I picked up a copy of Toymaking with Children by Freya Jaffke, at our library this week. It was one of 40 books I put on hold, after perusing the children's craft and hobby section at Amazon.com. While I'm not finding any of them as totally packed with great ideas as a certain Worldbook volume, that I just can't stop mentioning, I've picked up one or two fun ideas per book for either the children, or sometimes just for me. If you do the math, that adds up to a busy Fall for us.
Anyway, Toymaking with Children, was one of the first to arrive in. At initial glance, I wasn't overly impressed. It's a lot of Waldorf philosophy, playing with bits of bark and logs, and that sort of thing. But, a little deeper into the book, are some ingenious primitive doll patterns, including some very cute gnomes, and marionettes. Not to mention about half a dozen, must make, knit animal patterns, including these little kittens.
The book is directed at parents, not children, and so the patterns are brief, and a bit obscure. However, even with a newly acquired, and somewhat limited knowledge of knitting, I managed to make three of the little cats last night. An experienced knitter would have no trouble, but I stumbled a bit over instructions such as, "With a few stitches, form little ears."
Really, the kittens, are just a couple of knit rectangles, folded, stuffed (I used cotton balls, because some insane person used up all my poly-fil to stuff a giant ball), and sewn together.
I found a really similar, but somewhat larger, version of the pattern, here, that skips the whole ear problem entirely. But, just so you know, I found casting on, and knitting two, then knitting the two together, and tying off, worked just fine.
It's great to be a homeschooler.