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Gobbi Tutorial, Part II (Hanging the Gobbi)

To see Part I (Making the Gobbi mobile), click here.

My dear friend Junnifa, who’s taking the Assistants to Infancy training, was kind enough to give me guidance and sent me the two pictures that show how to hang the Gobbi mobile.  I love her beautiful results!  Thanks Junnifa!!! 🙂

Materials:

  • Large piece of paper or whiteboard
  • Pencil or marker
  • Ruler or straight edge
  • Dowel
  • More embroidery thread (optional)

Instructions:

First, draw a straight line on a piece of paper or a whiteboard.  Line up the completed balls from darkest (left) to lightest (right).  Center the dowel over the balls.   Mark the center-point of each ball onto the dowel so you know where to attach them.

Next, move the dowel about five inches away from the spheres and tilt it an an angle (a 45 degree angle is pretty good, but you don’t have to be exact).  The closest sphere should be about three inches from the dowel. (Note: You don’t want the spheres to hang too far from the dowel because they get tangled.)

Tie the thread of each sphere to the dowel at the point you previously marked.  (This is the tricky part; you might have to tape down the spheres where the thread comes out of the sphere, so you don’t have them falling out of line, or get someone to help you hold the spheres while you do the tying!)

Straighten the dowel and check to see if the spheres hang in a straight diagonal line.

Trim the remaining thread where you made each knot.

Cut a piece of thread or fishing wire about twice as long as the dowel and tie it on both ends of the dowel (This will make a triangle with the dowel as the base and the thread as the two legs).  Cut another piece of thread or fishing wire and tie it to the vertex of the resulting triangle.  Use this thread to hang your mobile.

Optional: If you have leftover thread, you can wrap it around the dowel (see picture above).

I hope this makes sense… I’d love to see you finished creations and as always feel free to comment with questions or suggestions that could make this process even easier!

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Texture Beanbags

Zach wants to touch EVERYTHING these days.  I have to be careful where I stand when I am holding him, because he’ll reach out for anything within arm’s length!  I’ve learned to keep the shopping cart in the middle of the aisle after a few near-catastrophes in the juice aisle.

I wanted to capitalize on his interest for tactile experiences, and I could tell he was getting bored with the objects in his activity area and needed new objects to manipulate.  A quick dash to the fabric store, four small pieces of fabric, and a dusting of the ol’ sewing machine was all it took to whip up these bean bags.  I chose all four fabrics in similar neutral tones to encourage isolation of the fabric textures, and filled them with rice instead of beans because I don’t want to worry about Zach swallowing beans if a bag bursts open while I’m not with him.

Flannel, burlap, cotton and corduroy.

The fabrics I chose are: cotton, burlap, corduroy and flannel.  In the Montessori Children’s House we have a fabric-matching activity with natural fibers (cotton, linen, silk, wool); I made my choices based on interesting and contrasting textures more than whether they were natural or not.  I whipped them up in one nap time, and Zach had a good time checking out the new contents of his basket!

(Sadly, our dogs found one of the bags pretty attractive, too… grrrr…)

 

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Gobbi Tutorial, Part I

Disclaimer: I am NOT what you would call “incredibly crafty” and I’m also pretty bad at writing tutorials (How I successfully wrote 12 Montessori albums, I’ll never know).  I also haven’t taken the Assistants to Infancy training, so if there’s a different/better way to do this, please leave your comments below for the benefit of all readers.  

A few months ago I wrote about the Gobbi mobile, which is a favorite among babies starting around 8 weeks of age.  Several readers have asked me for a tutorial, so here goes…

Materials (can be purchased at Michael’s, JoAnn’s, or other craft stores):

  • Embroidery floss (aka, thread) in five ascending shades of one color (you will need 2-3 skeins of each shade).  Take a look at this list of suggested shades!
  • Five styrofoam balls, about 1.5 to 2 inches in diameter
  • One embroidery needle (MUST be longer than the diameter of the balls)
  • One dowel (about 12 inches long)
  • Scissors
  • The patience of a Buddhist monk

Only one shade of floss is shown here, but you need FIVE shades!!

Instructions: (Click on pictures to enlarge)

Use the dowel to carefully bore a hole in each of the spheres.  Try to get the hole to run straight through the center of the sphere.  You can wiggle the dowel a bit as it’s going in, or scrape the sides of the hole once it’s made, so that the diameter of the hole is slightly larger than the diameter of the dowel (this will be helpful when threading the embroidery floss over and over again through the hole).

Prepare a long piece of floss (about 48″) and thread your needle.  (Note: I’ve seen some people thread the entire skein of floss at one time, but I have found that it gets tangled up and frayed.)

Pass your needle with the floss through the hole in one sphere, until most of it has passed through and you only have a small “tail” of floss sticking out.  Smooth that “tail” onto the sphere (the styrofoam will help to grip the thread) and bring the needle around to the hole where you started.

Insert the needle again, pass the thread through, and make sure that you “step” on the tail with the thread that is now wrapped from one end of the sphere to the other.

Bring the needle back around, and repeat, threading it into the hole and pulling the thread through.  Try to keep the resulting strands of thread as close together as possible, so they begin to cover up the white of the sphere.

When you’ve used up all the thread on the needle, leave a little tail and smooth it down onto the sphere.Thread your needle with more floss, insert in the hole, and repeat the process from step #3.  Eventually, your entire sphere will be covered in floss and no styrofoam will show through.

When you are done, pass the needle through the hole one last time and leave a length of floss about 12-16 inches long (this will be used for hanging the spheres).

Repeat the entire process with the next ball, using the next shade of embroidery floss.

Click here for Part II, where we discuss hanging the spheres.  Happy crafting!!