作者：Todd, Mattie Phipps
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Weaving on a Hand LoomShowing the necessary positions. The rug the little girl is weaving is made of heavy carpet wool. The body of the rug is golden brown, with stripes of deep blue and green, separated by narrow stripes of white
For many years we, the teachers of the United States assembled in village, city, State, and national conventions, have recited our creed and chanted it in all keys.
We believe that man is a trinity, three in one—head, heart, and hand, one soul made manifest; we believe that this union is vital and indissoluble, since "what God hath joined together" may not be rent asunder; we believe that this three-fold man, being "put to school" on earth to grow, may devise and bring to successful issue no scheme of education that is out of harmony with the plan of the Creator.
Congratulating ourselves upon our ready and distinct utterance of this lofty thought, we have calmly returned to our man-devised book-schools for the acquisition of knowledge, in order to forward some plan for the accumulation of more knowledge.
Deeds, not words, are now necessary
But "wisdom lingered"! Here and there voices were raised that would not be silenced: "You sang your beautiful song; what are you going to do about it?" In the words of John Stuart Mill, "It is now time to assert in deeds, since the power of words is well-nigh exhausted."
Investigators, studying this union of head and hand from the physiological side, hurled truths at us that startled us from our lethargy.
Every stimulus poured into nerve cells through the avenues of the senses tends to pass out in motor action, which causes muscular movement. In every idea are vitally united the impression and the tendency to expression in action. The nervous system consists of the fibres which carry currents inward, the organs of central redirection, and the fibres which carry them outward—sensation, direction, action. Since control means mental direction of this involuntary discharge of energy (directed muscular movement), control of the muscles means development of will as well as of skill. To prevent or cut off the natural outflow of nervous energy results in fatigue and diseased nerves. Unrestrained and uncontrolled expenditure of nervous energy results in lawlessness and weakened will.
Men of science said: "These are facts about man. What account have you made of them in your elaborate system for educating him?"
Students of sociological and economic problems called out to us as the teachers of men:
Labor must be respected
These great problems concerning the relation of labor and capital (the brotherhood of man) will never be solved until there is greater respect for labor; greater appreciation of the value of the products of labor; until there is more joy to the worker in his labor, which should be the expression through his hand, of the thought of his head, and the feeling of his heart; until labor is seen in its true light, as service; until the man with money as well as the man without learns through experience to respect and appreciate labor and its products. "We absorb only so much as we can interpret in terms of our own active experience."
What contributions are our schools making to the bettering of social and industrial conditions?
Philosopher and poet—thinker and seer—send their message:
"That life is wisest spent Where the strong, working hand Makes strong the working brain."
To create, to make something, is the instinct of divinity in humanity, the power that crowns man as divine.
"It is his impulse to create Should gladden thee."
The will to do
The practical business man thunders his protest at us against the inefficiency of the man with only the knowledge-stored brain. He says: We must have men that can will to do, and then do something, not merely men that can think of things "'twere good to do." Our public schools must train men and women to go out and take their place with the workers of the world, to do something well and effectively.
Systematic hand-training the work of to-day
At last we are awake, and throughout the country we are trying to heed these calls, and to revive our own weakened thought by action, singing our creed in deeds. Upon the foundations laid by Friedrich Froebel and his students in the kindergarten, we are trying to build up a course in systematic hand-training, through the primary, to intermediate and grammar grades, and thence to manual training in the high schools. What to do and how to do it has now become the practical problem of the day. Everywhere the wide-awake primary teacher is sharing her thought and experience with her co-workers.
For little children, the what must utilize material suitable for little fingers, and tools must be large. The finished product should belong to the maker, or be made by him as a service rendered to others; the result should also be worthy of keeping or giving, from the view-points of both beauty and utility.
Another important factor is the adaptation to present public-schoolroom conditions, and to present public-school treasury conditions.
Weaving the best hand work for primary schools
More thoughtful study has led to the abandonment of the old-time sewing and fine handwork in kindergarten and primary school. In its place we find the weaving of useful and beautiful articles, out of various available materials, and with simple, primitive tools—allowing always for much and varied use of the great tools, the fingers.
It is interesting to note that teachers in all parts of the country, working independently of each other, have come to practically the same conclusions, viz., that under present conditions, weaving seems the best basis for a systematic course in industrial work that shall train head and heart as well as hand. It is also of great interest to remember that the signboards along the pathway of race development, by means of work, exchange of labor and its products, all point to this idea as the entering gateway. Weaving is the first industry of all primitive peoples.
This manual the result of study and experience
Being practically agreed as to what shall be the first industrial work in the primary school, the next great question is the how. With large numbers of little children in her own schoolroom, the author of this manual has long sought a satisfactory answer. Believing that the results of her study and experience will be helpful to others in suggesting possibilities, and in stimulating thought, as well as in practical teaching and time-saving, she sends forth this little book with the earnest hope that it may in these ways be of real service.
Alice W. Cooley,
Critic Teacher and Instructor, University of North Dakota.
August 1st, 1902.
THE PRIMITIVE LOOM
History of weaving
Weaving, the oldest of the industrial arts, dates back so far that no one can say when or where it had its beginning. We read in Genesis iii, 21, that when Adam was driven from the Garden of Eden he wore a coat of skin; but, not long after, according to Professor Hurwitz, the descendants of Adam wore an upper garment called the simla, which consisted of a piece of cloth about six yards long and two or three wide, greatly resembling a blanket (Ashenhurst). This might have been woven from vegetable fibres, perhaps from wool, but in what manner we do not know. The warp and woof of linen and woolen garments is mentioned in Leviticus xiii, 47, 48.
Spinning and weaving have been practised by the Chinese, Hindoos, and Egyptians for thousands of years and carried by them to great proficiency. The Israelites were probably familiar with the art of weaving before their sojourn in Egypt, but it was there that they attained the skill which enabled them to execute the hangings in the Tabernacle. Joseph's "coat of many colors" is a proof that dyeing existed at a very early period, and the eloquent writings of Ezekiel tell us of the beautiful colored cloths of Tyre and Damascus.
Migration of weaving
From the ancient world the art of weaving passed through Europe and became known in England after the Roman conquest. No doubt primitive weaving with vegetable fibres, and perhaps with wool, was known in a very crude way before that time. How the art developed, and how improvement followed improvement, makes very interesting reading for the student of textile fabrics.
Weaving as the first industrial art
We know that weaving is the first industrial art practised by primitive peoples, from the fact that it is found among the savages of Central Africa (Park) and the islands of the sea. "Clavigero, in his history of Mexico, shows that on the conquest of that country, weaving was found to be practised by the natives." (Ashenhurst.)
Method of pushing the woof
The Egyptians are supposed to have been inventors of the loom. There were two kinds in use, one horizontal and the other perpendicular. Instead of a shuttle they used a stick with a hook at one end, which was used also as a batten. Herodotus says that it was the practice of the Egyptians to push the woof downwards, and this method is pictured in many paintings; but one representation found at Thebes shows a man pushing it upwards. The former method is, I believe, the one generally used by all nations, and it certainly seems the easier way. Martin's description of a Hindoo loom in his "Circle of the Mechanical Arts" is interesting: "The loom consists merely of two bamboo rollers, one for the warp and the other for the web, and a pair of gears. The shuttle performs the double office of shuttle and batten, and for this purpose is made like a huge netting needle, and of a length somewhat exceeding the breadth of the cloth. This apparatus the weaver carries to a tree, under which he digs a hole large enough to contain his legs and the lower part of the gear. He then stretches his warp by fastening his bamboo rollers, at a due distance from each other on the turf, by wooden pins. The balance of the gear he fastens to some convenient branch of the tree over his head. Two loops underneath the gear, in which he inserts his great toes, serve instead of treadles, and his long shuttle, which also performs the office of batten, draws the weft through the warp, and afterwards strikes it up close to the web."
Crude implements used by primitive peoples
Patience and dexterity necessary
Ashenhurst says: "It is very evident that the implements used, not only by the early Egyptians, but by other contemporaneous nations, and even by the Hindoos at the present time, were of the rudest possible character, and nothing but the most exemplary patience, dexterity, and great delicacy of hand, acquired by long traditionary habit, can account for the extraordinary beauty and fineness of their textile productions." This exemplary patience, dexterity, and great delicacy of hand is exactly what we claim that weaving develops in our children to-day.
Primitive loom in the public schools
The primitive loom, as it is made for use in the public schools, is familiar to almost every teacher. It consists of a wooden frame, in the two ends of which are fastened brads at intervals of half an inch. The warp is strung around these brads. There is no variation either in the size of the rug or in the width of the warp to afford opportunity for different materials. This is a decided objection, as a new frame has to be made every time a change is desired. The first difficulty encountered is the drawing in of the sides of the rug, which is almost impossible to avoid, even with the utmost care. Photographs of work in the leading educational magazines, as well as samples of teachers' work, all show the same defect. The Indians obviate this difficulty by twisting two stout cords in the edge of the woof during the process of weaving. (See illustration on page 135.) In one school, where the work in this respect was fairly well done, the teacher was asked how she accomplished the result. Her reply was, "Oh, I make them pull it out every time it draws." Poor, patient little fingers! One can imagine the thoughts which were woven into that imperfect rug by the discouraged little worker. Another disadvantage of the primitive loom is that the child must bend over it while weaving, and if, by chance, he turns it over to examine the other side of the work, the brads are apt to leave an unsightly impression on the desk.
Success in doing
One of Froebel's fundamental principles is that a child should never be allowed to fail—that his work should be so adapted that he will succeed every time, and that he should be led step by step as his power grows, to something more difficult.
"One thing is forever good, That one thing is success."
We have all experienced the joy of success in one way and another. Let us help the children to have the same experience.
Idea of the "new education"
Public school conditions
The idea of the "new education" is that the child should work out his own salvation—that having wrestled with the difficulties involved in weaving on the primitive loom, he should proceed not only to invent, but to construct a newer and more improved loom. In model schools, where the classes are limited to ten, or sometimes fewer children, with one teacher and several assistants, this idea, if carried out, is ideal, and perhaps practical. But what shall be said of the public-school teacher who has fifty children and no assistants; or, which is even more objectionable, and which is the case in many of our crowded schools, what of the teacher with two sessions of fifty children each? It was the effort to solve a problem of this kind that led to the invention of the Todd adjustable hand loom.The Todd adjustable hand loom, Style b
Description of the Todd loom
Finishing the work
Removing the work
The full size of the loom is 10 × 13 inches, upon which a rug 9 × 12 inches can be woven. It is made adjustable to innumerable smaller square and oblong sizes, by two devices. To regulate the length, the head piece, which is movable, can be let down on brass buttons, which are disposed along the sides at intervals of an inch. Perforations are placed half an inch apart in the head and foot pieces so that the side rods can be moved inward to regulate the width. They also insure straight edges, since the woof threads are passed around them as the work progresses. The rods also serve another important function as fulcrums upon which the needle may be pressed up and down, so that it passes more easily over and under the successive warp strings. The notches are one-sixteenth inch and the teeth one-eighth inch apart, giving opportunity for warp one-half, three-eighths, and three-sixteenths inches wide. The loom has an easel support, so that the pupil need not bend over it—an important consideration in school classes, and in home work as well. This support makes it possible to use the loom for an easel in the painting lessons, by resting a piece of pasteboard against it. The needle, which is longer than the warp is wide, serves also as a heddle in pressing the woof threads together evenly. It is furnished with an eye for worsted, chenille, carpet ravelings, or rope silk, and three slits for rags. To thread the needle with rags, pass the strip up and down through the slits and back again under the strip through the first slit. This binds the strip securely. In finishing the work weave the last few woof threads with a large tape needle, putting it up and down, over one thread at a time, as you would sew on canvas. It has been found desirable with children to push about an inch of woof threads close to the head piece and then fill in the space. Care should be taken not to pull the woof too tight. If these directions are followed and the warp is strung correctly the strings will not slip out of the notches. In adjusting the loom it will be found that the width from rod to rod is a little more than is required. For instance, for a rug nine inches wide, the width from rod to rod will be about nine and one-half inches. This is to allow for the springing together when the work is finished. To remove it from the loom, pull the rods gently upward and out. Then lift the warp strings out of the notches.The Todd adjustable hand loom, Style a
Use of the primitive loom
The primitive loom can be used by following these same directions, but the work will, of course, be limited.
For school and home work
While a great deal of the work is intended for the schoolroom, many suggestions are given for home weaving, in making various articles for birthday and holiday gifts.
A CHAT ON WEAVING
Weaving trains both hands
The three-fold development
Weaving is the art of interlacing threads, yarns, filaments, or strips of different material, so as to form a cloth or fabric. It is an ideal occupation, not only for little children, but for older ones as well, affording admirable opportunities for the development of head, hand, and heart. It trains both hands in deftness and proves a delight to the left-handed child, who for the joy of using his left hand again, will plod patiently across with the right. The fat little hands soon learn to grasp the large needle, and the nerves and muscles of both hand and arm are strengthened by daily use. Both hand and eye are trained in accuracy, and the training in patience, perseverance, industry, economy in the use of materials, perception, concentration, dexterity, and self-reliance cannot be overestimated. The heart, too, has its part in the joy of giving to others, for the children are encouraged to make little gifts for the home. A consciousness of power comes, also, with experience; and a sense of self-respect arises when the child realizes that he is of some use in the world.
Knowledge of principles necessary
Lois Bates, in her "Kindergarten Guide," says that "in the manufacturing districts of England great numbers of the children who pass through the elementary schools are employed in mills where weaving is carried on, or enter textile schools to learn designing in cloth. If this occupation of mat-weaving could be continued until the children had a thorough knowledge of its principles, how much intelligence might be brought to bear on the actual weaving and how much more pleasure might the worker draw from labor that is often looked upon as so much mechanical drudgery!" The keynote for this is the thorough knowledge which is necessary, whether or not our children are to enter textile schools. Whatever they do, let them do it thoroughly. It should always be a question of quality, not quantity.
Simple weaving the first essential
Mats as a preparation for loom weaving
Slat interlacing and splint work lead to basketry
For this reason I have taken up, quite at length, the subject of first steps in weaving, believing that children should be kept at simple weaving until they understand the principles thoroughly. The felt and paper mats prepare the way for loom-weaving; the free paper weaving, and the slats and splints for basketry. A few suggestions on the use of the slats and splints have been given for two reasons: First, for the training which they afford in dexterity and great delicacy of touch, to say nothing of exemplary patience; and second, because the preliminary training for basketry should be given in the lower primary grades. The time necessary to train clumsy fingers can hardly be taken from the regular work in grades where basketry is a prescribed course.
"Skill in the fundamental methods of weaving is essential even as the fingers must be trained in music before the soul of the musician can find its expression. Make good baskets first, simple in shape, strong in texture, suited to the purpose for which they are intended; unconsciously they will grow beautiful. The most intricate basket will fail in its purpose if the joinings are careless or flaws in workmanship permitted. If originality is within the weaver, it will find its expression, once the principles of weaving are second nature." (C. S. Coles.) This is also true of rug and mat weaving, for the aim of all training should be to bring out the best there is in a child.