Sunday, March 19, 2017

Marilyn Wing, Master Pin Loom Weaver

I was lucky enough to catch up with Marilyn Wing, a master pin loom weaver who has been practicing the craft since about 1936.

Marilyn is responsible for the extremely clear, lucid directions on bias weaving on the 4" pin loom and was kind enough to allow me to put the project plans for her bag in the new book, Pin Loom Weaving To Go. So I had to catch a picture of her with bag and book on hand.

Marilyn was also kind enough to let me share a glimpse her latest creations, scarves spun out of raw, dyed silk, woven on the pin loom. That "raw, dyed silk" description might sound clunky-- it goes to show how little I know about what she is doing. But I got to see the silk cocoons that she begins with,

then carefully unrolling/pulling apart a fiber that is so light that you can barely feel it. She spins it into a yarn and dyes it, using the pin loom to produce the exquisitely light, airy, soft scarves you see here.

The sample on the right was woven in a traditional horizontal/vertical weave with pearls woven into the weave. I do wish that I could somehow translate into these pictures the extraordinary gossamer feel of these scarves.

The mobius type scarf below was woven using the continuous bias method with two rows of squares. One of the several aspects that blows me away is that after dying the silk yarn in multiple colors (!) she wove each square to exactly match the others so that the colors of warp and weft flow from one square to the next.  It is just lovely.

For all those who have considered bias weaving on a pin loom but was not sure where to start, I would encourage you to check out Marilyn's directions for bias squares and triangles in Pin Loom Weaving To Go. She makes it so easy to do.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

The secret of the Pin Loom Biscornu

So what do you get when you sew two 4" pin loom squares together and stuff them?  A puffy square, right? Not if you're Caroline Fylpaa, who has mastered the secret of the Biscornu.  

To quote Wikipedia: A biscornu is a small, 8-sided, stuffed ornamental pincushion-like object. A button is typically secured in the center of the cushion to give a small depression on the top. Beads, tassels and other objects can decorate the biscornu. They are typically able to fit in the palm of your hand. The name is derived from the French adjective, biscornu, meaning skewed, quirky or irregular. 

One of the ongoing challenges for pin loom weavers is to figure out new and interesting things to do with our favorite loom. Caroline has kindly offered to share her experience making a Biscornu Woolie Dryer Ball.  

She explained, "I love exploring , designing within the constraints or challenges of a craft. I'm sending you a sample of dryer ball infused with lavender, stuffed with wool fleece. Composed of 2 pinned loom squares, top one placed diagonally over the bottom one so that when stitched, the corners meet at the half point of other square." So instead of a boring old stuffed square, we have this very clever eight sided biscornu.  Caroline notes, "it was chained stitch embroidered before being stitched together and stuffed with wool."  Stitching was added through the middle to pull the top and bottom into the tuffet shape. 

I love this creative use to help laundry go a little greener. But I can also see a bunch of embellished biscornu pincushions and ornaments in my future!  As Caroline noted, "play with these patterns... see what you come up with.