Saturday, August 27, 2011

Peru crafts: Weaving

One of the first things that came to my mind when I thought of Peru - after Machu Picchu - is beautiful and colorful textiles, like these:

from National Geographic

We watched two videos on youtube so The Whirl Girl would have a sense of what she was doing. The first shows the whole process: making the thread, dying it, and then weaving (and it has a bonus shot of guinea pigs!). The second is a woman weaving.

I found a weaving project in one of my favorite new resources, a book called Kids Around the World Create!: The Best Crafts and Activities from Many Lands by Arlette Braman. It's filled fun craft ideas, easy-to-follow instructions, and background cultural information. Was this book made for our adventures or what? The author has also written a book specifically on Inca crafts called The Inca: Activities and Crafts from a Mysterious Land, which we've not yet been able to get our hands on. Many thanks to the author for allowing us to share her detailed directions here.

I would say that this project was a little beyond The Whirl Girl's patience threshold and is probably suited for kids who are a bit older than her 3 1/2 years. Or next time I might use a smaller loom - I ended up finishing the second half (which I enjoyed!). But she did like the idea of it, especially after watching the videos. And she loved the finished project, which has already been a rug in her dollhouse, a shawl for her little people, and a blanket for her llama.

Supplies:
  • a piece of cardboard, cut into 3 x 7 inch rectangle (I used a cereal box)
  • yarn in different colors
  • scissors
  • ruler
Step One: Cut five slits about 1/2 inch apart. Make each slit 1/2 inch deep.

Step Two: Cut one long piece of yarn (about 61 inches). Put it through the bottom left of the loom, leaving a 4 inch tail on the back of the loom. Wrap the yarn around the loom, working from bottom to top through each slit in turn. When you reach the top right slit, put the yarn through that slit, and leave a 4 inch tail on the back of the loom.

Step Three: Cut strands of yarn for weaving. For narrow rows of color, strands should be between 14 and 16 inches. For wider rows, they should be between 18 and 22 inches.
Step Four: Start weaving. Start at the bottom of the loom. Put a strand through the bottom right slit, leaving a 4 inch tail on the back.
For the first row: Put the strand under the first long string and over the next. Keep weaving over and under until the end of the row.
For the second row: Weave over the first string and under the next until you reach the end.
Continue in this pattern. Push down or pack every row close to the one before with your fingers.


Step Five: Change colors. When you start a new color, weave the first row of the color the same way you wove the row you just finished. Always finish the last row of the old color on the left and start the first row of the new color on the right. Don't cut the tails until after the weaving is finished. Continue until you reach the top of the loom. At the end, pack the rows one last time to make sure they are close together.

Step Six: Put the end of the last strand through the top right slit, leaving a 4 inch tail. Turn the loom facedown and cut the long strands across the middle. Remove the long strands from the slits. There will be six strands hanging from each short edge. Tie the two left strands together in a knot. Do the same for the next two and last two strands. Repeat at the bottom.



Step Seven: To make a fringe, cut the knotted strands to about 2 inches. Unwind each strand. Cut the little yarn strands that are sticking out of the rows by gently pulling each yarn end and cutting it as close as possible without cutting any of the woven strands.


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