I’ve very much enjoyed this year of exploring hobbies and how homeschool moms make and find time to create beauty in their world – whether photography or music or quilting or hand lettering. It has been a joy for me to get to know a number of you and see the work you’re doing in your world and I hope it has been inspirational for us all to pick up a hobby as well.
When I first started the series, I had a number of friends ask me, “So, what’s your hobby?” and I had to reply writing about my friends’ hobbies, but I tried out some embroidery myself for Christmas ornaments for my children and think I may be buying some other kits for myself because I’m thrilled with how they turned out – my friend Sarah shared about that in August.
This month I wanted to wrap up the series with my friend Angela. I’ve gotten to know her and her sweet family via Instagram over the last year or so. She is such a buoyant personality and so excited about all her projects, particularly in the fiber arts of crochet and knitting.
I’m so happy to introduce you to Angela Reed today.
Angela, please tell us a little bit about yourself, your family, your homeschool, and the ages of your children.
Hi! Thank you for this invitation! In this season of mothering and educating our children, I am at home full-time. But in my pre-mom life, I was a middle/high school teacher and I truly enjoyed it. I taught English and Latin and sponsored the Latin club, and I can easily imagine returning to the classroom…one day.
I have been married to my husband David for 14 years, and we have 5 children: 4 boys (9, 7, 5, and almost 1) and a daughter (3) who is already teaching me about all the girly things I never understood as a tomboy. I stumbled upon Charlotte Mason’s beautiful philosophy of education when I was just beginning formal lessons with my eldest, and since then, I have been continually thankful for her insight and wisdom because I had no idea how to teach young children, but I am learning…and it has been a challenging, yet rewarding journey.
What is your hobby?
All the yarn and fiber arts! I enjoy knitting, crochet, felting, sewing—even spindling. I daydream about getting a spinning wheel one day, but in reality, that will probably be an old lady hobby for me. 😉 For now, though, knitting and crochet work has been my mainstay: it’s relaxing, meditative, portable, immediate, and fruitful—at the end of every project is a lovely creation to enjoy or give away.
How long have you been doing your hobby?
It’s been ten years now. I learned how to knit the year before I became a mother, and then picked up crochet the following year.
How did you get started or interested in fiber arts? How would someone else get started?
I was always interested in handicrafts. I remember doing cross-stitch with my Gramma (when those plastic grids were really popular…remember those?!?), working on a latch hook rug, and weaving potholders with a loom kit. These were enjoyable projects for me, but self-limiting: one can only make so many potholders!
In college, I was in awe of friends who came to class wearing scarves and hats they had knit/crochet themselves, and I wished that I knew how to create my own accessories. So with the rise of YouTube, I finally found teachers from whom I could easily learn the craft.
If you are wanting to learn, I suggest finding a friend (or even better, a Gramma!) to teach you in person. In lieu of that, or as a supplement for understanding new stitches and techniques, I highly recommend using video tutorials like those freely available on YouTube.
I had previously tried learning from a book, and it was a frustrating experience because it was hard to interpret motion from pictures with arrows and written directions. However, within minutes of searching YouTube for “how to cast on knitting,” I became a knitter!
What kind of equipment or resources are needed to do it? Are there books or instructional guides that you’ve personally found helpful?
- A pattern book with easy beginning projects through which you’d like to progress. I suggest using an attractive book by a modern yarn company (like Lion Brand) because their patterns will specify the exact yarn type you need, which you can easily find in a variety of colors at your local craft store.
- Knitting needles/crochet hook (size specified by project)
- Yarn (thickness specified by project)
- Large-eye embroidery needle (for weaving in ends)
- Optional, but helpful tools:
- row counter
- stitch markers
Where can we learn more about it?
- YouTube.com for tutorials (just search by stitch or technique)
- Ravelry.com for patterns, pics, and community with other fiber arts enthusiasts
- PurlSoho.com to peek into the luscious world of boutique and artisanal fiber creations
How do you make time to participate?
Our quiet time after lunch usually offers me a little pocket of free time, but more often I like to pick up my needles during movie nights. Also, any time we take a trip out of town, I try to pack a project for the road. It’s usually better than reading for me, because I can look up frequently (to avoid motion sickness), and can chat with my husband, who is kind enough to drive.
Where can others find you online?
I also have a blog that I semi-maintain: www.athenaeumamidstthereeds.com
Dawn here again … I love that Angela took projects she loved as a child and let them grow and change into projects she could enjoy as an adult. Her plan for working on her projects because of their portability is super smart too, catching snatches of time when they can be found, including a car ride. I may have to watch a little YouTube for knitting because although I can crochet, knit eludes me; I hadn’t thought of it as a resource.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this series as much as I have enjoyed putting it together. I hope you will choose a hobby to practice in 2018! I’d love to hear about what you chose and why.