Friday, June 20, 2014

Never underestimate the power of a mug rug

The yarn is Vanna's Choice Lion Brand "Seaspray Mist".
The other yarns were worsted weight scraps from my collection.
Its summer. This is a great time to kick back with a simple pin loom project.  If you have kids to entertain, its nice to be able to introduce a project that they can accomplish in a day or two.

Plus, its too hot to have half an afghan on your lap while you're putting it together. This is the season for portable projects.
My favorite simple project is the mug rug. There are endless variations and we all need a coaster sooner or later.  The mug rugs shown here were made to match the mugs in order to turn a so-so gift into something personalized and special.

To make the coasters shown above, weave a 4" square and add a 2" x 2" poppy colored square, turn into a Loom Bloom by pulling on one horizontal and one vertical line of yarn. Secure the flower with a contrasting color. Make the flower stem by using a running stitch in the darker color.
 Coasters come in such infinite variety. Angela Tong  made the incredible coaster on the right, taking advantage of one of the pin loom's best properties, that its a wonderful medium for cross stitch.  The complete directions can be found at her site, Angela Tong Designs.

Another design from the web - Purlbee offers a kit with Zoom Loom, yarn and instructions for a great set of coasters. 

 Happy summer... happy mug rug making!   Weave on!   Meg

Friday, June 6, 2014

Return of the Self Striping and Variable Scarf Yarns

I normally haven't worried about the timeliness of my updates because I am usually just posting articles as I weave along. However, Cookie commented on the original self striping yarn post, noting that the mix of a solid yarn with the Rosario Multi with woven slubs (I love that word) would make a great scarf. I totally agree and am really glad she mentioned it because it never crossed my mind. The combination of the two yarns looks extremely rich and feels very soft and silky, it would be great for a scarf.

This is an experimental block originally intended
as a shawl, now going through revisions.
Okay, so here's the irony-- and the reason I felt compelled to write Part Two of this saga (out of a likely three or four part narrative). I am working on a shawl using the two yarns shown to the right. With this item, I wound on two layers of the Multi, one layer of the Caron Simply Soft and then wove with the Caron yarn.

I got a little concerned that I hadn't bought enough of the Multi for the multiple projects I am using the yarn for, so I returned to JoAnn's only to find that it was no longer in stock. It was no longer in stock at any of the stores in Minneapolis and I found that it is currently out of stock online (as of 6/6/14). The JoAnn's people have reassured me that it will be back in stock at some point but I don't know when.  I feel like there is a lesson here-- and its not "make sure you get enough yarn before you start" because if I tried to follow that motto I would have to buy all the yarn available in the stores rather than just most of the yarn.

No. The lesson I am going to carry away is that although looms last almost forever, yarn does not. And if one fabulous yarn recipe isn't available, we can make more. I am currently weaving some squares for a new Soft Box that needs to have a shiny "under the sea" look to them.  Since the other mix isn't available, I am using a mix of the two yarns below. I wound all three layers on the loom using the variable Red Heart Shimmer "Peacock" color and then wove through with the lime green Patons metallic. I think it looks pretty great.

And here's the cool thing. If these yarns suddenly disappear there will be other wonderful variable yarns to weave.  For example, its becoming popular to make scarves out of un-worked yarn. The skein below offers incredible variations in color and texture that will work wonderfully in weavies. My plan is to wind the scarf yarn on the loom and then use something that is very easy to work, like Caron Simply Soft or a worsted wool, to weave through.

You know, considering the pace of incredible new yarns now coming on the market, this topic may end up having five or six parts... what yarns are you falling in love with?