Tuesday, December 23, 2014

2014 Utimate winners!

Below are the two final pin loom winners for 2014.  But this isn't the end. Stay tuned for new features and giveaways in 2015.  Season's Greetings to all and a Very Happy New Year!

Congratulations to all of 2014's pin loom winners!

Dorothy R., Polkville, NC 

December winner of the ultimate set of two brand new Weavette Looms, a 2"x4" size and a 4"x 6" loom. Each loom is packaged in its own box with directions and 2 needles. "I weave on any kind of hand held loom so I more or less collect them!!! I have always wanted to try the pin looms so I'm excited. All I need is the book and I'll be ready." 



Karen S., College Park, MD


November winner of the set of vintage wood base 2" and 4" Weave-it Looms with needles and instructions. "I'm a copy editor and freelance writer. I got interested in pin loom weaving because it reminded me of the potholder loop weaving I did when I was a child (didn't everyone?). I like small, portable projects that I can finish in a day or less and pin looms are ideal for carrying around."



Wednesday, November 12, 2014

We have a winner!

The October winner of the set of vintage stainless steel pin Weave-its is Joan A. of Canton, MI 

Joan noted, "I learned about pin loom weaving at a knit shop, De Vine Knits in Shipshawanee. I am not able to walk but my husband of 53 years takes me. I knit a lot."

Check out the Pin Loom Giveaways page for upcoming drawings for November and December. Winter is a great time for pin looms!  

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Nanny-Fanny Pack

I had the opportunity to visit my daughter, Taylor, in Portland, OR. While I was there she taught me about simplicity in weaving design and that if you have your phone, you don't need much else.

Her goal was to devise a "Nanny Fanny Pack", so named because, "Nanny and fanny rhyme... and I am a nanny. I need something that will hold just the essentials. If you're on the job you've got to have your cell phone as well as a pocket for a key or money. And it has to be secure whether I'm riding my bike or running down the street to the park."

Get the pattern for the Nanny Pack below.

The yarn in this particular nanny pack is a Superwash Merino by Ella Rae, a chunky yarn. Despite the description as chunky, it worked very well on the 4"x 6" and 4"x 4" pin looms.  Taylor also used two large eyelets, a heart button, a 12" length of yellow elastic cord, 36" of yellow webbing for the alternate belt and a 7" zipper, cut to fit the 4" opening.

When I was working on my copy of the nanny pack, I couldn't find any elastic cord. I did find packages of Goody hairbands that worked very nicely.

Because my phone is a slightly smaller size, the grey nanny pack has just one row of single crochet on each side. The original pack has two rows on each side in order to accommodate a larger phone.

This pack could be made equally well with all 4" x 4" squares. I would suggest joining the squares for the bag using a mattress stitch. See the page, Pin loom essentials for information on joining the squares.  Turn the sides of the bag to the inside and stitch to obtain the correct size bag for your phone.

Taylor talked about her experience with pin looms, noting that when she was little they were always around the house and she wove some small squares, with some help from her mom. When she was seven or eight she put together her first real woven project. There is a box in my attic filled with dolls and bears as well as doll and bear clothes. One of the most precious items (to us both) is a little baby doll blanket, woven and sewn by a little girl with her mom.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Happy All Hallow's Eve & Día de Muertos

This is the time of year when many cultures celebrate our link with those who have gone before.

These pin loom dolls are intended to represent Day of the Dead figures. I posted them among the marigolds because this autumnal flower is closely associated with the celebration.

From what I have learned, the skeletal figures aren't supposed to be scary so much as to represent the spirit of a person.  The idea is that
the skeleton is what is left after the body has decayed. So the skeleton is used to represent the person's spirit or soul, in other words, that which remains after death.

Day of the Dead or Día de Muertos decorations often feature this representation of spirit celebrating all the different aspects of life. Check out this site for a variety of craft ideas for a Day of the Dead celebration.

If you have the book, Pin Loom Weaving, you may recognize the doll figures here updated with suit coats and skirts as well as skeletal heads. The (slightly fuzzy) bony hands and feet were accomplished by adding short pieces of chenille sticks to the ends of arms and legs. Don't these guys look like they're posing for an album cover?

The very best to everyone for Halloween, All Saint's Day, All Soul's Day and Dia de Muertos. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Weaving with weird stuff

I love the idea that almost anything is weavable on a pin loom. Here are two of my most recent experiments.
We're coming up on the holidays and I have been looking at the multitude of spun and woven fibers intended for scarves with the intention of making some pretty little bags for the holidays. I think they would be great as part of a gift or as the basis for a holiday purse.

I found this particular fiber in a "Please get this out of our store" bin. It is flat and ribbon-like with a generous amount of gold colored fiber woven through.

Here are the specifics:
Red Heart Boutique Sashay Metallic
Fiber Content:     66% Acrylic, 23% Polyester, 11% Metallic
Skein Weight:     3.5 oz (100 g)
Yardage:     30 yd (27 m)

So the question becomes, can you weave with it on a pin loom?  The sample you see to the left was woven with two layers of the gold fiber and two layers of a wool sock weight yarn. I found that it was best to roll the fiber against my leg just before laying each 4" piece between the pins in order to turn it into a rounder package. I don't think it makes any difference to the outcome, but that made it easier to wind on.

I always wind on the difficult fiber first and weave through with something easy to handle.  As you can see this produces a wider shiny stripe of gold and with a smaller stripe of white. I think that it would be possible, but not easy, to wind on three layers of gold and then just weave through with the lighter wool yarn.  I think it would be possible to wind and weave all four layers in the gold fiber but the effort, for me, would not be worth the tremendous amount of difficulty.

Second strange fiber-

As I may previously mentioned, I am fond of shopping at thrift shops because the items are so interesting.  They represent a cross section of American passions over the past thirty or forty years.

I don't know that I can call this particular item a passion, perhaps more an infatuation, a reflection of an earlier age that introduced the slogan "Better Living Through Chemistry". 

From that earlier time I found one skein of a very weird yarn.

This is Phentex, a knitting yarn made of 100% polypropylene. It is reported to be:
stain resistant
machine washable and dryable
will not stretch or shrink
keeps the shape you knit in
non-fading fast colors
long wearing and

It looks as though it is made from exactly the same stuff as pantyhose. I did a search online and found another person who had discovered a skein of this stuff, but it was white rather than brown. A newer version of this yarn is listed as "slipper and craft yarn" which makes sense because it is very hard to the touch and might work well for knitted slipper soles.

Comments in Ravelry notes the hard, scratchy feel of anything that is made out of this yarn, noting that it is extreeeemly durable, seemingly impervious to wear. There are 40 year old slippers still out there that were made from it. Of course, that may have as much to do with the fact that the slippers were so uncomfortable that they never had a chance to wear out.

There is no twist to it, so it splits very easily-- not quite such a problem for me as for a knitter, but still difficult to work with. The greater difficulty for me was that the yarn was a little too thick to comfortable weave on my 4" pin loom. I finally wove two squares on a Weave-it 5" rug loom which I crocheted together to make what appears to be an impermeable pot scrubber-- which is shown above.

Have you run into some strange fiber that has offered an unexpected gift? What unknown or underestimated fiber is out there, just waiting to share its gifts?  Please share your experience. 

My intention, metaphorically, is to spin flax into gold, to show each fiber in its best light.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Slender Man doll wishes you a creepy Halloween

Though the existence of Slender Man continues to be in doubt, no matter what every tween I've talked to asserts, I now have photographic proof of the existence of the Slender Man pin loom doll. As you can see below, this poses a terrible risk to play families everywhere.

Due to the fact that I live in a creepy old house, I mean, a creepy classic house, once I started looking around, it proved surprisingly easy to discover the Slender Man doll in its preferred environment.

  Give a Slender Man doll to someone you love for Halloween... or perhaps someone you're stalking. Use the basic pattern for doll making found in Pin Loom Weaving; 40 Projects for Tiny Looms  with body in white. Make the body element longer by adding crochet to top and bottom of the square only. Embellish with black yarn satin-stitch necktie. Add a suit jacket by wrapping a 4" x 6" black weavie around the body, stitch closed at shoulders and fold back at neck to create collar. Substitute two crocheted "tentacles" for the arms.  To make each tentacled arm, chain 18, sc5, hdc10, dc3 and attach at the shoulder.  

Wishing everyone the very best for a super creepy and frightening Halloween!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Zoom Loom, Weave-It and Loomette

Okay, here's the problem. For a long time I have been under the impression that there is something very special, very distinctive about the three-pin configuration as exemplified by Weave-its, Weavettes and Zoom Looms. I thought that it allowed a style of weaving that was not available without that three-pin configuration.

My question is, does it make a difference if the pins are grouped in threes or not?

I decided on an experiment, take a loom with the three-pin configuration and one without, wind them and weave them up, take some pictures as I go along, see what difference it makes. I chose to use a bakelite Weave-it, the grandmother of three-pin configured looms, and a Loomette, another vintage loom with an even pin configuration. The Loomette looks bigger here because it has a wider frames, the pins seem to be within mm's of one another.

I realize I may be belaboring a very simple idea, I would assume that a good many readers are saying, "Duh, Meg, everybody knows that it works the same."  But I wanted to see how/why it makes a difference. 

So, as you can see above, the first layer is wound on.  What struck me immediately was that I can wind the three-pin very fast because the pattern is easy to pick out. With the Loomette I had to stop and count more carefully, using the formula, "go around two, leave one pin open."

 Here's two layers on and I'm a little surprised to find that they look just alike, the grid is just as even with the three-pin as with the open configuration.

Weaving in that last layer works just the same, however considering that the Loomette has slightly more space between the pins, it may offer slightly greater ease in the weaving process.

 And here they are. The product is the same size, the sett is the same, the corners are all the same. The only difference is that the three-pin set up is quicker and easier to wind because of the visual cues of the different pin clusters.

If this is true for these looms, then it must be true for bias weaving as well. I have read the advice that any pin loom can be used as a bias loom, but I couldn't get beyond the "problem" of the three-pin clusters. I am going to have to practice bias weave a lot more with the idea in mind that the exact amount of space between the pins, clustered or not clustered, makes no difference... and then come back with pictures!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Pin loom winner for September

A big congratulations to Jenny T., of Panama City, FL, the September winner of the 4" vintage Loomette loom with original box, instructions and new needle. 

Jenny writes:
I have had my hands in fiber ever since I could hold a needle.  Weaving was one of the few things I had never tried.  The idea of warping a loom was, quite frankly, overwhelming.  When I discovered little looms I was immediately intrigued.  To be able to weave and have the project remain portable is right up my alley!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

John Mullarkey; weaver, teacher, artist, Zoom Loom creator

Pin looms are, in many ways, defined by their size. The fact that they are small supports their capacity to offer convenience, portability and ease of use. However the fact that we are always producing small patches of fabric leads to the number one burning topic among pin loom weavers, how to join them together.

Which leads to my introduction of John Mullarkey. You have likely heard his name. John is the weaver who worked with the Schacht Spindle Co. to design the Zoom Loom.  This is a link to an excellent article on John's involvement in Zoom Loom's genesis.

But that's not all... remember how I said that joining techniques are so important to pin loomers? John was the Best of Show winner in the 2010 "Not Just for Socks" Contest for the Spanish Moss Shawl, using a single crochet join to create this light, airy shawl.

Schact Spindle is now offering a variety of projects for weaving including the Spanish Moss Shawl as well as purses, pillows and a variety of projects that are all made with the Zoom Loom.

Click here for complete directions for this incredible weaving including a close-up of John's joining technique.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Come join the conversation

...Lola Colleen Watson has built a meeting place for all of us.  

A number of weavers have mentioned that they wish they had somewhere to talk and share about pin loom weaving.  Lola Colleen Watson heard the call and has established the Pin Loom Weaving Support Group on Facebook.

      I was an avid knitter before I had a baby and found out about the zoom
      loom brand of pin loom from a knitting designer I follow on instagram. It's
      easier for me to sit and do one of these at a time rather than a whole
      knitting project. After my baby was born I also got really into woven wraps
      and am fascinated by this new world of fiber arts. I think pin looms are a
      great low cost way to get a taste for weaving.

If you have thoughts or questions that you would really like to share with another pin loomer, this is the place to go.  Tell Lola I said "hi" and thank her from me for taking the time to give us all a place to talk. 

Check out the Facebook Pin Loom Weaving Support Group 

Monday, September 15, 2014

6" Pin Loom Correction

A reader/weaver/loom maker wrote to ask me about the pattern for the 6" pin loom that is available in the book Pin Loom Weaving. She was having problems making the pattern of pins work. I went back to the book and checked the pattern and found that it was wrong, I had managed to insert too many pins on two of the sides. Just enough to make it goof up, not enough apparently for me to notice that I had gotten it wrong.

I want to apologize to anyone who has struggled to make the loom with the incorrect pattern. I feel terrible to have sent out something that wasn't right. There is now a corrected pattern on the page titled: New 6" Pin Loom Template. This will allow you to download a PDF of the correct 6"x6" template.

Please note:  In order to make certain that the pattern prints to the correct size, you need to click the download button and print it through Adobe. If you print it directly from the shared file, it may come out an inaccurate size. When you print it, make sure that you hit the radio button that says: Print at actual size. Otherwise it will print too small and you'll have reason to get upset all over again-- at least that's what I did.

Again, my apologies for this error. Please feel free to download the updated 6" loom pattern.
Meg Stump

Monday, September 8, 2014

Creating pin loom prairie points

Caroline Fylpaa is an inventive weaver who had a problem. She was weaving the gorgeous blanket shown on the right and she wanted to  finish it with Prairie Points. (I had to look up Prairie Points and now understand that it is usually a quilting technique that makes a right angled triangle used to edge a blanket.)

She noted, "My pin loom weaving started with a trip to Goodwill. I found a loom for 49 cents and it had directions! I hated traditional table top weaving due to the amount of waste and non-portability. I am a spinner in love with drop spindles, I do have and use a wheel, but sometime less is best!" 

In this case the challenge was, make a Prairie Point to match the 4" x 4" square with just a 4" loom to work with.

She noted that she tried to fold the 4" square in half on the diagonal, but that makes too big a triangle.

She realized that she had to make a 2" x 4" loom, which she did.

Caroline says, " This is my adjustable bar made from an oak strip and a metal dog comb. I had to pull out some of the teeth to get the pattern right.

I carved the oak strip to hold the dog comb stable on the weave it loom. I hand carved it all with a wood carving knife and had blisters on top of blisters! I used cocktail toothpicks as shims to ensure a snug fit."

Here is it in place on the loom with an adjustable snug fit. I am really impressed with the fact that not only can Caroline make a 2" x 4" rectangle, she can also weave a 1" x 4" or a 3" x 4" as needed.

Below is her Prairie Point, corners of the 2" x 4" folded in and stitched closed.  She noted that she is making a very pastel Blankquilt, almost finished. The yarn is a 70/30 Targhee wool and nylon sock yarn from Montana, described as beautiful and lofty.

"All it needs is a few more points, weaving in the ends and fulled."
 I am really hoping that she will consent to send a picture of her finished blanket as well.

  Thank you, Caroline. 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

We have a winner!

Wendell W. of Kennesaw, GA is the August winner.

I have to say, I am close to astounded that I won the vintage pin loom!!  I could count on less than one hand , I think,  the number of things I have won on my 75 years.

I'm pretty sure it was while living in the Dallas TX area in the mid 70's that I purchased my first pin loom - a Weave-It.  (At that time I was becoming involved in rigid heddle and later 4 shaft weaving.) Since then I have acquired a few others -- new, used, wood, plastic.  Pin weaving is such a fulfilling activity.  Easy to do and keep at hand or travel with and not particular about the yarn it will accommodate.  I have woven many hundreds of squares and other shapes on 2", 4" and rectangular looms.

Are you signed up to win the Pin Loom Giveaways coming up at the end of each month? 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Monday, August 18, 2014

Pin loom weaving in the round (with a dash of knitting)

One of the side effects of getting to correspond with other weavers due to the Woolery blog post is that I get to learn about some of the new forms or weaving appearing in the pin loom universe. Christine Thresh is a weaver, quilter, spinner, knitter and all around creative person who introduced me to her open ended pin loom approach.

Here is Christine's pin loom surface, pins secured to a backing in order to make the exact size and shape she is looking for. And the Mochi Rainbow yarn is incredible.

The next step is what blows me away. Christine simply takes up the looped selvage and transfers it to her circular knitting needles. Now she can finish the item, in this case a beret, and the weaving becomes immediately wearable.

Below is another example of finishing techniques with a woven knitted beret, dampening the weaving and stretching/blocking with a dinner plate.  This also shows off the clever transition from weaving to knitting. Christine pointed out that transitioning to crochet (for people like me who don't know how to knit and are too stubborn to learn) would work very well, too.

This is just an admiring glance at Christine Thresh's weaving techniques. To learn more, check out her website, Winnowings and look for the free downloadable PDF on pin loom weaving in the round.

While you are there, please take a look at the book behind her incredible techniques, Knitter's Weaving Book.

Christine describes, "For those of you who love running fibers through your fingers -- knitters and spinners -- this book gives you a simple way to expand your pleasure. Weaving on a light-weight, portable loom-board fits right in with your tactile delights. You can combine your woven pieces with your knitting. Imagine a stretchy soft cuff knitted right on to your woven jacket sleeve, or a woven vest with a knitted back."

Thank you Christine, for sharing yet another approach to pin loom weaving.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Blogging at The Woolery

I had the opportunity to talk with some people from The Woolery who are now involved in putting together a special Critter Kit that includes gorgeous yarn, a Zoom Loom and directions to make one of several Critters.

They were kind enough to invite me to talk/blog about pin looms, pin loom history, stuff you can do with them... etc. My only difficulty was that I felt bad about not putting the same material right here.  And then I realized, I can do that.

So here is the link for Pin Loom Weaving with Meg Stump!

As it mentions at the end of the article, I am looking for pictures of pin loom projects, whether completed, still under way or stuck. I would like to put a page of all our works together, but I'm not posting it until I have a bunch so that no one has to worry about what someone else has sent in.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Newest pin loom winner

The third book and loom winner is:

Cheryl F., Tyler, Texas

I don't have a lot of experience with Pin Looms.  I am new to any kind of weaving.  I have done some yarn weaving on pot holder looms and have a triangle loom.  I am excited to see what I can make with a pin loom.

We have a second winner

Melanie Viney, Merrigum, Victoria

Melanie is one of the many Pinloomweaving readers who check in  from across the world. She is looking forward to getting her book and loom.

Our first book and loom winner: 

Melise Gerber,  Altadena, CA.

You asked me to share a bit more about myself:  I am 47.  My paternal grandmother taught me all kinds of needlework, knitting, crocheting and needlepoint when I was 7 or 8.  I have always loved the feel of hand-woven fabric, and tried learning on a rigid heddle loom, but a traumatic warping experience led to my selling my loom before I ever even used it.

About a year ago, I read about weave-it looms on Ravelry, and was able to purchase one on eBay.  I love weaving little squares on this loom--I especially like seeing the way the weaving changes my expectations for the way hand-dyed yarns work up.  But, so far, I haven't found many projects that I like that can be made with these little squares--and whenever I DO try to make something from them, I am REALLY unhappy with the options I have seen for joining. 

So, I am really looking forward to learning from your book.  Thanks for choosing me for this contest!!

Don't forget that there are going to be pin loom giveaways each month thru December. Its not too late to sign up! 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Pin Loom Pinpressions

A Pinpression is a plastic version of the metal pin art toys. It sells at Wal-Mart for about $5.00. I first came across the pinpression when I was looking for stocking stuffers. Unfortunately, it did not work as well as the type with metal pins, but that turned out to be for the best.

Because the Pinpression that I had bought didn't work very well, I thought about throwing it away. Then I realized what I was looking at. The toy is made of two plastic boards that are perforated with rows of holes as well as a clear plastic board on top.  It is held together with plastic bolts and acorn nuts.

It dawned on me that if I took out all the plastic pins, I could turn this item into a pin loom.  Here is how it has worked out so far:

As much as I would have liked to just keep the original hardware, it turned out to be easier to get 1" x 1/4" cap screws with matching nuts to secure the boards together. Keep in mind that you want to get the same threading on both parts, they come in 20 and 28- either will work, just make certain that they match.

I used 1 1/4" cedar shingle nails as weaving pins. I took the boards with me to a hardware store and simply tried different nails until I found some that would go through the holes without being too tight or too loose.

These nails turned out to have a rounded rather than very sharp tip, which is helpful. My only regret was that in order to get the 40 or so than I needed, I had to purchase 370. If possible, look for a source that lets you purchase less of them.

My goal was to be able to produce a small square or rectangle that would match my Weavette and Zoom Loom sett and offer slightly different dimensions to fill in an occasional need for an off size weavie. I haven't been able to do that quite yet although its close.

This little loom could work quite well on its own-- without comparing it to a standard loom. This has been a fun loom to experiment with because of the reasonably low initial investment and the potential to weave a number of different squares.

The next two pictures show the same weaving on and off the loom. The square measures 2 1/4" x 2 1/4". You can see the pin placement from the back in the picture above that shows the loom back and the cedar shingle nails.

The four weavings on the left in the picture below were all created on this pin loom. In comparison, the grey square on the right was woven on a 2" Weave-it.
Despite some frustration regarding the learning curve, I found that it was possible to complete a pin loom with a finished selvedge all the way around.  If you have any questions about this process, leave a comment and I will try to fill in the details.   Happy weaving!