My friend Bonnie is a professional weaver. I know she’s a pro, not only because it says so on her labels, but when I watched her weaving at her traditional Swedish loom, I was taken by her focus and the talent and patience her artistry requires.
I admire her commitment because I’m more of a “start and finish a project in one afternoon” kind of personality. As a kid, I had a simple, small metal toy loom and made oodles of potholders with colorful cotton loops. At summer camp, I graduated to constructing my own loom out of sturdy sticks and twine, and wove yarn and nature finds.
Weaving on a stick nature loom is a craft I still enjoy with kids. First, there’s the hunt in the woods, or rooting through a backyard woodpile for three or four perfect sticks. Then we gather items to weave into the loom, such as a feather, leaf or vine.
It’s an artful way for kids to weave their own story of an outdoor summer adventure. Who knows, perhaps the craft will inspire your child to become a professional weaver someday, like Bonnie.
Here’s the stuff you need for a rectangular 12-inch shaped loom:
— 4 straight sticks, measuring 14 inches or longer, about 1/4 to 1/2 inch diameter. To cut sticks, score with scissors, then snap off excess and trim any pointy ends with pruning shears. My favorites have some moss growing here and there.
— Twine or yarn.
— Yarn for weaving and/or nature finds that are suitable for weaving in and out of the loom, such as feathers, leaves, stems of lavender, etc.
Here’s the fun:
CONSTRUCT THE LOOM
Arrange sticks overlapping at each corner by an inch or more. Tie sticks together at each corner tightly with the twine or yarn. Twist around two or three times.
CREATE THE WARP
Tie the yarn with a square knot at one corner. Bring yarn directly to other side. Wrap around the stick twice, then criss-cross to opposite sides evenly from top to bottom leaving a 1/2-inch space between, and keeping the yarn tight as you go. Ask a friend to hold the “frame” for you as you wind. Tie off a knot at the end.
Weave yarn and or nature finds in and out of the strings. When done, tie a string hanger to the top around a loom stick and display in a window or on your front door.
Note: For a triangular-shaped loom, tie three sticks at ends.
Donna Erickson’s award-winning series “Donna’s Day” is airing on public television nationwide. To find more of her creative family recipes and activities, visit www.donnasday.com and link to the NEW Donna’s Day Facebook fan page. Her latest book is “Donna Erickson’s Fabulous Funstuff for Families.”
© 2020 Donna Erickson
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