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.