Looking for a craft project perfect for a child's first handspun yarn? Get them weaving on a homemade, little loom! These colorful little bags are just right for holding coins, candy, pencils, toy soldiers, cosmetics, bead collections, or even small spindles!
Cut a piece of heavy cardboard to the size that you want your finished pouch to be. Mark off its top in ¼ inch (6 mm) increments; you may want to add an extra notch on each end. Cut the notches about ¼ inch (6 mm) deep.
Leaving a three-inch tail of yarn at the beginning and at the end, wind your yarn up, down, and around the loom, as illustrated. This allows loops to form alternately on both sides of the notches, which will make an opening at the top of your weaving. Use a fairly strong thread for your warp, but it can be handspun!
Fold a piece of masking tape over the top edge of the loom, to secure the loops and tails of yarn while you are weaving. Thread a tapestry needle with a piece of yarn about 5 feet (1.5 m) long. Start at the bottom (the un-taped end) and weave a row under and over each thread, all around the cardboard. Keep weaving around and around the cardboard loom, packing the rows down very tightly, using a comb as a beater.
When beginning each new thread, overlap the yarn ends-even when changing colors, unless you are working on a special pattern design. You may switch colors any time, or use simple patterns (such as one row in a dark color, followed by one row in a light color), or try two contrasting colors threaded through your needle at once.
When you get near the top, weaving proceeds more slowly. Finally, remove the tape and squeeze in a few more rows. This takes patience! (If the weaving is being done by a small child, someone bigger will need to help at this stage.)
Now slip the loops off the top with your needle. Bend the cardboard and carefully slip the pouch off. Turn it inside out. Weave in any loose ends. Line the pouch if it is loosely woven. Insert a drawstring, if you like, or close with a button and a yarn loop, or even add a zipper or a Velcro closure.
This was originally published in the Winter 1995 issue of Spin Off. Text and drawings for this small loom project were contributed by several readers. The words here are Judith Towers' and the drawings combine materials from several teachers. You'll need an odd number of total warps for weaving-in-the-round to work. —Editor