Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Straw Weaving - a tutorial.

This project was so much fun, so easy, and so satisfying that I wanted to put a tutorial together for it.


This is an introduction to weaving that is perfect for children. It introduces the basic process in a way that is much more accessible to a young child than moving a string over and under other strings. While my six-year-old really enjoyed this and has made several, my three year old showed little interest in making one (but a lot of interest in picking which yarns went on the one I made for her). I can see other three-year-olds having a lot of interest in doing this and it would be easy enough for them to do on their own once you got enough lines of yarn on the straw so that they wouldn't have to hold the straws together.

To do this you'll need:
-five drinking straws, cut in half (I cut mine a bit longer, almost 3/4 of the straw to make it easier to handle)
-yarn
-tape

Cut five pieces of yarn. These need to be the same length, but that length is variable. If you want to do a simple bookmark, cut the yarn into 18 inch pieces. If you want to make a dog collar or belt, cut the yarn 12 inches longer than the length of the item you want to make.

Thread each piece of yarn through one of the straws. My husband taught the girls to put the yarn in the straw about an inch and then suck on the other end to draw it through. My girls got proficient at that really fast. Every time I tried, I ended up with a mouthful of yarn and two hysterically giggling girls. When you have the yarn through the straw, fold the yarn over the end of the straw by about an inch and tape it.

Even up the tops of the straws, straighten out the yarn and tie a knot at the end. Cut a length of yarn, about 3 feet to begin with. Hold the straws in one hand as shown below with the end of the length of yarn under your thumb.

Now begin to weave the yarn in and out of each of the straws all the way to the end, around the end straw and weave back to where you the other side. Keep weaving until you get close to the end of this first length of yarn. After you have about an inch on your straws you won't need to hold the straws together anymore as the yarn will do that for you.

Once you have a few inches on the straws, move the bottom inch off the straws. Always leave at least an inch of weaving on the straws - if it all comes off, it is very difficult to get it back in working order.

When you get to the end of one length of yarn, cut another, tie it on to the end of the first length, and keep weaving.

This is a project that you can put down and come back to - as long as you put it out of the reach of 2 year old hands.

When you have it as long as you want it, slide all of the weaving off of the straws and down to the knot on the far end.

Take the tape off of the straws and pull the straws off of the yarn. Tie a knot at that end (this knot will include the end of your last weaving yarn. Now slide the weaving around until it is as even as you want it to be.

We put long ends on Hannah's bookmarks because she wanted to put beads on the long yarn ends hanging down.

You can easily vary the width (more or less straws) and the length of this for different projects, and different textured yarns can make it more fun. This is the one I made for Ainsley.

If your kids like doing this and their interest in weaving is peaked, definitely go get the book that this idea came out of - You Can Weave by Kathleen Monaghan - and get them going on one of the many other weaving projects that are included there.

8 comments:

Phyllis said...

I have been looking for an easy weaving project for my boys. Thanks so much for posting this. I am looking forward to doing it. I have added the book to my Amazon Wish List, too.
Thank You!
-Phyllis

Darcel said...

That is very cool. I've been trying to think of different crafts for the girls to do with me. I like all of the ones you've mentioned over the past few days.

Carrie Cooper said...

Carrie @ comfortedbyGod.blogspot.com

I stumbled across your blog--what a wonderful and EASY idea for weaving. Ive never seen it demonstrated this way and actually think my kids could do it. Your pictures are great--can really see detail!

Maria said...

Thanks for the tute! I bet Em would Love to make one!

I also think Daniel would be abt as interested as Ains! lol

Michelle said...

Wow! featured on One Pretty Thing! I wasn't expecting to see someone I knew! Looks like a fun project. We might have to try this one.

Ticia said...

this is super cool! I'll have to try this with my kids in a year or so.

ChickiePea said...

This looks like just the thing for a rainy/snowy day for small fidgety fingers while sitting by the fireplace. Thanks for sharing!!

Anonymous said...

My kiddos in my classroom have become interested in knitting (6 girls and 15 boys). I can't supply them all with knitting needles and yarn, but this straw weaving is doable and I think they would really like it, because no one else is doing it. I'm going to try it! :)