Weave an Indian Belt
Students will weave yarn a belt on five lengths of string. Straws will be placed on the string to provide a rigid surface upon which to weave. When finished, the straws will be removed from the string and you will be left with a yarn belt.
This is a long term project. Set aside an hour or so to get the students started on the project, then allow students to work independently for a week or more to finish.
Obtain skeins of brightly colored thick school yarn, scissors, heavy weight string, and a box of 500 straight drinking straws (from Smart and Final).
For each student prepare the following:
Five straws and five 1 yd. lengths of string.
Place the five lengths of string parallel to each other. Hold all 5 strings together and tie them together with large knot at one end.
To begin weaving with the students:
Pass out a string set and the 5 straws to each student
Have the students slip one straw on each string and slide them all the way to the knot. To prevent the straws from falling off, tie a very loose knot just below the straws.
Lay the straws flat on the desk with your original knot at the top of the desk and the loose end of the string running right toward the student's stomach. Perhaps lay a heavy book on the top half of the straws or use a length of masking tape to keep the straws flat. Have students select a 2 foot length of yarn. Tie one end of the yarn onto the first straw on the left. Now weave the free end of the yarn over and under from left to right the straws until the yarn comes out on the right side of the straws. Be sure to keep the straws flat at all times! Now reverse the direction, weaving over under over under going from right to left. Each time you reach one side of the straws you should pull the yarn so that it lays smoothly on the straws, but not so tightly that it squeezes the straws. Continue to weave back and forth until you reach the last 4 or 5 inches of yarn. Select another color of yarn, tie it onto the end of the first length, and then simply continue to weave. When you pull the yarn through the straws, be sure to pull the knot you've just created through, too, so you do not leave any big loops of loose yarn.
Continue weaving adding new colors as needed. Eventually you will reach the bottom end of the straws. At this time, lift up the book that you had been using to keep the straws flat, and push (compress) the yarn to the top of your belt . Continue weaving. When you finally have filled the straws completely with your yarn weaving, loosen the knot below the straws and move the straws down several inches. Retie the loose knot below the straws and continue weaving. Weave, change colors, and move the straws down your string.
When you feel you are done, tie the end of the yarn to a straw, simply slide the straws off the string and tie a permanent knot at the bottom of your Indian Belt.
Use more lengths of string to make a wider belt.
Use shorter strings and thinner yarn to make a headband or an armband.