Lesson 3: The Yarn is Woven

This lesson develops pupils’ understanding of the weaving process in the past and present through an artistic task and engagement with video demonstrations. Pupils have an opportunity to carry out their own weaving and will understand that weavers, including those from the Ulster-Scots community, were highly skilled.

Main Areas of Curricular Focus

Lesson Plan

 

Learning Intentions

Learning Intentions

Pupils will:

  • develop creative and artistic skills through a practical task allowing them to weave a colourful table mat;
  • understand the terms horizontal, vertical, parallel and perpendicular;
  • explore problem solving strategies when designing a table mat;
  • know the difference between the warp and weft threads in weaving;
  • understand the weaving process by observing a video-based demonstration of handloom weaving; and
  • know that over time the weaving process has been developed through innovations such as mechanisation and computerisation.
  • woven
  • warp
  • weft
  • hand shuttle
  • bleach greens

Starter

Starter

Background to Weaving the Yarn into Cloth

Remind pupils of the spinning process, and how it ends with the yarn collected on a bobbin. Explain that to make long pieces of cloth, big machines called looms are needed. Display Resource 2.18: Weaver’s Loom (IWB) showing what a loom looked like when linen was produced in cottages.

It was very complicated to set up the threads on the loom for weaving. The threads had to be attached individually to the warp beam. And there could be thousands of threads! So setting the loom up to weave the threads together was a very long job. It could take a week or more. See a demonstration of setting the loom and handloom weaving on this video.

The weaver is using a hand shuttle to draw the weft threads across the warp. Emphasise that this shows a woman weaving, but in the eighteenth century weavers were normally men.

To show a more mechanised process you could show the video clip of weaving at a power loom in the York Street Mill, Belfast:

  • woven
  • warp
  • weft
  • hand shuttle
  • bleach greens

Resources

Resource 2.18: Weaver’s Loom (IWB)

Main Lesson

Main Lesson

Weaving a Table Mat

Introduce the terms ‘warp’ and ‘weft’. Show an image like the one below (to illustrate that the warp runs from top to bottom and the weft from side to side), see Resource 2.19: Warp and Weft (IWB). First ask the pupils to observe and then explain what the difference is between the warp and the weft.

Pupils work in pairs to ‘weave’ their own table mat. Cut out long thin strips of coloured card (one colour for warp, a different colour for weft). Each strip should be 30 cm long. Weave together into a square, as in the image, to illustrate warp and weft.

You may also wish pupils to investigate some of the following:

  • How does the width of the strip affect the pattern?
  • What fraction of each weft and warp is on the top section of the weave? Can you convert this to a percentage, if appropriate?
  • Explore a variety of methods of calculating the overall area of each colour of strip.
  • Explore a variety of methods of calculating the overall perimeter of each colour of strip.
  • Is it possible to use more colours? How does this work?
  • Investigate creating different shapes and styles of weave and how this affects the strength of the weave.
  • Discuss the terms horizontal, vertical, parallel and perpendicular lines.
  • woven
  • warp
  • weft
  • hand shuttle
  • bleach greens

Resources

Resource 2.19: Warp and Weft (IWB)

Plenary

Plenary

Finishing the Process

After weaving, linen is a brown colour and has to be bleached by soaking it in water for several days. That’s why bleach greens were usually near water. Display Resource 2.20: Bleach Green (IWB).

Then the finished cloth is made up into clothes or household goods – show Resource 2.21: Linen Products (IWB). Then it goes to be sold in many different kinds of shops. The white, bleached linen can be dyed to make colourful dresses, shirts, table coverings and so on.

Now you know the story of linen, and how it goes from tiny flax seeds to items for sale.

  • woven
  • warp
  • weft
  • hand shuttle
  • bleach greens

Resources

Resource 2.20: Bleach Green (IWB)

Resource 2.21: Linen Products (IWB)

Assessment Opportunity

Assessment Opportunity

If you wish to assess pupils’ responses to this lesson, see the suggestion below.

Pupils feed back to their partner the outcomes of their mini investigations, for example, how they calculated the area of each colour on their table mat. The partner then feeds back this information to the class.

Think, Pair and Share: Active Learning and Teaching Methods For Key Stages 1&2, page 70.

  • woven
  • warp
  • weft
  • hand shuttle
  • bleach greens

Resources

Think, Pair and Share: Active Learning and Teaching Methods For Key Stages 1&2, page 70

Other Activities

Additional Pupil Activities

1. Visual Literacy

Encourage pupils to be ‘active viewers’ by giving them some questions before they watch this video clip which will help them to be aware of changes over time in the ‘linen story’.

Show a video clip from Ferguson’s Irish Linen which shows a very modern weaving and design process and finished products.

In preparation for watching the video ask the pupils to think about the following:

  • What machinery do you recognise from watching videos in earlier lessons?
    (They should observe in particular the looms.)
  • How do we know this is much more modern weaving than what we have seen in other films and photographs?
    (Expect comment on the ‘look’ of the looms which are much more smooth and streamlined in appearance; switches and buttons – computerised process; general cleanliness and order; fewer people; people in modern dress etc.)
  • How is the pattern created on the linen cloth?
  • Does the finished cloth look like something you would use every day, or only on special occasions?
    (This can be an opportunity to help pupils understand linen as a ‘high end’ luxury product. The narrator of the film says at the beginning that it is manufactured when an order comes in.)

Questions, without the answers can be displayed using Resource 2.22: Preparatory Questions (IWB).

2. Flax to Fabric

Ask the pupils to use the drop-down menus in Resource 2.23: Flax to Fabric (Online Worksheet) to summarise what they have learned so far about the linen story. This will revise and reinforce understanding of the processes involved in linen production. Answers can be reviewed by displaying Resource 2.24: Flax to Fabric (Answers).

  • woven
  • warp
  • weft
  • hand shuttle
  • bleach greens

Resources

Resource 2.22: Preparatory Questions (IWB)

Resource 2.23: Flax to Fabric
(Interactive PDF Worksheet)
 Please Note: The Interactive PDF Worksheet must be downloaded and opened with Adobe Acrobat.

Resource 2.24: Flax to Fabric (Answers)

Links to Curriculum

Cross-Curricular Skills

Cross-Curricular Skills: Using Mathematics

Children should be given opportunities to develop the skills of applying mathematical concepts, processes and understanding appropriately in a variety of concepts including real life situations. (Mathematics and Numeracy)

Processes in Mathematics

Making and Monitoring Decisions
  • Take increasing responsibility for selecting and using the materials and mathematics required for their work; and
  • Plan and organise their work when making a place mat.
Communicating Mathematically
  • Understand and use mathematical language.
Mathematical Reasoning
  • Recognise general patterns and make predictions about them when designing their table mats.

TS&PC

Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities

  • Thinking, Problem-Solving and Decision-Making (Creating a table mat)
  • Working with Others (Turn taking and being fair when working with a partner)
  • Being Creative (Experiment with ideas)

Active Learning and Teaching Methods

Active Learning and Teaching Methods for Key Stages 1 & 2

These active teaching and learning approaches encourage active participation from pupils, making the learning a more relevant and enjoyable experience.

Pupils feed back to their partner the outcomes of their mini investigations, for example, how they calculated the area of each colour on their table mat. The partner then feeds back this information to the class.

In partnership with  Ulster Scots Agency