Stick Weaving


Stick weaving is a simple and versatile weaving method that may have been brought to Europe by the Crusaders, but there is little evidence. The North American Indians were using this method to create straps and belts in the Great Lakes area when the French trappers came across them in the 1500’s.

Materials & Tools:

  • Length of wooden dowel of about 1cm thickness and at least 0.75m long (lolly sticks could be used as an alternative)
  • Wool/Yarn of various colours of choice
  • Drill & bit
  • Saw
  • Scissors or craft knife

Preparation:

  • Cut the dowel into two (or more) weaving sticks of length around 30-40cm
  • Drill a small hole near the bottom of the weaving sticks, being careful to ensure the hole is through the middle of the stick
  • Thread wool through one hole of a weaving stick and create a loop of around 40-60cm (repeat with the other stick)
  • Tie both ends of the looped wool together so that the ends of the loop bind the sticks together
  • Loosely tie the wool/yarn to be used for the weaving to the middle of one of the sticks
  • Hold both sticks in one hand and the loose wool/yarn in the other

Objective:

  • Start to weave by simply wraping the wool/yarn around both sticks in a continual figure of 8 pattern (not too tightly)
  • Knot on new colours of wool/yarn as desired
  • As the weave builds up, start to move it down the sticks and on to the looped string, but make sure some of the weave remains on the sticks
  • When your weave is complete, move it all down to the looped string and cut the string just beneath the holes in the sticks
  • Tie remains of string and wool/yarn togther when finished (see image right)
  • To create a wider weave, use more sticks that are all tied together and weave the wool/yarn around all sticks in a figure of 8 pattern
  • If you wish to create a tube, use an odd number of sticks. When your weave gets to the last stick, continue weaving with the first stick as your next stick, so you will be weaving in a circle instead of back and forth.

In the 18th century stick weaving was taught to  young children for dexterity and beginning weaving skills.

Fun and easy to do, stick weaving can used to create a scarf, belt, camera or guitar strap. Attach several weaves together to make larger items such as blankets, pillows, rugs or even wall hangings.

Tips:

  • Always make sure that some of the weave remains on the sticks until you have completely finished. If you push it all down onto the looped string, it becomes much harder to weave.
  • Do not weave too tightly as it make it harder to push down the sticks and onto the looped string

Further Activity Examples:

  • Discussion on the activity:
    • What clothing could you make using this weave technique
    • What other materials could be used to weave (e.g. string, yarn, rope, cotton, silk)
  • Weaving techniques through the ages
  • Wider discussions on:
    • Cloth production
    • Where does wool come from?
    • Different types of materials for clothes
    • Trade routes for cloth

 

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