Posts tagged: weaving

Clothing – Dollhouse Rag Rug (Weekly Unplugged Project)

By , February 22, 2009 8:25 pm


The theme for this week’s Unplugged Project was clothing. We had a few ideas, but ultimately decided to experiment with weaving strips of fabric made from an old shirt.

First: the nasty shirt.

This is a shirt that had been a comfortable favorite of mine for quite some time. Too much time. It was stretched and shapeless and discolored.  Très chic, don’t you think?   I knew it was time for the shirt and I to part company. But since I didn’t even think it was in decent enough shape to donate, it was clearly a perfect candidate for shredding.

I cut the sleeves off, and then cut the shirt in half along the seams. I cut the side and bottom seams off, as well as the neck. I was left with two flat pieces of fabric.

The kids thought I had gone mad at first when they saw me cutting up my shirt, but then they got into the spirit of the moment and I had a hard time getting my cut up shirt back to finish the job!

We cut each section of the shirt into an oval shape and then began cutting it into a single spiral strip about 1/2 inch wide (approx 1.25 cm).

This was the result:

We wound the two lots of cloth into balls:

Next we got out our $2.00 picture frame loom. I warped it with the fabric by winding a single strip up and down around the nails.  I have seen this done, but … hmmm… I didn’t like it much.

This was an experiment. Next time, I would warp it like our yarn dollhouse rug, by cutting single strips and tying one on each set of nails. We got a bit confused because there were two warp strips on each nail. Since this rug was “rustic,” a few mistakes didn’t really matter.  In fact one could optimistically say that they actually enhanced the rug.  But now I know that I prefer to have one warp string on each nail.

I wrapped the cloth around the shuttle and we began weaving.

To finish it up, I lifted each loop off the nail, cut it, and tied the two ends together in a sturdy knot.

The final result:

We used it to keep the dolls’ feet toasty in their bathroom, but it could also be a potholder, or even a dish washing cloth (that’s what my husband thought it was).


If you did a clothing Unplugged Project this week, then please link to your project in the Mr. Linky below. If not, then follow the links to everyone’s project and enjoy! If you are interested in learning more about how to join us, then please read about it here. We’d love to have you!


The theme for next week’s Unplugged Project will be:




Square – Picture Frame Loom (Weekly Unplugged Project)

By , January 11, 2009 9:25 pm


The theme for this week’s Unplugged Project was square, an unpremeditated choice on my part.

While at Walmart the other day I saw $2.00, 8″ x 10″ oak picture frames, and had a random thought.  I wondered if it would be possible to turn a picture frame into a loom.  These are the kind of odd random thoughts that I have from time to time.

I had looked at a few children’s looms like this one at Christmas time and found them to be rather expensive.  Not knowing if my 8 year-old daughter would enjoy it enough to justify the price, I gave them a miss.  But obviously looms have been on my mind.

I bought a $2.00 frame, dug some nails out of the garage, and away we went.  The only catch is that the frame is actually a rectangle, not a square.  Should I have saved this for a future quadrilateral theme instead?  Hmmm…..  But couldn’t this project have been made just as well with a square frame?

After extensive deliberation, The “Unplug Your Kids Weekly Unplugged Project Standards Committee” (ie.  me), declared that it does indeed meet the official Unplug Your Kids Weekly Unplugged Project Standards (our standards are quite loose).  :)

If you want to try this, you’ll need an inexpensive or thrift store wooden frame, some small nails, a hammer and some yarn.  Try to choose a sturdy-looking frame since you’ll be hammering on it.

Take the glass and back off the frame and save them for some other project.

Place a ruler along the short edge of the frame to measure where to put the nails.  Put a dot about half an inch inside of the inner edge of the frame, and then put dots every half inch.  Stop when you get half an inch from the inner edge on the opposite side.  Do this on both short edges.  If you do it properly, you’ll have the same number of dots on each side and the dots will be opposite each other.

Hammer a nail into each dot.  Try your best to make them straight and about the same height (but don’t worry if it isn’t perfect).

Voilà, your loom is made!  That’s it!  Easy, isn’t it?

(NOTE:  I am NOT a weaving expert and didn’t even know my “warp” from my “weft” until I researched the topic, so I hope I am accurate in the following terminology.)

Now for the weaving part.  But first, we need a few weaving accessories:

A shuttle holds the yarn that is passed through the loom (the “weft“).  I made a simple shuttle by cutting a strip of corrugated cardboard and cutting a notch in each end.  Then I wound the yarn around it lengthwise.  I made one for each color that we would use.  Here they are:

Real looms have something to compress the rows as they are woven.  I believe this is called a “reed.”  We used a wide tooth comb for our reed and it worked perfectly!

To make the passage of the yarn through the weft easier, looms usually have some mechanism for raising the strings of the “warp” (the strings that are tied onto the pegs and form the base for the weaving) which the weft must pass over and under.  The space that is created is called a “shed.”

We used a wooden paint stirring stick (the kind you get for free from the hardware store when you buy paint).  Again, a very successful choice.

To attach the warp I tied a piece of yarn to the nail at the top, pulled it as tight as I could, then tied the other end onto the bottom nail.  I did it for each pair of nails:

I tied the end of the red weft yarn to the top left nail and began weaving:

The paint stirrer easily threads over and under the warp. Turn it on its end to raise the warp and create the shed. Pass the shuttle through the shed.

Remove the paint stirrer and repeat, making sure each time to raise the opposite set of warp strings from the time before.  Pull the weaving tight, and every few rows, use the comb to push the weft up to the top to tighten it.

To change colors, as we did, at the end of a row simply cut the yarn leaving about an inch. Tie the new color on to the cut piece of the old yarn. Try to tie it as close to the warp as possible so you can hide it under your weaving and it will be on the back.

Use the same method to add more yarn to your shuttle. When the shuttle is getting low, tie the end from your ball of yarn to the tail on the shuttle and start winding more on. When the knot appears in your weaving, just tuck it through to the back and no one will see it.

We are not quite finished with our project, but I’ll be sure to post a photo when it is completed and removed from the loom.

By the way, this could be done with any size picture frame.  If 8″ x 10″ is too daunting, start with a 5″ x 7.”

If you are unsure if your children will like weaving, then try this approximately $4.00 project before spending $60.00 or more for a “real” child’s loom.

Please send me a photo of your picture frame loom creations and I’ll post it here!



  • Here is a basic link on how to set the loom up and weave:  How to Weave (it also explains how to get it off, which we haven’t tried yet).


If you did a square Unplugged Project this week, then please put your link (to your actual project, not just your blog) in Mr. Linky below.  If you didn’t join in, then please don’t link, but read more about how to join us here.


The theme for next week’s Unplugged Project is thanks to Meg of Bare Baby Feet.

It is:


Thank you so much Meg.  I love it!


Pipecleaners (Weekly Unplugged Project)

By , February 3, 2008 8:36 pm

It was a wintry, windy, snowy day here in Arizona’s mountains. Without TV there was no Superbowl to watch (I would probably have preferred The Puppy Bowl anyhow!). All in all, a good day for a project.

The theme for this week’s Unplugged Project was pipecleaners (or twist-ties, or wire in case you don’t have pipecleaners).

Last week I realized that we were sorely in need of stocking-up on craft supplies. So in addition to buying a lifetime supply of assorted pipecleaners, we also found pompoms, googly eyes, craft sticks, glitter, and even feathers. Now we have plenty to work with!

I set it all out in front of the kids, along with some corks that I had been saving (at the request of my 7 year-old), and let them have at it while I cooked dinner.

This is what my 5 year-old and 7 year-old came up with:

Later I joined in and made a spider (kind of an obvious project, but I had fun) and started some coaster weaving. My 7 year-old finished it for me while I put the baby to bed.

The weaving seemed like an inspired idea for teaching weaving to a child since it is very easy to thread pipecleaners under and over. You just have to watch out for the sharp, wire ends that can easily prick fingers. Perhaps folding over all the ends before using the pipecleaners would solve this problem.

If you joined in the project this week, please remember to put your link in Mr. Linky below so that we can find each other easily.

Tomorrow might be a good day for a project too. I suspect we might have a snow day. 100% chance of snow tonight (6 to 10 inches), 80% tomorrow (3 to 7 inches). More pipecleaners perhaps? Or maybe an early start on next Monday’s project:


Next week’s project idea comes from Jess who suggested collage/magazines (thank you Jess!). We have done collage recently (although I do love it and we missed it last time), so how about magazines/catalogs (but you can still do a collage if you want).

Some ideas:

– collage


– finding colors

– clipping pictures and making up a story

– clipping letters: make a cut-out alphabet

Removing a Potholder From a Loom

By , January 1, 2008 6:59 pm

This is a public service post for all the people who find me by Googling something like: “taking potholder off loom” and for the one or two people who have left comments asking me how to take it off. It is really quite easy:

You will need the hook that came with the loom or a crochet hook.


Start at a corner and pull the second loop in the row, through the first loop. Then you pull the third loop through the second, the fourth through the third, etc. etc. all the way around the pot holder. It will be kind of a linked chain around the edge like in the photo.


You will eventually end up with only one final loop. That is the loop that you can use to hang the potholder on a hook.

If you have any other questions about it, feel free to comment or email me (my email is in the right sidebar).

Hope this helps!

Sturdy Metal Pot Holder Loom

By , November 23, 2007 6:54 pm

For my sister’s recent birthday, my oldest daughter worked very hard to make Auntie the gift of a potholder for her tea kettle.

Do you remember those potholder looms with the cotton loops? I do! I used to love making potholders. My poor mother was overrun with potholders. Well, apparently potholder-love does not skip a generation since my 7 year-old seems to be as fascinated with her loom as I was with mine.

Unfortunately for my mother, I didn’t realize as a child that there are other things that can be made with these little woven squares besides potholders! The instructions to our loom suggest sewing them together to make a placemat or doll rug, a treasure box or tissue holder, even a purse or a doll sleeping bag. The possibilities are endless.

You might be able to find these little kits at hobby stores, but since we have no hobby stores here, I found ours on Amazon. It is a good one since the frame is made of sturdy metal rather than plastic (ours is by Harrisville Designs). It came with a long metal hook, a crochet hook, enough colorful 100% cotton loops to make several potholders (you can buy wool loops too), and complete instructions. I’ll be sure to provide links to several different kits at the bottom of my post.

Those of you who are more ambitious and “crafty” than I, might be interested to learn that these little looms can apparently also be used with yarn. You can weave yarn squares for afghans, vests, or other projects. See this link for more information on how to do this.

Wondering how to remove it from the loom? Read my post: Removing a Potholder From a Loom.

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