The ancient craft of weaving is found in countries all over the world. People have woven yarn and fibers to make useful items such as clothing and rugs as well as beautiful tapestries that hang in castles, museums, and churches.
Most weaving is done on a machine called a loom. Before the actual weaving process can begin, the craftsman or weaver must first string the loom. These threads are called the warp, and the yarn that is woven over and under them is called the weft.
Weaving does not have to be done on a traditional loom, however. It's possible to weave on anything that can be strung with the warp threads. This includes recyclable items like cardboard, an old picture frame, or sticks you collect in your yard or along a river bank.
We can even weave on soda straws! You may have a few unused straws from fast food restaurants in your car's glove box or a kitchen drawer. Help save landfill space by recycling them to make a simple loom.
There are many items you can weave on a soda straw loom. You may want to make a bracelet or a bookmark. If you are making a bracelet, cut all the straws so they are about 4 or 5 inches long. The straws for a bookmark should be about 6 or 7 inches long.
Now you are ready to warp or thread the loom. Measure the length of a straw and add 5 or 6 inches to this number. Cut one piece of yarn this length for each straw in your loom. Thread the straw by dropping the yarn through it. This may be easier to do if you shake a threaded needle through each straw.
With their ends even, tie an overhand knot in the strands of yarn. Push the straws up to the knot, and tape them together at the top by running the tape around the straws, front to back. Now you are ready to weave! Tie one end of the yarn onto an outside straw just below the tape.
Start weavingby going over that straw and under the next.
Continue the over-under pattern until you want to change colors. Knot the yarn onto an outside straw, and cut it off from the ball or skein.
Weaving on straws with a large diameter, like milk shake straws, will be easier to thread. You can recycle used straws for this project, but be sure to rinse well before using. This loom is small, so you can take it with you on car trips and to doctor appointments. Probably the best thing about the soda straw loom is that it can be used over and over and over again!
Begin a new color as before, and continue weaving. Tuck loose ends inside the weaving. If you use yarn made of several colors (variegated), you will need to tie only the knots at the beginning and end, because colors will change automatically.
When you come to the end of the soda straws, tie off the yarn and cut it. Remove the masking tape. Hold the weaving lightly in one hand as you pull out the straws, one at a time. Push the weaving up to the knot, and finish it by tying another overhand knot in the other end just below the weaving. If necessary, trim the ends so they are even.
It's possible to weave something longer, like a headband or belt, with a soda straw loom. Just make sure the ones that go through the straws (warp threads), are long enough to tie around your head or waist. Don't cut the straws, because you will need all the length and then some.
When you are weaving a longer item and you come to the end of the straws, remove the masking tape. Then move some of the weaving off the straws and up onto the warp threads. Do this by pulling the straws partially out of the weaving, being careful to leave the last inch or so attached to the straws. Repeat this process as often as necessary, and continue weaving till you come to the end.