Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Friendly Loom: Troubleshooting a collaboration in the textilescenter.

I have a Friendly Loom in my textiles center in my K-2 building and 3-5 building.  Last year, collaboratively, intermediate students only completed one weaving, and left four not even half done.  I was disappointed that it wasn't getting more use. Card-loom weaving has always been popular with the kids, and I personally enjoy weaving very much.

I had the opportunity to get a Friendly Loom for my K-2 building and jumped at the chance.  I had to troubleshoot how to make weaving more enticing and easy for the kids to come work on.

I previously kept a box of yarn, fabric scraps, and scissors in the textile center.  I wrapped the warp, and taught the students how to choose and begin their weft.  At the beginning of the year I had started each weaving with a mock-shuttle.  The shuttle would last for about one kid.  It was a total pain too because I cut them out of mat board with scissors - yikes.  To conquer that mess, I hung up pictures and showed the kids how to wrap a butterfly bobbin to get themselves started.  This did not work at all.

Most students preferred to cut their own yarn (too short) and just begin weaving.  The fabric scraps confused them and the color schemes and patterns were ugly.  The students did not like what another kid had previously wove. The textiles center became a knotted mess.

Starting fresh this year, I wrapped the warp on my Friendly Loom into four new weavings.  Next,  I spent about 20 minutes or so wrapping shuttles.  I cut 2" by 4-5" mat board scrap and wrapped the weft thread around it.  I chose my thickest yarn and only used a handful of colors.  I read Tumblr and talked with coworkers as I did this, so it was pretty painless.  I started one shuttle and left the rest (with ends taped) in a bin by the loom.  I will not bring out any more yarn till these shuttles are gone.  I will also not have any fabric strips anywhere near the Friendly Loom.

Making choices is such an important part of being an artist. Working together when the other person is not present can make our choices confusing. With this medium, and the age level of my students, having the Friendly Loom set-up fool proof will definitely yield more positive results.


  1. Thanks for sharing this!! Did the changes you made work? Last year, I used the really thick yarn for the warp and skipped every other notch on the loom. I also had K-1 weave with thick, "plastic" type ribbon. I put out a different color each week in rainbow order so it was kinda cute when they were done. It was very loose when we were done, but it's the process, not the product, right?! :) I am looking for new ways to go about it- thanks for the tips!!! :)

  2. Can you please help me, I have a friendly loom in my new elementary at room and I don't know how to set it up? Someone said I need to warp it but I don't know how that is done? I can't find any instructions or help online. Is there any way you could explain to me how I specifically wrap the yarn to warp it for set up? My email is any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so very much!