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Construction Work for Rural and Elementary Schools

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CORD CONSTRUCTION Introductory Remarks

To a child one of the most attractive of possessions is a piece of cord. He has so many uses for it that it becomes part of the prized contents of his pocket. Since this commodity affords so much pleasure to the untrained child, how greatly may the pleasure be enhanced if he is taught how to make the number of beautiful things that may be wrought from cord or twine! Having this knowledge, he will unconsciously employ many otherwise weary moments in fashioning some coveted article.

Among the things he can make are chains, reins, bags, nets, miniature hammocks, portières, and rugs for the dollhouse. He must be guided step by step from the simplest to the more intricate. He must be taught that only when a thing is well done has it any use or value, therefore the best effort is necessary to the success of his work. If he ties a knot, it must be properly tied or it will not hold. If he makes a bag or a hammock, the meshes must be uniform and the color blendings pleasing or it will lack beauty, and even he, himself, will not care for it. Should he make a chain or reins, they ought to be attractive-looking as well as useful; hence the aim should be for artistic combination and perfect execution. The success the child will meet with will depend greatly upon the attitude of the teacher toward the work and the amount of spirit she may be able to infuse into it.


Aim—To teach the names of different knots, how they are tied, and the utilitarian value of each.

Begin by teaching how to tie a knot, and that all knots are not alike nor tied in the same way. There are three kinds of knots—the overhand knot, the square knot and the "Granny" knot. Each of these has its use, its place, and a utilitarian value.

1 Overhand Knot

Material—One 10-inch piece of heavy twine.

Hold one end of the twine firmly in the left hand and throw the other end over with the right hand to form a loop; then pass the end in the right hand under the loop; and draw it through tightly, making a firm knot.


A long piece of twine in which are tied either single knots at regular intervals, or groups of three or five knots with spaces between, will make a chain which will delight any small child.

2 Square Knot

Aim—To teach how to tie a knot that will not slip.

Material—One 12-inch piece of heavy twine.

Take an end of the twine between the thumb and the forefinger of each hand. Holding in the left hand end No. 1, pass it to the right over end No. 2; then pass it under No. 2; finally, pass it out and over, making the first tie. Now, holding end No. 1 firmly in the right hand and end No. 2 in the left, pass No. 1 to the left over No. 2, then under, out and over; draw the two ties together, and you will have a firm, square knot.

3 "Granny" Knot

Aim—To teach the name of the knot one usually ties and how to tie it.

Material—One 12-inch piece of heavy twine.

Take an end of the twine between the thumb and the forefinger of each hand and hold firmly. Pass end No. 1 to the right over end No. 2, under and out. Next pass end No. 2 to the right over end No. 1, under and out.

We now have the knot known as the "Granny," which we ordinarily tie.

CHAINS 4 Loop Chain

Material—One piece, 5 yards long, of macramé cord, No. 12, one color. (See page .)

About five inches from one end of the cord make a short loop. Using this loop as a starting-point, work up the length of the cord to within about eighteen inches of the other end, by repeatedly drawing a new loop through the one previously made as one does in crocheting. The child can easily manipulate the cord with his tiny fingers. Aim to have the loops of uniform size. Finish with a loop five inches long, leaving an end of the same length. Now, placing together the two ends of the chain, we have a loop and two single ends of cord. Take these single cords together and buttonhole them over the loop for about three inches, then twist. Tie the single ends with a square knot, and fringe them out; leave the loop.

LOOP CHAINShowing how stitch is made and appearance of finished chain.

Instead of being fringed, the ends may have a large bead attached to each, and a whistle may be strung on the loop. This would both make the chain attractive to the child and demonstrate a use for it.

5 Overhand Knot Chain

Material—Macramé cord, No. 12: one piece 2 yards long, white; one piece 2 yards long, red.


Fasten the two pieces together in the middle. Pin them to a board or slip them over a hook where the cord will be held firmly. Using the overhand knot, tie each color alternately, until all except about four inches of cord is used up. Taking four ends as one, tie a slip-knot close up to the point where you stopped forming the chain....