Weaving is a great handwork project for children who want to use yarn like mama but aren't ready yet for knitting. Making a cardboard loom is a really easy project. The weaving itself can take quite a bit of time and is a good exercise for the will! Jack's weaving sits in a basket while it isn't being used and can sometimes take him more than a month to finish, or just a week if he is really motivated.
To make a cardboard loom weaving you will need:
a thick piece of cardboard
twine (or 4 ply cotton yarn if no twine)
lots of scrap yarn
Start with a piece of thick cardboard, any size you like, this one is about 5 1/2'' x 11". It is cut from the back of a Strathmore pad of watercolor paper. Cut evenly spaced slits about 1/2" deep along the two short sides.
Using cotton twine or 4 ply cotton yarn, tie a knot in the loose end (actually tie about three knots on top of each other so it is a big knot). Hook the knot through a slit on an end and pull the yarn taut down the the corresponding slit on the other edge. Then bring the yarn around the back and up to the next slit on the first edge. I'm having a hard time describing this, but basically you want it to look like this on both sides (keep your yarn going all the way across, the whole loom should be filled). You could just loop the yarn around each slit but I have found this weakens the little bits of cardboard.
To end your warp string, pull your yarn to the last slit. Use a marker to mark where the knot should be in order to hold the yarn taut.
In that picture the yarn is no longer super taut, so the mark has slipped back a bit. But when I pulled hard on the yarn it matched up with the end of the slit. Tie another knot 3x and slip it through the slit. Now you are ready to weave!
For a young child, under 9 I would say, cut lots of lengths of yarn about 4" longer than the width of the loom. Older children could use any length of yarn and weave back and forth for more than one line of weaving, but younger children find it difficult not to yank hard on the yarn when weaving back across and this causes the weaving to bow in and have a weird, varying gauge. So each length of yarn will be good for one line of weaving.
Each piece of yarn should go over, under, over, under and the next piece of yarn should go the opposite - under, over, under, over. It is okay if an occasional mistake is made in the order, but if it happens too often the weaving won't hold together when it is removed from the loom. I do sometimes go back at night and make a few corrections for this pattern to work.
I'll write out directions on how to finish off your weaving and turn it into a wall hanging as soon as we get to that point. Let me know if you get there before us. A few minutes after Jack started weaving he decided to teach Lucy and she has really taken to it. Looks like I'll be making another loom tomorrow. When we were in our local yarn store the other day, Jack was looking closely at yarn and the owner asked Jack if he was a knitter and he proudly replied, "No, but I am a weaver."