Friday, June 19, 2020

Pin Loom Sunflowers for Summer

It is extremely hot this week in Minnesota, this is the third day with temps over 90 degrees. Which makes it a perfect time to stay inside and weave sunflowers.

These sunflowers are part of a larger project that I'm working on for an article and usually, if there are plans for future publication, I just keep the project to myself. But these sunflowers look so great that I wanted to share them with everyone.

As with many pin loom projects, the flowers are easy to make. The brown middle on both flowers was woven on a 4" loom in a variable brown acrylic by Red Heart. I sandwiched it with a green square for the back, crocheted around the edge to make a circle and turned the seam to the inside. The smaller flower was made the same way but I slip-stitched a smaller, 3" circle.

The flower petals are 2" squares with the corners turned back. They offer a surprisingly life-like, floppy appearance.

I found a really effective material for stuffing the flowers, foam packing. It comes in sheets and I was able to cut several circles of it to place inside the flowers. The foam packing gave them just the right amount of stiffness without being too heavy.

The stems are a chenille stick/pipe cleaner that was run through the fabric, wrapped in yarn and further stitched to the back of the flower.

I can't think of a better project for the summer than making a few sunflowers. This is one of those projects that can utilize almost any yarn you have on hand and will let you make a flower to bring you, or someone you love, a sunny mood. 

Happy Weaving!

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Pin Loom Shark Mittens in Little Looms 2020

Easy Weaving With Little Looms 2020, the principal magazine for small looms, is now available and features FIVE super cool pin loom projects including one that I am really proud of, the Pin Loom Shark Mittens-- because I made them. 

Easy Weaving with Little Looms has been published for several years now. It is interesting to note that the issues have grown, offering more unique patterns for small looms, and that the number of pin loom patterns continues to increase. [Sending a celebratory high five to pin loomers everywhere.]

If you haven't seen the magazine yet, please follow the link above and check it out. In addition to these three items, there is an incredibly cute pin loom raccoon pillow and a charming baby onsie, as well as a whole bunch of extremely cool rigid heddle, inkle, and other small loom projects. 

It was never my plan to identify as "the pin loom person who makes animals" but I am very proud of these mittens because they are warm and comfortable as well as funny and cute. I am also pleased to find that its possible to create a variety of mitten patterns using pin looms. As we are all learning, there are incredible worlds beyond scarves and blankets using these little looms.

Dum-dum, dum-dum, dum-dum, dum dum dum dum dum dum ... [background shark music]  

Be well, happy weaving!

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Weave a Pin Loom Lovey in velvety yarn

So here is another post about something that I was pretty darn certain that I couldn't do. Shortly before the "sheltering at home" began, I was roaming wildly through Joanne's looking for interesting yarn. I grabbed up one of those enormous skeins of Bernat's Velvet yarn because it was so soft and lovely that I could not resist it--assuming that I would be using it on my rug loom or potholder loom.

I decided to try it on a regular 4" pin loom with no expectation that I could manage it and something wonderful happened. This lush beautiful yarn squashed easily to create a thick, perfect velvet square.

This is not a yarn that I would suggest for first-timers because it is very difficult to see where you are weaving. But if you have woven on a pin loom for a while and know the feel of the weaving pattern, you will find that the yarn's thin core gives the needle very clear feedback so that you can weave with some ease. I found that I had to hold the loom up to a light to make sure of where to start some of the lines, but that the lines were much easier to weave than expected.

One weaving note: I habitually use a fork to tamp down each line before weaving the next and that becomes even more important when weaving with such a thick yarn. But unlike most bulky yarns, this velvet yarn stays tamped down to produce this amazing velvet cloth.

Once I found that I could make these soft velvet squares, I decided to turn them into cozy velveteen loveys. A lovey is a small blanket, often with an animal head, that serves the same purpose as a teddy bear or other comfort object for a baby or small child.

Each lovey is made using sixteen 4"x 4" squares to make a little blanket with the animal head attached on the diagonal to one corner. I used a double overcast stitch to make as seamless a look as I could. The arms and head are made with 4" squares, the rabbit's ears are 4" squares and the bear's ears are 2" squares. I used a square of cream colored cotton chenille to make the animal muzzles. 

The bear's eyes and nose were cut from a 2" x 2" black wool square that I first felted. After cutting out the pieces I stitched around and over them with more black yarn. The rabbit's eyes are small buttons which I would NOT recommend if a lovey is going to a baby or child under three. 

These squares have been so much fun to produce that I can see more and bigger projects down the line-- like an Amish or Navaho inspired lap blanket made with this velvet surface. I can think of a number of people in my life who would appreciate it and its going to be so much fun to make!

Sunday, May 10, 2020

A Pin Loom Scarf with woven tape and a unique join

A Mother's Day pin loom scarf for all seasons with a rich woven texture and woven tape ties to lighten the look and feel.

After completing the tape woven place mats and experimenting with another combination of tape and yarn, I decided to keep weaving these lovely squares, 25 in all, and turn them into a scarf. 

The squares turned out to be of a medium weight and I did not want to add what could be a stiff, tight join between them.  I spaced out the join by using a 10 mm knitting needle, looping the join around it. Deciding that I wanted something still more frivolous, I then added ties to the joins, bundling the joins into groups of two or three and simply tying them with short lengths of the tape.

Because of its length (113 inches) I decided to close the loop and create an endless scarf. That keeps it from dragging on the ground and makes it easier to loop around neck and shoulders. 
The top image shows a section of loops before tying them with the tape. 

Diagram for scarf join using whip stitched loops and ties.

I am constantly amazed by the variety of ways that you can weave on a pin loom. While I have really enjoyed being able to weave consistent squares using a single source of yarn, there are amazing riches to be found in experimenting with a variety of fibers. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Pin Loom Placemats, a little weaving, a lot of reward.

I recently completed some very usable, resilient placemats by adding in tape-type yarn. I nearly gave this yarn away on the basis that it probably wouldn't work on a pin loom. Luckily instead I misplaced the skein in my yarn room. It turned out that if you just use one layer of the woven tape, it is perfectly weave-able and makes a heavy cloth perfect for a placemat. 

Staying home has offered some wonderful opportunities to rummage through my yarn selection and carry out some simple weaving projects. These placemats were made primarily with worsted acrylic yarn. The secret ingredient that makes them heavy and usable is one layer, about two yards, of the tape-like yarn that is woven into each of the squares. Because it is only one layer of the tape yarn it has proven not that difficult to weave with while maintaining all the merits of this eye catching yarn.

I am going to assume that this particular yarn is no longer being manufactured- on the basis that yarn companies seem to maintain a pretty tight schedule of planned obsolescence. The upside is that, according to Ravelry and other sites 1) there is still a decent amount of this yarn available, 2) even if this yarn isn't available, there will always be other new, wacky yarns to make your placemats unique.

Each placemat was made using twelve 4" squares. I had originally planed to to weave them all using a deep red acrylic yarn for the other two layers and to weave through. However I wanted a little more interest and contrast and the use of the cream yarn for the middle squares added that. The light colored yarn also better highlights the "dots" of woven yarn as shown in the inset of a square above. 

After discovering so much joy in the yarn combination for the placemats I returned to the yarn room to see what other strange or seemingly difficult to weave fibers I might have hidden away. I used one layer of the Lux yarn in two test weavings and really love them both. Again, the secret was only using one layer of the fancy yarn instead of trying to pile too much of it on the pin loom and causing myself all sorts of difficulties. Right now I am working on a scarf using this weaving style with the coffee colored yarn that I can't wait to show everybody in a few weeks. 

That pattern is now available at this Scarf Link!

I couldn't resist adding this final picture of the placemat with matching tea mug. They matched perfectly! Staying home has given me the opportunity to think about and treasure some the simple acts in our lives, like taking time for just hanging and a tea break.

Be well, happy weaving!

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Home is where your pin loom honey bear is

I have been spending a lot of time at home and that circumstance, along with a certain amount of simmering anxiety over what is happening in the world has turned my mind toward the comfort of making pin loom bears. I talked to my daughter about what I might name them and she reminded me of the motto, "Home is where your honey is." Since this is a time when there is a great need to be at home and to be comforted, these are Honey Bears.

The first bear was the girl. If you look closely you will see that her shrug is woven with the same Windowpane lace pattern (and the same cotton yarn) as the cell phone holder.

Making the bears gave me the opportunity to try out a couple new looms. I now have a 1" loom and a 3" loom from Wunderwag Industries. I admit to originally assuming that a 1" loom would have no real purpose, but it turns out that all pin looms are really fun and functional to use.

Once I completed one bear I realized an immediate need for a second bear (that happens a lot to me). Making the bears is particularly easy if you have some very basic crochet skills because then you can use single crochet to "sew" the pieces together, which takes less time and makes a very strong join.

After making the first two, I was reminded (by the dominant news items of each day) of the ongoing challenges being faced by our medical people and it just seemed right to make a Honey Med-Bear, too. 

If you are looking for some comfort in your life you are welcome to try a Honey Bear. There are complete patterns for the Honey Bears at the Pin Loom Weaving Shop.

You do not have to have every possible loom in order to make this pattern but you will need at least a 2" and a 4" pin. loom. If you have any questions or comments you can leave them below-- in the comment section or you can get in touch with me. My email is at the bottom of the right hand column, you just have to eliminate the spaces to make it a regular email address. 

Be well. Be safe. Happy Weaving!

Monday, April 6, 2020

Make your own vintage pin loom doll blanket

Staying at home has encouraged me to go through old boxes including some left behind by my daughter. I found a number of dolls and lots of doll clothes plus two now vintage doll blankets. While most of the dolls and accessories will be going to charity (with daughter's blessing) the pin loom doll blankets will definitely stay.

For me, the blankets express the sum of the story of bringing up this child. I can still see her as a two year old with a top knot of flyaway blond hair looking a little like the Whoville girl. And I can see her on Facetime as the joyful, competent woman she has become.

Doll blanket made in a Sunshine & Shadow pattern, each 2" square finished with single crochet and whip stitched together. Two rows of single crochet around blanket. 

If you have any tiny scraps of yarn, you have the beginnings of your own vintage doll blanket. If you have made any projects where some of the squares just didn't work, you may have your doll blanket half completed. Keep in mind that the "vintage" part is only a matter of time.

Looking for a project to take your mind off the present? Make something that evokes the past.

Doll blanket made with 4x4" squares, each finished with single crochet and whip stitched together.

Be well, keep weaving. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Free Pin Loom Rabbit Pattern

It is getting close to Easter, which may feel pretty subdued this year. What better time to make up a few small companions for your Easter basket? This is a free pattern available in the Pin Loom Pattern Shop.

This pattern uses one square to make rabbit ears, head and body. This rabbit is made with one 4 x 4" square for the body plus several 2 x 2" squares for the front and back feet. The rabbit pattern includes a fun, easy pattern for a little carrot to go with the little rabbit. Click HERE or click on the Pin Loom Pattern Shop page to download the free PDF instruction sheet for rabbit and carrot.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Loomettes, making a good pin loom almost perfect

The Loomette is a vintage pin loom that has a lot to offer. Like the vintage Weave-It, it is readily available on Ebay and other online venues for very reasonable prices. It is a sturdy little wood-framed loom. The wider pin spacing means that there is more room to use variable yarns and the weaving needle won't get stuck between the pins. You can find lots of Loomettes that look as though they were never taken out of the box, in perfect condition after 60 or 70+ years. Unfortunately, there is a reason for that.

The downside with the Loomette is that, because the pins are not clustered in groups of three, it is more challenging to wind on the yarn. Each time I have done it I had to stop and think about it, I couldn't pick up an easy flow like the Weave-it or Zoom Loom.

So I decided to fix that. Now I can use my Loomettes with the same ease as my other pin looms and all it needed was a little nail polish. 

Some of the Loomettes came with two weaving bars that expand the weaving options to 17 different pieces. 

The Loomette pin pattern is slightly different than the standard Zoom Loom type pin loom. There are two less pins on the Loomette. Beginning from a slot to hold the starting end of the yarn, you follow a pattern of going around two pins, skipping one.

In order to make this easier to see, I painted white nail polish on each group of two pins that you go around for the first two layers. I marked the two pins that you go through to the third layer in green.

This pattern shows the pins that need to be marked in order to easily wind yarn onto the loom.

I have also marked the "gateway pins" to transition to the third layer.

You can see the different layers wound onto a Loomette below- making use of the marked pins.

Be aware that in the picture of Layer 2, the loom is now sideways, it returns to the starting side for Layer 3.

Original Loomette instruction patterns.
The final question is whether the Loomette is compatible with other pin looms. The woven Loomette below was so close to identical to the Zoom Loom product that I had to mark it with masking tape when I took it off the loom for fear of confusing the two.

I am certain that there are many weavers who are as comfortable winding the Loomette as any other pin loom. If you are not one of those, I hope these directions will help.

This gives me one more chance to include a plea for collaboration. If you have a couple pin looms or if you decide to pull out an extra Loomette and some nail polish, you now have the opportunity to share this craft with family and friends, and that gives you a superpower.  You now have the ability to create a baby toy or prayer shawl or other gift from your heart and hands in an incredibly short period of time through your unified work. And that becomes a gift of its own.
     Be well. Happy weaving!

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Pin Loom Flat Rat the ultimate weaving companion

Do you ever feel that your house is just too clean and tidy? ...or that you need company when you're reading? Here is the ultimate pin loom companion, the Flat Rat. Whether as flattened friend or bookmark, the Flat Rat lends an air of dissipated companionship to any environment.

 A friend pointed out a knitting pattern for a Flat Rat and it struck me that it would be even better in pin loom squares.

Think of all the uses! Not only do you have an exceptional bookmark, it makes a great coaster, giving a certain fuzzy touch to your morning coffee. Add a second Flat Rat as a tiny cup cozy and you have instant companionship- with your little friend peering up at you each time you take a sip.

And if you have kids at home, what better than a unique accessory for the play house, a Flat Rat rug.

The Pin Loom Flat Rat is super easy to make. 

1)  Weave one 4"x 4" and one 2" x 2" square in your choice of rat color.

2)  Turn the 2" x 2" in a cone, first turning in the corner so that the nose isn't TOO sharp and stitch along the edge. The triangle shape of extra cloth is laid on top of the 4"x 4" square and stitched in place. Add stuffing to the head and stitch the underside of the cone in place along the edge of the 4" x 4".

3)  Pinch in the corners of the 4" x 4" for about 1/2 inch and stitch closed to produce the little squashed feet. Add three pieces of 3/8" length of black yarn sticking out of each foot for rat claws.

4)  Crochet the ear, I used a 4.0mm hook, ch4, hdc1, skip, hdc1. Do this twice, once for each ear. This will give you little round ears with two pieces of yarn coming off of the bottom. Run the yarn into the head to place the ears. You can just ties these two yarn ends together to keep the ear in place.

5)  I used small glass beads for the eyes or you could take a few small stitches in black yarn to make the eyes.

6)  Add pink yarn for the nose. I used about three or four satin stitches up over the front of the nose.

7)  Crochet the tail, which should be the same length as the head and body, about 5". Make a chain with two pieces of yarn, the rat color and pink, stitch the tail to the back of the rat. The pink and rat color make a nice color mix for the tail.

8)  Add black whiskers by running light black yarn or light cotton yarn through the rat muzzle.

9)  As you can see in the picture below, I added rat bellies to a couple of the rats. This isn't absolutely necessary but can be a fun touch. Use a 2" x 2" in a light color, turn in the corners to make the belly somewhat oval and stitch to the underside of the rat using the body color for stitching. Don't forget to add a bellybutton by taking a couple tiny stitches in the rat body color.

So that's it. A fun project that includes assistance in keeping your place in your book while offering you beady-eyed companionship during these physically distancing times.  
Be well and happy weaving. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Windowpane lace cell phone holder plus scarves for Spring

I was originally going to call this post, "Things to weave while hanging out at home" but realized that covers everything I have ever posted. If there was ever a perfect craft for something to do while hanging out and watching TV, I think that pin loom weaving is it. So this is one more-- actually, several more ideas of fun, easy things to do that are going to turn out really nice and be fun to have as Spring emerges.

The pin loom windowpane lace pattern is a favorite of mine because of its extraordinary simplicity and speed of weaving. I used a 100" cotton fingering yarn below in order to highlight the light, airy fabric for Spring.

The first step is weaving the squares. You will need four squares in Windowpane lace pattern for the cell phone holder.

Row 1: weave plain
Row 2: (U3, O1); repeat across the row, U3.
Alternate Rows 1 and 2, through Row 14.
Row 15: weave plain
Row 16: weave plain

The lovely thing about this pattern is that for the odd rows, you just weave plain. For the even rows, you just have to weave "under three, over one" all the way across the row, ending with "under three. The last row, Row 16, is woven plain as well. This is a pattern that I can handle while I watch TV- there is no counting, there are no complex changes from row to row. Its like the simplest pattern of all time and yet it turns into this lovely, lacy cloth. 

Next step, join the four squares to make a strip of fabric. I used the double overcast stitch to join the squares because I wanted to be able to carry my cell phone in the bag I'm making, so I did not want the fabric to give way. Here is the link for instructions for the double overcast stitch located on the Pin Loom Essentials page. 

Fold the fabric over to make a bag. My cell phone is short enough that I decided to make the bag with a flap over the top. When I am actually using the bag for my cell phone I may tuck that flap inside the bag.  You may prefer to fold the fabric in two and make a slightly longer bag.

Starting at the bottom of the bag, join the two sides using a single crochet stitch. When you reach the top of the bag, continue with a crochet chain for 36 to 44", depending upon your preferred length for the strap.

Then continue with a single crochet stitch from the top to the bottom on the second side of the bag and knot it at the bottom.

That's it!  I thought about turning the bag inside out but found that my phone is chunky enough that it works better with the crochet on the outside, you may choose to do it differently.

You will notice that I mentioned scarves earlier. I do not have any scarves made yet but I do have a bunch of really nice windowpane lace squares that will shortly go into a scarf. I'm thinking that once you discover how fun it is to make this fingering weight squares, you will soon have enough for your cell phone holder plus a scarf.

When you are ready to make your scarf, check out the different joining techniques shown on the pin loom essentials page and check out this crochet joining technique used in John Mullarkey's shawl for a variety of joining ideas/techniques for your Spring Scarf.  Now, go have fun and make something glorious!

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Pin Loom Mouse Sachets, also known as a Catnip Mouse

Introducing the perfect house freshener/ fun cat toy/ unforgettable bookmark or unique sachet to tuck away in a drawer or closet. Make your very own rose petal mouse, lavender mouse, catnip mouse or an "insert-your-favorite-flower-or-scent-here" mouse.

This is one of my earliest patterns. I have been making catnip mice, mouse sachets, and weird little mouse toys for many years because people love them and it is a fun and easy pattern, using one 4"x 4" square and two 2"x 2" squares. They are easy enough to make multiples for craft fairs or church fund raisers.

Consider adding extra value with embellishment such as black beads for eyes or embroidered flowers to give your mice a whole new look. I chose to leave off the stitching for the nose, I think it gives them a cleaner, more modern look.

Enjoy this old pattern and may your home be blessed with pin loom mice!

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Pin Loom Patches save the day

I think its safe to say that we live in a post-patching, post-darning world. There seems to be little point in conserving clothing when it is so easy to end up with way too many outfits.

My red knit mittens are an exception to that rule. I live a cold country and good mittens are important to have and hard to find. Pin loom patches have made it possible for me to wear these perfect and almost irreplaceable mittens for several years longer than expected.

I am now rockin' three patches on the right mitten and two on the left, secure in the knowledge that I can continue to weave as many patches as needed to keep my hands toasty. 

I have been thinking about starting to add 4 x4" pin loom woven patches to a few sweaters, just for fun, but haven't had the time to work on pin loom squares for embellishment.

If you have added patches to anything- out of need or for adornment, send me a picture to add to this post. My email is at the bottom of the right hand column.