Category Archives: Vintage

Sample Band Weaving

image from www.flickr.com

Someday I'll get tired of taking so-so pictures with my iPod and go back to my "real" camera. In the meantime, all I have to show of the latest experiment is this blurry picture of an attempt to weave a band using a rigid heddle (this was the 10 dent Beka) and the little antique Peacock loom. I had always wanted to refurbish the Peacock loom because it's so tiny and portable (12" width), but I failed to get up the energy to tie 100 string heddles. Instead, I ordered the smallest Texsolv heddles (5 7/8", I think) which were too long. So, I need to either shorten them somewhat, the length and the eyes are too big, or tie those 100 string heddles! Either way, that means this little loom is sitting empty… or is it? After reading up on Sami-style weaving, I warped the rigid heddle and tied it onto the Peacock loom, using only the warp and cloth bars. I removed the heddles (carefully!) and also the reed, which is held in very lightly by two small screws. I'm considering removing the top bar, too, because it's in my way and I happen to be enjoying weaving bands. But then I need to sit back and wonder if it's better to put the Peacock loom back together and pass it along to someone who will tie those 100 string heddles, or if it's better to keep it in pieces and use it as a cradle or box loom. Decisions, decisions… 

I couldn't make heads or tails of the pattern until I realized the pattern strands (which are in the center and double the thickness of the other strands) are sometimes raised from beneath, and sometimes lowered from above. This may not make any sense, but once I figured it out, I knew how to do this style of weaving. There are some really wonderful band weaving heddles out there with fancy double holes and smaller slots, but if you want to try it, I suggest using a simple rigid heddle and a pattern. You don't even need the loom, as traditional weavers do this backstrap-style. If you'd like a place to start, I suggest you try The Braids and Bands Yahoo group. It's free but you do need to join. Try the Files section to find a series of PDF handouts by Susan Foulkes, who recently held an online course for Sami style band weaving. 

Now that I've got the hang of it, I want to use a finer thread, more colors, and a more intricate pattern. 

Inside the Box

Inside the box, spotted and purchased at a flea market, was a Weave-It in a particularly mint box, a nearly-finished sweater (the Urbanite), crochet and cotton yarn, two wooden tubes filled with steel knitting needles, and a page from a 1949 Des Moines newspaper. There were also a few finished projects: baby booties and a mohair beret. This knitter liked fine work.

I can't walk away from something like this, a glimpse into a crafter's past life, even if it makes me sneeze.

Inside the Box

Inside the Box

Inside the Box

Inside the Box

Inside the Box

Table Loom O-Rama

I've scanned thrift and antique stores for over a year searching for looms. I've found Weave-Its, a Wonder Weave (4" loom), and different types of knitting looms. I've spotted a few floor looms, mostly huge and needing a tremendous amount of work. What I haven't seen has been a tabletop loom. Until yesterday.

 I found not one but two tabletop looms within a half an hour! And maybe I didn't get the most tremendous deals, but I was kind of like a kid in a candy store who has a credit card and a very strong desire to buy a lot of candy! Okay, bad comparison aside, I bought them both. And in my tremendous daze of Loom Craziness, I walked out of one of the stores without the reed. I called the antique shop owner when I got home (the store was hours away from where I live), and she said she'd mail it to me ASAP.

 

  • image from www.flickr.com
  • image from www.flickr.com
  • image from www.flickr.com
  • image from www.flickr.com
  • image from www.flickr.com
image from www.flickr.com

 

 

So, what kind of looms did I end up with? I can identify one of them so far: A 12" two harness Peacock Loom, by Handcrafters from Waupun, Wisconsin. These are no longer made, but they're very cute. Mine had a tag on it that said it was from a junior high school in Illinois, and it shows a lot of use. Nothing is broken or missing, but gee… I'll be teaching myself how to make string heddles within the next few days because every one of them has disintegrated. However, the reed is free of rust and everything else looks very nice. This was the first loom I spotted, and at that time the $75 seemed excessive but I rationalized it with a "But I never see these types of looms for sale and I'll probably not ever see one again." Bought it!

 

 

  • image from www.flickr.com
  • image from www.flickr.com
  • image from www.flickr.com
  • image from www.flickr.com
  • image from www.flickr.com
image from www.flickr.com

 

 

And about 20 minutes later, I walked into a second antique store to find this, another two harness tabletop loom. This is much bigger, with a weaving width of 14". It's oak, extremely well made and sturdy, and I'm starting to think it's a Kessenich loom because it resembles the pictures of four harness looms I've spotted. Compared to the little Peacock loom, this one really looks like it's ready to be used. The heddles are metal and free of rust. I remember the reed also being usable, but we'll see when it arrives.  (Can you imagine the adrenaline rush I had when I got home and took it out of the car, only to search frantically for the reed? Ah well… I'll never leave a store again without double-checking the bits and pieces of a loom I've just purchased.) It also came with a second reed, I believe an 8 dent.

Speaking of purchase price, this one was listed at $125. Again, was it a deal? I hope so. It needs a little bit of cleaning, two tiny dowel replacements where the reed rests, and it's ready to warp. It does have an extra two dowels looped through a cord and fastened on either side near the top. I don't know what the purpose of this is.

Speaking of warping, I don't know how these looms will differ from my rigid heddle loom, how to use the string/metal heddles versus the rigid heddle, how much warp they can hold, etc. I have lots of questions, but the biggest question I have (and my husband, too) is where in the world will I put them? 

A Little Grindvev

norwegianloom1

Also known as a bandvev. These hand-carved Norwegian looms were used to weave narrow bands. Often carved by a suitor and given to a young woman, it was a useful and decorative object. I found this one at an antique store, first assuming it was a replica. It’s a bit too fragile to use, but it’s neat, isn’t it?

Photos of other band looms from a Norwegian digital museum.

A blogger who weaves bands on a grindvev.

norwegianloom2

Handweaving.net and Ponchos!

My two new favorite websites/blogs, one for information, the other for inspiration:

Handweaving: Digital archives for handweaving history. Just look at the goodies found when the keywords rigid heddle and two harness weaving are used. PDFs and free… It's great!

El Telar de Anita: A blog so full of fantastic woven items, it's hard to know where to start. I'm studying ponchos for inspiration, and this cape has got me thinking…

Log Cabin Strap

 

 

  • image from www.flickr.com
  • image from www.flickr.com
  • image from www.flickr.com
image from www.flickr.com

I wove a narrow sample of the log cabin pattern on my rigid heddle loom. It's long enough to become a strap for a bag or purse, or trim on something like a bag or a purse. Because I used two similar colors, green and blue, the pattern doesn't stand out clearly but I still like it. To do a log cabin pattern, you simply need to warp the colors in the correct order, followed by using the same pattern in the weft. For example, on this small strap I did BGBGBG and then GBGBGB (repeat). Again, the weft follows the same number and color, BGBGBG followed by GBGBGB. Easy! I'd love to do a wider project.

And then there's this sad Weave-It loom. Marked a dollar, I couldn't pass it up. I wondered if I should try to glue it but then decided that I already have three of the 4" squares, so for a dollar, it can be my spare peg loom in case I ever need parts.

Spool knitters

Spool knitters have been around for ages. Also known as French knitting, when a strand of yarn is looped around the pegs, eventually a length of knitted cord appears. I've had a few spool knitters, or "Knitting Nancies," but only in the plastic Knifty Knitter variety. When I found my vintage Nancy at an antique shop a week ago, I decided to investigate them. Lo and behold, I discovered an entire blog on them, with information about the history, different makers, and projects, as well as modern uses.

Please visit Spool Knitter, the blog, and get your fill of everything related to these tiny knitters. 

An update from the home office

I actually did organize my office… and then it got messy again… and then it was so hot I didn't want to weave… But now it's a lovely 75 degrees and I was inspired to tidy it up. I bought an shelf organizer thing from Target and have found it a good place to store yarn and supplies. It's a little bit cluttered but I don't mind in the least. I like having my chicken pincushion, all my Weave-Its, and yarn handy. Speaking of yarn, that's all of it, with two of the square bins also about half-full. I've never purchased yarn for yarn's sake–I tend to buy it for projects and use it up. The bins are full of small amounts left over. Any full skein was purchased for a project that never materialized. Now that I have a loom, though, I think a little differently, and I can see myself purchasing ahead of time.

I found a goldmine of discarded library books on weaving and needlework. There were nearly 30 of them! Happy me! I particularly enjoy the older weaving books like The Joy of Handweaving, Your Rugs, and Weaving Tricks. I found myself with not one, but two copies of Visual Instructional Macrame by Joan Michaels Paque. I did get a little enthusiastic in grabbing up these old books.
Also new-to-me the past few weeks, a homemade rake loom. It's a really lovely loom with close-to-small gauge pegs. The pegs are places in a staggered pattern that I haven't quite figured out. It's missing a few pegs but I think it will do nicely as a dishcloth loom. I also snagged a $1 deal, an EZEE knitter, used for fine panel knitting, with an unfinished project on it. 

Weave-It rug loom video

The Weave-It Rug Loom is one of my favorite little looms. Awhile back, I was lucky enough to find this one at an antique store along with a plastic 4" Weave-It. The Rug Loom is a little bigger at 5" square and it has fewer pegs, but you wrap it exactly the same as the smaller loom. It was meant for using bulky, or a "rug" weight of yarn, and most of the patterns I've seen from the old booklets are for afghans or stuffed toys.
I like my Weave-It Rug Loom so much that I had to make a video. Hope you enjoy it!
Weave-It Rug Loom

Pillow Man

It started out as Lazy Dog, the cute, floppy Weave-It dog featured on the Eloomanator's blog. But, since I didn't have the 4"x6" loom, and I didn't feel like studying the pattern, and my yarn was all wrong, I simply made six 5" Weave-It Rug Loom squares out of Wool-Ease and stitched them together. Of course, it didn't look anything like a dog… but it was, well, something.

We call him Pillow Man. His head is crooked, his arm and legs are rolled and stitched on at weird angles. Pillow Man is always sleepy and ready for a nap. So now, I wonder, will there ever be a Pillow Woman?

So you want some pictures?

Loomfind2
Loomfind

Okay, here are a few pictures of my second super, amazing loom find. As it turns out, I wasn't dreaming–it was all real! Pictured below are the Lily Speed-O-Weave loom, which I'll post about later (it's not very speedy, IMO). Also there are my two "new" Weave-Its: a 4" and a 2". My favorite loom is there, the 5" Weave-It Rug Loom, which I'll also post about later (and you can meet Pillow Man). Finally, there were two small metal flower looms stuck in the rug loom box, and although it appears they can connect somehow, I can't quite figure them out, so if you have thoughts, please send them my way.

Missing from the photos is the second Crazy Daisy Winder, which went onto a good home with a young, crafting niece.