Pros & Cons of Being Raised by a Maker

You might remember a while back I shared my thoughts on raising a maker. In today’s digital-first world, raising kids who enjoy making as much as they enjoy playing on Snapchat is a rather daunting feat. Admittedly, my daughter Lauren hasn’t fully embraced yarn over social media, but we’re getting there.

When Lauren and I were talking about that article, I thought it only fair to give her the opportunity to turn the tables and share what it’s like being raised by a maker. I’ve been a full-on creator of all sorts of things since long before she was born. So she’s one who can speak to the pros and cons of having a maker-mom. I really enjoyed hearing her thoughts. Though, I’m not so sure she’s happy about all my rebuttals.

The Pros and Cons of Being Raised by a Maker

PRO #1: “My school projects rock!”

As a creative person, I love the challenge of coming up with unique (handmade) ideas for projects. My kids know this about me and sometimes use it to their advantage when it comes to projects for school. I draw the line at making their project for them, but I can’t resist glue guns and glitter.

My favorite projects are for book reports (says the Editorial Director of the book department). We’ve made a cardboard record player for a presentation on The Outsiders and dove into dress-up bins for Colonial Day costumes. One year, I even I painted the set for a 2nd grade performance of Finding Nemo. Blue shower curtains painted with a coral reef made the perfect backdrop for an underwater scene!

raising a maker

Lauren and I made a cardboard record player. No, really, she made most of it.

CON #1: “Everything takes until the end of a row and Dad’s probably going to have to cook dinner.”

Okay, in my defense, my husband really enjoys cooking dinner. Dinner is his thing. Yes, I’ll admit you can often hear the words “just let me get to the end of my row” escape my lips. And if that means he starts cutting the carrots himself, so be it. I’m sure you’ll all agree you can’t simply abandon your knitting mid-row. Unless someone is bleeding, there isn’t anything that can’t wait for a few more stitches. I like to think of it as a teaching moment. Kids need to learn to be patient and if they’re that hungry, they can grab a granola bar from the pantry.

PRO #2: “We have plenty of handmade quilts in the house.”

Yes! I love fabric almost as much as I love yarn. I learned to sew before I learned to knit, so I’ve been making quilts for quite some time. I’m surprised my fabric stash isn’t larger than my yarn stash. The beautiful colors and patterns seen in today’s modern fabrics are hard to resist.

Each of my kids has a handmade quilt on their bed and we have an old ladder full of quilts in the living room. Extra quilts come in handy when you have a hankering to build a fort on a snowy winter’s day or when half the football team shows up for a sleepover in your living room.

raising a maker

A couple of handmade quilts hang on a ladder in our living room.

Have you had a chance to check out The Quilting Company? I have the pleasure of working on quilting and sewing books as well as Interweave’s books. I’m particularly excited about our new release, Red & White Quilting. It’s a bold and graphic tradition in quilting that dates back to the 1800s. Quilts more than 100 years old look just as cool as if they were made today. I think our living room quilt ladder needs one.

CON #2: “Mom won’t knit me a sweater until I’m done growing.”

I love knitting baby projects. They’re so small, they fly off the needles and can be saved as special hand-me-downs. Plus, they only take a skein or two of yarn. I knit Lauren many sweaters when she was young (you can see my favorite called “My Little Butterfly” on Ravelry). Projects for a 14-year-old who’s already 5’3″, however, can take just as long as a sweater for myself! And she’s not done growing, which means a handknitted sweater might only last her one season.

Lauren will have to settle for handmade mittens and hats until she plateaus. Her pediatrician thinks she’ll top off around 5’6″, so she doesn’t have too much longer to wait. Until then, I’ve set aside a special skein of hand-dyed yarn that’s covered in speckles for her. I’ll be making her a custom pair of mittens thanks to Kate Atherley’s new book, Knit Mitts, for Christmas this year.

PRO #3: “There is always an endless supply of crafty things in our house.”

My kids do not have to twist my arm when they want new craft supplies. I’m a sucker for buying a fresh box of crayons, markers, or colored pencils. Sketchbooks? We’ve got those, too. We have them in any size you might need—watercolor or smooth paper. Don’t forget the washi tape (we have plenty of that) or just about every color acrylic paint you could need. I also have a thing for pretty ways to keep those tools sorted. I’ve sewn a few pencil cases out of that fabric stash I mentioned and I’ll need to sew some more. The last ones are busting at the seams, ahem.

CON #3: “I’m made to wind skeins of yarn instead of watching Netflix.”

You can insert a well-timed motherly eye roll right after that comment. Lauren can crush a season of most any Netflix series in under a week; I don’t think winding a few skeins is really impacting her screen time that much. I bet if she spent more time knitting and less time watching TV, she’d have knit her own sweater by now. Then she’d see why CON #2 is what it is.

Lauren makes demon faces when forced to wind yarn instead of watching Netflix.

Are you a maker with kids? Take a moment to ask them what they love about having a maker parent. (You probably won’t have to ask for the cons—they’ll volunteer those without prompting.) I’d love to share the good points with my maker-in-training. Post their replies in the comments below!

—Kerry Bogert
Editorial Director, Books


Have fun family time trying a new craft!

2 Comments

  1. Mary W at 9:46 am December 20, 2017

    I’m a maker (not necessarily a finisher, but…) with now-adult children. They are both makers. His preferences are electronics, wood, and food. Hers include yarn, beads and food.

    He has made some of his furniture, and I don’t remember the last time he bought an off-the-shelf computer. In addition, he is a regular contributor to potlucks at work or at play. His specialties include cakes, pies and chili. He prefers fresh fruits for his pies, and will frequently include them in cakes. He owns and occasionally uses a sewing machine.

    She was a member of 3 different weekly potluck groups in graduate school where she and her roommate always brought dessert. She came home from a graduate student strike meeting with a commission for earrings. She and her roommate invented cookie recipes for entry into the county fair and a national bake-off. They didn’t win, I suspect in part because they used very little sugar, instead sweetening everything with fresh fruit. She is saving to buy her first really good sewing machine.

    So, I have infected the next generation.

    • Jenn at 9:50 am December 20, 2017

      Great job spreading the “infection” of making – whether it be craft-based or food-based – it seems your kids really latched onto DIY!

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