Showing posts with label vacation bible school craft. Show all posts
Showing posts with label vacation bible school craft. Show all posts

Monday, July 9, 2012

In the Art Room: Weaving, The Final Chapter

When weaving with children, you might be surprised to find that the boys enjoy this activity the long as you don't call the completed weaving a purse, that is. 
 As I wrap up this weaving mini-series, I thought I'd leave you with the following: a little bibliography, weaving finishing touches and my secret to getting these pouches completed without taking half of the school year. In case you missed, here is Weaving, Part 1: Getting Started; Part 2: Learning to Weave; Part 3: Removing the Weaving and Part 4: Weaving the Cord.
My Weaving Bible: You Can Weave! By the amazing Kathleen Monaghan.
 This week, I'm currently at the world's best arts professional development: Tennessee Arts Academy. Several years ago, the author of You Can Weave!, Kathleen Monaghan, was a presenter and she was incredible. Her book is full of clearly written and photographed projects, tips and tricks. I can't recommend it enough.
The ole standby: Goat in a Rug
 I don't just weave with fourth grade, I begin weaving with first grade. You can see their completed weavings here. And the book I use to introduce them to the world of weaving is this one, Goat in a Rug. It's told from the perspective of the goat whose mohair is used by the Native American, Glenmae, to create a rug. It's the perfect balance of factual and funny.
Sometimes the best books are the ones found in the dollar bin, like this one, Grandmother's Dreamcatcher.
 With my second grade, we create quasi dream catchers. The kids love this book as they sympathize with with the main character who is cursed with bad dreams. The author does an excellent job of explaining the origin of the dreamcather and it's believed powers.
This is like the older kids' version of The Goat in the Rug: Weaving a Rainbow.
 This book is an excellent one in that it re-explains to the kids the process of creating wool yarn. This year, we had fun reading this book and dying our own wool yarn with Kool-Aid ice cubes during our science experiment time.
 Now, let's talk weaving finishing touches: Getting rid of that pesky warp tail. To do this, the kids will need a needle (I don't recommend this kind but it's all I had on hand. My kids use 3" plastic or metal needles) and a small folded piece of paper for a needle threader.
 We call the small folded paper the "hot dog bun" and the thread the "hot dog". Put the hot dog in the bun and slide the bun into the eye of the needle.
 Now pull the hot dog bun off of the hot dog thread and, viola!, you have just threaded a needle. No wetting the end of the thread and spreading nasty germs required.
 Now weave your needle in and out of your woven pouch until you run out of warp thread. Pull needle off and you're done. No knotting needed.
 For button sewing, I usually have a sewing circle. The kids pull their chairs up and we sew the buttons on step by step. We begin by threading and knotting our needle. Find a good place on the pouch to pull the needle through like you see in the above photo.
 Slide your button down the needle and thread. Sew a couple of stitches to secure the button. By the way, you'll notice that in the photos of the kids pouches, we use pony beads instead of buttons.
 Now sew a double knot in the back. To create a button hole, just separate the weft threads on the flap and force the button through.
 You can have the kids go about sewing the cord two ways, on the side, like I have done, or across. I began by threading and knotting my needle and pulling the needle through the cord, as shown above.
 Secure the cord onto the pouch with a couple of stitches. If you are sewing the cord across, you'll have a little more sewing to do.

 I will say that the end of this year sneaked up on me and I was in a real bind. The kids did not have time to do the sewing themselves as they had done in the past. Thankfully, I had some very kind parents that took the sewing task on themselves. If you don't have a Mom Army, you need to get one. They have been an incredible source of support in my art room.

Now, just how do we manage to get these pouches woven in 30 minute art classes? After I am confident that the kids understand how to weave, I let them take their weavings home. That's right, they leave my room with a giant zip lock bag with their loom, needle, twenty strands of yarn and a note home that reads something along these lines:

Dear Fourth Grade Students and Guardians, I would not be sending this weaving kit home with you if I did not believe you were mature enough to handle the responsibility. This weaving is not homework so work on it when you have the time. You are to bring this weaving with you each time you have art class. If you forget your weaving, you will receive one reminder before a phone call will be placed. If you lose your weaving, your needle or any part of your weaving kit, it will not be replaced. Have fun and weave!
I know what you are thinking: that would never work for me! doesn't always work for me either. There's always the kid whose dog devours their weaving, whose kid brother flushes it down the toilet, whose mom accidentally throws it away. So, you make exceptions. You quietly slip those kids a new loom or needle and tell 'em not to spread the word to their buddies that you are actually a softie.

I also promise a grand reward to those that remember to bring their weaving back the following art class (a blow pop is the preferred dangling carrot of choice). But I only do that once. After that, the kids become very competitive. "I have four inches woven, how many do you have?!" Which morphs into, "I finished my flap, what about you?!" This positive peer pressure pushes the kids toward finishing their weavings. 

It's not a perfect system. There are some kids that don't have time or care to weave at home. And that's fine. They can work on their weavings during in-between-project time in art class. As for the early finishers, the kids get to keep their looms and needles, so they can rewarp their looms and begin a second weaving. This year, I had one student that wove five pouches (with cord handles!) in her spare time.

I have been doing this weaving project with my fourth grade students for many years. This is a project they look forward to since the first grade. I believe that excitement is what makes this weaving unit so successful. 

I do hope you've found this weaving series helpful. Thank you so much for sharing your ideas. I look forward to hearing more from you!
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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

In the Art Room: Weaving, Part 2

Woven pouch created by one of my fantastic fourth graders.
Hello, crafty kids and grown-ups alike! Today I am going to show you how to add a flap to your woven pouch. If you've no idea what I'm talking about, you can quickly get caught up to speed by reading Weaving, Part 1. I do hope you'll join in on this weaving adventure. Ready to start? Okay, let's weave a flap!
You know you are ready to weave the flap when your weaving is at your desired height. I tell the kids that their weaving must be between 4-7", no taller, no smaller. Once there, you might want to trim those pesky pieces of yarn you tied together so your weaving looks a little less, er, hairy. The above is my trimmed-up, desired-height pouch.

For flap weaving, you will only be weaving on one side of your loom, not all the way around as you have been. Your first step will be to pick a side to weave your flap on. It does not matter which.
For pouch weaving, you will need to eat a delicious popsicle, stat. Preferably something chocolate. Rinse well. Weave your popsicle stick into your weaving, making certain to weave the opposite of the previous string. See above.
Now rotate your stick so that it lifts up every other string. Simply slide your needle into this string tunnel. This is where the kids Freak Out:
"Why haven't we been doing this the whole time?!"
"That is sooooo cool!"
Pull your needle all the way through so there is no excess yarn just like above.
Flip the stick down and use it to pack the weaving down. This means no more fork to pack the weaving. The kids like to refer to it as the "weaving guillotine". Where do they get this stuff?
Slide your guillotine, er stick, to the top of the weaving. Do not remove the stick. If you already did (tried to jump ahead, didn't you? Humph!) just reweave the stick back into your weaving. And don't do that again.
Remember, we are only weaving on one side of the loom. This means our needle will be going back and forth across our loom instead of around the loom. So, for this next step, you will not be turning your loom over but making a u-turn and weaving back. Notice I am not using the stick (I'll explain why in a moment). Be certain to weave in a pattern that is the opposite of the previous string.
Pull yarn all the way through at an arch. This will prevent some terrible thing called Draw In. More on that shortly. Slide your weaving stick down and pack the yarn.
Okay, if you smarties haven't figured it out, here is why you cannot use your stick when you are weaving in the opposite direction: you will unravel your weaving. This is why you can only use the stick when you are weaving in one direction. Sometimes the kids will draw an arrow on the stick so they know when to use the stick.

Ewww, this is bad! This is that dreaded thing called Draw In. This happens when the weaver is pulling too tightly. The year before my fourth graders tackle this weaving, we create a tapestry weaving. That's fancy talk for weaving on one side of the loom. This gives them lots of practice at avoiding and fixing draw in. You can see those weavings here.

The best way to avoid draw in: don't draw in. Stop pulling so hard when you are weaving back and fourth. Pull the yarn at an arch, like I showed earlier. The best way to fix draw in: remove it. That's right, unweave the unwanted. This might leave the end warp strings on the left and right loose making it difficult to avoid draw in again. If you notice that, turn your weaving over, pull up the slack on those strings and tape them taunt. Flip your weaving back to the flap side and resume flap weaving. Fleaving. Wlapping. Call it what you like.
And viola! Finished flap! I tell the kids their flap should be around 2" in height.
A sunglasses holder by a fourth grader.
Feel pretty good? Easy enough, right? Feel free to ask questions if you've got 'em. Next week I will show you how to remove your weaving and add a button. From there, we'll weave a cord which is the kid-crowd favorite. Happy weaving!
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