for children"
and in the past I used the pig pattern for 5th grade instead of the horse...they actually liked it more than the horse....but the horse is a little more wakeful

The Bear pattern I make with my 1st graders....I made up.

Here it is

Brown Sheep is the wool I use....and I use Bulky yarn because they see faster results with that yarn and when you stuff bulky it doesn't show the stuffing inside as well as the worsted weight does.

starting at the bottom (where the back legs are)
cast on 28 stitches
Knit 7 rows
cast off 7 stitches ....knit across the row and on the next needle cast off another 7 stitches
this will be the back legs
Now knit the belly for 3 to 4 rows
cast on 7 stitches for the right leg ...knit across the row and on the next needle cast on another 7 stitches for the left leg
Knit 7 rows
cast off 10 stitches on the right arm....Knit across the row and on the next needle cast off another 10 stitches.
There should be 8 stitches left for the head
Knit 5 rows
Sew up and stuff while you sew .
I have the kids sew up their legs first...head and last belly

Sunday, July 26, 2009

High School Hand work

This is one basket- flat reeds with handle.
I order my reeds from
If you are a first time basket maker, the kits are very well made with good instructions!
This is a 9th and 10th grade handwork project for 10th grade they should do harder and larger baskets....possibly with designs

I am just showing pics cause the kits will give you a better instruction lay out

ALL of the reeds must be soaking in water for 20 mins to several hours before starting. I keep the reeds in water while I work so that they don't dry out.

2nd basket -round reeds with base

9th grade.....drum rollllllll.........

Yep! this year I start to teach our 9th grade....I am also the 9th grade sponsor (guardian angel)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Handwork curriculum this year

It's now time to order supplies, dye yarn and check inventory...maybe not in that order :)

My curriculum for this year will be.....and it is subject to handwork teachers we have such nice flexible range of things to pull from.

hand spin small piece of yarn
Finger knit draw sting for handwork bag (they are all pink)
finger knit necklace
roll ball of yarn with shell in side for their cat
make knitting needles
learn to cast
Lean to knit with verse (under the fence catch the sheep back we come and off we leap)
knit a square to make a it up and stuff
finger knit collar and add a bell
knit a plant dyed yarn bird
knit a Pentatonic flute case
knit a bear
knit a ball

2nd grade
Braid draw sting for orange handwork bags
knit a mouse (a square)
Knit a lion (plant dyed yellow, orange)
Knit/ purl an owl ...its a square with felt eyes and wings on it
knit a gnome
crochet a chain
crochet a pot holder

3rd grade

crochet a chain for drawstring for yellow handwork bags
crochet a bracelet
crochet a soap bag
crochet a recorder case
crochet a puppet (a large person for stone soup)
weave on the lap loom
crochet a pencil case with liner and zipper
crochet a hat

4th grade

learn sewing stitches....chain, back stitch, blanket stitch, cross stitch
choose linen solid colored fabric for handwork bag.
Draw form drawing on paper for their handwork bag
copy the form drawing onto their handwork bag
use embroidery hoops for their handwork bags.
use chain stitch onto of their form drawing
pin handwork bag together and do a french seam with a draw sting loop at the top
double finger loop for the draw sting
cross stitch fountain pen case
cross stitch pouch (i pod case, cell phone case or money pouch)
sew needle book

5th grade
this is where I have questions.....

advanced group
knit socks

2nd half of the year take new students and knit hats and horses.

6th grade
adopt an endangered animal
make a felt animal that looks similar to the one they adopted
make a felt table puppet
make a marionette

7th grade
make a felted person
felt slippers

8th grade
make aprons for serving pizza
make jewel bags for 1st grade
make fleece hat
make quilted pillow
make some article of clothing for their play

9th grade
first block
Basket weaving
second block

Monday, July 20, 2009

Handwork Teacher Training course

From this summer's

Handwork Teacher Training course

Friday, July 17, 2009

pictures of waldorf main lesson books

here are some random pages from different children's work, ages 7th and 8th grade.
There are some wonderful ideas on what to do with them and or areas to work in.

I don't know why blogspots is having problems with the picture upload....they keep turning and won't go back....sorry about that

Earlier in the year....

Earlier in the year, I went into my younger daughter's class and filmed her showing me the knot doll she made....

Now this knot doll was the first Handwork project we did at Sunbridge Handwork teacher training....3 years ago!

as you can see my daughter is very proud of being finished....she is a true handwork teacher's child.

I went on to teach this pattern to the kindergarten teachers and they plant dyed their material with my 3rd grade and I, while we were plant dyeing yarn for our recorder cases.

Monday, July 13, 2009

a waldorf art link

I just ran across this site...nice pics

I like the chalk board drawings and the art on these sites


what other people have to say about handwork

The handwork and practical arts curriculum in the Waldorf school stimulates the creative powers while establishing esthetic confidence through a conscious guidance of the student's developing will. These "will" activities lay the foundation for thinking. Recent neurological research confirms that mobility and dexterity in the fine motor muscles, especially in the hands, stimulates cellular development in the brain and strengthens the physical instrument of thinking.

Knitting is an indispensable first-grade activity as there exists a close relationship between finger movement, speech and thinking. Some classes may choose to make scarves or perhaps knitted squares to be joined into a blanket.

Through handwork, children learn the value of creating practical and beautiful objects with their own hands. All children are provided with the opportunity to learn to knit, crochet, cross-stitch and sew.

The handwork curriculum is based on the value of teaching children the skills needed to create beautiful, functional projects. We use only natural materials (wool, wood, sheep’s fleece, cotton and plant dyes) to teach them the process of creating a beautiful and functional object while teaching their hands a variety of skills that enhance their fine motor abilities and boost their self esteem.

The projects in the Handwork curriculum are chosen to reinforce the main lesson curriculum and to support and enhance the growth in the children’s particular developmental stage.

Handwork is taught in all grades at our school because movement of the hands and limbs is essential to the development of the intellect. Both boys and girls learn to knit in first grade, creating simple balls, gnomes, and animal forms. In second through fifth grades they learn to crochet, cross-stitch and knit with four needles. In sixth grade, when their bodies begin to change, all students design and stitch an animal, which can be an outer expression of their inner being. In eighth grade, while the students are studying the Industrial Age, they make a pattern and sew their own pajamas. Throughout the grades, projects are of a practical nature: potholders, toys, hats, socks, pillows, and articles of clothing. Mathematical concepts such as parallelism, mirror imaging, progression and geometric forms are implicitly experienced through this tactile learning process. The aesthetic experience of creating beautiful objects also nourishes the child’s emotional sensibilities.

Artistic activity is an integral part of the curriculum. Students have many opportunities for creative expression through watercolor painting, drawing, modeling and puppetry. Instruction in practical arts is intended not simply to teach skills, but to support each student’s unfolding as a well-balanced, self-confident individual. Over the course of eight years, every student learns to knit, crochet, embroider and sew, as well as model with clay and work with wood.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

are there people still checking in?

Just checking to see if people are still checking in.

it's been a while since I put any crafty things on the site.

here is a bunch of patterns

The pattern below is from
28 sts= 4 inches

CO 56 sts. Join and mark beg of round.

Rib in K2, P2 rib for 7 inches or desired leg length.

Divide For Heel
Put one half of the stitches (28), centered on the beginning of the round, on a needle. (The easiest way to do this is to knit the first 14 sts, then turn and slip the 14 sts on the other side of the marker onto the needle). Place the other half on a holder - these stitches will be the instep later on. Work the heel flap over the 28 sts (using contrast colour if desired):

P across the back of the heel flap, slipping the first stitch.
Sl1, K1 across.

Repeat these 2 rows till you have worked 28 rows (count the slipped stitches which should be 14).

Turning The Heel
You are making short rows to shape a little cup for the heel.

Starting on the right side, knit halfway across the heel flap (14 sts) plus 2 (16). Sl1, K1, psso. K1. Turn.
Sl1, P5, P2tog, P1. Turn.
Sl1, K across to the gap (where you turned), slip the first stitch before the gap, K the stitch on the other side, psso, K1. Turn again.
Sl1, P across to the gap. P2tog across the gap. P1. Turn.

Continue in this manner until all the heel flap stitches have been used up.

Join the first colour back in if you made a contrasting heel. Now you will be picking up the stitches on the sides of the heel flap and knitting around the sock again. Those stitches you put aside before doing the heel flap have waited patiently and will be put back into use!

By slipping the first stitch of each row on the heel flap, you have made a lovely chain edge which will be easy to pick up. You should be able to get 14 stitches on each side, but don't worry if you get more or less than this. I usually pick up the stitches on one needle and knit them onto another, twisting them by knitting into the back of the loop.

Knit across those patient instep stitches, or continue them in ribbing, then pick up and knit the same number of stitches on the other side of the heel flap. Knit one half of the heel flap stitches (8 or 9) onto this needle. Mark the centre as the beginning of the round. You now have three needles with rather a lot of stitches on them - one for each side of the gusset and one for the instep. If you have a spare needle in about the same size you can put the instep stitches on two needles instead - I find this is much easier to work.

Now you want to make a row of decreases on each side of the heel flap to get back to the same number of stitches you began with (56).

Knit to 3 sts from the end of needle 1, K2tog, K1.
Rib across the instep sts.
On needles 3 and 4, K first st, Sl1, K1, psso. Knit to end.

K next round plain (ribbing the instep if desired).
Repeat decrease round every other round until you have 56 sts again.

Continue with knit sole and ribbed instep (just follow the established rib) until the foot measures 2½" less than your foot length. I use my 7" double points to give me a rough idea of when to begin the toe shaping, since my foot is 9½" long.

Shape Toe:
Join contrast colour if using such.
Knit one round plain.

Decrease round:
K to 3 sts from end of first needle, K2tog, K1.
K first st on instep needle, Sl1, psso, knit to 3 sts from end of instep needle (or end of needle 3 if you split the instep sts), K2tog, K1.
Last needle, K1, Sl1, psso, K to end.

Knit one round plain.

Continue alternating plain and decrease rounds until you have half the number of sts you began with (28, or 7 on each of 4 needles). Then decrease on every round until you have 12 sts left all together.

Cut off the yarn leaving an 18" tail. Thread a needle with this yarn tail and graft these sts together using the Kitchener stitch or just thread the end through all the sts and draw them up tightly. Weave the end of the yarn into the back of the stitches (turn the sock inside out).

Weave in all your yarn ends, making sure to leave no knots. Knots in a sock will give you nasty blisters! There, you've made a sock! Welcome to the new addiction...

Now you can make the mate. Handmade socks don't always match. If you want to, you can create a wardrobe of single unmatched but coordinating socks and wear a different pair every time!

My socks are more like this (below) using the same pattern as above but with worsted weight and less stitches....this would be better for the kids in class
sock pattern

4 ounces of sock yarn of your choice....worsted weight is best for the first sock. I am doing a sport weight right now and you need to add on more stitches.
Have some different colors
Size 6) double pointed needles


CO 36 sts. Join and mark round.

Rib in K2, P2 rib for 4 inches or desired cuff length.

Divide For Heel
Put one half of the stitches (18), centered on the beginning of the round, on a needle. (The easiest way to do this is to knit the first sts, then turn and slip the sts on the other side of the marker onto the needle). Place the other half on a holder - these stitches will be the instep later on.

Heel flap:
so now only 2 needles are holding the sock.
with the 3rd needle slip one. knit one all the way across the needle. on the same needle turn around and slip one and purl all the way across the back side of the needle repeat step one and two until you have 10 rows (20).


Turning The Heel
You are making short rows to shape a little cup for the heel.

Starting on the right side, knit halfway across the heel flap and mark it with a piece of string.
knit to up to one stitch before the string and knit 2 together and knit one more. turn and purl to the stitch

I will be right back with the rest of the pattern....

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Back from training but not back home

we are still out of town so I can't post pics.....
It was wonderful always! I am on a sock knitting frenzy! Family members have already put in their orders and I have already visited the yarn store once this week.

Socks are a 5th grade Handwork curriculum.... I did find out that you can only accomplish this if you have the entire year to work with 5th grade. I split up my year with woodwork, so I get half of the class for half of the year....resulting in an almost impossible task of taking on sock making.

Instead I have my kids make hats and horses....both good projects as well!

BUT I AM TOTALLY enjoying making these socks and I think I will teach a parent workshop on sock making this year!

I will post pics when I get home

My 6th grade doll is the other project I want to share.....My doll is created to look like the famous Samurai Musashi

It was a very full two weeks....lots of time spent laughing, singing, knitting, sewing, playing games as Greek Olympians and Medieval Knights, clay molding, eating gourmet food and trying to understand Steiner and the changing consciousness of the child.