Showing posts with label cord weaving. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cord weaving. Show all posts

Monday, March 21, 2016

In the Art Room: My Fave Fiber Arts Lessons!

Hello there, long lost friends! Sorry I vanished for a pinch, I was living it up at NAEA Chicago. I promise I'll share with y'all that fun and fab experience (although if you are an art teacher and have been on any sort of social media for a hot minute then you've prolly seen it all!). Today I thought I'd give y'all a smorgasbord of some super sewing, weaving and fiber arts projects!
Every year, when we return from winter break, we start our big fat -n- fuzzy fiberin' units. I think we all have those areas of art teaherin' that we absolutely love and for me, this is it. From embroidery to needle-felting and weaving, all of my students seam seem to eat it up (sorry, that was my sad attempt at sewing humor). Last year, my third graders got a taste of embroidery with the Our School Has Heart mural. My current thirdies are working on a different kind of embroidery project which I'll be certain to share with you soon. Here's an Intro to Embroidery video I made just for them (and y'all, of course!).
Burlap is my fabric of choice when it comes to kids and embroidery because it's inexpensive and the blunt needles work perfectly with this hole-y fabric. However, because burlap is woven, it does like to unravel easily. For that reason, when prepping burlap for stitching, either draw a line of glue around the outer edges the day before sewing (which locks the fibers in place) or simply tape the bottom and top of the fabric with masking tape. Embroidery hoops aren't necessary...but I do love to give the kids the complete experience. For me, that means embroidery hoops! You can find 'em super cheap at the thrift stores or craft shops. Shoot, send out a school email and I'm guessing you'll end up with a stock pile!
Last year I also gave needle felting a go with my fourth graders! Because the kids work with very sharp needles, be certain you work with kids who are responsible. This would also be fun with small groups or with parent volunteers in the room. More here
I remember the summer my grandma taught me to embroider and cross stitch. I was instantly hooked and I do believe that's what's made me such a lover of all things fiber arts since. I have taught several after school sewing classes over the years and this embroidered and stitched pillow was one of 'em
This time gingham fabric, embroidery floss and sharp needles were used. 
And sewing machines! I have been fortunate enough to have about a half dozen machines for my art room. The kids LOVE using them!
Another project I did as a kid that I recently introduced my students to is string art. I remember making one of these in fifth grade and it being just about the best thing ever. My fourth grade students loved making these last year! 
We created these in celebration of Dot Day but I'm pretty sure you could make 'em whenever. I can't wait to do this project again!
What's that? You've never taught fiber arts before? Friend, don't you sweat it. Here's a great project to ease your students (and yourself) into the concept of fiber arts: paper weaving! Not only is this project great at introducing your students to the look and process of weaving but you can also throw in so much math and literacy (there are so many fab books on weaving, y'all!).
Use this loom-making lesson to focus on math skills...and make sure it's a day you are being evaluated. It's all sorts of STEAM-y. You'll look good, trust me!
Word to the wise: some students will understand the concept of weaving immediately while others will struggle. 
For that reason, I often introduce weaving on an oversized loom made from laminated paper. More info here
And I do a whole lotta peer tutoring. The kids are much better at explaining things to each other than I often am!
The following year, I introduce my second graders to circle loom weaving. This project is one that is a HIT with those kids who usually don't dig painting or drawing but do love working with their hands (boys are the BIGGEST fans of weaving, ya'll!). There will be frustration in the beginning but I make sure to warn the kids: This is something new. You've never done this before. Be patient with yourself, me and your friends. We'll ALL get there, I promise!
I have my second grade kids for 30 minutes, twice a week. After spending two art classes painting their plates, we notch our loom as seen in the video above...
And warp our loom. That usually takes us one 30 minute class. 
And then we spend the next couple of classes weaving. Hint: if you use the thicker yarn, weaving goes a whole lot faster! 
 Tree weaving is a slightly different spin on circle loom weaving. I have done this project with my third graders and I love it because I can also teach the concepts of landscape painting. These are always so pretty when complete!

If the kids have completed the circle loom weaving the year before, they'll understand the concept of tree weaving. 
Straw weaving is easily the class hit! I mean, who doesn't love to drink yarn, y'all!?

What to do with finished straw weavings? The kids have made them into bracelets, belts and even little people. Really, the fun is in this making.
Dunno if you have a stock pile of old CDs like me, but I've been hoarding them for this reason: CD weaving!

I was kinda leery of CD weaving for the longest time thinking that the slickness of the CD would cause the warp strings to move. Not so! It's so easy and fun to do. AND it's a quick alternative to circle loom weaving if you are sort on time (and patience as the warping process is MUCH easier).
Ojos de Dios weaving is just as popular as straw weaving in my art room. The kids could crank these out all day long! Once they've gotten the concept down, you might wanna consider expanding on their expertise. Just google Ojos de Dios and you'll see the wonderful ideas out there. 

Right?! Cake! Watch out, you'll end up with mountains of these in your art room.
 Pouch weaving is a project I reserve for my fourth graders. It is def a project you wanna build on from previous years as it's a lil advanced. AND time consuming. I usually allow my students to take this project home to get further ahead on. No videos on this project however, if you follow that link above, I'll hold your hand and walk you thru the process. Weaving the cord is my favorite part...
And it's a nice break from regular weaving. I love having the kids add the cord as it really finishes the piece.
Now if you are feeling inspired (or have older/advanced students), you might wanna try tapestry weaving! It's so fun but does require some focus. However, you won't regret the end results.

And that's all folks! I'd LOVE to hear your fave fiber arts lessons as I'm always on the lookout for more. Please lemme know what you and your students love to create in your art room or at home. 
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Thursday, July 5, 2012

In the Art Room: Weaving, Part 4

Finished weaving, complete with cord and coordinating background.
Now that your weaving is finished (ahem, you did finish it, right?), let's get to everyone's favorite part: cord weaving. My students as young as second grade absolutely love weaving these cords. They weave mounds of them, fashioning them into necklaces, bracelets and belts.

If you need a refresher course on the woven pouch, you can catch up on that with Weaving, Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.
For this project, you'll need:
  • two colors of yarn, four strands of yarn each, all of them approximately 24" in length. 
  • thick cardboard
  • scissors
  • pencil
Begin by cutting out a circle. I traced around an old plastic lid with a 4" diameter. 
Make four equally spaced marks on your circle like a compass. We do a short geography lesson in class while marking our loom.
Make four more marks in between your North, South, East and West.
Make eight marks in between each of the aforementioned markings. You should have a total of sixteen equally spaced marks. Cut them. 
At this point, I ask the students to bring me their looms and I stab the center of their loom with a pair of pointy-end scissors. While I'm loom stabbing, I send them off shopping (our art room word for supply-gathering) for yarn. Students will need eight strands of yarn, four of one color, four of another.
Have the students tie all eight strands of yarn into an overhand knot like that shown above. Push the knot through the hole in the loom just enough so that only the knot is peaking out from the bottom and the rest of the yarn is on the top of the loom.
With those long strands of yarn coming through the hole in the loom, feed them through the cut notches you made. Set your loom up like a compass. There should be a vertical "X" and a horizontal "X" of yarn.
To weave, you will follow the same three steps over and over. Begin with vertical "X". Using your left hand, remove the bottom left string and place it on the top left side of the loom. Now your "X" should look like a fork.

See the fork? Easy.

Now using your right hand, begin at the top right side and remove the right string. Place it at the bottom on the right side. Now you should see your "X" again.
It should look exactly as it did a moment ago. If the "X" becomes off-center, do not worry. You can correct that by shifting the strings on your loom if it bothers you.
I promise I am not flipping you off, I'm trying to point you in the direction that you will turn your loom: clockwise. Once you have turned your loom clockwise, you will do the same steps over again, this time with the other yarn colors in the "X". And that's it. Really. You'll repeat this pattern continuously until you have completed your cord. We have a little poem in art class that we say to help us remember the weaving instructions: Right string to the top, Left string drops, Turn it like the hands of a clock.

Now let's talk trouble shooting. As you are weaving, your cord will come out of the bottom of the loom, shown in the photo below. The long strings around the loom can sometimes become tangled, shown in the photo above. To prevent tangling, I usually have my students stand while weaving. This allows the long strings to hang straight and not tangle. If they do become tangled, pull one strand of yarn out of the tangled mess at a time. Do not run your fingers down all of the yarn in hopes of combing out the tangles. It will only make it worse.
After just five minutes of weaving, you should see your cord coming out from the whole in your loom. Yippie!
More trouble shooting: if your cord keeps popping out of the hole as you weave, as shown above, tug on it gently from underneath the loom to bring it back down, as shown below.
The entire time you are weaving, it's a good idea to tug gently on the cord to keep it from popping up.
How do you know when you are finished? When the shortest of the eight strings is no longer long enough to make it to one of the notches. You can see my peach colored string at the top is now too short.
Taking it off the loom is very easy. Just remove the strings from the notches and pull it through the hole.
Viola! A finished cord! Often the kids will ask if they can use strands of yarn longer than 24" so they can create longer cords. I have found that this causes a lot of tangling so I try to avoid the question by changing the subject, "Oh, look, a unicorn riding a rainbow!"
Depending on the time, I'll either show the kids how to sew in their cord or have one of my awesome mom helpers give us a hand. Simply feed a knotted strand of yarn through both ends of the cord...
And attach with a couple of whip stitches. The students are give the option of having the cords sewn on the side like mine or across. Most boys tend to go for the cord on the side as the across one looks a little too purse-y for them.
And there you have it! Because I've thrown so much at you today, I thought I'd do one final installment of this weaving series. In that, I'll show you how to sew on a button and hide that pesky warping tail. I'd also love to share with you my favorite weaving books and how I manage to get these pouches woven in the 30 minutes of class time that I have. Yeah. 30 minutes. We have Fingers of Fire! Chat with you soon.

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