Monday, 25 July 2016

We try some weaving

Last week, we had a go at basket weaving using a plastic milk bottle as a base, taking it with us as a group activity for our local home education group meetup. Along with the other children, M found it fiddly as the plastic kept bending inwards. She got the hang of it after a while, but at six years old, M likes quick projects that produce fast results. She wanted the basket and did a fair amount of the weaving without complaint, but half way through wanted me to do it for her. I helped of course, but pushed her a little into completing her basket herself. The results are charming and M loved it, immediately taking both baskets (I made one too) and claiming them for her own.
Simple baskets woven on plastic milk bottles. The handles are also made from milk bottle. I've used Duck tape on the tops and handle to finish.
I wanted to build on the experience, but without the frustrations M had experienced working on the plastic bottle.

A while back, Dave bought me a book called Weaving Without A Loom (Sarita R. Rainey). Now due to life busy-ness, I've not really had much of an opportunity to try any of the ideas in this book, but with M getting a little older and following on from last week's baskets, I wanted to try some of the easier projects to see how she got on.

I decided to start with paper weaving, as the supplies are readily available around our house. We had a go at home so I could give M one to one attention, before taking the same craft to group the next day.

The idea is simple, we drew an outline in crayon onto a piece of construction paper, incorporating an area in the design to weave and representing it with parallel lines. The lines don't have to be regular in shape or length, they are there to be woven into. The design was cut out and the lines were also cut, making slits.

If I was doing this on my own, I'd have probably used a craft knife and mat, but doing this with M we used children's safety scissors. The lines weren't as crisp, but more than acceptable.

For our first attempt, I suggested we make trees as we are doing a project on trees at the moment. I also thought the shapes would be easy to draw and incorporate some weaving.

Once the design had been cut out, we cut some strips in a contrast colour and wove them through the slits. The ends were secured with a glue stick, then the whole thing is glued onto another piece of construction paper.
My design is on the left, M's is on the right.
In my case, I decided to cut the resulting design out, which could then have been used in another picture to complete the design.

M preferred to leave hers on the contrast paper as it was.

I thought it worked well. M had completed the brief, we both had acceptable woven paper designs, but M wasn't happy. She said my tree was beautiful but didn't like hers. I thought it was lovely, very Dr Seuss like and said so, but M protested that she wasn't trying to make a tree look like something out of a Dr Seuss book.

I suggested that maybe trees didn't inspire her in terms of art and that perhaps she could incorporate the weaving into another design. M's little eyes lit up and she immediately started a second picture, on a topic more to her liking.
M's ballerina with a woven tutu, complete with background figures. M elected to weave in a slightly different shade of blue.
And next day, without any instruction or help, she produced another similar piece at the home ed group.
M's dancer.
I meanwhile decided to make a goldfish.
My goldfish.
Paper weaving like this is certainly doable for small children. Her own designs have a certain charm and stand well on their own as pieces of art. I liked my own goldfish a lot. It was easy to create and I could see how it would build up into an interesting and eye catching collage.

Saturday, 9 July 2016

A girls first bike ride

Today's achievement was to get the tag-along bicycle up and running.

This has taken Dave a few weeks to achieve and it still needs some tweaking, but today we finally got to take the bike to the park for its inaugural ride.

M was super excited and could hardly wait as first Dave tried towing the tag-along, then I had a go before we allowed her to hop on. It has been about seven years since I last cycled, so the pressure was on not to fall off as I was the first one to pull M around the park. It was hard work! M has no bicycle experience, so doesn't know how to lean and was laughing a lot as we set up, leading to a lot of wobbling. Thankfully, I managed to pull out of the wobble but it was touch and go a few times. Hair raising stuff.
Dave and M, trying out the tag-along.
Once we were off, Dave and I took it in turns riding around the park for the next half an hour or so, before I declared it was time to stop. M didn't protest too much as I suspect her bottom had begun to go stiff. Instead she had fun playing with a couple of children for a little while, then we walked home.

I'd call the ride a success, but we might need to practice a bit to build up stamina for the Coventry Skyride, which we're booked onto at the beginning of next month.