Making a nature loom is something you can do with the materials you have at hand. These looms can be very inexpensive, fun to build, and absolutely beautiful! Really, they can be whatever you make of them — you just need two things to string the loom between. I’ve seen pictures of looms with wood frames that have a permanent place in the landscape. I’ve seen looms that are more spontaneous and may only exist for a few days. Whatever your imagination dreams up, just go with it!
I think the coolest thing about a nature loom is the activities it inspires. You and your little ones can hunt for and collect natural materials to weave into the loom. Leaves, blades of grass, flowers, yarn, strips of fabric…a combination of scavenged natural and household materials will maximize the color, textural qualities, and tactile experience.
Then, the process of weaving these materials into the loom requires your kiddos to slow down and focus, use their fine motor skills to weave in the small nature bits, and engage their creativity to make their weaving something special.
It’s was a cold morning in early March. I remember standing at our dining nook window looking out at our sensory garden. Winter still had its clutches on us. The garden had not woken up yet and the colors everywhere were grey and muted. I wanted so bad for something out there to say “Hang on, girlfriend! Spring’s a-comin’!!” We need some daaaaaang color. We need something vibrant. We need something to do outside.
That prior October I installed two obelisks I purchased online from Plow & Hearth (click the link for the exact ones I bought). Well, they were standing in the garden looking bored. Yep, they’re going to be the loom. Pretty soon I was looping my jute twine up and down the obelisk rungs, all the way around. There’s no magic in how many loops you need to do. I’m pretty sure I went overboard with looping, but, whatever.
Again, it was early March. There really wasn’t much in the way of natural materials to use so the girls and I grabbed my <very large> bag of scrap yarn. We selected the brightest yarn and cut pieces about 18” – 24” long. We cut a whole bag full and headed back out to the garden. We (well, I at this point…the girls found some mud) took about 4-5 pieces of yarn and wove them in and out of the twine all around the obelisk. I started at the bottom and worked my way to the top. I’ll be honest. It took me a few days of working a little at a time (sometimes I marvel at how parents can get anything done). It was fun. It was meditative. The girls did jump in. They also stole yarn to make a fairy hammock. Whatever floats your boat.
So, the loom, for our family, is an on-going thing. I’ve moved on to the second obelisk. I won’t embarrass myself and tell you how long it took me to do this. Now that it’s late April the girls find spring violets and Johnny Jumps Ups and poke them into the loom. I’ve seen bits of paper birch bark, dead lavender flower stalk, dandelions, and other treasures. They do this when I’m not around. Decorating the loom has become just another part of their daily life with our garden. How long will the loom last? I’m not sure. Maybe something else will inspire us and we’ll create something else. But, I know for a fact, nature looms will pop up perennially in our sensory garden. They’re just too beautiful to ignore.