Beginning Floor Loom Weaving for Teens

I am contemplating offering a class in Beginning Floor Loom Weaving for Teens(12 and up). Does anyone have any experience with this? Did you have them do their own warping? Did you make "something" or do samples? Round Robin? Most of the kids who would take this class have woven rag bags with stick shuttles in plain weave. They have expressed a desire to move on to patterns. I don't want to bore them, but warping is a big part of weaving. I would welcome any thoughts any of you might have. This class would take place in June or July of 2013. Thanks.

Barb Dwinell, Duluth


Posted on Mon, 08/20/2012 - 16:43

What about pre-winding a colorful warp, so they learn to dress the loom first? Then, the second set of sessions/classes can be the full process, winding the warp, and then dressing the loom.

By having dressed a loom first, some of the steps for winding the warp might make more sense when they try the full process.

By having a properly wound warp to dress the loom, they might have a more successful first experience than if they wound it themselves, and that builds confidence.

And repetition builds skills, so each set of classes builds on a skill they have already tried.

Keep it simple. Not too fine of fibers, not to wide of a warp. However long it takes you to to complete the warping task, multiply that 3-4 times for a student (tween, teen, or adult) who has never done it before.

A simple threading? Try Ann Dixon's Handweaving Directory. The kids can thread 1,2,3,4 and the first 32 pages of the book show all kinds of treadling options for that simple straight draw threading! (And it is a great introduction to reading drafts.)

Bless your heart —it could be crazy, or the most rewarding thing you ever tried!

Posted on Fri, 08/24/2012 - 02:13

I spent a couple of years teaching weaving at a boarding high school and I have had quite a few 11-18 year old students join my regular weaving classes.  My first project (for adults and teens) is a combination wool sampler and scarf of 80 threads (Harrisville Highland).  They do everything from designing to finishing work.  I find teens a real pleasure to work with and usually more competant than adults (sorry...).  I always had a great supply of music on hand, a sense of humor and fun and a willingness to follow their lead and be adventurous.  Most important thing, I feel, is to expect that they can do it and to make sure they take off their rings and bracelets before chaining the warp.  And...I have a weaving fairy that sometimes comes into the studio after class and fixes big mistakes or finishes threading for someone who is particularly frustrated (although, same holds true when working with adults, just not as often).

Posted on Sat, 08/25/2012 - 13:47

I teach beginners and plan my classes around the amount of time needed to complete each step. If we have enough time to warp, then we add that to the class. Since your students already have done some weaving, the class may be more about the weaving process from start to finish.

My classes usually run for a weekend and what has worked well is winding the warp on Friday evening, threading the loom on Saturday and weaving on Sunday. Friday evening runs 2.5 hours, Saturday runs 6-7 hours and Sunday we start around 10 and finish up in the early afternoon, with students heading out as they finish their projects. I try to have an additional loom or two available that is warped with something related or interesting for people to try. For instance, if we are weaving bags, I may have an inkle loom warped so that people can weave a handle.

I love working with teenagers and envy you! Have fun, it is amazing what they come up with because they look at weaving with new eyes.

Jennie Hawkey