Weaving poi with London Loom

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Poi Blog 9

Poi refers to both the Maori equipment used, and the act of swinging a tethered weight to make patterns in the air, as a form of performance art. Make these from scrap yarns and old toy stuffing at home, with some tape and a plastic bag to finish up.

  1. 1. You will need seven 50cm lengths of thread (in as many colours as you like - we’ve used three colours of wool thread), scissors, toy stuffing, plastic bags, a marker pen, a ruler, sticky tape, a disk of thick cardboard, and another length of thread to finish.
     
    Poi Blog 1
     
  2. 2. Measure and draw out eight equal lines on the disk, spanning from the centre. Poke a hole in the middle of the disk big enough to fit your seven lengths of thread knotted together at one end. Snip a 5mm slit at the end of each line along the outside of your disk.
     
    Poi Blog 2
     
  3. 3. With your knot at the back of the disk, separate your lengths of thread by placing one thread in each of your eight slits. You’ll have one empty slit left.
     
    Poi Blog 3
     
  4. 4. Hold your disk facing you with your empty slit at the bottom. Working clockwise, count two slits up from your empty slit and bring that thread down into the empty slit. Then turn your disk so that your new empty slit is at the bottom again and repeat.
     
    Poi Blog 4
     
  5. 5. When your threads run too short to braid, remove your threads from the disk and tie the loose ends around a bunch of toy stuffing to hold it in place.
     
    Poi Blog 5
     
  6. 6. Cut two big circles (about 30cm in diameter) out of your plastic bag - two circles of plastic for each poi to keep it strong.
     
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  7. 7. Attach the plastic circles to the bunch of stuffing and top off your braid by gathering the edges together around your bundle and securing with tape.
     
    Poi Blog 6
     
  8. 8. Wrap another piece of thread around the tape and knot so that your poi feels really secure.
     
    Poi Blog 8
     
  9. 9. Get dancing! You can always start your poi off with a tassel rather than a knot if you’d like something even more decorative.

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