Saturday, October 5, 2013

Blankets and afghans, big projects from little looms

Here is my confession right up front. The reason that I have woven blankets and hangings and bowls and every possible thing that I could think of in little squares of woven fabric, a.k.a. "weavies", is that I LOVE weaving on pin looms.  I believe that they represent the crack cocaine of weaving.

Weavers all secretly (or not so secretly) know that weaving is addictive. It makes you feel good. It is calming and energizing at the same time. It gives voice to creativity and allows it a concrete, whole-body expression. The downside of weaving is that it can take a lot of time and space. Pin looms are little. The most popular size is 4 inches by 4 inches. You get all the good feelings of weaving in an intense little package.The downside (or the upside, depending on how you look at it) is that you end up with lots of little squares. The projects shown below are all proof that I love weaving on pin looms.

A Victorian House
This was modeled after a house in Tucumcari, New Mexico. One of the things I love about designing with weavies is that it gives a wonderful primitive look that I like very much.

9 Square Afghan
Nine Square Afghan
The next several blankets owe their design to Amish quilts and, along with the house, were some of the earliest items I made. One of the challenges of using pin looms is joining them. If you look in the instruction books from the 40's and 50's, you will see clothing and blankets where the weaver tried to join the squares so as to make it look like a larger piece of whole cloth. It never works. You can always see the join lines. So I decided to highlight the the fact that these blankets are made from tiny pieces by incorporating colored patterns and using a joining approach that did not try to be seamless. All of these pieces, except parts of the house, were joined by using a single crochet around each weavie and then whipstitching them together.

Amish Postage Stamp Blanket
This blanket was based on a postage stamp that celebrated Amish quilts. It did not take forever to make but at the time it felt like it was going to take forever.

Diamond Square
It was only after I finished this blanket that I thought, "wow, those edges would be a great place to use a bias loom." Since then I have made some smaller throws using weavies and bias loom weavies and it worked pretty well. We can talk more about the ups and downs of the bias loom later.

 Minnesota Winter Blanket
I call it that because it took almost a whole winter to complete it and it is too large to be a afghan, its a real blanket. I recommend starting a project like this in the summer, that way by the time you are ready to start attaching all the pieces, its getting cold and you may actually want to hold it on your lap.
Dragon Blanket 
This is a picture of a blanket made for the daughter of a family who had a connection to the Renaissance Fair.  I wanted to make something slightly feminine but dragony. It was not an easy pattern to carry off. I finally accomplished it by making a full sized pattern and then just weaving squares and filling in the parts. Making a blanket like this is such an adventure. I spend about a third of the time feeling lost, pretty certain that I'd taken on an impossible task. And then, somehow, it came together and was so much fun. And it looks great! Or at least as good, though different, than I originally saw it in my head.


  1. Wow! you are so creative. Thank you for the invite to this webpage. It's just what I needed to get me inspired.

    1. Thanks so much. Being able to share the work makes it all the more fun to weave even more!


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