Weaving for Kids
Does the process of knitting seem to take too long before you finally have a finished product? You may like to give weaving a try in your homeschool. We started to learn how to weave when my son was just a few years old, with a frame loom, and he was hooked!
A Frame loom is the simplest kind of loom. It looks like a picture frame but with pegs along the top and bottom. Frame looms are generally inexpensive, and can be made of wood or plastic.
Once you have run yarn lengthwise (known as the “warp”), you use a large needle to weave yarn in and out from side to side (known as the “weft”). Frame looms are good for making small items such as place mats, but it takes time because you have to manually weave the weft in and out, in and out of the warp.
Rigid Heddle Loom
Rigid heddle looms come in sizes that will fit in your lap (see photo) or on a stand or small table. With a loom like this, you can weave a scarf, potholder, or purse – and if you’re willing to sew them together you can make a bigger item such as a blanket.
The rigid heddle itself is what you lift up and down to separate the warp. You then push the yarn (wrapped around a shuttle) through the space between the two sections. This space between threads is called the “shed”. Weaving goes a LOT faster with no weaving in and out of the weft with a needle; simply draw the shuttle from one side to the other, change the position of the rigid heddle (from the up to the down position or vice versa), then draw the shuttle from this side to the other and repeat.
The table loom (see photo above) sits on a table and you use levers to create the shed. Throw the shuttle across the shed one way, throw the lever; repeat. The table loom is large enough to make small throw rugs and small blankets in addition to everything you can make on a rigid heddle loom.
When I took this photo of my daughter weaving on a borrowed table loom a few years ago, I also took a video. It’s amusing because the table loom is so big and she is so small, that she had to throw the shuttle across, go around to the side of the loom, throw the lever, go back to the front of the loom and sit down to throw the shuttle across and so on. It was fun to watch her get her exercise while weaving!
Floor looms take up a lot of space, and sometimes even a whole room. You still throw the yarn across with a shuttle, but to create the shed between the warp, you use foot pedals (instead of levers as on the table loom). You can weave anything on a floor loom.
There are many more types of looms, and sub-types of looms. If your children are interested, explore more along with them. Then, enjoy making a simple loom together.
Make Your Own Index Card Loom!
You can make your own loom using simple 3×5 index cards and yarn! Look up “Learn How to Weave with Paper Index Cards” on Youtube for a step-by-step how-to video or watch here:
You can also print this pocket loom template out onto cardstock, which includes a shuttle and pocket loom. What you are making here is a rudimentary rigid heddle/backstrap loom. A backstrap loom is something you’ll see in many third world countries, with the warp stretched between two sticks, one strapped to the weaver around their back. You can also use this index card rigid heddle if you have a frame loom and want to thread the warp yarn through it so you can lift and lower it instead of weaving in and out. We’ve tried this and it works well.
If your children try the index card loom, love it and yearn for more (like mine did), consider purchasing a rigid heddle loom. My two children have enjoyed the “Cricket” by Schacht (the one pictured above, with both my son and daughter weaving) that we bought for them as a joint Christmas gift in 2010. They take turns weaving on it – usually making beautiful scarves of one, two, or three colours.
If you would like to study weaving more formally, Harrisville Designs has put together WoolWorks! a curriculum designed for Grades 3-8. Created for use in a classroom, this curriculum is easily adapted for use in your homeschool or local co-op. It comes in a binder, which I find very practical because I can easily add any extra resources or patterns I find to supplement the curriculum. This curriculum contains 12 Lessons, four of which concern weaving, including information on weaving and looms, and weaving around the world. Each lesson is full of ideas, projects, and photographs.
Weaving for kids can be an educational addition to your homeschool, especially when studying past history and cultures that weave. Children can also create beautiful woven items for themselves or as gifts!
Have you added weaving for kids to your homeschool curriculum? Please let me know in the comments below!
Love, Luck &