Thursday, May 28, 2009

Weaving With Children

Start with a basketful of woolen yarns in colors you love. All these yarns are a bit thick to make the weaving work up quickly. We spun and dyed most of them at home.

Now you are going to make a loom out of a meat tray. Get a clean, unused one from the butcher. A grown-up is going to set this loom up. She is using a knife and a little measuring template to make 8 notches in one end of the meat tray.

Now notch the other end in the same way. You can make sure the notches on the other end are lined up evenly by using a ruler.

Letting the end of your warp hang down the back of the loom, start to wind back and forth across the notches, from end to end.

Once you have wrapped the 8 warp threads, pull the end across the back, leaving enough to tie to the beginning end of the yarn, and cut it. Tie a knot.

Begin to weave. Whenever you begin a new color, you weave a little bit of the end in.

Now weave over and under, over and under. This grown-up is weaving with a little ball of yarn, but many children will find it much easier to hold the end of the yarn (not too long a piece,) and pull it all through. After you weave a row, scrunch it down a little bit with your fingers. This is called beating.

You can assist a really tiny weaver by weaving a ruler through, and propping up the threads the warp goes under. Then the tiny weaver doesn't have to do the over-under motion.

You can also beat a freshly woven row with the ruler.

You can change colors as much as you want. Just be sure to weave in the ends a little bit.

If you don't have a meat tray and you are ready to start weaving right now, corrugated cardboard works fine, too. Here is a child weaving. The meat tray is a little easier to work with, though, because it creates a space for the child's fingers under the warp threads.

When the weaving is as long as you want it, snip the warp threads in the back.

Tie each two together in a square knot, to keep the weaving from unraveling.

What are you going to make? An itty-bitty dollhouse rug? A keychain decoration to hang on your backpack? A blanket for a little toy horse?

Thank you, Wendy Paradiso, for the meat tray idea.


Ruth said...

Thank you for this idea! I'm a 3rd grade teacher and I was about to reluctantly purchase some expensive cardboard looms. Now I'm going to ask my friends for meat trays. You saved me $40!

Sandra E said...

Thanks Beth -this is perfect! I teach recycled art to kids and was looking for an easy project that the little masters could do-love the meat tray idea : ) Sandra