Fibers Wrap Up

A couple of weeks ago we finished up our Third Grade Clothing and Fibers Block. It was one of our best blocks so far. Both Ishaan and I enjoyed it and maintained our momentum for the whole 6 weeks. I find that too often I am super gung-ho and organized at the beginning  of the block and we dive right in and get a lot done everyday. As the weeks go by my enthusiasm wanes a bit and sometimes it becomes just about getting through the material.  It can be disheartening because I really want all of our school days to be fun and exciting and full of learning. I realize that is completely unrealistic however.

These are the books I found most useful for this block. All were available at our local library.

Unraveling Fibers  by Paticia A. Keeler and Francis X. McCall, Jr.

Warm As Wool, Cool as Cotton: Natural Fibers and Fabrics and How to Work with Them by Carter Houck

Fibers by Irving and Ruth Adler

For each different fabric/fiber I had Ishaan read about the history and the process of making the fiber. He then had to write it out in his own words. This is still something he struggles with because he doesn’t like writing, but he is improving all the time. Once the tedious part of writing it all out was done, he got to do a hands on fun project.

We started with leather and I did a long post about our leather moccasin project. 

Next we learned about wool. We borrowed a drop spindle from a friend and Ishaan had a go at spinning pre-made wool roving into yarn. We have a sheep fleece that we skirted and washed, but it isn’t carded yet. I wanted to get some carders and make our own rolags, but carders are not in the budget right now so that will have to wait. It’s ok though because then we will have something new to do with Ulka in a couple of years.

After wool we went onto linen. Coming up with a linen project was a little more difficult. My friend suggested a simple embroidery project. I found white linen napkin so he is embroidering a little heart design on it to give away as a gift.

Finally we learned all about silk. I knew the least about how silk is made so it was really interesting for me. Last October I got a silkworm cocoon at the Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck. We boiled it to see how the fibers unravel. The silk fibers are so very thin and delicate that we didn’t have a lot of success unraveling a very long length, but it was still pretty neat. Once we got sick of pulling apart the fibers we cut open the cocoon to see the dead silk worm inside. Ishaan wanted to eat it, but I convinced him that was probably not a great idea.

dead silkworm

After a week of block crayon drawing as a little breather we are starting our much-anticipated Native American History and Folktales Block. Ishaan is very much looking forward to it and I have some fun ideas planned so hopefully it will go well.

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