Friday, June 19, 2020

Pin Loom Sunflowers for Summer

It is extremely hot this week in Minnesota, this is the third day with temps over 90 degrees. Which makes it a perfect time to stay inside and weave sunflowers.

These sunflowers are part of a larger project that I'm working on for an article and usually, if there are plans for future publication, I just keep the project to myself. But these sunflowers look so great that I wanted to share them with everyone.

As with many pin loom projects, the flowers are easy to make. The brown middle on both flowers was woven on a 4" loom in a variable brown acrylic by Red Heart. I sandwiched it with a green square for the back, crocheted around the edge to make a circle and turned the seam to the inside. The smaller flower was made the same way but I slip-stitched a smaller, 3" circle.

The flower petals are 2" squares with the corners turned back. They offer a surprisingly life-like, floppy appearance.

I found a really effective material for stuffing the flowers, foam packing. It comes in sheets and I was able to cut several circles of it to place inside the flowers. The foam packing gave them just the right amount of stiffness without being too heavy.

The stems are a chenille stick/pipe cleaner that was run through the fabric, wrapped in yarn and further stitched to the back of the flower.

I can't think of a better project for the summer than making a few sunflowers. This is one of those projects that can utilize almost any yarn you have on hand and will let you make a flower to bring you, or someone you love, a sunny mood. 

Happy Weaving!

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Pin Loom Shark Mittens in Little Looms 2020

Easy Weaving With Little Looms 2020, the principal magazine for small looms, is now available and features FIVE super cool pin loom projects including one that I am really proud of, the Pin Loom Shark Mittens-- because I made them. 

Easy Weaving with Little Looms has been published for several years now. It is interesting to note that the issues have grown, offering more unique patterns for small looms, and that the number of pin loom patterns continues to increase. [Sending a celebratory high five to pin loomers everywhere.]

If you haven't seen the magazine yet, please follow the link above and check it out. In addition to these three items, there is an incredibly cute pin loom raccoon pillow and a charming baby onsie, as well as a whole bunch of extremely cool rigid heddle, inkle, and other small loom projects. 

It was never my plan to identify as "the pin loom person who makes animals" but I am very proud of these mittens because they are warm and comfortable as well as funny and cute. I am also pleased to find that its possible to create a variety of mitten patterns using pin looms. As we are all learning, there are incredible worlds beyond scarves and blankets using these little looms.

Dum-dum, dum-dum, dum-dum, dum dum dum dum dum dum ... [background shark music]  

Be well, happy weaving!

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Weave a Pin Loom Lovey in velvety yarn

So here is another post about something that I was pretty darn certain that I couldn't do. Shortly before the "sheltering at home" began, I was roaming wildly through Joanne's looking for interesting yarn. I grabbed up one of those enormous skeins of Bernat's Velvet yarn because it was so soft and lovely that I could not resist it--assuming that I would be using it on my rug loom or potholder loom.

I decided to try it on a regular 4" pin loom with no expectation that I could manage it and something wonderful happened. This lush beautiful yarn squashed easily to create a thick, perfect velvet square.

This is not a yarn that I would suggest for first-timers because it is very difficult to see where you are weaving. But if you have woven on a pin loom for a while and know the feel of the weaving pattern, you will find that the yarn's thin core gives the needle very clear feedback so that you can weave with some ease. I found that I had to hold the loom up to a light to make sure of where to start some of the lines, but that the lines were much easier to weave than expected.

One weaving note: I habitually use a fork to tamp down each line before weaving the next and that becomes even more important when weaving with such a thick yarn. But unlike most bulky yarns, this velvet yarn stays tamped down to produce this amazing velvet cloth.

Once I found that I could make these soft velvet squares, I decided to turn them into cozy velveteen loveys. A lovey is a small blanket, often with an animal head, that serves the same purpose as a teddy bear or other comfort object for a baby or small child.

Each lovey is made using sixteen 4"x 4" squares to make a little blanket with the animal head attached on the diagonal to one corner. I used a double overcast stitch to make as seamless a look as I could. The arms and head are made with 4" squares, the rabbit's ears are 4" squares and the bear's ears are 2" squares. I used a square of cream colored cotton chenille to make the animal muzzles. 

The bear's eyes and nose were cut from a 2" x 2" black wool square that I first felted. After cutting out the pieces I stitched around and over them with more black yarn. The rabbit's eyes are small buttons which I would NOT recommend if a lovey is going to a baby or child under three. 

These squares have been so much fun to produce that I can see more and bigger projects down the line-- like an Amish or Navaho inspired lap blanket made with this velvet surface. I can think of a number of people in my life who would appreciate it and its going to be so much fun to make!

Sunday, May 10, 2020

A Pin Loom Scarf with woven tape and a unique join

A Mother's Day pin loom scarf for all seasons with a rich woven texture and woven tape ties to lighten the look and feel.

After completing the tape woven place mats and experimenting with another combination of tape and yarn, I decided to keep weaving these lovely squares, 25 in all, and turn them into a scarf. 

The squares turned out to be of a medium weight and I did not want to add what could be a stiff, tight join between them.  I spaced out the join by using a 10 mm knitting needle, looping the join around it. Deciding that I wanted something still more frivolous, I then added ties to the joins, bundling the joins into groups of two or three and simply tying them with short lengths of the tape.

Because of its length (113 inches) I decided to close the loop and create an endless scarf. That keeps it from dragging on the ground and makes it easier to loop around neck and shoulders. 
The top image shows a section of loops before tying them with the tape. 

Diagram for scarf join using whip stitched loops and ties.

I am constantly amazed by the variety of ways that you can weave on a pin loom. While I have really enjoyed being able to weave consistent squares using a single source of yarn, there are amazing riches to be found in experimenting with a variety of fibers. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Pin Loom Placemats, a little weaving, a lot of reward.

I recently completed some very usable, resilient placemats by adding in tape-type yarn. I nearly gave this yarn away on the basis that it probably wouldn't work on a pin loom. Luckily instead I misplaced the skein in my yarn room. It turned out that if you just use one layer of the woven tape, it is perfectly weave-able and makes a heavy cloth perfect for a placemat. 

Staying home has offered some wonderful opportunities to rummage through my yarn selection and carry out some simple weaving projects. These placemats were made primarily with worsted acrylic yarn. The secret ingredient that makes them heavy and usable is one layer, about two yards, of the tape-like yarn that is woven into each of the squares. Because it is only one layer of the tape yarn it has proven not that difficult to weave with while maintaining all the merits of this eye catching yarn.

I am going to assume that this particular yarn is no longer being manufactured- on the basis that yarn companies seem to maintain a pretty tight schedule of planned obsolescence. The upside is that, according to Ravelry and other sites 1) there is still a decent amount of this yarn available, 2) even if this yarn isn't available, there will always be other new, wacky yarns to make your placemats unique.

Each placemat was made using twelve 4" squares. I had originally planed to to weave them all using a deep red acrylic yarn for the other two layers and to weave through. However I wanted a little more interest and contrast and the use of the cream yarn for the middle squares added that. The light colored yarn also better highlights the "dots" of woven yarn as shown in the inset of a square above. 

After discovering so much joy in the yarn combination for the placemats I returned to the yarn room to see what other strange or seemingly difficult to weave fibers I might have hidden away. I used one layer of the Lux yarn in two test weavings and really love them both. Again, the secret was only using one layer of the fancy yarn instead of trying to pile too much of it on the pin loom and causing myself all sorts of difficulties. Right now I am working on a scarf using this weaving style with the coffee colored yarn that I can't wait to show everybody in a few weeks. 

That pattern is now available at this Scarf Link!

I couldn't resist adding this final picture of the placemat with matching tea mug. They matched perfectly! Staying home has given me the opportunity to think about and treasure some the simple acts in our lives, like taking time for just hanging and a tea break.

Be well, happy weaving!

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Home is where your pin loom honey bear is

I have been spending a lot of time at home and that circumstance, along with a certain amount of simmering anxiety over what is happening in the world has turned my mind toward the comfort of making pin loom bears. I talked to my daughter about what I might name them and she reminded me of the motto, "Home is where your honey is." Since this is a time when there is a great need to be at home and to be comforted, these are Honey Bears.

The first bear was the girl. If you look closely you will see that her shrug is woven with the same Windowpane lace pattern (and the same cotton yarn) as the cell phone holder.

Making the bears gave me the opportunity to try out a couple new looms. I now have a 1" loom and a 3" loom from Wunderwag Industries. I admit to originally assuming that a 1" loom would have no real purpose, but it turns out that all pin looms are really fun and functional to use.

Once I completed one bear I realized an immediate need for a second bear (that happens a lot to me). Making the bears is particularly easy if you have some very basic crochet skills because then you can use single crochet to "sew" the pieces together, which takes less time and makes a very strong join.

After making the first two, I was reminded (by the dominant news items of each day) of the ongoing challenges being faced by our medical people and it just seemed right to make a Honey Med-Bear, too. 

If you are looking for some comfort in your life you are welcome to try a Honey Bear. There are complete patterns for the Honey Bears at the Pin Loom Weaving Shop.

You do not have to have every possible loom in order to make this pattern but you will need at least a 2" and a 4" pin. loom. If you have any questions or comments you can leave them below-- in the comment section or you can get in touch with me. My email is at the bottom of the right hand column, you just have to eliminate the spaces to make it a regular email address. 

Be well. Be safe. Happy Weaving!

Monday, April 6, 2020

Make your own vintage pin loom doll blanket

Staying at home has encouraged me to go through old boxes including some left behind by my daughter. I found a number of dolls and lots of doll clothes plus two now vintage doll blankets. While most of the dolls and accessories will be going to charity (with daughter's blessing) the pin loom doll blankets will definitely stay.

For me, the blankets express the sum of the story of bringing up this child. I can still see her as a two year old with a top knot of flyaway blond hair looking a little like the Whoville girl. And I can see her on Facetime as the joyful, competent woman she has become.

Doll blanket made in a Sunshine & Shadow pattern, each 2" square finished with single crochet and whip stitched together. Two rows of single crochet around blanket. 

If you have any tiny scraps of yarn, you have the beginnings of your own vintage doll blanket. If you have made any projects where some of the squares just didn't work, you may have your doll blanket half completed. Keep in mind that the "vintage" part is only a matter of time.

Looking for a project to take your mind off the present? Make something that evokes the past.

Doll blanket made with 4x4" squares, each finished with single crochet and whip stitched together.

Be well, keep weaving.