Weaving with metal rings

I was wearing this handflower the other day and it got me thinking about how long it’s been since I did any chainmaille.

image of a chainmaille handflower

This weaving with metal rings is good fun, but takes a certain amount of concentration and dexterity. So, not as relaxing as weaving with yarn. I think that’s the main reason I do it periodically. Oh, and the fact I already have a handflower for each day of the week!

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Because looms are herd animals

My obsession with weaving – let’s call it what it is! – coincided nicely with the local spinners and weavers having an open day at their association. So I popped in to watch people weave on different looms and to have a go before I went and bought the one I had my eye on.

The woman whose loom I sat at for a while, was answering my question about what is a good size to start with in the rigid heddle looms when she explained that it didn’t really matter because looms are herd animals, so every weaver ends up with more than one! I thought that was hilarious.

Given how many sets of knitting needles I’ve collected in my knitting life, it didn’t surprise me at all to be told it applied to weaving accoutrements too. So far, I’m too entertained by the capacity of my loom to have an eye on anything bigger/smaller/fancier, but I can imagine the day when maybe, just maybe, I’ll upsize to a table loom. Probably not a floor loom – they just seem like too much work!

I may live to laugh at myself over that statement, ey?

Spots and dashes

It’s early days for me to be discovering a favourite pattern, but that might just be what’s happened! First I did it in black and green and now I’ve done it in black and a variegated…

Scarf with green spots on a black ground

image of spot pattern scarf
Not a great pic – I’m awkwardly holding it up in mid air

 

 

 

 

 

 

What I love about this pattern, aside from how easy it is to weave, is that you have so many colour combination possibilities… I’m already planning my next version.

The other pattern I’ve played with recently was a sort of “dots and dashes”:

image of a patterned scarf

detail of sparkly yarn patternOf course I also chose a very hairy, sparkly yarn for my pattern which makes the pattern less clean, but I like the effect overall.

 

I’m loving being able to create so many different patterns with 2 shafts and just different yarn combos. Even though I now have a second heddle kit for my loom, I’m not ready to use it yet!

One month a weaver

Well, technically I think it’s just over a month, but who’s quibbling! I’ve had a ball doing samples and making scarfs, trying different yarns and colours in plain weave. Here are the first 4 scarfs…photo of 4 scarfsThe blue and white one came first (excuse the brightness of the mohair – there are more blue stripes in that bleached area). Woven with a white blue-flecked cotton warp and a variegated blue and white mohair.

Then, of course, the log cabin scarf – woven in black and creamy white cotton.

Here’s a detail shot of that green and black scarf.  It was woven with black cotton and a teal silk.

Scarf with green spots on a black ground

This is probably my favourite pattern so far, and interestingly both sides of the scarf look the same! (The fact you can see a green on black section, is because I ran out of black cotton weft half way and I just used the rest of my ball of teal silk!)

And finally, I wove the blue stripey one with a blue cotton warp and both the blue cotton again and a blue silk/cotton mix in the weft stripes. I had fun making the silk/cotton stripes wider as the scarf progressed while keeping the straight cotton the same.

There have been two warping crises so far… one where the yarn was too slippery for a 7.5 dpi reed, giving me too open a web, so I’ll try again when my finer reed arrives. (Yes, I’m already buying accessories!)

The other disaster involved black wool and a rather neat little sparkly poly. That was totally a lack of planning prior to my “dressing the loom”!

Thankfully, both “crises” were instructional and the yarns will get put back on the loom at a later date.

My first attempt (or two)

I jumped right into using my loom the first moment I could. This was after watching some YouTube vids of people using looms, and doing plain weave and making patterns, so I basically just tried to replicate what I remembered them doing. Then I played with some thoughts of my own to see what would happen. Sooooo much fun!

Here are the first few minutes of actual weaving:

Image of weaving on my loom

This turned into this sample…

My first weaving sample

 

And I soon followed it up with this…

image of my second weaving attempt

You can tell I’d discovered some actual patterns by the second attempt, even though I had some warp issues.

I was happy with how both came out. Given I’d just picked random cottons and bamboos from my yarn stash and winged it, I’d expected to hit more problems, but overall it was easy to get going and not too hard to just muck about.

Number 3 is still on the loom, but I was a bit more organised so you can see it is a bit neater:image of my third sample on the loom

Because I always start big (and repent later)

Now, if you read the post on how I chose my loom then you might think I’m a bit nuts. As a friend put it:

You wanted to make scarfs – which you already do – and ended up taking up weaving. In the space of a week.

Yes. Okay, so I might be a bit nuts when it comes to crafts. For example, my second knitting project ever was a long-sleeved, calf length knitted coat. It was so big that I used it as a blanket during the latter stages of knitting it. (But Mr Kaffe Fassett does know how to catch a knitter’s eye – see image above from the book Gorgeous Knits.)

So I can’t deny that I like to jump in, boots’n’all and just try everything. Usually all at once.

Though coat example might lead you to wonder why went from a project like that to knitting scarfs.

Simple answer is, I can’t wear animal fibres near my skin. Acrylics are less of a problem but still a problem, and for a long time cotton was hard to get in any colour not meant for children too young to go “yuk” at it.

Bamboo improved things, but tends to split. Ditto silk + expensive.

So, for some time now, I have bought yummy wools and knitted them for other people. This is still fun, but knitting is slooooowwww and, as years passed, I lost the desire to spend so much time on each project. Thus the looking for a faster way to make scarfs. Which led to the loom.

The other thing you’ll realise if you read the blog (assuming fromthiscloth turns out how I hope) is that, I may have only taken a week to decide to start weaving, but that was a week of overdosing on YouTube videos and sites about looms and weaving.

[Part of deciding to blog was realising I needed to order all the info I’d learnt in such a short time. I learn best through explaining things to others = blogging it.]

In case I’m misleading anyone into thinking I have craft learning superpowers (I’m picturing a knitted cape, are you?) I should mention that, I didn’t come to weaving from a place of 100% ignorance. As a sew-er, I know cloth and, as a seed-bead-er, I know (tiny) looms.

That left a mountain of stuff to learn, but it was a start.

The adventure begins

I’ve created a lot of woven materials so far in my life, but it’s only recently (June 2015) that I came to what people usually think of when you say you’re weaving.

From This Cloth will be about my new weaving adventure and what I learn along the way, though it’s likely other “weavings” will sneek in from time to time!

As I start this blog, I am in just my second week of actual weaving…