Category Archives: Vintage

Norwegian Pick-Up Bandweaving

My new favorite book is Norwegian Pick-Up Bandweaving by Heather Torgenrud (2014). It focuses on everything I like about weaving: the history, the color, the texture, and the process. Plus, there are dozens of patterns. If you have an interest in weaving Nordic-styled pick-up bands, well, here’s your book. Using a rigid heddle with a backstrap setup, this style of weaving produces sturdy, vivid, and cheerful bands which were once used around the house for things like belts, shoe laces, baby swaddling, package ties, and clothing decorations. Heather Torgenrud’s book is that type of reading that gets to the heart of an important style of weaving, a delightful discovery for someone like me, the weaver who likes to know.

I’ve had an interest in this style of band weaving ever since, over four years ago, I discovered a treasure in an antique shop, a Norwegian rigid heddle, or bandgrind:

norwegianloom1

Isn’t it gorgeous? Hand carved, it may have been a traditional courting gift from a young man to a young woman. It was most likely used with the decorative top hanging downward although I’m not positive about that. At the time, I wasn’t certain what it was other than a little loom, and it took some research to come across the explanation. Although you can use a band loom on a regular frame loom, they were normally used with one end of the warp tied to something sturdy like a doorknob and the other end secured around the weaver’s waist, backstrap style.

I love the portable nature of band weaving, and currently I’m looking forward to receiving a “slotted” rigid heddle, which is useful for weaving patterns. Although I love my antique band loom, I don’t dare use it, so in the meantime, I’ve been using my small Ashford Sampleit loom for some practice. Here’s a seven-thread band with embroidery and crochet cottons:

Pickup Band Weaving

 

 

Finished (Finally!): Tapestry Weaving

It only took me about ten months to finish this 4″x6″ weaving. Honestly, the Lightning Weaver is an awesome loom and I’ve used it for several small tapestries, but quite awhile ago, I wished I hadn’t started this type of a project on it. I used embroidery thread and needles to weave it. At 12 epi, it was pretty fine. My goal when I began was to work in more curves and colors. You can tell I jumped into “finish” mode where the lines start traveling from selvedge to selvedge. I went back to shapes near the end.

The Lightning Weaver has little hooks on either end, which makes it impossible to weave up until the edge. So, I’m left with some white threads poking out, but that’s okay. Throughout the weaving, I overlapped where I started and stopped threads. This keeps the back very tidy. Any loose threads can be safely trimmed away.

Tapestry Experiment

Tapestry Experiment

Back:

Tapestry Experiment

So Long, Erica. Farewell, Peacock.

Believe it or not, every so often I wave goodbye to a loom. Recently, I sold my 25″ Erica rigid heddle loom to a new weaver who wanted to give it a try. The 12″ two harness Peacock, a teeny, vintage loom in need of new heddles and love, was also sent to a new home.

But even though I feel some relief and, yes, a bit smug, after sending these two out into the world (I’ve downsized! I’ve gained some space!), that hasn’t stopped me from welcoming a few more: one new, one old. (Hmmm… there goes that smugness.) I’ll blog about them at another time.

In the meantime, thanks for the memories, Erica. Glad to have known you, Peacock.

T-shirt bath mat, again

peacockloom2

New Little Weaving

Orange is probably my favorite color. I don’t wear it, but I like it, especially when it’s bright and cheerful and nearly hurts your eyes. Here I’m playing around with embroidery floss on the vintage Lightning Weaver. (I drew a pattern on the warp threads with a Sharpie.)

This experiment started because I want to practice weaving with little patches of colors and shapes to see how the background (orange!) will build up and recede.

Lightning Weaver Tapestry

Flea Market Finds

Wow, do I feel sorry for people who don’t browse flea markets, searching for fabulous deals on things they didn’t even know they needed.

Take this sturdy red toolbox, for instance. It’s a perfect purchase to house the next treasure, Guro needlepoint yarn from Norway. This would have been enough to make my day, but everything got better when I spotted the Magic Designer, which appears to be some type of difficult Spirograph toy that could be awesome if I find the perfect-sized pen.

As if that wasn’t enough, I was brought to a standstill by these crocheted Gladiator-styled laceups. Attractive and practical.

How much did all this fun cost me? Just a bit over $20. Now that’s a steal!

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Lightning Weaver

 

It’s amazing. I finally own a Lightning Weaver.

Lightning Weaver

Is this the ultimate small loom? Could it be?

Lightning Weaver

Not only is it cute, it’s a cheerful, cherry red. How neat is that?

Lightning Weaver

As the box declares, The Lightning Weaver once sold for $1.50. Nowadays, you’ll be lucky to find one on Ebay, and it’ll cost more than a few dollars. This loom is in perfect condition. It has all the parts, meaning it can be adjusted to 12 different sizes of squares or rectangles, the smallest 2″x3″, and the largest 4″x6″. It warps from top to bottom, and then the weft is woven more like a typical loom. This little loom has rotating hooks on the bottom, however, which allow the weaver to pass the weft through. No “overing” and “undering” like with a Weave-It. Just push the needle through the shed. After you get the weft in place (which does, I’ll admit, take a little practice), you’ll have the fun of changing the shed. This happens by running your thumb over the bottom hooks and clickity-clickity-clickity they all shift the opposite direction, bringing up the lower threads and lowering the top threads. New shed!

I’ve found I can use a variety of yarns, too, as I can skip every other hook with thicker yarns, so it’s even more versatile than it seems. And it was already pretty versatile.

Lightning Weaver

This loom was on my wish list for a few years now, but I’ve only seen one “junior” come up for sale. (FYI: The Jr. Lightning Weaver is not adjustable.) Because it was on my recent searches in Ebay, my husband noticed one come up for sale. I was sleeping at the time, so imagine my surprise and delight the next morning when he cautiously said, “Did you want a loom called the Lightning Weaver? Because I bought it for you.” Did I! Now, imagine my extreme surprise and delight when it arrived in perfect condition (seriously, was it even used?), with all the parts, the box, and the directions. Golly!

Lightning Weaver

I’ve woven a few bits and pieces to get the feel for it, and then I recently found a great use for it: sampling. I sampled some silk one-ply yarn as the warp and used three different wefts to see what would happen. The top section was alpaca, the middle, a second silk, and the lower the same silk as the warp. I learned that the alpaca kept its form fairly well, although I didn’t care for the color combination. The middle silk gave me the most pleasing look, although I didn’t care for the overall texture, and the bottom silk, although interesting, didn’t stand out to me as something I’d like to wear as a scarf. So, it was a valuable thing to do before spending time warping up a bigger loom with enough to weave a scarf. For now, I’m setting the silk aside until inspiration hits.

But will I set aside the Lightning Weaver? Never! It’s a charming loom that is clearly a tool to be used.

Lightning Weaver

Uh Oh… Susie Sad Eyes

Susie Sad Eyes
I say “uh oh” because she’s kind of creepy, but even so, I did it–I bought a big-eyed doll, Susie Sad Eyes. Not only are her huge eyes sad and woebegone, she has dark circles under her eyes, poor thing, crooked bangs and a really rough haircut (which I see is the norm for this doll). I first spotted this 8″ doll in a locked glass case at a nearby antique store. With each visit over the past few years, I’d stop by and peer down at the sad creature, and this weekend I couldn’t resist, so I bought her. The price was $24. Now that I know a little more about Susie Sad Eyes, I know the price was really good; however, I’m just not a doll-buying type of person, so for me, it seemed like quite a lot of money. I’m glad I bought her, though. What a strange-looking doll!

Susie Sad Eyes was a cheaply produced plastic doll from the 1960s and 1970s. There are plenty of websites out there with information about her for collectors, but she came around during the popularity of artist Margaret Keane, who specialized in sad-eyed images. (For anyone in the know, this was pre-Blythe.)

Susie has a following that’s kind of fascinating. There’s a Flickr group, full of photos of Susies, many who have been updated with new hair, painted eyes, and plenty of modern clothing. There’s even a book dedicated to her, Susie Says, by the same author, Gina Garan, who started the Blythe craze in the year 2000 with her eerie photos of the 1972 doll. Blythe was Barbie doll-sized with a string out of the back of her head that, when pulled, changed eye colors. Talk about creepy! It was manufactured for only one year and then discontinued. If you judge popularity by how many active websites are out there, Blythe has a tremendous following. There are even new Blythe dolls being produced. When you compare little Susie Sad Eyes to Blythe, she’s less popular. Yet another reason to be sad, I guess.

Now, I must say that the Ebay prices of Susies are a bit steep. My little doll was a good deal. She even has her original clothes and leggings, but no shoes. The strange thing about Susie is that she’s really photogenic, and I find myself snapping way too many pictures. I assume this isn’t the last time Susie Sad Eyes will show up on this blog!

Yarn! Shelf!

What came first, the shelf or the yarn? Technically, the shelf. It's an old shelf I bought for a few dollars, and then I set it in the garage to sit for a year. I never seemed to care if it was in my little office or not… but that was before my mom me bought 28 cones of yarn! A jackpot from a weaver's de-stashing sale. Yes, indeed. 28 cones! 

image from www.flickr.com

We're talking a megaload of yarn here. It's mostly vintage, acrylic (Wintuk???) but there are a few spools of wool (Black? Yes! I've always wanted black wool but never buy it for some reason.) Some of the cones are marked for machine knitting and appear to be about worsted weight, but the others are very thin for weaving. I love one of the white cones. It's an acrylic mohair substitute. It almost sparkles.

So, I have between 3,000-5,000 yards per cone–many are even more–and when you multiply that by 28 you get somewhere around the total of one hundred billion yards. Suddenly, my little workspace needs a shelf. And, as it turns out, another wall.

image from www.flickr.com

What you can't see is my closet, which holds the remaining cones. I was able to shove them in there, somehow. So, the question is, what will I make with this? With one hundred billion yards of yarn, I estimate I will be able to weave approximately five hundred scarfs and 2,000 blankets, more or less.

I gained a wall because we decided to move my piano out into the living room. Now, I can keep my triloom closer to the wall. I'm working on a 7' size shawl right now, and I'll take all the space I can get. The yarn is Manos Maxima, which is blending into a stronger gray than on the skein, which had more lavendar and purple. I still like it so I'll keep going with it.

image from www.flickr.com

Sam Gabriel Wooden Heddle Loom

Sam Gabriel Loom

Sam Gabriel Loom

Sam Gabriel Loom

This cute little wooden frame loom jumped into my hands this weekend. How could I pass it up? It was only $3. However, once I warped it and started a tiny project–the loom measures just 6″ x 7″–I found it less than cute to use. The warp strands need to be very tight or the heddle, which rocks back and forth to create a shed, slips right off. It’s very tiny but not as useable as one would hope.