I've been weaving a lot lately. I worked on a few things last year and then put it down for a bit while I was pregnant but the onset of warmer weather has brought back the urge. I spent a good part of last week making wall hangings to sell at Sebastian's school's May Faire. It was a way to be involved in his school's first event of that kind and a fun excuse to focus on making pretty things after lots of newborn time.
I am always hoping my kids will show interest in crafty projects but sometimes they need a gentle nudge in that direction. I made a little loom for Ruby to learn on out of a cardboard box we had in the recycling bin and sat her down to show her how it worked. She got to choose her own yarn colors and after a few demonstrative lines of over and under she was shoving me aside so she could do it herself.
She was so proud of her finished weaving! I added the dowel and tied the bottom with fringes to secure it and then added a hanger so she could keep it in her room. She told me she wanted to sell it at the May Faire but I told her I was keeping it forever!
FOREVER! Seriously, I love it.
There were more than a few requests for a weaving tutorial on Instagram so I thought I'd share a simple one for anyone who would love to try it out themselves or is interested in teaching their kids. Anyone can do this!
A sturdy shoe box or something in a similar size is a great choice for your loom. You can set it on the floor or table and reach over and under the yarn easily. You can also wrap a flat piece of cardboard with slits at the top and bottom but it can be trickier to go over and under. Gather your favorite colors of yarn and a dowel rod or stick that will be at least 2" longer than the width of your weaving as well as some scissors and you're ready to start.
1. I cut six notches on both sides of my box. These notches keep your yarn from sliding. I tied a knot that would fit around the first two notches to secure it and then wove it up and down through the rest of the notches before tying another knot to loop around the two notches at the end. 2. Next I took my first cut of yarn that measured about 18" long and tied it to the outside row. Then I wove it over the next row and under the next row until I reached the last row. 3. Then I folded it back and did the opposite of the first row. Over, under, over, under. I repeated this until I reached the end of my yarn, gently pressing each row down as I went. 4. I tucked the end of my yarn under my weaving so it'd end up on the backside.
5. Then I started my next color (or the same if you're not finished) by tucking the start of my cut of yarn under the weaving like it was picking up where the last color left off. This ensures your over and under pattern won't be disrupted. 6. I continued doing over and under with my next color and gently pressed it down to help lock those loose ends in place. 7. I kept going with my simple layers of colors until I reached the top and tucked my loose end behind the weaving with at least 3" to spare. 8. I then unhooked the far right row and wrapped it around my dowel rod twice before gently sliding it down to make room for the next row and then the next.
9. I unhooked the bottom rows of yellow yarn from the notches and gently set the whole thing down on my surface. I then cut three lengths of yellow yarn about 4' long and folded each of them in half and then in half again to create my fringe. 10. I looped each one through the bottom rows as shown and then tied them in a knot. At this point you can trim the ends to create tassels but I left mine looped. 11. Cut another length of yarn and knot the ends to create your hanger.
The back side might feel a bit messy. On larger weavings I leave the loose ends alone but for this one I gently tied some of them to other loose ends to help keep things from poking out the back side.
The size of my cardboard loom determined the size of this weaving which is a little on the smaller side but was perfect for my kids to learn on. I didn't want to loose their attention or make it feel too hard the first time around because my oldest tends to get frustrated and move on to something else. After seeing Ruby's weaving he seemed curious and I told him he could sell any of his weavings with me at the Faire. All it took was a little financial motivation and he was ready for his first lesson.
I had him pick out his colors and got his first row started for him. His first woven piece (not shown) was interrupted by dinner but he was so excited to finish it he stayed up an hour past bedtime to work on it. Of course I let him!
Once again I had to help with taking it off the loom and adding the dowel, fringe, and hanger but he was pretty impressed with himself. I was, too! He took both weavings to the Faire and they both sold! We contributed a percentage of our profits back to the school and one of his good friends and his grandma have his weavings hanging in their homes.
It was a fun lesson in trying something new and how hard work pays off and now both of my kids can add weaving to their knowledge base. It doesn't hurt that this kind of grasping of yarn ends is good for developing those motor skills that are so important!
If my kids can do it, you can do it, and there's no need to go out and buy a loom right away. There are so many ways you can customize your weavings as you progress and a ton of tutorials out there for advancing your weaving skills.
I'll be sharing my first collection of woven wall hangings next week and adding the ones that didn't sell at the school May Faire to an Instagram account for a flash sale on Monday. I'm excited to continue to experimenting with weaving this year and plan on offering small collections every few weeks. Follow me at @smileandwave for details.
I think you've found yourself a weekend project!