By Julie Coughlin
The 4th graders at Simonsdale Elementary School have been studying weaving during Colonial times. We discussed how looms are used to weave and create cloth; which then is made into clothes and other items. We looked at several different types of looms and discussed how they have changed over time and how different looms make specialized shapes and types of cloth, like socks and tapestries. There are simple and complex looms but all looms have the same basic parts.
The students made their looms from cardboard, measuring with a ruler at every ½ inch for notches at the top and bottom then cutting the notches evenly. Warp lines are strung first, using plain yarn. Then the fun begins with weaving the weft, over and under each line. Students had planned their patterns and color schemes in their sketchbooks ahead of starting to weave.
One of the biggest challenges besides using a ruler and measuring correctly is tying knots. Many 4th graders don’t know how to tie their shoes, so tying two strings together is a skill I demonstrate and have the students perform themselves. The weavings require a lot of patience and attention to detail, but the students love the process of weaving. The alternating under and over as well as tying knots helps with spatial cognition skills.