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.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Pin loom a cotton purse for spring

Weaving with cotton on a pin loom proves a little more challenging than wool or acrylic because the cotton has less give. But you can get the give back by adding a pattern-- which means that you will also be skipping up 30% of the weaving. It goes faster, its just as easy as weaving with wool and you get lovely patterns! Check out two ideas for small purses below and a couple of my favorite pin loom weaving patterns.

The Envelope Purse is made with four squares plus a couple 2 x 2" squares for the flower and attached leaf. I used an Eight Rib Pattern for the top and bottom squares. The Eight Rib Pattern is shown in my first book, Pin Loom Weaving.  The little flower and leaf are attached to the front of the purse. Stitch a hair band to the flap of the "envelope" and loop it around the flower to keep the purse closed. For the handle take two ends of your preferred color of yarn and make a chain. Stitch the ends of the chain to the insides of the purse.

 The Zipper Purse was made with eight squares, a block of four each for the front and back. I used a diamond pattern on each square which turned into a lovely "X's & O's" pattern.

I wanted a little bit of dimension to the purse and decided to use a zipper (almost) all the way around. To install the zipper, add a running stitch to the sides- do it more evenly than is shown in the illustration. This makes it very simple to stitch the sides of the bag to the zipper.

This bag is woven with two shades of yarn. I wound a heavier green yarn on to my loom and wove through with a lighter, turquoise yarn.

This is the pattern woven in the green bag. You may have another pattern that you prefer.

Diamond In The Rough pin loom pattern
 1R Weave plain
 2R U3, O1, U3, O1, U3, O1, U3, O1, U3, O1, U3, O1, U3.
 3R W2, U3, O1, U3, O1, U3, W5, U3, O1, U3, O1, U3, W2.
 4R U3, O1, U3, O1, U3, W9, U3, O1, U3, O1, U3.
 5R W2, U3, O1, U3, W13, U3, O1, U3, W2.
 6R U3, O1, U3, W17, U3, O1, U3.
 7R W2, U3, W21, U2, W2.
 8R Weave plain.
 9R Weave plain.
10R Same as row 7.
11R Same as row 6.
12R Same as row 5.
13R Same as row 4.
14R Same as row 3.
15R Same as row 2.
16R Weave plain. 

Just for a little more interest, add one square in windowpane lace pattern to the outside of the bag.  I love using the Windowpane lace pattern because it is so pretty and yet so simple!

Windowpane Lace pin loom pattern
Row 1: plain weave
Row 2: U3 (under 3 threads); O1 (over one thread); repeat from * across the row, finishing with U3.
Alternate Rows 1 and 2, through Row 14.
Row 15: plain weave
Row 16: plain weave

I turned the the edge of the windowpane lace square down and stitched it in order to make a nice edge to the pocket. This pocket is not very secure unless you add a button or velcro but I added one 2 x 2" flower on a long stem. The purse might look very cute with a bunch of posies blooming from the pocket.

The bag is finished off with a crocheted handle that attaches on each end to the zipper. To make the handle- 1) decide how long you want your handle to be and chain that length. 2) Single crochet down the chain. 3) Single crochet up the other side of the chain. 4) You now have a crocheted band that has a "ditch" in the center. Take a contrasting yarn color and slip stitch up the length of the band. Attach one end of the band to the bag and stitch the other end of the band to the zipper pull and you're done!

Monday, March 18, 2019

Come flowers, come Spring!

This has been a long winter, the snow topped out at about 36 inches in my back yard. Its beginning to melt now and the days feel longer but I want signs of spring RIGHT NOW -- not in the 6 to 8 weeks that it will take for Spring to make it to Minnesota.

So for all those who seek signs of Spring, here are some pin loom posies.

The two on the left, known as Loom Blooms, are made by pulling on a warp and weft thread in the middle of a 4" square.  The directions for the raggedy loom bloom are found here.  The third flower is my interpretation of a Scotch Thistle and I am still working up some directions on it.

The little flower on the right and shown below is a compound flower made with six - 2" loom blooms. To make the flower, weave the 2 x 2" squares and pull on the middle weft and warp thread to turn them into loom blooms. Tie the pulled threads together to maintain the flower shape. Add some stitches of a contrasting color to the middle of the blooms. Take a tapestry needle with the flower color yarn and stitch through the flowers, gathering them together in a ball.  I decided to mount the flower on a stick for a stem. I added dark green yarn wrapping to the stem as well as a 2" square with two corners turned back to make a leaf.

 Making a compound flower takes some time but this concept could be used with many variations. Weave a bunch of 2" red-orange squares and turn them into a geranium. Make small violet flowers, tie them in rows to a stem, and you have a hyacinth.  There are a lot of compound flowers, so this technique could improve many projects. As for me, I think my summer is going to include a really big pin loom geranium.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Vicki Bennett is perfecting pin loom gnomes

Vicki Bennett agreed to share these pictures of her incredible pin loom gnomes. She has made some great additions to the basic gnome pattern --which is still available at the link. After seeing her wonderfully thematic gnomes, I asked if she was going to do a calendar, with a different gnome for each month.

She replied, "I’ve found that doll house items are a good size for accessorizing the gnomes.  I have ideas for a calendar but haven’t finished all of them  and need to get back to it."

In addition to her artful gnome accessorizing, Vicki has added feet by, I think, using wire or chenille stick wrapped with yarn.

I, for one, cannot wait to see a calendar. Can you imagine? St. Patrick gnomes, Valentine gnomes, Christmas gnomes, you could go on and on!

Monday, October 15, 2018

A multitude of pin looms

This is a blanket, called "All Hands" that appears in Pin Loom Weaving To Go. As you probably notice, not all of the woven pieces are square, about half of the blanket was woven on a variation of the 4" pin loom-- it was woven on a fine gauge adjustable knitting loom.  The book includes complete directions with many pictures for weaving on an adjustable knitting loom.

Making that blanket was really fun and at least part of the enjoyment was learning that I could complete a perfectly good pin loom weaving on any type of frame that had pins all the way around (if the pins are close enough).

This style knitting loom turned out to be particularly fun because you can use the normal pin loom techniques of winding on three layers of yarn, you can achieve the same looped edge so that you match the 4" pin loom PLUS you can change the sett of your weaving by how many warp and weft threads you wind on and can therefor weave with very fine yarn or very thick yarn.

From a PIN LOOM WEAVING TO GO purse pattern.
The samples to the right show a bunch of different thread weights, all woven with ease on the same little loom. The plaid looking sample in the bottom left corner was woven with sock yarn, the pale tan sample is very fine linen, the grey sample at 11:00 was woven with extra chunky yarn-- and they all look great! 

Keep in mind that you need to use a Fine Gauge Knitting Loom for these results, the regular size does not work unless you are only going to be weaving extremely bulky yarn, and if you're going to do that, you probably want to use a larger loom.

Having an adjustable 2" loom made it possible to piece the weavings, for example, in the simplified log cabin quilt pattern to the right. The 2" squares were made on the 2" pin loom that you can build from the pattern in the book. The other pieces were woven on the adjustable loom.

After completing all the items for Pin Loom Weaving To Go, my thoughts turned back to the thrill of having an adjustable pin loom and I decided that if a little loom was fun, a big one could be even more fun. So I special ordered a fine gauge knitting loom that lets me weave 4.5" wide with an adjustable length, the maximum is 12".

I ordered this loom with two sets of cross pieces so that I can weave either 4.5 inches wide or 2.5 inches wide. I like being able to weave a thinner strip for blankets. This loom came from Cottage Looms on Etsy. The pins are made with a small size cotter key, which works beautifully and they are set up specifically to work for a right-handed or left handed person.

This is the only finished project on my new loom that I have available to show. I did weave a bunch of long 2.5" strips for mug hugs for Christmas presents last year. The tablet bag was woven in two pieces, each 4/5" x 9". The bag is still waiting for a leather edging on the flap, which at my present rate of work, may take a while. 

I do hope you have as much fun with knitting looms as I have. If you've got questions, write a comment or let me know, my email is in the bottom right column of the home page.  Happy weaving!