Saturday, March 8, 2014

Weaving Update - A Bit of An Argh-h!

          Thanks to Anna, Beth, Dana, Tara, Stacey & Betsy, we have the fun of writing every day for the Slice of Life Challenge at the blog, Two Writing Teachers.
Tweet at #SOL14.
"We sleep, but the loom of life never stops. And the pattern which was weaving when the sun went down, is there when we wake up in the morning." Henry Ward Beecher  

          I started my weaving project last week. I'll show you pictures in a while, but first let me speak for my students, or ALL students. It is hard to learn something new! How many time do you say "Go read the directions, then see if you understand. Come back if you have questions."

           I read the directions, often. I took notes, many. I watched Youtube, for various things, but mostly how to warp a loom. Some of you will understand and others of you are already mystified. 


           I studied, read to prep for today, the day I had earmarked to get everything ready and to begin. It took me five hours to complete what you will soon see. I am not good at reading directions for hands-on things, but I learned a few things about that, things I know as a teacher, but I'm not very patient in giving myself time to explore. I want to do it NOW!  I suppose it's a time thing-too much I want to get to without messing about. This leads me to my OLW, "wander".  Earlier, I interpreted that to be one who does "wander" without worrying about the result, being an explorer. Choosing to do the weaving is part of that, but figuring out all the steps is, too, and I wasn't very patient. Ahem, here is the beginning, and finally THE BEGINNING! 
Remember the directions? Really difficult to decipher, the words and drawings-only working hands-on helped me understand. I'm working on a rigid heddle loom.

See the tangles. I had to start doing the warp wrap (those vertical lines one weaves in and out of) without a warp board, started three times! But by doing, I figured out what the directions explained.
Without a neat warp board, which consists of nicely implanted dowels on a board, I created my own contraption. As you can see, my dining chairs have no protruding spindles, so I had to improvise two upside-down miscellaneous chairs.

I hope you can see the strings of the warp-light green, but this is the start of fixing them. Finally they are all through the heddle (holes and slats)-that cross piece sticking up.

And here is another view, all tied up at the fabric end.

The far end. One can roll out more warp as the piece becomes longer.

And, ta da, the other beginning. I couldn't do more, had reading to do, dinner to eat, exercise... But I do have a bit of a plan, and now, I CAN WEAVE!
Learning in the classroom:
               Everything, everything is better learned by doing! I know this, I've seen it happen year after year with my students. One improves by writing more, reading more, getting up in front of an audience more, sketching more, shooting baskets more, etc. 
               Please don't ever tell anyone, students too, that something is easy. I watched more than one YouTube about weaving and every single one said this was easy, this was the easiest 'starter' loom. Maybe it is simple, and now that I've done it, it will be easier to do a second time, but it didn't help my feelings of adequacy to hear every person say how easy it was.

Next update-next Sunday!  Happy Daylight Savings Time!

56 comments:

  1. I have such admiration that you put this loom together yourself. You kept working at it and did not give up. You are an awesome role model. Happy weaving!

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    1. Thanks Amy, persistence is helpful, but motivation also!

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  2. Now I want to take my daughters loom my cousin gave to her. It's the same one I think.
    When I do things like that the sense of accomplishment is huge! Congratulations on sticking with it! And when I do things like that I too realize how hard an "easy thing" is to understand for our kids. It gives you a real understanding of their difficulties and why it is never helpful to say "it's easy" as an encourager! Can't wait to see the next installment!

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    1. I wanted to emphasize that and am embarrassed to admit that those words, 'it's easy' have come from me more than once! Get that loom, & I can now help!

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  3. I wonder if I would have the patience to set up this loom. Motivation clearly plays a role. You wanted this, so you stick with the problem until it was solved.

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    1. Yes, see my reply to Amy above, motivation was a huge factor. Thanks Terje!

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  4. Do you think this is why your mom did not use it? I think I remember saying you had given this to your mother, is that right? I think this is why I like trying new things...it is the rush after some accomplishment. Congrats on sticking to this. Will you share with your students? I think they would like to see that it took you five hours to figure something out and begin.

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    1. Yes, Wanda, I imagine that the challenge was a huge factor for my mother, but she was a member of an Art League, so could have had help. She remained busy with drawing and painting too. I may share the end result. There are several kinds of looms at school, and I've used them with students in the past. Thanks!

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  5. I enjoyed reding this, it reminded me a little bit of a knot tying lesson a fellow student did while I was an undergrad, way back when. some of us learned with written instructions, some needed to be shown, some had to feel it! Brave post :-)

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    1. Exactly! I've been in a group for knot-tying on a student trip-not an easy thing there either! Thanks for connecting!

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  6. This is great, Linda. Love how you tie this to our children learning. Weaving and learning--great analogies for life. And I love the quote you began with.

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    1. Thanks Deborah, it is a lesson learned for more than one thing!

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  7. A lesson learned by you and a lesson taught to us - all from a loom. This did make me wonder if I have told students something is easy. I am sure I have, but will be more cognizant of it now. Thanks for the lesson today.

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    1. You're welcome, Leigh Anne. Hope it is helpful to at least ponder!

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  8. Kudos for persevering and solving the problem. I am a little jealous, i must admit. I am a knitter, but have always had a hankering to learn to weave. Did you take a class or just dive right in? and where did you get that loom?

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    1. No, no class. I wrote about this last Sunday, that I wanted to do something beside reading and writing and I have this loom that I gave to my mother long ago, so decided to try it! There is an awesome weaving shop in Boulder that I will visit soon!

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  9. I think I would have just waited until a friend came over who knew what to do. Your patience is amazing! Your lessons for us teachers is timely. It will stay with me this week!

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    1. Thanks Jaana. My daughter works at the Museum for Contemporary Art here & reminded me about the weaver's guild, so that could be another connection for later. I was too impatient to wait-don't at this time know anyone who weaves at work.

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    2. That sounds like a great connection to explore . I'm like you in the impatient and want to get work mode when I'm learning. Very cool you're beginnings. Conquering the directions is a big step--you're on your way! So very cool.

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    3. Thanks Lee Ann-there must be a group of weavers who meets together-must explore more! I live right in the city, so they should be around!

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  10. I am so excited for you, Linda! Taking on a new craft is challenging...but so rewarding! Please do post your project(s) as you continue. As always, you are an incredible inspiration, and now you get to buy lots of cool yarns! Congrats! xo

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    1. Didn't even mention the yarns, Amy! Last week I posted a picture of a basket full! We have a huge supply at school, so this time I hope it will fuel the project, but yes, there is the lure of the weaving shop! Thanks!

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  11. I really enjoyed both seeing your own process/progress setting up the loom and the comments about learning something new and how it relates to students. The pictures were very helpful and I love that you had chairs and string running all around your house! Good luck!

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    1. Thanks Max. Now that it's warped I think I know what I'm doing, but that beginning was tough! Have a great Sunday!

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  12. Wow Linda. What a project. I don't know anything about looms but they way you stuck with this is amazing. I probably would've abandoned this project. It shows that this means a lot to you because you stuck with it. Also, makes me think that when we give kids meaningful work, they are more likely to stick with it to! Way to go!

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    1. Thanks Latisha, now that I am past what (to me) seems to be the hardest part I am really excited!

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  13. Necessity is the mother of invention and you proved that to be correct with your lack of a warp board. Very resourceful! I had a feeling the assembly of the loom would not be so easy-peasy. I love your determination and now the results will be so satisfying for you. It is always good to learn something new to remind ourselves what students face every day. Easy is such a relative term.

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    1. For next time, I do need to find a warp board. It's another lesson that when starting a project, be sure all the needed materials are at hand! Thanks, Elsie!

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  14. I read this once with a friend's eye: good for you, you stuck with it, improvised, figured it out. And now you have begun the creative part, which will be fun!
    And then with a teacher' eye: give our kids time, give them directions in many formats, let them ask questions, and experience frustrations. Let them learn how to figure out and do.
    A wonderful post, Linda.

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    1. Thanks Tara, and for the tweet too! I didn't mind persisting, but am reading a book now titled How Children Succeed, and there are important parts in it, too, that touch on this experience. Always learning...

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  15. Oh my goodness, what a job to tackle. I love all the pictures and progress. Just imagine where you'll be next week! This was a great reminder that things that are new, are HARD! Like, reading for example. Many of my students are still learning the ropes and it seems we just can't be patient with them and let it soak in a bit, let the learning seep in and work its magic. I am wishing you lots of luck as you hone your skills! Can't wait to see the progress.

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    1. With all the pressure on teachers today, I can understand why we can be impatient, but for some students it's the only way to help them, isn't it? I learned yesterday to take a break too, when I realized I had to redo, I just sat down and read a little bit, more to understand about student needs! Thanks Betsy!

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  16. I'm not sure I would have your patience, Linda (oh who am I kidding--like a puzzle, I would have to complete this!) And a great reminder for the classroom.....

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    1. Yes, you would do it, Deb. I've heard too many stories about persistence from you to not think otherwise. I thought about students all day too. Thanks!

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  17. I love what you shared. The photos. I especially related to "It's easy". That like asking direction and the person says go down the road you can't miss it. I always cringe when I hear that.

    You have tackled so many challenging things. Each new thing is a challenge but you seem to have a double dose of determination.

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    1. Thanks Ruth, I think I learned that 'grit' long ago from grandparents, my mom too. Sometimes it can be a problem & I work also at figuring out that I don't have to succeed at every task. Love your example, so true too. You're listening & they keep saying things that they think are "easy". Ha!

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  18. WOWZA! You've come a long way. You are persevering and all your hard work is paying off. I agree telling students that learning something is easy, is a lie. To truly learn, is to grapple, think, re-think, problem-solve, and question along the way. You have a great post to show students that learning is difficult but worth it

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    1. Thanks Crystal, you've summarized it all beautifully!

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  19. I read this post a couple of times....from the eye of the wanna be crafter and from the perspective of a teacher ./ learner. It's so true that we learn best by doing....Your hard work and the sense of accomplishment are palpable!

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    1. Thanks Anita- I did work hard, & it is something I want to be sure to acknowledge in our students too.

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  20. Oh my gosh, I am so impressed. I'm like you. I get very impatient and want to complete a project quickly. I also love how you've connected to your students. It's important for us to remember our own frustrations when we watch our students go through the same thing.

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    1. Thanks Julie, yes, I guess I wanted to prove to myself that I could figure this out. Some of our students don't have that habit yet, and some do. I think it's part of our job to gently push them along so that they discover that they can do something hard.

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  21. Wow, Linda! What perseverance and creativity you displayed! Thanks for the numerous photos and the teaching advice!

    A question from a novice blogger: what does OLW stand for?

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    1. There is a movement started by a person who runs online creativity classes (art/scrapbooking, etc.) who began an entire year of prompts for people who wanted a One Little Word (OLW) to guide them. I don't do the class anymore, but liked it when I did, I just choose a word & journal about it, or write about it here sometimes. Google it & you'll get the whole scoop. Thanks for coming by, and I just brought your gardening post up! Will be over!

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  22. Lovely post! So enjoying your progress with the weaving. can't wait to see the finished piece. Such perseverance. something we need to encourage more.

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    1. Thank you, Beverley. I have an idea of what I want to do, but we'll see if I can make it work while weaving. Hope you are doing well!

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  23. I think that it's in Choice Words that Peter Johnston talks about never telling someone that a task that they are trying to learn is easy--what a powerful reminder this post is of that important message! Your weaving looks good, Linda. I am looking forward to seeing how it grows.

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    1. Thanks for reminding me about those words, Melanie. I just read Opening Minds with a group at school, but haven't read Choice Words in a while, so didn't remember. I wish I had more time (doesn't everyone) to work more at it now! Soon!

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  24. Totally in awe! I don't know if I would have been brave enough to start, or had the patience to persevere when the going got tough! Can't wait to see this project unfold!

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  25. Good for you, Linda, for sticking with this. I'm so impressed with your progress! I love how you linked your experience to teaching. It's so important that we remember that very few things are easy the first time. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. You're very welcome, Catherine. Busy weekend, again, but it was worth it! Hope you have a great week!

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  26. Yikes! Those directions look dreadfully scary! I admire you just for trying... and especially for sticking with it! :-)

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    1. thanks Jennifer! I hope it's smooth sailing from now on!

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  27. This is fantastic! The steps you take your readers through - what a great lesson in life-long learning!

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    1. Thanks Suparna, I think it's going to be wonderful to do, & I really did connect to the learning we ask students to do, too.

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Having a conversation is a good thing!