A cleaning we will go…

So apparently getting a housemate has put my brain into re-organisation mode… and that meant re-organising, well, every cupboard! But most time-consumingly: the craft cupboard. No, not the yarn stash… that’s in the other cupboard. This is the cupboard that contains my million¬†other hobbies. Yes, there are more!

In truth though, I don’t do all of them anymore, so I did a bit of a cull as well. Crayons were handed to the neighbour’s children. Tissue paper was recycled. Old, dried out pens were removed. Coloured leads were put aside for family who use draughting pencils.

Curiously, among all the stuff in there were 2 circle cutters, 4 scalpels, 12 erasers (including no less than 4 retractable ones), 3 glue sticks, 3 bottles of white-out, 2 packets of Tip-Ex Correction Sheets (for typewriters), 7 types of paper clips (including ones shaped like pigs) and, well, a truck load of papers including notepaper with matching envelopes! Apparently I hoard.

Post cull and clean, the cupboard is so roomy! I was even tempted to start a new yarn area, but right now the space constraint stops me buying more yarn so… maybe not. Actually, maybe that’s where my finished scarfs could go…? That’s an idea!

Strangely, I do feel… lighter… for having culled. Partly because I can see and reach everything again, but also because I’ve reassessed what I want to be doing craft-wise. Other than weaving. Scandalous, I know!

A loom a-visiting

I am getting a housemate! And… she’s a weaver! In fact, that’s my fault, but we won’t get into the history of her yarn addiction.

So yes, there will be another – though temporary – member of the loom family. Another rigid heddle! In fact, I’m hoping my guys don’t get upset that this loom is fahnsy with its own stand.

There is also a small risk they’ll unionise and we’ll end up with formal representations about neglect and other working conditions. I think both of us humans have been guilty of loom neglect (yes the purple weft-float scarf is on the loom still). There may be dust complaints…

Of course the big question is whether more weaving will occur, because we can weave-inspire each other. Or, and this is possible, we’ll be too busy distracting each other! Could go either way really.

I am definitely looking forward to having an extra pair of hands for warping! I should write that into the rental agreement…

My own weft-float pattern, in purple!

So I got pretty excited about this technique and right after I did the green scarf, I put another one on the loom… and then… well… I got distracted. You know, it happens.

That’s meant the poor project has been on the loom for weeks and weeks and I’ve only been picking at it. Right now it’s “almost done”…except it’s been like that for about two weeks. Yep.

To insult the project further I took a totally dodgy pic of it:

Not sure I could have taken a less complimentary pic if I’d tried to! Still, you get the idea: There are ziggy-zaggy boarders with occasional small diamonds.

In truth, I’m very excited to see what it’ll look like off the loom! The yarn is a bamboo mix so it’s silky and soft, which is nice in itself. Plus it’s purple and I personally think that makes most things beautiful (except bruises).

I promise a better pic once the scarf comes off the loom.

Weaving at home, with materials you already have!

Whether you’re looking to occupy kids, fill newly acquired spare time, or just get in touch with your creative side, weaving is an easy thing to do. Importantly, most people can do it without buying anything!

So here are some ideas to suit what you have on hand (the internet can provide further instructions where you need them):

“I have paper, scissors and glue…” – Take your paper, fold it into equal sections and then cut along the folds to make strips. You can then weave these over-and-under each other and glue the ends to hold it in place. Make paper place mats, a table runner or a bit of minimalist art for the wall.

“I have a small box / shoe box and wool…” – Wind the wool yarn around the box trying to keep the strands an equal distance apart . Pick a side of the box to create your weaving on, then use more yarn to weave over-and-under the first threads (easier with a needle, but you can use your fingers!). Slide off the box when you’re finished. Make a bit of wall art, a mat, or a little bag.

“I have an old picture frame and some wool…” – Wind the wool around the picture frame and weave, either one set of threads like in the box example, or weave the front and back strands of wool together to make a piece of art.

“I have some cardboard, craft knife, different coloured yarn/thread…” – Cut a rectangle of cardboard that you can hold comfortably, wind the yarn/thread around it. Cut your yarn into different lengths and weave it (fingers or a needle) over-and-under the first threads, in sections to make areas or lines of different colours, pushing the yarn/threads close together. This little tapestry can then hang on the wall, or be propped on a shelf.

“I have a matchbox / shoebox, thread, some small beads, a needle and something to make cuts with…” – Take the base of the box, cut little slits around the top edges to hold the yarn. Cut strands of equal lengths (you can go longer than the matchbox) and lay them across the base, using the slits to hold them. Weave over-and-under with the needle, adding a bead here and there. With a matchbox: Once you’ve woven the part on your tiny loom, carefully take it off, put a new section in the slits and keep weaving! Good for bracelets, teddy bear collars and other small decorations.

“I have some dense foam, nails and yarn/string…” – Make a pin loom using the nails as the pins and inserting them firmly into the foam. Then you wrap the yarn in a zig-zag between the nails. You can then weave over-and-under using your fingers or a crochet hook. Again you can make a little art piece, a bag, or make lots of squares and sew them together.

“I have a sturdy shoebox, craft knife, ruler and some yarn…” – This is all you need to make rigid heddle loom! Use the base of the shoebox as the frame and create slots and holes in the top of the shoebox, cutting it down in size to fit inside the bottom half. You can use the left over card to make small back and front bars if you want to get fancy! A bit more of a project, but a lot of fun. You can use it to make cloth for little bags, mats or pieces to be sewn together into a larger piece.

“I have a stiff cardboard, a craft knife, a hole punch and some yarn…” – This one is a bit more full-on, but with these materials make yourself cards for card/tablet weaving, and a cardboard shuttle. You can create a warp using your body and a doorknob back-strap weaving style, or make a frame out of a box. It come with a learning curve, but this makes beautiful bands.

“I have a picture frame / some wood for a frame / large piece of solid board, nails, a hammer and two colours of yarn…” – This is what you need to make a pom-pom blanket! It’s not what you’d traditionally call weaving, but includes a frame and the enclosure of threads so I think it fits! Worth watching a video on how to do this, but essentially you make a big version of a pin loom, and use one colour as a base and the other colour gets wound on, tied down and cut to make the pom-poms. Makes a fluffy fun blanket!

Happy weaving!

A weft float pattern for an isolation Easter

Happy chocolate egg day! Or whatever this particular day means to you and yours. I’m very excited to have just (literally) finished a new scarf in the most deliciously pale pistachio coloured yarn. With a weft float pattern…

You might have noticed over the years that I’m not big on the floats. I’ve sampled different ones and tried things out, but overall I’ve not found many float patterns that I like.

Until now.

Funny thing was I’d already decided I was going to do a float pattern, and that I was going to use my pistachio yarn. What I hadn’t decided was what kind of pattern. While doing a vaguely related search on the interwebs, I stumbled on a vid by a weaver and instantly fell in love with the weft float pattern she was doing! Pure serendipity.

So, here is the project hot off the loom (hemstitched this about an hour ago!)

So simple for such a lovely effect! Which makes me doubly happy, because you know I love the simple.

The exciting thing about this way of using floats is that the design possibilities are endless. One light colour, or two contrasting colours, or a darker shiny yarn… just start there and see the possibilities! I’m already planning my next weft float design (insert here maniacal laugh).

The other thing I like about this way of using floats? It gives an almost flat reverse. I realised in the making of this scarf that this is a strong deterrent for me with floats – I don’t like the reverse. This, however, I think is very attractive.

As always, I’ll be interested to see how it comes up after it’s fulled!

A fresh scarf!

After a four month no-weaving zone, I finally got bitten by the bug this weekend. I was finishing off my wavy shuttle experiment (more to come), but finally lost interest (this happens) and so cut it off and started something new!

What surprised me was that I did a scarf-in-a-day! It was very satisfying. As was the colour…

Pink fluffy yarn crossed with black yarn

It’s also soft and fluffy. Very soft.

This is why I like plain weave, because a lovely yarn is all you need to make a lovely bit of weaving! I can’t wait to see how it washes.

Experimenting… with pancakes

No I haven’t started weaving food… hang on… weaving food… hmm… let’s put that away for moments of future weaving insanity!

No, I’ve been cooking. Pancakes. Pikelets. Round, bubbly batter blobs of varying kinds.

Aside from the fact they’ve mostly been delicious (not the burnt ones…they were blech) it’s been nice to cook something I haven’t tackled for a while. And revisiting one of my all time favourite cookbooks… my Winnie the Pooh cookbook. It features, unsurprising, honey in most recipes (in case you’re wondering what constitutes a Winnie the Pooh themed recipe collection), though some have golden syrup instead.

Pikelets that contain golden syrup are delicious. Just putting that out there to the pancake fans among you!

Since then I’ve made them with maple syrup instead. I made giant pancakes. And then switched recipes to try some wholemeal pancakes. For some reason wholemeal pancakes hold a fascination. Don’t ask; I don’t know why.

Next up, I’m planning savoury pancakes. Just because I’m on a roll with the wholemeal thing.

The irony of all this pouring and flipping is that I often joke how everyone who eats in cafes with me thinks I live on pancakes. I almost always order them, though I do sometimes branch out into french toast. My reason for frequent pancake brunching is that “I never make them at home”. Ahem.

By the way, Happy New Year.

2019 in weaving…

Can’t say 2019 was my most prolific year from a weaving stand-point, but it was exciting for the new additions to the craft-room family. First there was the baby loom. Then the wavy-shuttle.

Though, I am sad that my threading hook is still MIA…

I did like working in the craft-room with its lovely new paint job, too. The darker colour has, naturally, made the room seem smaller, but it’s a big room so that doesn’t matter. What I like, is the constant texture and input of the pink cross-hatching. Very pleased.

Part of the reason I bought a house was to get away from “rental white”. Then I bought a house that was… mostly cream. A pink room is a visual feast in comparison.

And what does 2020 hold for the weaving? Well, I did have some ideas. Then I realised that my other passion – writing – was probably going to need my full attention next year.¬† So, we’ll see, but I suspect 2019 will start to seem quite productive when I look back!

Anyways, I hope you all have a lovely festive season and I’ll be back on the bloggie in Jan.

Curves and temples…

So my second wavy shuttle project got off to a pretty good start…

A blue and white web with curves of weft on a rigid heddle loom
A short way in I was feeling good…

Then it all went to hell. Why? Because I started getting the most uncontrollable draw-in! I was losing so much width I actually contemplated trying to make a tapering scarf all the way to the other end. Sadly I was losing width too fast.

It will take a bit of playing with the ol’ wavy shuttle to figure out why it was such a problem this time. I have theories. They may be wrong.

But, in the way of most weaving disasters, this has led to an exciting opportunity! I’m going to use a temple for the first time!!

Yes, a temple. Reviled by some as a cheat and considered just sensible by others, I’m going to deploy one here to defeat the draw-in. Hopefully.

Of course, I don’t own one and will, in fact, be making one. So I’m excited about that all on its own! (I know this will shock you, dear reader of bloggy.)

The first step in saving this wavy scarf was – sob, sob, wail – to undo all but the very start of the scarf. Yes. I undid about a quarter of a project. The loom, yarn, shuttle and I all in therapy now. But it had to be done and the second version of the scarf will hopefully be much more successful!

First “wavy scarf”

As promised, I have taken some pics of the first wavy shuttle experiment scarf… You can see I haven’t pressed it – sorry for the creases – but I think you can still see most of what’s going on from a texture point of view!

A backlit photo of the web created by using a wavy shuttle in one way
Looking through the web gives you a sense of the dense patches and curves created by this way of using the wavy shuttle…

So, here I was taking the curves and slowly shifting them to the left with each pic of weft. Then when I’d moved the centre bump to the edge, I moved slowly back to the right. This created these lovely almost leaf shaped dense areas in an otherwise fairly even weave. I love this!

A section of a scarf woven with the wavy shuttle
Because of my yarn choice the colour fleck and variegation hides the waviness a bit…

Another yarn would probably have shown the waves better, but I think you can still see that its curving and zig-zagging rather than the usual regular web of plain weave.

Also, I love this yarn. Such a satisfying colour mix.