Saturday, July 27, 2013

immortalizing children's art

Here are photos of my old knitting room.

And here's what I would wish you to see.
  • Because there was no ceiling fixture in the room . . . and I don't love standing lamps . . . and I needed yarn storage, my builder guy designed shelves to hold my baskets of yarn that also housed lighting. Very well done!
  • The loveseat is a sofa bed (which my granddaughter calls her secret bed), and on it is a much-loved and much-repaired granny squares afghan made by my grandmother. Much time was spent as a child, trying to figure out which square's colour combo I liked best. I believe that my love of fibre began with this piece.
  • On the bookcase is a previous gift--one of those double-layered bowls whose segments are filled with yarn scraps, presented to me by some Toronto knitters.
  • Over the desk is a quilt that is my window in a windowless room.
  • On the walls are pieces of needlework done by family members.
And this last is what I wish to pass along to you today--the concept of turning drawings into needlework.

Ignore the photo below for the moment, and notice what sits over the sofabed--a Four Seasons piece I did, based upon a scene in a J. R. R. Tolkein calendar. This is my least exciting piece (although it was done the same as what follows).

The other two (shown enlarged below) are based upon drawings my children did. (I'm sorry for the lack of detail and for the angle, especially on the smaller piece. I will be sure to take a head-on shot when my new knitting room photos are posted.)

One day my just-turned-five-years-old son showed me a drawing he'd done of a T-Rex. (Do you know a little boy who didn't go through a dinosaur phase???) I loved it and asked if he could do more . . . which he did. I immediately knew that these drawings (and this phase of his life) had to be preserved, so I did the following:
  • bought a large piece of needlepoint canvas,
  • laid it over the drawings,
  • traced his drawings,
  • worked them all in needlepoint in exactly the colours in which he had drawn them.
If I had know how much time it was going to take to fill in the background, I might have crowded things a little more! But I asked Jeremy to help fill some of the background spaces, and he happily did.

Oh yes, and I had also made him title and sign the piece, right onto the needlepoint canvas, and that was worked into the piece also.

My husband framed it, and there it is, probably the most precious thing I own. I can still name those dinosaurs, from right to left: Brontosaurus, Tyrannosaurus Rex, Tricerotops, Stegosaurus, Pterodactyl, Ankylosauraus, a head-on shot of Tricerotops, and Brachiosaurus.

But next I needed to do something to immortalize my daughter's drawings, especially since she drew constantly. So I found some faves I had saved--the egg-head "girl" drawn when she was four, and the second girl, drawn when she was five. She told me they were picking flowers, so I asked her to draw them too.

The process was the same as my son's, and she signed hers also. The frame came from a discarded piece of art.

You would probably recognize that this is really, really easy to do? And I have done others over the years that were just embroidered (or cross-stitched) onto fabric--without the need to fill all that background. But I don't love them as much as the needlepoint pieces, probably because I knew I was cutting corners.

However these are produced, they make great gifts. And to be true, the original idea came from a gift. A friend was attending a wedding with her son. To keep him busy during the ceremony, she gave him pencil and paper and asked him to draw the bride and groom. She then embroidered his picture, framed it, and gave it as a wedding gift.

I did the same when friends were building their home. I asked their four-year-old daughter to draw the house. I transferred the drawing to some cloth and then embroidered it--with long lazy strokes, so it looked like she had done the embroidery herself. This one took no time at all. We framed it, it was delivered as a house-warming gift, and it became a much-loved piece at the centre of their home.

I am now  living in a renovation. My new knitting room will be even smaller, but it will still have those shelves and will still feature the kids' drawings. Truly, they are the most precious pieces--moments in time from my little ones, drawing what they knew and loved.


  1. Love it! I now have a warm, sappy smile on my face.
    I did not needlepoint my children's drawings, but I have several framed (ages about 2-6) and on the walls of the back staircase that leads to their bedrooms. They make me smile as I walk up and down. Thanks for the walk 'down memory lane'.
    And thanks for the great idea - my grandchildren (if and when) may get needlepoint drawings from GrandMa. Pam

  2. They will treasure those forever!

    My children recently found some I did for them--ones that had been stored--and were thrilled. And they are already searching for the perfect pieces done by their own children to continue the tradition.

  3. I did the same for my children when they were much younger. I did needlepoint all the time ...but that was before I learned to knit -wish I had more than 24 hours in any given day!

    I just found your blog and love it! You inspired me to look into yin yoga and I'm looking forward to my first class next Tuesday. I never would have known about it if I hadn't read your blog - thank you so very much!

    Just purchased your latest book and love it! Thanks for continuing to share and inspire - I'm most grateful!

  4. Good on you, and please let me know how your class goes.
    And thanks for your kind words about the book. I put everything I know into it and appreciate your appreciation!

  5. Nice post about Knitted Garments . I have fully read the post. thanks for sharing it.