Saturday, February 4, 2023

A Classic Pin Loom Felted Winter Hat

Ann H. is a fellow Minnesotan who shared the story of her long involvement with pin looms, including all the details for making this very classic (double-layered reversible felted) pin loomed hat. You will find a diagram and complete directions for making the hat below. 

Ann has been working in fiber, including deep dives into natural dyes and various forms of weaving, since the 60's. She noted that her pin loom hat came from a magazine at that time. 
She decided to make the hat using some of her incredible selection of naturally dyed wool samples. As you can see she still possesses a whole wreath of samples, each tagged with the dye and mordant that she used to create them.  

As a side note, I believe that I should get a few extra "good life" points for not being tempted to grab the wreath of samples at the end of the interview and run away. Okay, I was a little bit tempted... but I didn't do it. 

Ann noted that she has worn her reversible, felted hat each winter for at least 40 years. It's very warm and comfy and just doesn't wear out. 
I believe that this is the grail of pin loomed hats, the fabled pattern that I have heard about over the years and could never find. 

Here are the important pictures for recreating this classic hat. It is completely reversible, you are seeing both sides of the hat. The two ends of the hat are constructed differently. The blue end consists of six 4x4 squares stitched into a star and tightly felted. The red end consists of twelve 2x2 squares topped with a 4x4 square. 

This classic pin loom hat is made with 49 large squares and 18 small squares. Choose a yarn that will felt well. 
  • The hat is made with 49 - 4x4 wool pin loom squares and 18 - 2x2 wool squares. 
  • Join the squares (I would suggest using the double overcast stitch) to create a tube with the right side out. 
  • Join the squares at the ends of the tube to close the ends as shown in the pictures above. 
  • Fold the closed tube in on itself to create a very large double-sided, reversible hat. 
Now comes that essential step of felting the hat. Ann noted that before she started the felting process, she went through her cupboards and tried a number of different mixing bowls on her head, finally finding one that best fit her head size. These days we also have the option to use a foam mannequin head as a form for the hat. 

Ann felted the hat by hand, using hot water and Woolite. She noted that the felting took quite a while because it was essential to put extra work into the ends in order to shrink them down to a tight, rounded shape. She turned the hat both ways in order to work both sides evenly. Every so often she would stop and try her hat on the mixing bowl, finally stopping when the hat fit snugly over the mixing bowl. 

And here it is, the classic pin loom hat. Now that I have a handle on the pattern I am definitely going to make one. I realize that I could make the hat using just one of the styles on the ends, but I think that I am going to be so curious about the hat that I will want to recreate the two different ends. 

My hat won't be made with hand dyed natural colors, that's beyond my skill level. But I am going to think about what colors I would love most...

Because, let's face it, this hat could last another 50 years!

Please let me know if you are tempted to create this classic hat, too. Or if you already have one in your weaving collection. 

Happy weaving!
Margaret Stump

Thursday, March 10, 2022

A Springtime Purple Pin Loom Llama

Who needs bunnies and ducks when you can make your own fabulous purple llama for Spring?! Inspiration for this large but delicate creature came from a friend's quilt in the making, intended for a young relative. I think an actual woven animal is a perfect accompaniment.  

This Spring Llama was made from Red Heart Super Saver Yarn. I had most of a large skein and ended up using every bit of it. This is the first time I have worked on a stuffed animal in a larger size-- part of my interest in making the Llama was to try out a 4" x 8" loom that I had unearthed in my (very messy) hobby room. Keep in mind that you can make all the same pieces by joining two 4" x 4" squares. You can see details about the design and construction below. 

Because this was designed as a rather large piece, I wanted to weave it as quickly as possible and I also wanted to weave in a pattern to indicate fur. I chose pattern #4 from the old Loomette Weaves handbook that worked out beautifully.  
This is an overall pattern that is very easy to weave and, since you are skipping over or under a number of threads, makes the weaving go much faster. 

Here are the basic dimensions and woven parts of the of this Spring Llama.  Keep in mind that you do not have to have each of the looms that I used to make it, it is easy to join 4" squares or 2" squares to make any of the parts. 
I just noticed that I didn't indicate on the pattern that the bottom front of the body should be folded in a little-- check out the picture of the actual llama above. I think that makes it more llama-like. 

Here is a pattern for the head. The most challenging part of the pattern was figuring out how to make the llama nose. I did it by using a 2" x 4" rectangle, turning some of it to the inside. 

The original quilt pattern showed the llama with a colorful blanket on its back, which I definitely wanted to reproduce. I used a 6" x 6" pin loom and wound it in the two layer fashion, in other words, I just wound the warp on the loom and then used a number of different colored yarns for the weft. 

Weaving in this manner definitely takes longer than my normal pin loom weaving, but worked really nicely. I finished the two woven blankets with a single crochet in variegated red along the top edge and a single crochet in charcoal along the other three sides. I was hoping that the charcoal edge would make it look like a shadow, that the blanket was on top of the llama and I think it worked pretty well. 

The feet are also finished with a single crochet edge charcoal. I wove the eyes on my 1" pin loom, they could also have been done in a satin stitch.  The nose and eyes are done in black. I added a stitch of white yarn to each eye. 

The ears were each made using one 2" x 4" rectangle, stitched together at the top and stitched to the sides of the head.  You may have noticed that there is no tail on this particular llama. The reason for that is that I entirely ran out of the purple yarn and any other color would have been too jarring. 

After constructing the llama I decided to add a collar. I used the same variegated red yarn as on the blanket and made a 2" x 10" strip. I turned in both edges and stitched them together to create a 1" x 10" collar, which just fit around the neck without looking too tight. 

Spring is with us and with Spring comes rabbits and duckies and, of course, purple llamas. Happy Weaving!

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Year of the Pin Loom Tiger

 Today marks the beginning of the Chinese New Year - it's now the Year of the Tiger! I am celebrating by highlighting one of my favorite pin loom animals, the sleek, stately tiger. 

If you have a friend who needs a special, heartening gift, make them a pin loom tiger. Tigers are strong, courageous and independent and sometimes we need to be reminded of those qualities in ourselves. 

There are two tigers in my book, Adorable Beasts. This is Melvin, who has the fierce eye of an apex predator. 

In addition to this woven beast, I am also sharing a picture of the predator that shares our home, our cat, Cheeto.  She got that name because when we first got her she was very small and very orange. 

Happy Year of the Tiger New Year!

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Finally!! Pin Loom Mini Sweaters for 2021

Thanks to Florencia and to the many weavers who shared their mini-sweaters, we have another fabulous field of pin loom creativity. Many thanks to everyone who took part. 

My new mini sweater plan is to begin now and start making mini sweaters any time I find that I have woven the wrong size or an unneeded square. With any luck I shall have the start of a new Christmas ornament tradition. They may not be as wonderful as the creations above, but it should be a lot of fun. 

How to participate

Grab your 4x4 loom and start weaving your mini sweater! The only requirement is that you do it only using four 4" x 4" squares. You can use any type of yarn you like with encouragement to use the leftovers that you or your friends already have at home. 

How to make a mini sweater

No need to be a pin loom expert. Follow the step by step instructions below or check out Florencia's PDF with everthing you need to know. 

How to send your designs

Place each sweater on a white piece of paper and take a picture straight from above. Try to take each picture with daylight and send them in a good quality .jpg file (150 dpi min) to:


Florencia will be gathering pictures through December 18. We will publish a large picture of all of the mini sweaters on December 20.

If you are anything like me (or like Gary, my Mini Sweater model) you have been waiting on tenderhooks for the next Mini Sweater Pin Loom Day. 

The theme this year is gathering up and using all those tiny scraps of fabulous yarn-- to good to throw out, too small to use on anything but a Mini Sweater.  Gather them up and make one... or two... or a whole Christmas tree-full of Mini Sweaters. 

Use this link to find a downloadable PDF in English and Spanish with complete directions from Florencia Campos Correa on making Mini Sweaters.

Keep in mind that the basic sweater is easy to do, using four 4" squares to create the cutest little sweater. Weave them using the 3 layer method or add extra levels of design by weaving every line using the two layer method. 

Don't forget that deadline, send your mini sweater pictures to Florencia at by December 18.    
Every year the sweaters get better. I can't wait to see yours!

Friday, December 3, 2021

Hanging Out with Hazel Rose

A long time ago... or at least it seems like a long time ago (before Covid) I used to go to fiber conferences. I would often teach classes, have a booth, sell pin loom items and books, and just generally hang around with other weavers. It was wonderful. My very favorite conference was the Oregon Flock and Fiber Fair because I could go visit my daughter in Oregon and because Hazel and Randy Spencer, owners of Hazel Rose Looms always came to that conference, too. 

I can't tell you how great it was to see her booth because, quite honestly, it's a lot harder to sell cool pin loom patterns if people can't find pin looms! 

We always had an agreement-- that when people asked me where to find looms to match my patterns, I could point them towards the Hazel Rose Loom booth out on the lawn... and when people were wondering what all they could make with her extraordinary variety of looms, she could mention the Pin Loom Weaving books available at my booth. 

I know that we will be back at fiber conferences in another year or two, but in the meantime I talked to Hazel about our meetings and learned a little more about what she's been doing. 

She reminded me of the lap blankets that I made using her 12" triangle loom along with 4" squares. I actually used two ends of worsted weight yarn to weave the triangles in order to get the same tight weave that you see in the 4" squares. 

Hazel noted that she had put together a really fun weave-along on at the Pin Loom Weaving Support Group, which people had enjoyed. I saw a bunch of the finished items, they were wonderful. We both talk about how much we missed traveling to fiber conferences to hang out and talk with other weavers. I hadn't realized it, but Hazel and Randy have been making looms and traveling to conferences for over 20 years. 

These are my basic Hazel Rose pin looms. While it makes sense to start out with just one or two-- I recommend starting with the 4" and 2" square pin looms, the rectangle looms are a much easier way to produce the various parts for pin loom animals and more complex patterns. 

I have to admit that I now own most types and sizes of pin looms. It took me a while to get over the guilt of having so many pin looms. It helps that they are all very small so that they don't really take up much space (as opposed to my yarn collection which has totally overwhelmed my hobby room and is making advances into what was once the guest room). What moved me past the last of my embarrassment over the number of looms I have is when a friend pointed out that my entire collection still costs significantly less than one small table loom. It's all a matter of comparison. 

I know it may be a while yet before we are all out on the road again. In the meantime it is nice to know that there are fellow weavers out in the world and we can get together through the Looms To Go group on Ravelry and the Facebook Pin Loom Support Group

ps: I have to admit that I love the Facebook Group Name just because it so aptly reflects that we've got all sorts of support from fellow pin loom weavers and that it's kind of an addictive process. MS

Thursday, October 21, 2021

What to do with all those clipped ends?

 For years I have littered my house with small bits of yarn-- the clipped ends from pin loom woven squares and rectangles. I finally started putting an empty Kleenex box next to my chair in hopes of containing the mess. This receptacle is my next step up from the Kleenex box. 

This was a simple decorative box until I added a hole to the lid. But it has worked so well and been such an elegant improvement in terms of keeping the yarn litter off the floor and out of my vacuum cleaner that I had to celebrate it with everyone! 

Weave on! 

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Pin Loom Weaving on the All n One Knitting Loom

I personally believe that any weaving frame that has pins or posts located all the way around counts as a pin loom. 

So while most people are perfectly content to use a knitting loom as a knitting loom, my preference is to look at a knitting loom and say, "Wow, that would make a great pin loom!"

This is a Kb 5/16's All n One Knitting Loom using the two inch side pieces. 

Which is how I came to start weaving pin loom rectangles on a Fine Gauge All n One Knitting Loom from Kb Looms. I had been weaving on the smaller Fine Gauge Original Sock Loom for some time and found it to be a fun, easy process. (All the directions for weaving on knitting loom can be found in Pin Loom Weaving To Go.) But I wanted to be able to make a piece that was longer than 7 inches. The All n One Knitting Loom can weave a piece up to nineteen inches long, more than I needed for this project. 

This scarf is 69" by 8 1/2" and is made up of thirty-one 2 1/4" x 8 1/2" rectangles. I liked the repeating pattern, and was planning to make ten in each color, but then decided to put a dark navy rectangle on each end.  The yarn is Plymouth Yarn Encore acrylic/wool worsted weight. 

This is my All n One Loom while I'm weaving one of the pin loom rectangles. The lovely thing about weaving on it is that while you are producing a simple, pin loom rectangle, you can easily use a wider variety of yarns, especially thicker yarns, because of the wider pin spacing. This also means that it is  easier to pass the needle through the pins. 

Whenever I am weaving on a narrow setting on a knitting loom, I use the Susan Bates five inch weaving needle. It has an enormous eye, it is a bit thicker and much stronger than the normal pin loom needle and it is inexpensive and easy to find. 

This is definitely a cold weather scarf intended for Minnesota winters. I joined it using a mattress stitch, which is amazingly quick. This pattern would work well, maybe better, if it was woven in a DK or light weight yarn, maybe with more variation of color within the blocks.

But let's face it, what is the point in having a larger loom if we can't make larger pin loom squares/rectangles?

This is the Fine Gauge All n One Loom set to it's largest dimensions. I swapped out the two inch spacers for the nine inch extensions so that the weaving area measures 9" x 19". The yarn is YUMMY by The Hook Nook. It is a #5 bulky yarn in acrylic and wool.  

I wove up two pieces in the same size. They measured eight inches by eighteen inches off the loom. Each piece took about 60 yards of the bulky yarn. 

I joined the two pieces to make a cowl. After joining, I pulled up three weft yarns in three equidistant places in order to gather the cowl in a little. 

The result is a simple, very wearable cowl made with great ease on a knitting loom!

Of course, that's not the end of the story. There are endless possibilities with weaving.  This last piece was also woven on the All n One Loom using the extensions. It measures 9" x 12". It has almost twice as many ends per inch as the cowl and that, along with working in the pattern, made it much more challenging to weave. I'm not saying that I wouldn't weave something like this again... but I would have to have a darn good reason for going to so much trouble. 

I feel like I would have been better off moving up to a rigid heddle to accomplish this look. Plus a rigid heddle would have given me the space to make something a bit bigger, so that it could be used as a place mat, or woven in cotton for towels or dishcloths. 

On the other hand, the All n One cowl was so much fun to make that all my relatives may be getting one for Christmas this year. "It's a cowl, Uncle Jim, just deal with it."