Blanket stitch is one of the best things I know! Here is how you do it. Firstly, take a length of thread about as long as your arm. Thread it through your needle, and tie a knot at the end of the long thread.
(With children, I do a double thread and knot the two ends together as this keeps their thread alive and working. It is too frustrating and will encourage them to give up their sewing adventures if their thread keeps slipping out.)
Take your piece of material/felt. Start at the back and go through to the front of the material. The loose end will hang out. (Later, you can thread this dangling bit onto a needle and take it back into the felt and out in some random place. This keeps your work nice and neat.)
If you are sewing something together, start the first stitch by threading through only the top layer, and letting the loose bit hang in between the two pieces. It will be hidden once you begin sewing.
I always tell people, in blanket stitch, we must remember that the first and last stitches are two jumps on the one spot!
Come up again, in the same spot.
This stops your first stitch being on a diagonal across the front of the material.
Now for the little verse that is used in most Steiner/ Waldorf schools I know. (I also have many of my own versions)
1. In through the bunny hole
2. Around the log
Take your thread (either the bit closest to the needle or the long bit- doesnt matter) and go ‘around’ the needle.
Now pull the thread up until it locks.
3. Up through the bunny hole and off jumps the frog!
(Yeah, I know. Frog? Where did that come from?
But children and adults remember it and this helps them to remember the actions)
Now you have your first completed stitch
Now repeat steps 1 to 3, just taking a little jump to the right as the new place for the first step.
In through the bunny hole
Around the log
Up through the bunny hole
And off jumps the frog!
Sometimes, we forget to ‘wrap’ the needle. I always tell the children to quickly ‘catch’ the rabbit by the tail and pull him back. He is our house bunny and we can’t have him running away. (Where I live, bunnies have taken over so the law says we can’t keep one but over the border half an hour away, you can have one for a pet. Bizarre!)
This is my left handed version of ‘pulling him back’!
Then ‘wrap’ him again.
The children learn to fix their mistakes, which makes them so much more independent and able to work on their own projects without needing an adult’s assistance.
We need to help children become independent with lots of tasks. THIS is our role as parents. Not to do it for them, but to help them find their way into a task until they master it.
Creative thinking can make ANY task child-friendly.
For spacing, the biggest jump should be about 5mm wide.
This is about half a female adult’s finger, or the size of one of a young (4-6 year old) child’s fingers. Using the body as a measuring approximation tool is another old school idea that really works.
When I come to points or tips on a piece of material, it is important to ensure that one stitch sits right on the tip/point. This creates a balanced finish for your work.
When I come to a thread end, I leave it hanging and when I finish the work, I go back, re-thread it onto a needle and pass the small piece of thread into my work in a random place and out again. I then cut off the thread from this random spot. No untidy threads left here!
To start a new thread, I start with the same ‘two jumps on one spot’, right on top of the knot of the last stitch.
Here is a picture of a thread end being threaded out through a random spot to hide the untidyness.
I love blanket stitching!
I hope you heart it too!