Monday, July 24, 2017

Sunset Weavings

These Sunset Weavings are a result of my Canada 150 focus and trying to find new ways to expand my circular weaving options for my younger students.

I love circular weavings, it's where I start after paper weavings with Division 1 kids, (Kinder - Grade 1).

So I took elements of the Canadian landscape as the focus.

Other ideas that would work:
- lighthouse on the rocks 'Peggy's Cove'
- grain elevator on the Prairie
- cabin in the woods
- urban skyline, using landmarks like Calgary Tower, CN Tower
- wildlife silhouettes


- heavy corrugated cardboard
- something circular to trace, I used a dessert sized Chinet plate
- yarn and string, I like chunky yarn for weaving but nothing too fuzzy
- plastic or metal yarn needle, you can also just use a piece of pipe cleaner, or even just wrap masking tape around the end of the yarn.
- acrylic or liquid tempera paint
- black felt
- glue, scissors

Before we start I just want to say the directions look complicated but really they are not.  I'm just trying to give you all the tips and ways of doing this that I find have worked the best.

Weaving takes kids a while to get the hang of, some longer than others.  You will have some students that will pick it up immediately and I like to buddy them with kids who are struggling.

Weaving ends up being very relaxing, a quiet time for the kids and once they have it down a good project for those spare moments or early finishers.

Using a circular item, the size you want your weaving to be, trace onto heavy corrugated cardboard.

Cut out.

I use heavy cardboard because kids are not the most gentle with their looms.  They can pull really hard on the yarn and sometimes I see those looms flying like Frisbees, you know exactly what I mean.

You need to poke a hole thru the center of your cardboard.  I use a knitting needle.

You then need to cut 15 notches around your circle.

I never measure I just cut 4 notches first to divide my circle into quarters, like 12 o clock, 3 o clock, 6 o clock, 9 o clock but I purposely cut 1 quarter smaller than the others.

I then cut 3 notches into my bigger sections and only 2 notches in my smaller section.  This way I can cut the many class sets I have to make fast.
Cut a length of string to thread your loom. I like to just use plain household string. You don't see it in the final weaving and it does not get fuzzy while you are weaving.

If using a needle, thread it and then knot the little tail onto the needle. This stops you from having to keep threading the needle when the kids pull to hard.

Incidentally I teach kids how to thread needles and tie knots before
we do any weaving, otherwise I would go crazy.

On the end that does not have the needle I secure it into a notch, any notch, leaving a little bit so I can tie a knot.  Pass the needle thru the hole and pull tight.  Tie the little end you left to the string you just pulled thru.  This will now be the back of the loom.

Pull string tight and then fit into the next notch, pass the needle to the front of the loom and thru the hole again.

Continue until all notches are strung.

On that last notch tie off the string to the back onto one of the other strings.  It won't look right but this is the back.  It's important that you only have 15 strings showing in the front.

Now we are going to tie on the first colour we are going to weave with.  I am using white to start on these Sunset weavings.  Cut a length about the 3-4 ft.  I tell kids to stretch their arms out and cut a length that long.

Thread your needle, knot onto the needle using the little tail and then tie the other end of the yarn to your loom.  Just choose any of the strings to knot onto at the back.

Pull the needle thru the hole so you are ready to start weaving on the front of your loom.

Choose a string on the loom to start at, doesn't matter which one.

Begin weaving using the pattern over under over under.

I tell my young kids that the needle is like a rabbit, it dives under the first string, hops over the next one, then dives under the next one and so on.

When you have woven over/under along 4 or 5 strings pull the needle so that all the slack in white yarn is taken up and then continue weaving.

Some important points here:

- you have to be constantly pulling the slack, I will remind the kids of this all the time
- you want the weaving to lay flat on the loom, if you pull too tight the weaving won't sit right, it will start growing upwards from the loom instead of out to the edges of the circle, like a big mass of yarn in the center.
- after each pull look at your weaving, you should be able to see where you left off. Start again right where you left off, no skipping.
- tell the kids to leave about 4-5 inches of yarn unwoven when it's time to change colours or get more.

When it comes time to change colours or add more we need to tie off.

The best way I have found to do this and hide our knots is to first tie a knot on the next string in the loom to finish.

Before cutting thread the needle under some of the existing weaving.

Then cut the yarn carefully so you don't cut any of the weaving.

Cut the needle off from what's left of that yarn.

Select your next colour and cut a length

Tie one end onto a string, I usually choose one opposite to where I finished because I do not want too many knots hidden in the same place.  It will make a bump in your weaving.

Using the needle just thread that little end back under the weaving and cut off .

Then thread the other end of the yarn on your needle, knot on and start weaving again.

Weave until there is no space left on the loom.  Tie off one last time.

Now it's time to paint the loom.

We are just painting that little bit of cardboard that is exposed. If you want you can prime it first with some white paint, let it dry and then paint the finishing colour.

You could also just paint without priming but I would suggest you add a bit of white paint or gesso to your colour.  The white paint makes it a bit more opaque and it covers the cardboard a bit better.

When the paint has dried cut the black felt for your silhouette.

Here I cut my mountain range first.

I then turned the felt and loom to the back and using a white pencil crayon or china marker I traced the edge of the loom.

Cut on that line.

Then glue into place.

That's it. 

Some other circular weaving projects you might want to try:


Woven Owls

Finally the winner of the "Little Loom Weaving" by Andreia Gomes is

Kathy Hardman from Ontario

Thanks everyone for entering and don't worry I have more book giveaways happening all summer long.  :)

Take care everyone and DO SOME WEAVING!


Saturday, July 22, 2017

Little Loom Weaving

Here is a little book that was passed on to me by my friends at Ulyssess Press.

"Little Loom Weaving " by Andreia Gomes.

I have spent the last couple of weeks going thru this book backwards and forwards. First off it's a smaller book, 9" x 7.5". Perfect to just slide into a tote or beach bag for some summer reading. 
 (At least that's me, reading arts and crafts books at the beach.....)

It's 111 pages and outlines 14 projects in total.
A great little book for someone who is just starting in weaving and it has some interesting project ideas for us veterans.

It also shows you how to make your own loom out of a picture frame, most little looms are still pretty pricey.  I have 2 class sets of looms made from picture frames and they work very well.  The only thing I do differently is I put a back on mine.  It makes them more stable and durable for school.

- goes thru the basics in a easy to follow way, you can start weaving and soon as you have your loom.
- suggestions for minimizing draw in, that's when kids pull too tight and the weaving looks too skinny in the middle.
- using Rya knots and the Soumak technique, good for projects where you want to challenge yourself a little, still applicable for kids
- good explanation of open slit and interlocking technique for tapestry weaving
- how to take circular weaving to the next level, tying it off the circular loom and then how to display. I will definitely be doing this.

- The only thing I would change is add a few different projects, I was a bit disappointed that there were several wall hanging projects.  They were all different mind you, but I know for school I would have to adapt them into something else.

- I love this plant hanger, easier for kids than macramé and very similar to my Basket Weaving project. except you will have pot they can plant in and a hanger as well. It's just screaming Mother's Day project to me.

So there is 1 copy of "Little Loom Weaving" up for grabs. Leave me a comment or like this post on Facebook. You can also email me directly at
Canadian and US residents only please. (postage is kicking me these days)

I will make the random draw Monday morning as I will be posting a new weaving project, you get a little sneak peek here.

Good luck everyone.


Saturday, January 28, 2017

Valentine Snowman

This is a cute Valentine project for your bulletin board, art journal or to go home for Mom and Dad.

You can also add text if you want.


- wc paper or heavy painting paper for background
- blue disk tempera
- rubbing alcohol spray or piece of household sponge
- white liquid tempera or acrylic
- white cardstock or poster board
- black, red and orange paper scraps
- glue
- oil pastels
- glitter glue and text, optional


First off I'm having camera issues so bear with the inconsistent photos.

Tape off your background paper.  Using blue disk tempera paint your background.

To give your background texture and make it look like it's snowing try one of these techniques:

- spray on some rubbing alcohol, I just buy it from the dollar store (supervise the kiddos for this one)
- spray some plain water (not quite as effective as alcohol but works)
- sponge on a little white tempera

When background has dried paint some snow on bottom of page.

Out of some white cardstock or poster board cut 3 circles.  I traced around 3 different tapes I had lying around.

Cut out circles.

I want to define my circles a bit so I took a white oil pastel and outlined the circles.  I have kids place it on a scrap piece of paper and colour on the outline so that it is half on the circle and half on the paper.

Repeat with a touch of black.  Just a touch we don't want a muddy snowman.

With your finger smudge that pastel around the outline, you should get a grey smudge.

Glue on your circles, overlapping them.

Now add your details.  Cut out a hat from the black paper scraps and glue it on. Use oil pastel to add eyes, mouth and arms.
Add a red paper heart and an orange paper carrot nose.

Finally you can add some glitter glue to the snow and snowman for that extra sparkle.

You can also add some text if you want and that's it.

I think they are adorable!


Sunday, January 22, 2017

Penguin Weaving

I have 2 penguin weaving projects for you.

This easy paper weaving.

and this yarn woven penguin using a loom.

Paper Woven Penguin:


- 1 piece of white cardstock (8.5x11), 1 piece of blue cardstock, I piece of black cardstock, and 1 sheet of drawing paper (8.5x11)
- scraps of white paper and orange paper
- white and silver paint
- glitter glue
- crimper, optional
- pencil, white pencil crayon, scissors
- glue
- snowflake punch, optional


First off I want to take my 1 piece of drawing paper and cut it in half the short way.

I want some interesting papers to weave into my penguin so I alter my 2 pieces of drawing paper.

I might paint one with glitter

or spray on some splatter

or stencil on a design with paint

or crimp in some texture with a paper crimper, this one does circles and add a little paint to accent the design.

It really doesn't matter what you do just make the 2 papers look different.
The kids will share papers so there will be lots of variety. 

Some other ideas:
- draw circles with gray crayon
- finger paint with grey and white paint
- sponge on some grey and white paint
- draw lines on with grey and white oil pastel

Fold your piece of white cardstock in half the short way.

Starting at the fold cut several slats in the paper. Stop about 2 inches from the top or open ends.

At school I either get students to draw these lines first with their ruler or I run the paper thru the photocopier putting the lines on for them.

When your painted papers are dry cut in strips the long way.

Start weaving. It should look like a checkerboard.

When my weaving is all done I took my blue piece of cardstock and folded it in half the long way.

I drew a sketch of my penguin, trying to determine how big to make my belly.  This sketch will not show in the final piece as we will use the other side.
Refold your paper and cut out the belly while folded, that way you get a symmetrical opening.

Before I glue my blue paper in place I need to trace my belly onto the black paper.  I missed this step so I used the piece that was cut away but I think it would be easier for your students to just place the blue page on top of the black and trace in the belly.

Glue blue paper into place.

Trim any excess white strips.

I have the penguin belly traced on my black paper so now I draw in the head and the wings.

I fold the black paper the long way and cut out the wings and head.  I don't want the belly so I mark it to remember to cut it off.

I wind up with something like this.  Because I cut on the fold both sides are identical.

Glue into place.  Any pencil lines are on the back of my black paper so I don't see them in the final piece.

Using the black paper that is leftover and some scraps of white and orange I cut and glue on the details of my penguin.

I add a few punched snowflakes.

Now you could draw some on with white crayon or pastel.

That's it for my paper woven penguin.

Yarn Woven Penguin:

- loom, I have 2 class sets of looms my father in law made for me but you can also just use a piece of corrugated cardboard with slits cut at the top and bottom
- string, you can also just use the white yarn for setting up your loom
- white and black yarn
- plastic fork
- black, white, and yellow or orange felt
- glue


Tie on your string and start stringing your loom.

I used 17 strings but you can choose what works for you as long as it is an odd number.

Take a good length (about 48") of black yarn and tie on to the first string of your loom.

Start weaving, I use a plastic needle to help me weave but you can also just tape the end with masking tape.

Make sure each row is opposite to what you did the row before (under, over)

Weave 25 rows.  Incidentally I use that plastic fork to push my weaving rows together.

Using that same black string I now start weaving on only 3 strings on the closest end.

I think I did about 50 rows double the number I did for the head of the penguin.

Tie off.

Now tie on the other side and do 50 rows on the first 3 strings on that side.

Tie off when done.

Switch to white yarn and tie on string for belly.

Weave 50 rows.

After the 50 rows I continue weaving for another 10 but I include all strings on the loom.

Tie off when done.

Remove strings from loom.  I then tie 2 by 2 of those loom strings into a good knot right close to my penguin weaving, trim excess.

I like to hide my loom strings so I flatten them to the back of my weaving a glue a piece of felt on top of them to secure.

Turn to the front and using felt add details.

You can also add a hanging string.

That's it you now have a yarn woven penguin.