Friday, February 19, 2010

Braiding & Weaving with 5 - 7 yr olds

Week five of term has past and six more to go til the end of the term. So much to do, so little time!

This week the 5-7 yr old class worked on braiding. This was as much a lesson to me as it was to them, though in a different way. The children learned that braiding is simply, right to the middle, left to the middle over and over again. The hard part is controlling the three strands, maintaining even tension and snugging up the work so that the braid is consistant and even. Well, maybe not so simple after all :-)
I learned that using strips of cloth for young new braiders is not the best option. Though their braid quality was pretty much as expected, I had intended for them to lace their finished braids into coasters. I felt this was a task they could accomplish. What I found was that the cloth combined with inconsistent braiding made it difficult for the  children to find the gaps among the fabric folds so that they could lace them together. They did not have the skill to fold the fabrics neatly within their braid. In another braiding class, I would use either chunky yarns or we also have some other rope like mediums that I don't know the name of. They look like rafia covered ropes and come in different thicknesses. We happen to have a thin one in stock that would have allowed for the children to find greater success in their project. It would have been easier for them to braid and they would have been able to easily see where they should insert their needles to lace them together without their needles getting stuck in the folds of fabric.
In the end, they each went home with a length of braid. Many had them wrapped around their heads as a decorative head band. They seemed pleased with their projects but next time :-)............

My five year olds finished up their weaving projects this week. In a previous class they had dyed some yarns using Kool - Aid which they used in their weaving. Each successfully created a weaving done on a small frame loom. I especially like this project because it can be finished at any time. It doesn't really matter that one child has a long weaving or that another's is short. In the end, they all go home with an amulet pendant or an ornament/wall hanging, depending on their preference. In this class, two children had enough length so that we were able to fold the weaving in half and stitch the edges to make a little pouch or medicine/treasure bag. It's the one in the center of the photo.

The older group began a weaving project this week as well. They are in process of weaving a small stash bag on a small cardboard loom designed by a friend who volunteers at the Fryeburg Fair for me. They have made pretty good progress though one of the challenges I am trying to help them over come in my class is the ability to "walk and talk"! It becomes very easy for them to flow into conversation and sway from the task at hand. This project is especially easy for them to practice this with since they have the hang of the weaving and only need to give special attention to the changing of yarns and their color choices. I hope that they will finish their bags next week, but, we'll see!
Until then..................

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