Did you know fingers can serve as a loom? A loom whose quiet, simple patterns can develop fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, simple math skills, and creativity in your child. (And in the end, they get a cool ring!) Find some yarn and experiment literally hand weaving with a kid maker. Your fingers deserve this moment of Zen.
Weaving 101: Warp + Weft = Weave
All woven materials have warp threads and weft threads. The warp is the part the base layer that your child lays out first. The weft is the part that is sent through the warp to create a weave.
Plastic or round-tipped sewing needle
Step 1: Wrap Your Warp
1. Have your child wrap yarn LOOSELY around his or her finger several times. We suggest 3 to 6 to start. The more times your child wraps, the wider the ring will be. (Wrap it loosely, because the warp is going to “shrink” when your child sends the weft through in Step 2. If it’s not loose enough, he or she will end up with a ring that’s too small!)
The loose yarn loops on your child’s finger should be parallel, meaning they should go in the same direction and be the same distance apart at all points.
This layer of loose, parallel loops is the warp.
Step 2: Weave Your Weft
1. Snip about an arm’s length of yarn and have your child thread it through the eye of your plastic needle. This long thread will be the weft.
2. Have your child send the weft thread alternately over and under the warp threads. These weft threads will run perpendicular to the warp threads, meaning they will cross it at “right” angles or 90° angles.
- When your child reaches the end, have him or her send the weft thread back through in the opposite direction. Alternate which threads go over and under, so that your child goes over threads he or she previously went under, and under threads he or she previously went over.
- Keep doing this until your child has woven all the way around his or her finger.
- Scoot the threads closer to each other from time to time using the tip of the plastic needle so that the weave doesn’t have gaps.
- If you want to, you can rotate the whole thing on your child’s finger, so that you can get those hard-to-reach spots more easily.
Once you’re comfortable with this basic weave, you and your child can experiment with more complicated variations to weave new designs!
Step 3: Finishing the Ring
If you cut the ends off right now, the ring will be finished, but it might not hold together very well. To keep it from unravelling, just weave the loose ends into the ring, too.
- Clip the ends so that they’re not very long, approximately 1 inch. Let them hang a moment.
- Find where this loose end would fit neatly into the weave pattern, then slip the tip of your needle through that spot. Weave just the needle over and under, then pause with it held in the weave.
- Thread the needle now and pull it the rest of the way through! This tucks the ends together and makes the whole ring more secure.
Once you and your child master the basics, get creative! Try different colors. Try different materials: instead of yarn, experiment with jewelry wire, twine, ribbon, or fabric strips.
Visit The MAKESHOP Show online for more cool projects for kid makers at www.makeshopshow.com.