Monday, November 18, 2019

We have to start our holiday projects right now... or maybe last week.

All of my best ideas for the holidays usually arrive about two weeks before Christmas when it is waaaay too late to carry them out. I can only hope that hasn't happened to you.

So this is the year to turn it around.

Here are a few ideas for the holidays.

Pin Loom Advent Bags

I love this idea because almost every time I work on a project, there are always a few squares that don't get used, usually because I've changed my mind about some aspect of the project halfway through. Since there is no way that I am going to throw away a perfect good woven square, I've got one Advent bag halfway made!

The little bag to the right started out as part of another project, it is made with one layer of sparkly silver rik rak and dark blue single ply worsted weight yarn.

Lay two 4" x 4" squares together and single crochet around the edge in a matching or contrasting yarn. Use the same yarn in an eight inch crochet chain to complete a light handle for each little bag. Add the numbers or images in contrasting yarn. String them across a fireplace or wall. The traditional Advent calendar calls for 25 bags numbered one to twenty-five. But you might prefer to weave fewer bags and use some traditional images instead.

Pin Loom Gnomes

Who doesn't need one or a dozen pin loom gnomes at Christmas?  Grab the full instructions with this Gnome Link.

Pin Loom Christmas Trees

Gather up a couple foam cones, your favorite stray bits of yarn and Christmassy pin loom squares to make some fabulous table decorations for the holidays. I would suggest using lots of glue to get the squares in place, then secure with glass headed pins for a festive, ornamental look.

The cones would make a really special decoration if you added pictures of the family for a Family Album Tree.

Teacup Pincushions

They're fun, they're small, they're really cute and they have some utilitarian value to the recipient. What more could you ask?  See the whole post with this Teacup Link.

Pin Loom Scarves

You can never go wrong with a scarf and pin loom weaving can offer an unlimited number of ways to make one.

This is a creation by Laura Waskiewicz Sapko. You can read more about her creation at this Scarf Link.

Or think about Endless Scarves, great for any time of the year. See a bunch of ideas at this Endless Scarf Link. 

Hopefully you are way ahead of me and have been working on pin loom items for the holidays for weeks now. But if not, here is a place to start.  Happy Weaving!

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Weave a pin loom caddy tray... or it may be a cat bed.

While I love making blankets, dragons and other animals, sometimes pin loom weaving is the perfect answer to a mundane question, such as, "what the heck am I going to do with all these remotes?" They litter the living room and I can never put my hand on the one that I actually need at the moment. I also wanted a container that wasn't loud.

Of course, this isn't ALL the remotes we have, I think the total number is around six or seven, but I decided to make an easy to grab caddy for the ones that I use constantly.

It was made using a rough textured brown worsted weight yarn with an insert of light blue worsted weight. I used a 4" x 8" pin loom to make the longer pieces, it could be made just as easily just using 4" x 4" pieces joined together.

The dimensions are about 8" x 4" x 2". The edge pieces were folded in half to create the 2" sides. I had some fleece left over from another project, so I used a couple layers of fleece inside the squares to provide some padding. You could also use quilt padding. The bottom two pieces were sandwiched together with two layers of fleece inside and joined using single crochet around the edge. The sides were folded in half, insert the fleece, then single crocheted around the three open sides. All the pieces were joined together using a whip stitch.
While this worked wonderfully to provide me with the exact size remote caddy that I needed, keep in mind that you can change the dimensions so that it will work just as well for whatever you might need to corral in your living room or bedroom-- using the colors that appeal to you.  Happy weaving!

Monday, July 15, 2019

Weave a Pin Loom Keyboard Case

I recently got a really neat little bluetooth keyboard and pencil to go with my IPad. There are a bunch of these little bluetooth keyboards available now (and I am not commercially connected with any of them).  I love the idea that I can turn my Ipad into a productive station any place I like but I’m not at all comfortable carrying around an unprotected keyboard and now I had multiple pieces of equipment that I had to keep track of.

What a perfect opportunity for a made-to-order pin loom keyboard case.

This was a small, fun project that gave me the perfect container for both keyboard and pencil. The keyboard is 6” x 12” by about 1”. I used my 4” x 6” pin loom to weave seven 4” x 6” rectangles in Paton’s worsted weight brown marl. Marl is light and dark yarns twisted together, in this case, brown and cream. It can (almost) give the look of a solid piece of cloth. The seven 4” x 6” rectangles were joined using double overcast stitch. Check out information on the stitch here and watch a video about using it here. I turned down the corners of one end and stitched in place. This end will be the flap. I edged the fabric strip in single crochet using a medium brown worsted weight yarn.

I then doubled the fabric over to form the keyboard case with about 3.5” of flap left over. I wove an extra 2” x 4” rectangle in the brown marl and stitched it to the inside of the flap for reinforcement. I used the same brown yarn to whip stitch the sides together. You can see information about joining crocheted edges here. The bag was then wet finished — washed very gently in cool water and steam blocked it lightly after it was dry. I sewed a button on the outside of the flap with another, smaller button as reinforcement on the inside.

I wanted a pocket for the pencil that I could keep closed but that was simple and easy to use. 

The pencil pocket was woven using one 2” x 6” and one 2” x 4” worsted weight tan and cream marl. The 2” x 4” was folded over the end of the 2” x 6” rectangle with the ends stitched together to make a loop of fabric. The pocket was appliqued to the outside of the bag, using the brown yarn to whip stitch it in place.

The final piece was a 10” crochet chain that I ran through the fabric loop and joined the ends together. This chain can be looped a couple times around the button to keep the flap closed and the pencil in place.

Making the keyboard case was a fun, relatively quick project and it has worked really well. I love that I can throw it in my bag--the keyboard is not going to get scratched, and the pencil is aways right with it. You may not be looking for a keyboard bag but the style works very well for tablets, phones or any other electronic bits that you may want to protect.  Plus it gives you a place to stow away all that stuff so that you can weave more-- which is always a good move.  Happy weaving!

Monday, July 8, 2019

Dr. Who Pin Loom Scarf

I don’t know how much overlap there is between pin loom weavers and Dr. Who fans, but I am a major weaver/Dr. Who overlapper.

When I stumbled across the website, Dr. Who Scarf, I knew that I wanted to weave my very own homage' to the original, knitted, Dr. Who Scarf. I wanted it to be as close to the original colors and design as I could get— without having to do any knitting.

For those who might not remember (or not have been born at that time) Tom Baker portrayed the Fourth Doctor Who from June, 1974 until March, 1981, which was the longest appearance of any one actor in the role of Dr. Who.

One of his most recognizable features was a very, very long scarf.

The Dr. Who Scarf website was extremely helpful by giving specific colors needed as well as a layout for the design. The original scarf was 10” by 13 foot with fringe -- which stretched to about 17 foot over the years. My recreation turned out to be 11 foot, 6 inches without fringe. I’m pretty short and decided that fringed scarf ends would end up acting too much like a dust mop.

To create the color blocks, I used 4x4” and 4x6” pin looms to make blocks 10” across. There are several sections that measure 8” x 10”, where I used multiple blocks of the same color. For thinner color blocks, I used 2x4” and 2x6” looms. For even thinner sections, I single crocheted 3 rows back and forth for an approximate 1” x 10” section.

I joined the blocks and all the color sections using a double overcast stitch. You can find information on this stitch on the Pin Loom Essentials page as well as a demonstration of using the double overcast stitch on the Pin Loom Video page.

I decided to limit my yarn choice for the project to what I had available in the house (which is not a ridiculous limit since I’ve got about two rooms full of yarn-much of which has come to me second-hand through various thrift stores). I found a very close match to all but one color in worsted weight wool. I had to use an acrylic yarn for the chestnut color.

This is the scarf laid out flat on the ground
pictured in sections.
When I started weaving and putting the stripes together I was blown away by how the color palette reeked of the 70’s. It dawned on me that my color choices may have been helped by the fact that some of the yarn I was using could have been spun in the 70’s. I may have been using the original colors!

This scarf project turned out to be the perfect choice for several weeks of travel. Since I had a clear diagram, with my modifications, from the irreplaceable Dr. Who Scarf website, I could pick up and do a few squares whenever I needed something to do with my hands. Because I was weaving in different sizes and colors, it was never boring and the project took shape surprisingly swiftly.

It was only after I finished the scarf that I did some further investigation and found that there are a number of people actively knitting, and selling, Dr. Who scarves. However, none of them are woven on pin looms, which I still consider the absolute best, and most fun, fiber technique.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Shepherd's Harvest 2019, Classes and vendors and fun. Oh my!

Shepherd's Harvest Sheep and Wool Festival, located near Stillwater, MN, just east of the Twin Cities, just celebrated its 23rd year of all things fiber including (the most important part to me) three massive barns of vendors.  Maybe next year I will get my act together and post a notice of how cool Shepherd's Harvest is before the event. For now, I can only share a couple pictures.

First off, we had some great classes. This hard working group was part of the Introduction to Pin Loom Weaving class and made woven coasters/mug rugs with bee and flower embellishments. We also did a Pin Loom Patterns and Joins class. I figure that once you can weave a square and have a sense about how to join them, the sky's the limit!

This picture illustrates an extraordinary square. I wanted to share this because it reminds me how important it is to try new things. This weaver added a few more layers of warp and weft than are normally called for, but the result is lovely with a really interesting texture.

I would never have thought to do this on my own because I have been weaving for a long time so I always do it the same. It is really difficult to regain a beginner's mind.

I spent much of the time demonstrating pin loom weaving and showing off the fun things that can be made with pin loom squares. The Wolf Hat/Scarf and the Felted Book Bag in the lower left corner of my display table are both featured in Easy Weaving with Little Looms 2019 . Isn't it great to see a magazine devoted to little looms?!

Did you notice the three Monster Softies posed above in the middle of the display? They are a recent project to be published through Yarn Magazine, from Artwear Publications.

Of course I also was showing off a few of the items from the newest book, Adorable Beasts. You can see a picture of the cover on the right. This is one of the playscapes, a medieval homestead with house, tower, stable, garden, and ornamental pond with trees. The knight, lady, dragon and unicorn sort of go with the setting, but you can add in any animals you like. I included the llama, alpaca and rabbit because I was at a fiber fair. 

My greatest challenge has been finding time to make a few items for sale.  The cats shown below are a fun, simple project that works well as a craft item as well as being a fun class. The Owl Phone Pouches are also a product of working with Yarn Magazine and are going to make a wonderful class!

For those who have actually read to the bottom of this post, here is my favorite thing about Shepherd's Harvest. Every year the Minnesota fishing opener falls on the same weekend as Mother's Day. So for many families around here, Mother's Day weekend is celebrated with all the fishing guys and gals taking off for the lake and all the weaving, spinning, knitting, felting people getting together at Shepherd's Harvest. Everybody ends up happy.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

The Woven Scrubby revisited

The Woven Scrubby is a lovely pattern introduced by Constance Hall in Creative Knitting Magazine, Summer 2014. A fellow pin loom weaver allowed me to take a picture of her woven scrubby, made, as originally suggested by Hall, with fingering weight organic linen.

Like the original my friend wove eight 4" linen squares, pulled a horizontal and vertical thread at the center of each square and nested the resulting flowers to make an exquisite bloom of linen with an attached icord loop.

Bath bombs are all the rage, this gorgeous scrubby would make a great accompaniment to a basket of store-bought or homemade bath bombs and soaps.

A thoughtful gift or, even better, an accessory for the perfect bath.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Judy Grant - a fresh look at pin loom weaving

I have a confession to make. This would not come as much of a surprise to people who know me, but I think that pin looms work better and offer far more options for use than many other, bigger looms.  But just about the time that I think that I have a handle on everything they can do, along comes someone like Judy to convince me otherwise.

For example, Judy's beribboned scene with rabbit- what an incredible amount of work to do- all before she popped the weaving off of the loom!

This is Judy's Beehive Project, woven primarily on a turtle loom.

I love her bees, beads and pin loom flowers. I would love to be able to add a couple woven bees to her very lovely display piece.

If you like bees and flowers, you can also check out the Bees & Flowers Tea Pot Cozy here.