Wednesday, October 24, 2012

52 Weeks of Fairy Tales Week #36 - The Starry Loom and a Cardboard Loom Project

For Week #36 I am sharing another fairy tale from The Fish Bride and other Gypsy Tales book that I checked out from the Library last month.  I am enjoying the tales in this book so much, I had to hunt down an out of print copy so I could have my own copy of these stories.  You can read more about this book in my fairy tale post about the story Noodle.

The tale that I am sharing this week is called- The Starry loom

This tale is about a Gypsy girl named Sikri who was willful and vain.  One evening is she is headed back to her caravan at midnight, and she fell through a crack in time.

She fell down and down, tumbling around, and finally landed at the feet of an old woman who was weaving.  The loom the old woman was weaving on was decorated with beautiful stars, the spindle and shuttle were silver.  Sikri rudely demanded to know who the old woman was.

The old woman, who did not look up from her work explained that she was the spinster who sat at the gates of time, and that she was as old as the world, everyday and every night she wove patterns on her loom that would take shape on earth.  Sikri realized that this meant that the old woman could tell the future, and the old woman confirmed that this was true.  Sikri looked upon the loom and saw a picture of herself rising in to the heavens, just as had happened to her.  The old woman told her that she should not have been walking around at midnight, and that Sikri was willful and didn't obey anyone.

Sikri sat down to think a bit, then decided that she wanted to know the future and weave it herself, and told the old woman that she wanted to weave right now!  The old woman told Sikri that she didn't know what she was asking.  For three days and nights Sikri kept hounding the old woman, and tried many tricks to get the old woman to let her weave.  But the old woman firmly stayed weaving at her loom.

Finally losing her patience, Sikri decided to push the old woman away from the loom, and when she did, Sikri sat down at the loom and grabbed the shuttle, announcing, " I always get what I want!"  The Old woman replied, "and so you shall", and smiled slyly.

Sikri tried to let go of the shuttle, and she couldn't get it out of her hand, it was stuck, she tried to stand up from the loom, and she couldn't stand up.

The old woman put on her cloak and stared down the sky.  Sikri angrily asked where the old woman was going, the old woman called back over her shoulder " Wherever the wind blows me.  The world is always in need of a wise woman."

That is how it came to be that a Gypsy girl sits at the gates of time, weaving upon the starry loom.

I just absolutely loved this story, it was the first time I had heard it.  Definitely a reminder to be careful what you wish for.

I love fiber arts, and have always wanted to learn weaving, so this story was right up my alley.  One of these days I would love to have a large loom to weave blankets,  until then I will have to play at weaving with smaller looms.  

In my fourth grade class we were doing a term long unit on the Oregon trail, one of our crafts was to weave upon a cardboard loom.  This story reminded me of that craft, and how much I loved it when I was younger, I used the cardboard loom to make a rug for my Barbies.  So for this fairy tale craft I decided to make a cardboard loom.

First I cut out the side of a large cardboard box, then with a ruler marked off ever half inch, then made little triangle cuts with the point every half inch.  The I wound around the yarn all the way around the cardboard taping off both ends, this made the "warp".

I started with a piece of yarn about 8 feet long, you could make the piece shorter for younger children, using a yarn needle, I thread the whole string of yarn through until it reached the end of the first line, weaving under and over every other string.  I tied off the end of the first string to the first string on the bottom left hand side of the warp.  Then I kept weaving over and under, until the first 8 foot string was all the way through, I cut another 8 foot section of yarn, tied it onto the end of the first 8 foot piece of yarn then kept weaving.

As you can see, I made the mistake of tightening the weave to much, so it turned out bigger on one end, next time I will draw guidelines on the edge of the cardboard so I keep it all the same width.  

This little weaving project took a couple of hours, I chose a very pretty harvest variegated yarn.  Weaving is a very relaxing craft, and I really enjoyed working on it.  My daughter is looking forward to using the loom to  make her own project, she loves knitting and yarn, and is also interested in weaving.  You can find very good instructional videos on Youtube if you search "Cardboard Looms".

When I was done weaving, I cut through the center of the warp yarn on the back of the loom, then tied off every two pieces of yarn using a double knot, then trimmed the yarn to a fringe length.  Although it is a little lopsided, it was still a fun project, I hope to give it another try, this would be a  perfect craft for making a little decorative mat, you could probably find a large piece of cardboard and weave place mats, and my daughter suggested  finding a tiny square to make coasters.  Of course, thinking back to the fourth grade, also a perfect way to make doll rugs and blankets, and a very fun rainy day craft for the kids.

One week until Halloween, I am looking forward to our church pumpkin carving party as well as Halloween evening with good snacks and friends and all the trick or treat fun.  I am working away at crafting the other fairy tales I hope to share before Halloween as well.  Hope everyone is having a nice week!


  1. What an interesting tale, April! And thank you for the instruction on the loom. I used to have a small tabletop one and I really miss it. It would be fun to make some runners for the table that actually matched my decor!

  2. I love this tale. I always enjoy your tales and the interpretation of them. I use the cardboard when tapestry weaving. I haven't committed to it yet so I don't want to buy a tapestry loom. Your weaving project is great for kids and small projects.

  3. Thanks Jane & WonderWhyGal, I did really enjoy working with the cardboard loom, I love it when I can make something from simple materials like that. Weaving is such a fun thing to do, I look forward to trying again.

    Have a wonderful weekend! :)

  4. What a beautiful story. I love the idea of a starry loom. And the colours in your own weaving are gorgeous.


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