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Wartime weaving

Learn about Scouts contributions during the war and try your hand at weaving.
Plan a session with this activity

You will need

  • Scissors
  • Rulers
  • Glue sticks
  • Wool
  • Sticky tape
  • Cardboard

Before you begin

  • Make sure you’ve risk assessed your activity and that you've also got a COVID-19 safe risk assessment that’s been agreed by your line manager. You can check out more detailed guidance here
  • Read through the information on how Scouts worked on the land during the first world war so you’re ready to share it with everyone.
  • Think about how you’ll show everyone what to do – will you make an example along with them, or create a larger loom so everyone can see without getting too close?
  • Make sure you have enough equipment for everyone to have a set each. If you don’t have enough pairs of scissors or balls of wool, wash your hands then cut the cardboard and wool to hand out (staying distanced).

Safety checklist

Use the Safety checklist to help you plan and risk asses your activity. Additional coronavirus-related controls to think about may include:

  • Set up a handwashing station that you can use throughout the session. Make sure people wash their hands before and after using any equipment.
  • Remind everyone to stay at a safe distance when they’re moving around the space.
  • Think about how you’ll hand things out – it won’t work for everyone to help themselves from one big pile.
  • Try to make sure you have enough equipment so people don’t have to share. If you can’t do this, clean equipment between different users or prepare things in advance.

 

Chat about history

  1. The person leading the activity should explain that Scouts helped with farming during the first world war.
  1. Everyone should take a few moments to think about what it must’ve been like for the Scouts who helped on farms. Do people think they realised how much of a difference they were making?
  2. The person leading the activity should remind everyone that flax was a really important crop because it was used to make a tough canvas-like cloth. This activity’s all about giving weaving a go and thinking about the Scouts who helped in the first world war.

Make your loom

  1. Cut a piece of cardboard roughly 15cm by 20cm and two strips of cardboard roughly 1cm by 15cm.
  2. Cut one-centimetre-long slits into the large cardboard rectangle along the two short edges, roughly one centimetre apart. Leave a gap of roughly two centimetres at each edge and make sure that the slits on the top and bottom line up.
  3. Glue the two cardboard strips to the large rectangle roughly one centimetre in from the two short edges, at the end of the slits from step two. One should be near the top and one near the bottom of the large rectangle.
  4. Cut ten 30cm-long pieces of wool.
  5. Thread a piece of wool through one slit at the top, over the two cardboard strips and back through the matching slit at the bottom. Pull the string taught, leaving a tail of roughly two centimetres at each end (behind the cardboard rectangle).
  6. Tape the tails to the back of the cardboard rectangle to hold them in place.
  7. Repeat steps five and six for each slit until your loom has ten strings running from top to bottom, like a ten stringed guitar. These vertical strings are called ‘warp’ threads.

Start weaving

  1. Cut a 60cm piece of coloured wool or string.
  2. Start near the top of your loom and thread the string underneath the first warp thread, over the next, and under the one after. Continue, going over and under the threads until you reach the other side of the loom.
  3. Pull the thread through to leave a tail of a few centimetres at the start.
  4. Start weaving the thread back the opposite way, going under any threads you went over, and over any threads you went under.
  5. Keep weaving backwards and forwards until you get to the end of your string, leaving a tail of a few centimetres at one end.
  1. Get a new piece of thread (choose any colour you like) and start weaving again below the first piece.
  2. Continue until you get to the bottom of your loom. Use as many colours (and make as many patterns) as you can.

Finished fabrics

  1. Once you’ve finished weaving, it’s time to take your creation off the loom.
  2. Remove the tape from the back of the loom and pull the warp threads out of the slits in the top and bottom of the loom. The whole weaving should come away from the loom.
  3. Tie pairs of warp threads to each other at the top and bottom of the weaving: tie threads one and two together, three and four and so on.
  1. Take the tails from the weaving thread and weave them back through a few warp threads before cutting them off.

Reflection

This activity let everyone try something new. Weaving would have been a particularly important skill during the war to make sure there were enough supplies for the soldiers as well as everyone back home. People had to learn new skills all the time to support the country any way they could. Think about what great useful skills everyone might have, or what skills they might want to learn. Learning new skills can take time and patience, but the ability to learn new skills can be a whole skill by itself.

In this activity, everyone thought about Remembrance and how it links to their lives. What did people find out about Remembrance? How did it make them feel? How are people going to take part in Remembrance this year?

Safety

Scissors

Supervise young people appropriately when they’re using scissors. Store all sharp objects securely, out of the reach of young people

Glue and solvents

Supervise young people appropriately when they’re using glue and solvent products. Make sure there’s plenty of ventilation. Be aware of any medical conditions which could be affected by glue or solvent use and make adjustments as needed.

All activities must be safely managed. Do a risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Always get approval for the activity and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.