This is Olly's pillow. The picture of Rolly's pillow is very similar. For some reason the picture corrupted.
I improved the weaving in this pillow by replacing the cut up t-shirt spokes with yarn that matches the outside of the pillow. I think this looks a lot prettier than the t-shirts. However, the yarn makes it much easier to pull too tightly. I pulled so tightly that even when I put the backing on and filled up the pillow, it is still misshapen.
The backing is made from fleece that I hand sewed on.
For the stuffing, I used the insides of our boppy. Our boppy broke after two children and I didn't want to throw away the insides - so I repurposed them.
The kids do not realize that they are a little awkward and Grandma just loves receiving a gift, so it worked out well in the end.
This is a picture of Rolly's weaving. As Rolly has gotten older (he is ten now) I have realized that I am holding the goal of perfection too closely. We have not done enough crafts. One of the reasons is because I can hold to unrealistic goals of perfection.
In this case it is perfection of materials. The inner circle of mixed purple, blues and pinks was made by dying wool yarn in food coloring. We used a method shared from the Living Crafts magazine. Here is a link: http://www.livingcrafts.com/blog/category/dyeing
That was a really great experience. However, the wool was thin and while I can do that once or twice. I can't do that with every ball of yarn.
The second layer was made with an inexpensive acrylic yarn I bought at Joann's Fabrics. I bought this yarn for a class of a bunch of kids. I don't buy this for myself and it was really difficult to buy it for others. But since it was for a class, I could not afford to purchase wool yarn for all of the children. This was fine. And the kids in the class did love it.
And for me, the experience was freeing. Because I ended up with a bunch of inexpensive acrylic yarn sitting around the house. Grandma doesn't personally care what we use in her gift, so this yarn works out fine.
It was super easy to finger crochet and it looks pretty. The light color was needed to balance out the darks in the center.
Grandma's birthday is coming up in only one week. She really appreciates it when the boys give her something personal for her birthday. And although Brother is ten now, he is just really becoming comfortable with finger crocheting.
We use two different types of finger crochet methods.
This is the type my older son uses, except that he keeps one loop on his finger after the sheep jumps off his finger: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMQr_nLn4FM
My other son holds the loop on his lap and grabs it with his fingers to pull it through. This is much faster and easier for him to control.
My understanding is that usually kids will learn and take off in the skill of finger crocheting in Kindergarten (4-6 years old) in a Waldorf type school. My oldest son has some sensory challenges that we are evaluating. He did not enjoy the rhythmic movement of finger crocheting until he was ten years old.
Ten years old is truly late for a child to develop this skill, so if your younger child is not finding finger crocheting easy (or joyful) by age seven, I would just make a note of it for later.
Now my ten year old loves to finger crochet and he did over half of the pink portion during today's Seahawk's game. which meant that he wasn't "living in his work" but we were on a timeline, so this is where "heaven meets earth" and we just had to do the best we could.
Anyway - we used the information from this blog: http://www.flaxandtwine.com/2012/02/woven-finger-knitting-hula-hoop-rug-diy.html to make our "place mat."
I did use my husband's shirt for this project. You can see that the color of the shirt matters for the center of the weaving. I did not quite realize this when I followed the directions. I think it would have been nicer if I had chosen a shirt to match the yarn. And I would have cut the shirt slices a little thinner.
Anyway, here is the result before I finish cleaning it up and weaving in the ends.