Woven Coasters—Summer Activity for Kids

If you’re looking for a fun, easy, creative, free summer activity for your kids, check this out. It’s free if you have the following materials around the house: sturdy cardboard, random bits of yarn or twine, and fabric you can tear or cut into strips.  Pam at Gingerbread Snowflakes, has more details about the materials in her tutorial for Portable Saori Vacation Weaving.  That’s what got me started down this path.

These little white and blue and yellow coasters were my first project. I decided to turn the corner and weave the yarn back into the piece instead of having fringe on all four sides.

Yarn mug rugs

I also used an embroidery hook to pull the yarn through the weaving since I’m not keen on threading needles.

I made these on a cardboard loom about 4 1/2 inches square with notches every quarter of an inch. I like the scalloped edge that shows up between the colors. When I finished my first one I realized I didn’t have enough yarn left to tie a knot in the ends. I took it to the sewing machine and zigzagged along the top of the fringe to keep the edge in place. Then I used a straight pin to gently unravel the yarn fringe to make it fluffier.

Woven Coasters

I made adjustments so I could tie the ends of subsequent coasters. I ran out of that particular shade of yellow so I found a complimentary shade of pink to finish it up.

Balls of Yarn and Fabric Strips

While I worked on these my mind was spinning with ideas for a basket full of fabric strips I have leftover from a rug making expedition a few years ago. I had in mind a project for kids to make that doesn’t look like a kit craft.

Woven Coaster Looms

First I made looms about 6 inches square with notches at half-inch intervals. For these coaster-size projects I started with eight rows of yarn wrapped around the loom for the warp. Some of the yarn seemed a little skimpy so I doubled it.

The yarn or fabric strips you’ll be weaving with is called the weft. If you follow Pam’s tutorial you’ll see she wrapped the weft yarns all the way around the loom. I’m not sure why, but I didn’t do it that way.  (hmmm…)

Woven Coasters

Instead of leaving a tail for knotting on both sides of the weaving I tied two strips together before starting. Here I used a blue and red fabrics. I started with the red going over the first warp yarn, and the blue strip under the first yarn.

Woven Coasters 1

The half-inch loom makes it easy to weave these strips with just your fingers.

Woven Coaster 2

When each row is finished stretch it across the length of the weaving without pulling it tight. Consistent tension on each row will make it easier to keep the sides square. If you follow Pam’s tutorial and wrap these all the way around the loom that will solve the problem of a skewed finished product.

Woven Coaster 3

Wider spacing and wider strips of fabric will make this go faster and be easier for little fingers to weave.

Blue Coaster

It turned out that this blue one is the right size for a microwaved meal. Very handy.

Check out Megacrafty for some more examples and ideas.

Ticking Stripes Saori
Here’s another one in progress.

Saori Weaving To-Go

As busy as summer is, a lot of time is spent waiting for this or that child to finish a swimming lesson or baseball practice. Keep a saori weaving basket to-go handy for those times. With an extra loom or two you’ll also have a spare for friends to use. You can let your kids pick their own colors, or if you have a theme in mind (like the 4th of July) you can stuff he basket with red, white and blue to limit their choices.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. pam
    Jun 21, 2011 @ 12:22:45

    Look at you go girl! WOW! these are beautiful! And you did a spectacular job with the tutorial showing how you do this with fabric.

    And I am glad to be reminded you have been playing with the crochet hook to draw the yarn/fabric through the warps – I had forgotten about that.

    Thank you for sharing and for playing with me!



  2. Jan
    Jun 21, 2011 @ 22:54:28

    Thanks Pam! Your tutorial is what got me started! For me, using the crochet hook makes all the difference. The needle is probably faster for weaving, but the time I spend threading yarn through the eye of a needle (darn reading glasses!) … sheesh!



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