Carrie Sinclair has been teaching groups of children, youth, and adults over the last two decades. She has four amazing sons and she thinks wool is magical! Using wool from her family’s sheep in Oregon, she began to develop a fiber arts curriculum in 2008. When she moved to Washington, Carrie began needle felting birds from wool, which she now sells locally during the holidays and year-round on Etsy. Carrie enjoys meeting local shepherds and introducing new fiber artists to sheep and shepherds—the source of the wool they can use to spin into yarn and knit, crochet, or weave into fabric. She takes groups through the beautifully messy process of washing, drying, dyeing, and carding raw wool! Carrie has lived in this corner of the Pacific Northwest for 10 years. She was born and raised in Oregon where her parents live and raise sheep in the coastal mountains.
In addition to homeschooling her own children for 6 years, Carrie teaches after-school knitting clubs and volunteers in classrooms to teach knitting and other hand work skills. She was an early board member of the Greenwood Tree Cooperative in Mount Vernon where she taught skills like knitting and processing wool as well as singing and dramatic play for early grades homeschool enrichment! She has enjoyed teaching and learning with children and youth at the Ragfinery in Bellingham, Tierra Nueva in Skagit County, and many other school and church settings.
Carrie believes that our hands crave opportunities to create that which we know and feel. She incorporates storytelling, songs, and movement to teach handwork skills like knitting, sewing, weaving, and spinning. Carrie believes we learn best when our bodies are also engaged and when we stay with a process. “It is so much fun when everyone is carrying buckets of soapy water to wash wool straight off the sheep and it is super rewarding for children to later spin that wool into yarn.” Once a child learns a handwork skill such as knitting, he or she will have that skill for a lifetime and will enjoy teaching others!
Three-hour lesson plans (Grades 1-5)
Each session includes work songs, stories, and tidbits of history on the ancient skills we are learning!
Make your own knitting needles and learn to knit! Students will go home with a handmade pair of knitting needles, a knitting project on their needles, ready to be completed, and a ball of yarn
Make a drop spindle and learn to spin yarn!(this makes a great sequel (or prequel) class to the knitting lesson, because students can then knit with the yarn they make) Students will go home with an ornament or weaving you have made from the yarn you have spun, wool roving and spun yarn, and a handmade drop spindle.
Learn to Weave!
Create a simple loom and weave a piece of fabric. Students will go home with a piece of handmade fabric and a loom that can be used and reused.
Colorful Wool “Painting
Use colorful, local wool and a small needle to create a landscape on a piece of cloth. With a simple up and down motion using a small, barbed needle (called a felting needle) you will fuse the fibers of wool to a piece of cloth held firmly in an embroidery hoop. When you are finished, you’ll have a ready-made wall-hanging or gift. Working with the textures of wool and playing with color design can be so therapeutic and relaxing!
Twelve Hour Lesson Plans (5th grade only)
Making Yarn and Fabric from Wool
Wash and hang-to-dry raw wool (preferably outdoors, but not essential), Dye raw wool with Kool-Aid and natural dyes, Tease (“finger fluff) the wool, Card (“brush” with special brushes called carders) the wool
Make drop spindles from doweling, CD’s, grommet, brass hook, Learn to spin the prepared wool into yarn, Work and practice in pairs, Try spinning alone
Using newly spun yarn, learn to knit, weave and crochet.
Learn the basics of the chosen handwork skill or divide into groups and learn all three (and then teach each other)
Practice your new handwork skill
Make something special from your own spun yarn (a headband, a pouch, a stuffie, or a washcloth)!
Can arrange a field trip to a local sheep farm if logistically possible with school budget!
All School Project
Harmony Loom: “Knit Together”
As a school, create a weaving on a circular loom called a Harmony Loom to hang on a wall somewhere in the school. The final project is a beautiful tapestry, “Knit Together,” which can be hung somewhere in the school to remind students that each person is part of a beautiful whole. Individual students learn to finger knit strands of yarn and everyone contributes a piece of knitted yarn. Teaching artist visits each classroom to allow students to weave their finger-knitted strands into the large loom (made from a hula hoop). The hula hoop is then removed and the tapestry is backed and hardware is attached for hanging.
Students learn simple, basic skills of finger-knitting and weaving that can be taught and learned in just a few minutes. Students can take the idea of making smaller Harmony Looms back to their homes or smaller, community groups. Reflective exercises can be incorporated such as: choosing yarn that has a color or texture that is self-representing, weaving with an intentional word or blessing for the group in mind, and group identity exercises such as “why our school is a better place for having me [or my neighbor] here!”