A Girl Scout troop visited the Weavers Guild on Saturday for a fun session of mug rug weaving and learning about spinning. The visit was requested by Jess Comstock, the Service Unit Manager for the Coon Rapids Area Girl Scouts (Mississippi Service Unit). It was part of the troop’s “Mystery Day,” during which they visited many attractions, all secret to the girls and the eleven adult chaperones until the day of the trip. The Weavers Guild was a great stop for the 34 students who ranged from 4th grade to 12th grade, and their eleven adult chaperones. They filed in and divided into two groups, seventeen in the Sample Room with Carol Harrington and seventeen in the Rug Room with Anne Claflin. Surprisingly, they were into weaving within a couple of minutes after they arrived. I heard one girl exclaim, after about only five minutes, “I LIKE this.” While the girls began weaving, I spoke with the parents about the Guild and the Textile Center, and then began to bring groups of five to seven girls out of the weaving rooms and into the Spinning Room, where Ann Griggs had a beautiful display of fleece, yarn, equipment, and spinning wheels. She passed around a plastic bag with unwashed fleece in it. “Don’t touch it, it’s dirty; just smell it,” Ann instructed. The girls scrunched up their noses at the barnyard-y smell. It was instructional to see examples of unwashed fleece, then washed, then combed, then roving.
And they love colorful yarn. Many girls were drawn to a bright variegated nubbly yarn which turned out to cause more issues than it was worth. It tangled up and the fuzziness made it difficult to beat in. We took it out of the box. Carol found just a little time to demonstrate weaving on a floor loom, and reported that the girls were fascinated. Both Anne and Carol thought it would have been good to start the activity by showing some examples of woven items, and discussing how much of our clothing is made from woven cloth.
Ann and Anne and Carol deserve many thanks for diving in and working with the girls, and for offering their advice and discussing their experiences once the girls left. Even though this was a successful activity, we learned (and documented) many lessons about timing and class size and activities that will help in setting up similar ventures in the future. But maybe not next week.