One of our unique teaching tools here at The Cottage School is our weaving looms.
About fifteen years ago, at the early stage of the school, Laura, the founder of The Cottage School’s, brother Jose was visiting from Oklahoma, and made our very first Cottage School Start Looms. Even though Jose is not a carpenter (he is actually a scientist), he was able to assemble them in a short period of time with a staple gun and big nails to hold the yarn. Laura says, “If Jose made them, anyone can make them!”
The art of weaving is not only rewarding to the soul, but it is also educational. As early as the New Stone Age, people have been weaving fibers from the flax plant to make clothing. Weaving at The Cottage School starts as early as four years old. We offer these young students the opportunity to weave and only expect them to do “their best” (as with any other activity we do at the school).Neurological research shows that mobility and dexterity in the fine motor muscles, especially in the hand, stimulates cellular development in the brain, and so strengthens thinking.
Though there are looms that are sold commercially, they don’t usually hold the warp as well, making the activity a little bit frustrating for young children. (Warp is the yarn wound onto the loom in preparation for weaving.) The big nails on The Cottage School Start Looms, allow the activity to be less frustrating by holding the warp very well.
If you have the time and some simple materials, (Some wood, big nails, and a staple gun), building your child a loom instead of buying it can be fun, diminishes consumerism and helps children understand that things can be made.
We make weaving even simpler for beginners by letting the children use their fingers! Holding the Weft (yarn or fabric strips) with their fingers, they move it over and under each warp thread in one row and then under and over those threads in the next row. For beating the weft into place, beginners use their fingers instead of a comb.
The simpler the setup the more involvement children will experience and the more rewarding the activity will be!
Once the students have used these Cottage School Start Looms for one or two years, they move to a regular lap loom and later on to a vertical loom.
Weaving builds self-esteem and brings joy to children and adults alike.
DIY Cottage School Start Loom (pictured below)
- 2 36 in. x 1 in. Hardwood Square Dowels
- Staple Gun
- Wood Glue
- 14 large nails
- Warp Yarn
- Assorted Color Yarns or Strips of Fabric
Directions To build the Loom
- Cut dowel into 2 pieces measuring 11 inches and 2 pieces measuring 8 inches
- Create a rectangle frame with cut pieces and attach with wood glue
- reenforce with a staple gun, two staples in each corner
- evenly space 7 nails on either of the short sides and hammer into place
Preparing the Loom
- Using your warp yarn, start by creating a slip knot looping it over an end nail
- weave the string back and forth zigzagging from side to side
tie off the string at the last screw
Your child can now begin using their fingers to weave colored yarn or fabric strips over and under each warp thread in one row and then under and over those threads in the next row. For beating the weft into place, beginners use their fingers instead of a comb.
Photography is this post by Anne Katherine Photography