Monday, February 23, 2015

Kids Can Weave Too!

I love working with children. And I love sharing ideas and teaching skills. In the past, I have done most of this through teaching piano and sewing, but last fall I decided to broaden my horizons to include weaving. I purchased a very small rigid heddle loom from our local yarn store, The Little Red Mitten and got to work. Actually, my husband got to work first because the loom had to be sanded, oiled, and then put together. (The SampleIt loom is made by  Ashford, a spinning and weaving company from New Zealand.)  After the loom was ready to go, I got the instruction book out and figured out how to warp this fun little loom. I used the direct warping method shown in the booklet and was very surprised at how fast it went. Weaving the first scarf was very fun indeed. I could't wait to show it to some of my students.

Daniella and Pauline were more than eager to get to work!

Daniella is holding the warp threads around the end pin, while Pauline is helping me put the threads through the slots in the loom. The beater in this type of loom has slots and holes; each warp thread must go through a slot and a hole. We first measure the warp by pulling 2 threads through each slot. After the warp has been beamed on, we cut the ends and pull one of the threads out of a slot and put it through a hole.
  Pauline is assisting me making sure there is a thread in each slot and hole. There is a lot that goes on in weaving--- hand/eye coordination being  prominent. 

 Daniella is busy with her weaving. The heddle/beater has been placed in the 'down' position and Daniella is feeding the shuttle with the weft thread through the shed (the opening).

 The warp thread must be placed in the shed at an angle so that the sides don't pull in too much, and then Daniella can bring the rigid heddle/beater foward to put the weft thread in place.

 Now the rigid heddle can be put in the up position and the weft thread can be put through the opposite shed.

 Pauline's turn. 

 The same sequence is repeated over and over until the entire warp has been filled with weft threads. Heddle up, place weft and beat into place; heddle down, place weft and beat into place. When the cloth fills up the space in front of the weaver, the the warp must be advanced. The ratchets at the front and back are released and turned toward the front of the loom. Eventually there is not enough warp to weave with, but the front beam is filled with cloth.

Two scarves completed! Daniella and Pauline help each other on both of their scarves. 

There is nothing like turning balls of yarns into cloth and then wearing it. These pictures were taken at the end of last summer, but the scarves serve their purpose in the cold winter ahead.

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