So here’s a little confession — I’m not much of a mantel decorator. I put some pictures on mine about a year ago, and most of the year they sit there with nary a change.
But I do decorate it for Christmas…and then when the Christmas garland comes down, it looks sort of sad and naked. It needs a little something. Preferably something bright and cheery since we’re now into the doldrums of winter.
So the kids and I made a pom pom garland to hang up. We took turns crocheting the string, and then made a few pom poms to add to it.
A single-stitch crochet garland is a great way to introduce kids to working with yarn (that, or finger knitting — both are fun and creative). I find middle-to-upper elementary school kids (maybe 2nd grade and up) get the hang of it quickly and really enjoy it. I had some stash yarn laying around — if you’re going to buy supplies for this project, I’d just get some inexpensive yarn in a few fun colors. And a crochet hook, of course (don’t worry too much about the size — not ridiculously huge or tiny, but you don’t have to be exact.)
Begin by making a loop. Then bring your yarn behind the loop.
Weave your crochet hook through and pick up the back yarn, pulling it to the front (you’re making a slip knot.) Pull the yarn taut.
Bring yarn over the crochet hook and pull through your first loop. Congratulations! You’ve made your first stitch! Now, do it again forty million times and you’ve got yourself a crocheted garland. (If you have trouble understanding my instructions, YouTube has some great tutorials on how to get started crocheting. But be warned — you might become addicted!)
We made poms with the pom pom maker I picked up at JoAnns a while ago (I’m an avid knitter so I use it a lot. They’re inexpensive — under $10, but I wouldn’t go buy one just for this project.) You can also make pompoms using a fork (actually, the kids would probably find that more fun anyway!).
You can change colors and make garlands for any occasion — pastels for spring or Easter; red, white and blue for summer; red and green at Christmas-time. The possibilities are endless! And any time the kids complain they’re bored, you can set them to work crocheting.
Happy garland-making! Come visit me at Peace but Not Quiet, to see some of my other yarn-y projects!