From a blog called The Urge to Preserve comes a neat way to piece together a jacket made out of woven triangles.
I've been busy–work, sick, etc., etc. So, maybe I still have the same projects on the same looms that were there a month ago… or maybe a month and a half? The geometic scarf is nearly finished, though, and so far I love it. I always forget how much slower it is to weave with a finer yarn. I also started a really cool project using my triloom, a hobo bag. Noreen Crone-Findlay has put up a great tutorial on putting together two 3' triangles to create a clever bag. I think an inkle strap would look nice:
I never did post the final picture of this 7' triloom shawl I finished back in November, so here it is now. It was woven using the continuous bias method, which creates a soft looking, pretty weave. The yarn was Manos Maxima, and I over-purchased the amount because I couldn't do the math right on the spot while standing in the store. That's why I had enough for the simple gray scarf I just finished, and another skein for a future project. So let that be a lesson to you: if you make a mistake with your weaving calculations, try to over do it, especially if the yarn is Manos Maxima. 😉
I had some trouble finishing the shawl. The yarn was so soft and light that it didn't felt evenly, and I had to try twice–the first time hand washing with warm water and the second with hot–before I was content with the look and feel.
It was a little frightening watching the blanket get smaller and smaller, I'll admit. It started out at 56" or so and then shrunk after only four minutes in the washing machine. Okay, I set it on hot but when I checked the water, it was lukewarm at best.
So, I took it out and rinsed it in cold, then smooshed the excess water out and put it in a dryer for a light dry. Six minutes later I called it done. The weave had filled in completely. It measured 36". So, talk about shrinking.
If I had used two strands of yarn instead of one, there wouldn't have been so much space in this weave, and I probably would have lost only about 10" instead of 20". But, it makes a very nice wool lap blanket, the kind to sit on the couch with or put on the foot of a bed for a little added warmth. It was really satisfying to make something bigger than a shawl or a scarf.
I've been working on this for a month, and today is an auspicious day. Yes, it's the solstice, but it's also the day I finish my triloom blanket! Here is the second tri on the loom, just after finishing the weaving. I used up most of my 2 ply worsted weight wool from a second hand store. I had woven my first triloom shawl with some of it, and I'll miss it when it's gone.
It doesn't look like much at this point, I admit.
Two 7' triangles, crocheted rather heavily together. It measures about 57" on each end. There are gaps, areas woven too tightly, untrimmed yarn, etc. What I'm hoping for is the miracle of a washing machine fulling, where everything fills in, pulls together, and looks right. It would be the solstice miracle!
This is my favorite day of the year, and today is a beautiful day: clear and bright and sunny and cold. Our "blizzard" only dropped about 5" of snow, but I was home yesterday because work was closed, and it gave me just enough time to finish the weaving. So, keep your fingers crossed!
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!
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.
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.
Better pictures to follow, I promise. (What can I say that? My little iPod, with the blurry camera, is being upgraded, and the new camera is the same as the iPad, which means I can stop apologizing for my blurry, dark, and pretty much terrible pictures. Yes, I have a regular camera… but the iPod is so darn convenient.)
So, I came home yesterday to find my beautiful new Dewberry Ridge modular triloom on my doorstep. When I opened the box, I was pleased to see how secure everything had been sealed up. The wood is just lovely, and the whole loom is sturdy and something I’ll use forever. Gary McFarland, the loom maker, had also included some basic weaving instructions and a guide to assemble the different loom sizes. The pieces attach together with a bolt with a tiny gear on the top. You set the bolt into a notch and it pulls together two pieces, and then you use a hex wrench to tighten them together. Clever!
My husband dared me to have the loom unwarpped and assembled in 15 minutes (he set a timer), and I didn’t even have to rush. I not only had all the individual pieces lined up on the table and the loom assembled into the smallest size (3′), but I also pulled out my easel, set it up, and had the loom ready for weaving with a few minutes to spare.
But I couldn’t leave it at 3′ knowing I had all those extra feet available, so I surveyed my yarn stash, checked a yardage chart for how much yarn I’d need for different sizes, and changed the loom to the 5′ size. I chose some really beautiful homespun wool I found at a thrift store–1,500 yards worth! I also chose to weave a continuous bias pattern. I’m planning on felting the tri when I’m done with it… I am still undecided what it should be, but I’m leaning toward a little shawl with some buttons on the front.
Quite awhile ago, in fact nearly three years ago, I posted what I thought was an impressive list of all the little weaving and knitting looms I had accumulated up to that time. It was just about then I started becoming interested in weaving, and I was making a pretty clear switch from knitting to weaving. I still do an occasional knitting project, but most of my time is spent in weaving world. So, maybe it's time for an updated list? I think it's interesting that all of the looms from my old list could have probably been stored in one medium-sized plastic bin, but I still thought it was excessive.
- The Knifty Knitter round loom set (four looms)
- The Knifty Knitter flower loom and spool knitter (two looms)
- The purple Knifty Knitter rectangle loom
- Five 4" Square Looms: Two 4" Weave-its, One 4" Simplex loom, One 4" Hazel Rose Multiloom, One 4" Wonder Weave
- One Weave-it Rug loom
- One Regular Gauge hat loom
- One 24" Homestead Hideaway triangle loom
- Two potholder looms
- One extra fine gauge DecorAccents oval sock loom
- Three small flower looms
Now… (I've kept every one of those, plus added a few.)
- Glimakra Emilia rigid heddle loom 18" (with stand, extra heddles, etc.)
- Erica 25" rigid heddle loom
- Kessenich 14" two harness table loom
- Peacock 12" two harness table loom
- Louet W30 12" eight harness table loom
- Ashford 16" four harness table loom
- Soon-to-arrive 7' modular triloom
- Schacht inkle loom
- A teeny tiny wooden rigid heddle loom called a Samuel Gabriel loom
- Two more Weave-Its. (Why stop? They jump into my hands at antique stores.)
- Two Authentic Knitting Boards (10" and 28") plus the extenders for weaving
- Another Wonder Weave ($5! I bet you couldn't resist, either.)
- A 1940's blue plastic EZEE Knitter fine gauge loom
- A homemade wooden knitting rake
- A homemade round hat knitting loom
- A couple more daisy wheel flower looms
- A backstrap loom, made by me (For the record, this is the only loom I actually made that works, and yes, it's essentially four sticks and some yarn.)
Okay, we've gone way past the medium plastic bin storage idea!
For some reason–and not just because I'm running out of room in my tiny 8'x9' office–with the recent purchase of the 7' triloom, I feel I've actually come full circle. The first looms I had an interest in were the 4" square looms and the little Wonder Weave rigid heddle loom. I then bought my first triloom. Little did I know that those simple looms would teach me the basics of weaving. From there, I let things slide, weaving-wise, until the next fall, about a year later, when I suddenly had an urge to buy a "real" loom. But first, with my inquisitive nature and with some helpful words from a Ravelry weaver, along with Laverne's fantastic series on backstrap weaving at Weavezine, I put together a backstrap loom (and chiseled my hand in the process!), and figured out lifting patterns for plain weave, weft-faced projects. It was about five months later that I bought the Emilia loom.
My looms, every one, are still portable and small enough to fold up and store on a shelf or under the desk. So, my little saying on the top of my blog, "weaving and knitting on small looms," still holds water. (Do I sound a little defiant?) And yet, I think I really started weaving because I wanted to follow the fibers visually and figure out how structure was created. If you've ever seen a triloom, you'll know the weaver walks the yarn from side to side, hooking it onto opposing nails and weaving over and under the horizontal threads that are created in the process. It's called continuous weave, where the warp and weft are woven at the same time. It's not fine weaving with silken threads, but it suits me. (And if I want to use silken threads, well, I just fire up the little Louet W30!!)
With all that said, I have two looms in the mix that will probably need new homes, the Peacock and the Kessenich. Both also need some work, but I'll post more about that in the future if I decide to wave goodbye.
Okay, these are in Spanish, but visually, they are a perfect introduction to triangle, or triloom, weaving:
I know how to do a plain weave triangle, having woven several on the first loom I ever bought, a 24" triloom, but I'm now waiting for my 7 foot modular triloom to arrive, although I still haven't figured out where in the world it's going to go. 7 foot!