Young Weavers on the Way

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Camp Weavers 5When people come to my studio, they usually comment on the seven Structo looms sitting on a high shelf. I always thought I was collecting them to teach classes in my studio—to the adults I am comfortable with. Instead I took them to an outdoor day camp a week ago. I was completely smitten by the little boys and girls and they were smitten with weaving. Setting up the looms was done ahead of time in my studio by campers and young counsellors. It was amazing to me how the little ones could follow directions and do what I showed them how to do. They measured out the warps (3 yards), threaded the reed and heddles (You won’t believe it but we warped Front-to Back), beamed the warps, even tied on. Some of the small hands couldn’t push the levers for 1&3, 2&4, so did 1&2 and 3&4 which worked out just fine. One or two began thinking of other combinations.
They took their weaving home in CD cases I had on hand. [click photos to enlarge]
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To set up the looms Front-to-Back, I had to have a couple of my books open to certain pages placed around the room. Patricia Townsend who teaches that method to high school students wrote the chapter and planned the illustrations. I have to say all my questions were clearly answered and the steps clearly accessible and understandable. I can now see why it is easier to teach. For these little looms and short warps, it was the right way to go. Her chapter is in my book, Weaving for Beginners where there are also a chapters on rigid heddle looms and hand manipulated structures—all written by experts because I only know Back-to-Front thoroughly. The computer chapter was written by Nancy Alegria and Debra Holcomb.There is another camp coming up this week. You can think of me under the trees with these great kids.
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12 thoughts on “Young Weavers on the Way

  1. I love seeing you with all the young students and think back to the classes I had with you. I was i think a thorn in your side as we had to break some of my bad habits. I believe that you were the instructor that taught me the most, and I have all your books close at hand when weaving. I do like the last book the most because it seems to be more accessible. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with all of us

  2. Fabulous to see. Thank you for sharing. I wish we could do something like hat here especially for the disadvantaged kids. I am unfamiliar with the loom ps you used. The simplest one I have found was at the local dumping tip and used to be used in schools 30 years ago. But it has string heddles and they are not easy to thread.

    Thanks for sharing,
    Regards
    Johanna

  3. How cool is this! I wish someone had shown me something like this when I was that young! Lucky kids to have you share your expertise with them! Just wonderful!

  4. what a wonderful experience that must have been. Glad you had the opportunity to share this with the young people.

  5. Hi, please could you tell me more about Structo looms? I do a lot of weaving with children here in the north west of England, and they look like great little looms!
    Many thanks
    Jane

    • They aren’t made anymore. There must be a lot of them out there–they were used in schools. I have been collecting them for years just for this purpose. Peggy

  6. Peggy, Thanks for accepting my friend request – I didn’t realize or expect that the first thing I see on your site is about weaving with children. I am the weaving instructor at the Gaelic College here on Cape Breton Island Nova Scotia. The children range in age from 6 to 17 and I see 24 or so over the course of a day (4 classes, 6 to 8 students). They are also studying fiddle, piano, piping, gaelic, step-dancing, highland dancing, and/or song during their day so are busy!!! I generally have a loom (often a Leclerc Dorothy) set up and ready to go for their 1 hour session with me. This means 5 hours a week of weaving. Last week they made belts out of thread (a la Erica de Ruiter’s straps), bean bags, small purses, placemats, or even a long bag for a chanter. They are amazingly talented and most are very focused – even making more than one item. A few take more than 1 hour per day of weaving and we can get into more challenging projects or just multiple items. I love the idea of CD cases to hold small weavings! Thanks for all you do and share!!!

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