Friday, November 27, 2020

The 2020 Pin Loom Commemorative "Dumpster Fire" Christmas Ornament

2020 has been a pretty challenging year. What with a pandemic and politics and quarantines, unemployment and some super-weird theories about what has been going on (yep, I'm looking at you, Q-Anon) this is not a year that many would ever want to experience again. 

But even a terrible year needs to be remembered, and what better image to commemorate the year 2020 than a dumpster fire? 

Here is my take on a special pin loom Christmas ornament made especially for this strange, terrible year. It is easy to make and, considering that you are only going to weave one-third of the flame squares, pretty quick to finish. 

The Dumpster Fire ornament is made with three 4" squares and one 2" x 4" rectangle. If you do not have a 2" x 4" loom, weave another 4" square and fold it in half.  I used two shades of green for my dumpster, you can choose whatever color you want, perhaps a deep blue, to match the local dumpster color. After weaving, I made a single crochet edge on both of the dumpster squares. 

Weave the flames for the dumpster fire. The easiest way to do this is to wind the yarn for a two layer weave rather than the usual three layer weave. Choose some flame colored yarn. I used variegated red yarn alternating with yellow yarn. You are going to make two layers of flame, I used darker reds for the back layer and more yellow in the top layer. 

Warp the first layer as in the normal pin loom instructions. Then turn the loom 180 degrees. Go around the first pin and warp this layer as in the pin loom instructions for the third layer.  This will give you a solid warp, you will be weaving each line (not every other line as with the normal pin loom weaving pattern) one third the way up the square, then stop and tie off your yarn. 

Once these squares are off the loom clip the yarn to better represent flames. Stack the flame squares on top of the 4" back of dumpster and stitch in place. I added a 1 1/2" x 3 1/2" piece of cardboard on top of the flame squares to stiffen the ornament and stitched the cardboard to the woven portion of the flame squares.  

Before adding the front of the dumpster, use a white or light grey yarn to stitch "2020" to this rectangle.  The stitching should not look too perfect, which worked out really well considering my embroidery skills. Use a whip stitch to stitch the top of the dumpster to the back of the dumpster.  Add an 8" crocheted chain to the back as a hanger for the ornament. 

These Dumpster Fire ornaments were so easy and fun to make that I wove a couple more so that several relatives will get their own special remembrance of this very special year. 

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Pin Loom Angels

I was going to call this "Pin Loom Angels for the Holidays" but angels are good for any time of the year. 

Four inch pin loom squares make surprisingly good wings and my plan was to make some angels with sparkly wings by adding sparkly material woven into the squares. The two angels on the left have silver zigzag laid into the first layer finished off with soft, white yarn for a sparkly, fluffy look. 

However making angels is a little like eating chips for me, and I have found that there are lots of angel wings on the market that compliment a pin loom angel. So there is also an angel with rusty, tin wings and one with some sort of sparkly, plastic wings. 

Here is the short form for directions to make the angel, there are more extensive directions for making people in two of my books- Pin Loom Weaving and Adorable Beasts

Each angel is made with six 2" x 2" squares (or one 2" x 4" rectangle for the head and four 2" x 2" squares for the arms and legs) plus one 4" x 4" square for the gown and two 4" x 4" squares for the wings. Fold the square for the gown in half and stitch closed to make a long tube. 

The head is made by stitching a circle on two of the 2" squares, leaving a corner open and turning, and then stuffing. Stitch the head into one end of the gown. Stuff the body with a few layers of quilt batting or other cloth. I used several layers of fleece as stuffing for the body to make these angels. 

Make the arms and legs by rolling the two inch squares and stitching along one side. Attach the arms to the outside of the gown securing with the same color as the gown. Attach the legs by stitching to the bottom of the gown.  Weave two wings using any combination of sparkly and fluffy yarns that you want. Keep in mind that you can wind any difficult to weave yarn on the loom first and then weave through with a smaller, more supple yarn. Tuck in one corner and fold on the diagonal. I choose not to make a perfect triangle because I wanted the two corners to stick out from one another so that each angel is flying with double wings. Stitch the wings to the angel's back as shown in the illustration.

I used a variety of feathery yarns for angel's hair. The hair was added using a small crochet hook, looping a 4 to 6" length of yarn under the scalp and pulling a loop through and making a larks head knot. The final step is adding a little more glittery or colorful yarn for halos and other embellishment. 

One of the fun aspects of making pin loom people or pin loom angels is that yarn comes in lots of colors, just as people, and angels, do. I used wool and acrylic worsted weight yarn for all aspects of the angel body and gown except the hair, which was a lighter, feathery scarf yarn.

These particular angels are going to be visiting several different family Christmas trees, sending love and comfort in a year when I can not take the message in person. But then, that has always been the purpose of angels. 

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Take flight on Pin Loom Wings

These pin loom wings are the product of my background as a mythology geek along with the knowledge that you can make a pretty good little woven wing using a 4" square. The result is a super cool (or super weird?) set of winged hat and heels to meet any occasion, whether you are tasked with bringing a message from a Greek god or just want to lighten your mood. 

This headband/ear warmer style works great in Minnesota winter weather -- and I am pretty sure that it makes you faster on ice skates or cross country skis. 

Other parts of the country may prefer  a cute hat or simpler headband to keep their wings in place. 

The wings on hat and heels is a nod to Hermes, also known as Mercury in the Roman myths. He was known as a message bringer and one who traveled between realms. 

If you want to lighten someone's day, I am pretty sure that their own set of wings for head and heels will do the trick. 

I need to make a slight correction on the above drawing. You may also want to turn in the bottom corner of the wing to make it slightly more aerodynamic as is shown in the wing image below. MS

Have fun with your wings! May they take you on many flights of fancy.