Archives for posts with tag: weaving

loom

I don’t often click through to other suggested videos on YouTube when I am done watching one, but this time I am glad I did.  I had just watched a short video about the importance of creating things with your hands and there was a suggestion for a stick weaving video. I had not heard of this before, and the video was also short, so I took a few extra minutes to watch it.

I was intrigued, and wanted to try it, but was not about to go purchase a set of sticks. I thought about cutting up some dowels, but that seemed like it would be wasteful if I ended up using them once.  I was sure I had something in the house I could use.  I grabbed a handful of chopsticks that had come with take out meals and headed to the drill press.

To try it out, I used 4 sticks.  Yarn is threaded through holes at the bottom of the sticks and acts as the warp. As you weave, you push the finished part down the sticks and eventually onto the warp strands. I made a piece long enough to be a bracelet or a cuff  which meant I did not have to push the woven piece off of the sticks completely until I was done.

complete

Off the loom

One problem I had was that the chopsticks are slightly tapered, and as I was apparently weaving tightly, it was a bit of a struggle to push the piece down over the wider part. Traditional weaving sticks are straight and look kind of like knitting needles without the cap, so this would not be an issue.

Normally when I get off course I get annoyed with myself, although it happens far too often. I’m glad I let myself get distracted today.

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Final product

 

Weave It

I got this little loom after my grandmother died.  It came to me exactly like this, with 3 completed squares, and one started. I also got a beautiful blanket she made with yellow and rust wool from woven squares.  it has a little bit of moth damage, so no one else wanted it.

I’ve pulled this out a few times, but because I know she strung the loom, I haven’t wanted to take it off and start fresh. I am very sentimental when it comes to my grandmother. I looked up some instructions online today and tried to make a start of finishing her piece.  The yarn she used is a fine-gauge wool, and I found some embroidery yarn that matches pretty closely both in gauge and color. After a few rows, I realized something  was not working.  I need to do some more studying on the technique and give it a go another day. Or maybe it is just meant to remain a treasured WIP.

Scarf

Waaaay back in January, I decided to try weaving. I started, then I put it down when February hit and I was participating in Thing-a-Day. Then apparently six more months somehow happened. The loom has been sitting in my craft room. It is an odd shape to store, so I see it every time I go in there, which is pretty much daily. I’ve been feeling that it is time to break out some of the larger projects… maybe finish a WIP or two, so I set a goal to get this done.

I had forgotten how quickly weaving can go. Even with all the “oops”, the skipped stitches, and undoing of rows, the fabric works up quickly.  This is my first completed actual non-practice project on my loom. Even though I can see all the imperfections, the areas of improvement, I do always like the first of something new. I like knowing that one day I will look back on this and be able to have a benchmark for how much I have learned and how far I have come.  My first lesson is to use a light colored warp on the outside rows until my tension gets better.  The navy blue really highlights the the loopiness, but the sides are a lot straighter than my first practice piece. (Not straight, but straighter.)

For someone like me who likes to start seeing results right away, weaving was a lesson in patience and finding the rhythm. Warping the loom, winding yarn onto the shuttle, weaving the fabric, securing the ends, even wet finishing the piece each take time while you are anxious to start on the next step. I made an effort during each step to not look ahead, but try to be fully engaged with the current process. That was a good lesson too.

As enjoyable as it is to sit down and work on something you know how to do, there is a certain joy in struggling through learning a new skill as well. Sometimes you realize you don’t really like it, and that’s OK.  I have taken many classes for things I thought I’d enjoy, but realized I didn’t, but was still happy I gave them a try. But other times, like this is for me, you know the first is just the start.

blue scarf

What a difference a day makes. After yesterday’s sleepy, no energy day, I was back to normal today. I decided to take another crack at this loom I’ve gotten.  I figure I need to keep using it otherwise the one item I made is going to be the most expensive craft item ever.

I decided to warp the loom in stripes. I am still just trying to get the hang of basic weaving, so visual interest is not going to be had with fancy stitches.  Warping a loom, not unlike prepping a room for painting, is long and sort of tedious. Part way through I was getting annoyed with it. Then I tried to go all zen and enjoy the process,  the preparation. I needed to curb my impatience to be able to start, and concentrate on each step of the journey.  It helped a little, but I am still an impatient crafter who like to get right to the creating part.

Today I used cotton yarn.  My test piece the other day seemed sort of stiff, and I wanted to see if using a different yarn would make a difference. I am also not beating it down with as much intensity as I did the other day.  You can see I still have a ways to go.  My edges aren’t loopy, but they don’t seem to be as even as they could be. Overall though, I’m happy with how this is progressing.

Anyone else like to learn new things, but not like the learning curve? When I was a kid, my friend and I were learning how to roller skate.This was back in the day of metal skates that attached to your shoes using a key to tighten them. We fell so many times, at one point we went inside and got pillows and belts and strapped them around our backsides.

I’ve been trying in the past few years, to let myself be able to do things incorrectly when I am learning. Do I get frustrated? Yes. But sometimes just plugging on is less frustrating.  I now accept that the first time I try something, there are going to be mistakes.  If I were to keep ripping out, or starting over, I think that would be more frustrating for me–not seeing any progress.

Today I started my first try at weaving.

It doesn't take an expert to see that something is not right here.

It doesn’t take an expert to see that something is not right here.

A few rows in, I saw that my ends (sides?) were too loopy looking. Since this was just a practice piece, I didn’t undo it, but soldiered on.  I did stop to check out a few online resources on how to fix the problem.

By the end, I was doing much better.  Not perfect, but better. Progress!

A little better

A little better

This was not the only mistake in the practice piece. It is hard to see in the photo since it is cream colored yarn, but there were a few times the shuttle missed one of the warp strings, If I saw this on the row, I pulled it out, but I often did not spot it until several rows later and so it stayed. I also lost track of the number of times I set the heddle in the wrong position and “unwove” the row I had just done.

By the end, though, I was starting to get a little bit of a rhythm, and could work at a slightly faster pace. I think I will do another practice piece but use contrasting yarn for the warp and the weft. That should make it easier to catch mistakes.  Still, I’m happy with my progress on day one.

Today’s weather predicted 3-18″ of snow. That is quite a range.  So far it has just been flurrying all day so I have the feeling we will be on the smaller end of the scale.   I did take the forecast as an opportunity to decide I better not leave the house.

This morning, I finished the alpaca infinity scarf. Done with a cat on my lap it was a nice way to hunker down and ignore all the weather reports.

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Having done a lot of crochet lately, I decided to try tackling assembling the loom I bought a couple of weeks ago. I was daunted by it since it came in a small box, not at all loom shaped.

Some assembly required

Some assembly required

I have to comment that the instructions could have used a few more diagrams, and I was glad there was a picture of the completed loom on the front of the box because I referred to it multiple times.  I also got completely baffled by 2 steps at the end, and took a short YouTube break and found some assembly demo videos that saved the day.  Once it was assembled, I decided to take the plunge and warp it. A quick trip back to YouTube, and I got that done.  I am not sure how well I did, but I am using one of the free skeins of yarn that came with the kit, so the first thing I make can be pure practice. Wish me luck!

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Well begun is half done