Sunday, March 19, 2017

Marilyn Wing, Master Pin Loom Weaver

I was lucky enough to catch up with Marilyn Wing, a master pin loom weaver who has been practicing the craft since about 1936.

Marilyn is responsible for the extremely clear, lucid directions on bias weaving on the 4" pin loom and was kind enough to allow me to put the project plans for her bag in the new book, Pin Loom Weaving To Go. So I had to catch a picture of her with bag and book on hand.

Marilyn was also kind enough to let me share a glimpse her latest creations, scarves spun out of raw, dyed silk, woven on the pin loom. That "raw, dyed silk" description might sound clunky-- it goes to show how little I know about what she is doing. But I got to see the silk cocoons that she begins with,

then carefully unrolling/pulling apart a fiber that is so light that you can barely feel it. She spins it into a yarn and dyes it, using the pin loom to produce the exquisitely light, airy, soft scarves you see here.

The sample on the right was woven in a traditional horizontal/vertical weave with pearls woven into the weave. I do wish that I could somehow translate into these pictures the extraordinary gossamer feel of these scarves.

The mobius type scarf below was woven using the continuous bias method with two rows of squares. One of the several aspects that blows me away is that after dying the silk yarn in multiple colors (!) she wove each square to exactly match the others so that the colors of warp and weft flow from one square to the next.  It is just lovely.

For all those who have considered bias weaving on a pin loom but was not sure where to start, I would encourage you to check out Marilyn's directions for bias squares and triangles in Pin Loom Weaving To Go. She makes it so easy to do.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

The secret of the Pin Loom Biscornu

So what do you get when you sew two 4" pin loom squares together and stuff them?  A puffy square, right? Not if you're Caroline Fylpaa, who has mastered the secret of the Biscornu.  

To quote Wikipedia: A biscornu is a small, 8-sided, stuffed ornamental pincushion-like object. A button is typically secured in the center of the cushion to give a small depression on the top. Beads, tassels and other objects can decorate the biscornu. They are typically able to fit in the palm of your hand. The name is derived from the French adjective, biscornu, meaning skewed, quirky or irregular. 

One of the ongoing challenges for pin loom weavers is to figure out new and interesting things to do with our favorite loom. Caroline has kindly offered to share her experience making a Biscornu Woolie Dryer Ball.  

She explained, "I love exploring , designing within the constraints or challenges of a craft. I'm sending you a sample of dryer ball infused with lavender, stuffed with wool fleece. Composed of 2 pinned loom squares, top one placed diagonally over the bottom one so that when stitched, the corners meet at the half point of other square." So instead of a boring old stuffed square, we have this very clever eight sided biscornu.  Caroline notes, "it was chained stitch embroidered before being stitched together and stuffed with wool."  Stitching was added through the middle to pull the top and bottom into the tuffet shape. 

I love this creative use to help laundry go a little greener. But I can also see a bunch of embellished biscornu pincushions and ornaments in my future!  As Caroline noted, "play with these patterns... see what you come up with.  

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

A new book - Pin Loom Weaving To Go

So here it is, coming out this month, a new book of pin loom projects and techniques. I am extremely excited (and a little scared) to see it go out. Its like sending your youngest child off to school.

My original idea for this book was that pin looms can offer a fun, first step into fiber arts. So I included a number of beginner-type projects that would work for younger weavers or groups of kids or adults who are just beginning to weave. I included a simple to make 2" loom pattern so that kids could learn to both make and weave on a loom.

But then I started thinking about how so many of us had our first weaving experience on a potholder loom and how cool it would be if we could turn all the potholder looms into pin looms. So I wrote a section on weaving in the pin loom fashion on a potholder loom. You use a potholder loom and a hook, I suggest using an afghan hook, and the directions teach how to weave a big square with finished edges so there is no need to finish with a crocheted edge when you pull it off the loom. There are also a number of projects, including scarves and shawls, to make on a potholder loom.

But then I started thinking that if you could pin loom weave on a potholder loom, maybe you could pin loom weave on other available looms. After some experimentation I found that the 7" fine gauge adjustable knitting loom could be used as a pin loom to make an incredible variety of pin loomed fabrics. Techniques and projects for weaving on the knitting loom are also included in the book.

These log cabin style pieces were woven on the knitting loom, the 2" pieces in the middle were woven on a 2" pin loom.

And then I remembered a pin loom friend, Marilyn Wing, who has been pin loom weaving since 1936 and long ago perfected a continuous warp, bias weave on the pin loom. She was kind enough to permit me to share her directions for weaving on the bias on a zoom loom/pin loom as well as allowing us to all share in her wonderful quilted look bag pattern.

By that time I had thought up a bunch of cool patterns for the 4" pin loom/Zoom Loom that I just couldn't leave out of the book. One of my favorites is the "Blooming Backpack" that appears on the cover. Another favorite is the Zoom Loom Blue Shawl shown below.

This is just a few of the 30 or so projects. It is my hope that people, including kids and fiber groups, will find at least some of the items in the book to be helpful and fun for them. Margaret (Meg) Stump

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

A Pin Loom Ruana

Here is the finished pin loom ruana.   I have found it to be comfortable and warm. I am amazed by the difference in the feel of the fabric after a very light washing/fulling. Before it was fulled, there was a feeling of it being a bunch of squares sewn together, afterwards it just felt like a supple fabric.

My method of assembly closely followed the directions in the Pin Loom Weaving book. I joined the squares in strips using a double overcast stitch. I left several inches of yarn dangling on each side of the joined squares so that I could tie the strips together in order to keep the corners of the squares lined up. Before I washed it I went back over the lines of stitches to make sure that I hadn't skipped any stitches and left holes (I had). Once the holes were closed up, it was easy to finish.

Since I still have yarn in the same color, the next challenge will be making pin loom mittens to match.

My local yarn store expert pointed out that I didn't have to wash the ruana by hand in my tub. I could use the spin cycle in the washing machine if I was very careful not to let it go too long.  I actually agitated it a little by hand and then let it spin out. Taking most of the water out with the spin cycle made a great difference in drying it.

The ruana dimensions are 12 squares across by 14 squares long.  This number would likely need to be increased for taller people.

I wanted to leave enough room at the neck to make a comfortable opening so this is a sketch of the ruana front shown sideways. The two squares at the front of the neckline are folded diagonally and stitched down. I used the edging yarn to single crochet an edge all the way around the ruana.

Here's the original information on my latest project, a pin loomed ruana... which is the name given for a poncho that is split open down the front. I am going to be adding pictures of the finished project in the next week or so. These pictures show an earlier stage, with most of the outfit still in piles of squares.

It is now finished, but I need to full it slightly before there are more photos. I'm going to swish it around in the bathtub with a small amount of Neutragena basic shampoo to full it and then it using my steam iron to pull and flatten the seams while only very lightly touching the fabric.

I found the yarn for the body of the ruana at a local church flea market. Someone had purchased six skeins of Germantown worsted weight wool yarn in "Glen Heather" and then carefully stowed them away for twenty years or so. Germantown may not be a currently available product but I think there is still an awful lot of it around, still waiting to be knitted, woven or crocheted.

The Minnesota winter has been so cold this year that the idea of a cozy warm wool blanket shaped to fit my body has sustained me while weaving all the squares. Pattern details will be forthcoming but just to let you know, the finished piece in a size that works for my short stature has 168 squares.  One problem that I ran into was that the Glen Heather fabric needed some contrasting color.  I found several skeins of Raggi worsted weight on clearance and it turned out to be an incredible match. I love the way that the bits of dark grey assume an almost Celtic pattern in these edging squares.

Finished pictures will go up as soon as the ruana is dry and blocked.  I figure it will take a week or so for it to dry.  In the meantime, this is a behind the scenes illustration of trying to take a picture of the woven squares with some unsolicited help.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Pin Loom Mug Rug and Mug Hug (and news of a new book)

It may not surprise anyone to learn that people in my family often get pin loomed presents for Christmas. It's after Christmas now so I won't be ruining the surprise by sharing some pictures and ideas with you.

You have probably guessed that the Mug Rug part of the combo is our own favorite 4"x 4" pin loom square. The Mug Hug aspect is a new pin loom project that I have been experimenting with.  I have found that it is both easy and fun to make pin loom rectangles on a fine gauge sock knitting loom.

Here are some examples of weaving on the sock knitting loom. You'll notice that the one in the middle has a loop crocheted on the end, these were woven and designed as fiber cuffs.  You may have also recognized the loom, its a fine gauge adjustable knitting loom. Which means that it is not only possible to weave rectangles for mug hugs and fiber cuffs, its possible to weave rectangles in a bunch of different lengths all on this one loom!

Which brings me to the second part of the story, that the newest book on pin loom weaving, Pin Loom Weaving To Go, will be available in March, 2017.

Pin looms have always thrilled me. I love their ease and portability. I love the fact that each square is complete in itself, that when you take them off the loom they don't ravel or unwind.

In Pin Loom Weaving To Go we will explore using that same pin loomed approach to weave on a sock knitting loom and on a regular old potholder loom.  But in each case you will be able to weave a completed square that pops off the loom without the need for any type of locking edge.

I am really excited about this book and I hope you enjoy it too!

Here's a couple more mugs with rugs. :-)

Friday, November 11, 2016

The ultimate prize-winning pin-loomed Mother of Groom outfit

Caroline Fylpaa, designer-weaver of the Prairie Points technique, shares her most recent creation, a prize winning summer outfit worn with great style at her son's wedding.

She reported, "the shell was made with a stripe on the left side front to back, the skirt was made of alternating striped and plain blocks set on point, wool and rayon, rayon mix, stripes were rayon boucle, perfect for a summer wedding and party."

And in addition to winning all our applause for the "Fabulous Hand Designed and Handmade Mother of Groom Outfit of the Year," she took home a two ribbons as well!

Stay tuned, Caroline has promised to send further information on her pattern including how she worked that perfect fit.  I am hoping that she will also give us details about those two ribbons. Congratulations, Caroline!

If you haven't seen Caroline's Prairie Points blanket, check it out here.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Pin Loom Christmas II

Here's a couple more Christmas ideas-- scalable snowflake squares to use for coasters, place mats or a winter throw... plus poinsettias!

Idea #3  Make a snowflake square, then make a bunch more snowflake squares, then turn them into very cool presents. 

These are 4" pin loom squares embellished with snowflake patterns in white yarn.  The top square has a single crochet edge, the bottom square was supposed to have a more "icicle" look.

Here are the directions to crochet the bottom square's icicle edge: There should be one icicle point in each of the double loops. In the first loop, chain 3, sc2 back down the chain, then in the second loop, sc1. Repeat all the way around the square. 

Either style makes a great coaster.  Weave four squares, embellish with four snowflake patterns and you've got a pretty nice hostess gift (or add a bottle of wine for a great hostess gift.) Snowflake patterns are easy to make up or find online.

Or scale it up, turn 12 squares with a variety of snowflake patterns into a winter themed place mat. Make a table runner that is just the right size for your table. Keep in mind that the single crochet edge makes a very pretty join, just whip stitch the squares together.

Make a set of place mats or just keep going and make a cozy winter blanket as a gift for yourself  or someone you really care about (I mean, come on, its going to take a lot of squares).  I would suggest only embellishing a few of the squares so that it doesn't get too busy. Consider using a number of different shades of blue for the larger project to add more depth/texture to the design. 

 Idea #4  Make a pin loom poinsettia as a Christmas pin or to embellish a gift, make a whole bunch of pin loom poinsettias and decorate a tree!

This is a pulled thread pin loom flower, also known as a Loom Bloom, originated by Jana Trent of fame. It is made with two 4" x 4" squares.

Make the bloom by finding a thread right in the middle of the square and pulling on it to cause the square to pucker in. Then pull on the other thread (you're pulling on one horizontal and one vertical thread) to create four petals. Do the same to the second square and stack the two squares to make a multiple petal flower.

Add a bunch of french knots in yellow and light green to create a poinsettia like look. This sample flower has a 4" green square, folded diagonally, attached to the bottom.

My plan for this sample flower, and the other seven that I'm going to make, is to turn them into holiday napkin rings. The two points of the green square will be joined to make the napkin ring. The cool thing is that people at the dinner can take the flowers home with them, which is really fun.

There is no end to the fun things that can be done with the flower. We've all got a hat or a purse somewhere that could use a little Christmas cheer.