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Three ideas that have worked well for me and are what I consider "no
fail" weavings are:
1. Do an animal (usually cats work well) You get egyptian type animals
if you know what I mean, sort of flat, with all four feet visible and a
tail, a profile thing going. I show the rya, slit, interlocking colors,
and texturing sort of basket weave, techiniques. They also learn basic
embroidery stiches to add on top. Whichever project I give them, they
must use all of the techniques I show in their final product. In this
way, I am confident that they must think beyond just the drawing and the
weaving, there must be a "concept" that embraces all the the techniques
and this calls for creative problem solving.
2. Do a person, again it is simplified, but they are adorable when
done. Both the animals and the people get striped shirts/fur, and that
is where the charm lies.
3. Do a postcard (on all three subject matters the students must have a
rough drawing that they slip under the warp on top of the cardboard.
This "cartoon" is what they use to weave from)
As for tools, we use rulers to hold up the warp, to throw the shuttle (a
piece of rectangular cardboard with yarn wrapped around) through, then
they reposition the rulers. We also use large eyed plastic needles to
weave the "tighter" areas.
Now, most know, I am a highschool teacher. But I have done projects on
all levels, and have been pleasantly surprised at students' responses to
the weavings. On the higher levels, students work in other materials
other than yarn, and embellish, add, and take the weaving to a "personal
statement" level. On the lower levels the kids are just amused by the
"charm" especially the animals and people. You will find that they start
to name them, braid the hair on the little people, etc.