Monday, July 15, 2019

Weave a Pin Loom Keyboard Case

I recently got a really neat little bluetooth keyboard and pencil to go with my IPad. There are a bunch of these little bluetooth keyboards available now (and I am not commercially connected with any of them).  I love the idea that I can turn my Ipad into a productive station any place I like but I’m not at all comfortable carrying around an unprotected keyboard and now I had multiple pieces of equipment that I had to keep track of.

What a perfect opportunity for a made-to-order pin loom keyboard case.

This was a small, fun project that gave me the perfect container for both keyboard and pencil. The keyboard is 6” x 12” by about 1”. I used my 4” x 6” pin loom to weave seven 4” x 6” rectangles in Paton’s worsted weight brown marl. Marl is light and dark yarns twisted together, in this case, brown and cream. It can (almost) give the look of a solid piece of cloth. The seven 4” x 6” rectangles were joined using double overcast stitch. Check out information on the stitch here and watch a video about using it here. I turned down the corners of one end and stitched in place. This end will be the flap. I edged the fabric strip in single crochet using a medium brown worsted weight yarn.

I then doubled the fabric over to form the keyboard case with about 3.5” of flap left over. I wove an extra 2” x 4” rectangle in the brown marl and stitched it to the inside of the flap for reinforcement. I used the same brown yarn to whip stitch the sides together. You can see information about joining crocheted edges here. The bag was then wet finished — washed very gently in cool water and steam blocked it lightly after it was dry. I sewed a button on the outside of the flap with another, smaller button as reinforcement on the inside.

I wanted a pocket for the pencil that I could keep closed but that was simple and easy to use. 

The pencil pocket was woven using one 2” x 6” and one 2” x 4” worsted weight tan and cream marl. The 2” x 4” was folded over the end of the 2” x 6” rectangle with the ends stitched together to make a loop of fabric. The pocket was appliqued to the outside of the bag, using the brown yarn to whip stitch it in place.

The final piece was a 10” crochet chain that I ran through the fabric loop and joined the ends together. This chain can be looped a couple times around the button to keep the flap closed and the pencil in place.

Making the keyboard case was a fun, relatively quick project and it has worked really well. I love that I can throw it in my bag--the keyboard is not going to get scratched, and the pencil is aways right with it. You may not be looking for a keyboard bag but the style works very well for tablets, phones or any other electronic bits that you may want to protect.  Plus it gives you a place to stow away all that stuff so that you can weave more-- which is always a good move.  Happy weaving!

Monday, July 8, 2019

Dr. Who Pin Loom Scarf

I don’t know how much overlap there is between pin loom weavers and Dr. Who fans, but I am a major weaver/Dr. Who overlapper.

When I stumbled across the website, Dr. Who Scarf, I knew that I wanted to weave my very own homage' to the original, knitted, Dr. Who Scarf. I wanted it to be as close to the original colors and design as I could get— without having to do any knitting.

For those who might not remember (or not have been born at that time) Tom Baker portrayed the Fourth Doctor Who from June, 1974 until March, 1981, which was the longest appearance of any one actor in the role of Dr. Who.

One of his most recognizable features was a very, very long scarf.

The Dr. Who Scarf website was extremely helpful by giving specific colors needed as well as a layout for the design. The original scarf was 10” by 13 foot with fringe -- which stretched to about 17 foot over the years. My recreation turned out to be 11 foot, 6 inches without fringe. I’m pretty short and decided that fringed scarf ends would end up acting too much like a dust mop.

To create the color blocks, I used 4x4” and 4x6” pin looms to make blocks 10” across. There are several sections that measure 8” x 10”, where I used multiple blocks of the same color. For thinner color blocks, I used 2x4” and 2x6” looms. For even thinner sections, I single crocheted 3 rows back and forth for an approximate 1” x 10” section.

I joined the blocks and all the color sections using a double overcast stitch. You can find information on this stitch on the Pin Loom Essentials page as well as a demonstration of using the double overcast stitch on the Pin Loom Video page.

I decided to limit my yarn choice for the project to what I had available in the house (which is not a ridiculous limit since I’ve got about two rooms full of yarn-much of which has come to me second-hand through various thrift stores). I found a very close match to all but one color in worsted weight wool. I had to use an acrylic yarn for the chestnut color.

This is the scarf laid out flat on the ground
pictured in sections.
When I started weaving and putting the stripes together I was blown away by how the color palette reeked of the 70’s. It dawned on me that my color choices may have been helped by the fact that some of the yarn I was using could have been spun in the 70’s. I may have been using the original colors!

This scarf project turned out to be the perfect choice for several weeks of travel. Since I had a clear diagram, with my modifications, from the irreplaceable Dr. Who Scarf website, I could pick up and do a few squares whenever I needed something to do with my hands. Because I was weaving in different sizes and colors, it was never boring and the project took shape surprisingly swiftly.

It was only after I finished the scarf that I did some further investigation and found that there are a number of people actively knitting, and selling, Dr. Who scarves. However, none of them are woven on pin looms, which I still consider the absolute best, and most fun, fiber technique.