A New Year Looms: Weaving Resolutions for 2017

At the start of a new year, many of us pledge to change our habits for the better: losing weight, eating healthier, decluttering the house, etc. etc. Sometimes, these resolutions are easier to break than they are to make, but if you have determination and make them habitual, then you can actually make a change in your life!

The same rules apply when it comes to weaving! Let’s look at 5 weaving resolutions you can make for 2017:

1: Weave for 15 minutes every day.

This one may seem daunting, but 15 minutes daily is totally doable! Whether it’s measuring a warp, threading your loom, or weaving on a project, just take 15 minutes as a weaving break. You will start becoming a more efficient weaver, and increase your skills as each week progresses.

2: Weave the full width of your loom.

Many of us have looms that can accommodate much more width than we use. Do you find yourself weaving a lot of scarves but you have a Jane 70/8? Find a weave structure and some yarn you love, and warp up the whole loom!

3: Push your color boundaries.

If you are like most people, you probably have a color scheme that you tend to gravitate towards project after project. Choose some colors that you still like but don’t use that often and start a project. You can also turn to Pinterest for color inspiration, or visit the Design Seeds and Pantone websites for color palette ideas. Or, have a friend choose colors THEY like for a gift of napkins!

4: Work on those selvedges.

Most weavers will tell you that selvedges are a personal thing, and that you have to figure out your tension on your own to perfect those pesky edges. Try weaving different widths, or try different shuttles and see what techniques work best to keep your edges straight!Give dyeing a try in 2017! Find more great weaving resolutions on the Louet blog.

5: Try dyeing your handwoven fabric.

This could be a fun experiment to try: start with weaving in a natural color of yarn and then dyeing the resulting fabric to get the exact shade or shades you want using our user-friendly Gaywool dye range

Do you have any weaving resolutions? Let us know in the comments!

Guest Post: Wee Weaving with Knitting Sarah

Knitting SarahOur guest blogger this month is Sarah Chy, a Wisconsin-based knitter, spinner, writer, and small-scale family adventurer. In today’s post, she shares her recent experiences weaving with Gems yarn on the Purl & Loop Wee Weaver, which Louet North America distributes throughout Canada. You can keep up with her latest crafty projects and family hijinks on her blog, knittingsarah.com.

I first started looking for small looms as a gift idea for my daughter’s 9th birthday. She knits & knows how to spin, however she has an impatient streak that often works against her. She still really wanted to join me in the fiber arts in some way, but we both recognized that at this stage knitting and spinning just weren’t quite the right fit for her. Having heard a lot of spinning friends talk about how speedy weaving is, I thought it was worth a shot to steer my girl toward a loom.

There are a lot of options out there on the market and as I was not a weaver myself, I did a lot of research. I was loath to spend a lot just for a taste of the craft, but it was important to me that the tools be good quality. I also knew that my very independent daughter might have a lukewarm reception for a complex warping process that required help from me. The ideal loom was one for which my daughter could just hit the ground running, that would allow her to do small projects, and that would insure that she could start and finish easily so her attention wouldn’t wane.

Purl & Loop Wee Weaver comes with everything you see here - distributed by Louet North America.Ultimately where I landed was with Purl & Loop’s Wee Weaver. It’s just 4” x 4.5” across and it comes in a kit that includes everything you need to get going (except the yarn).  A wood tapestry needle, pick up stick, comb, and metal tapestry needle are all included as is a handy little cotton carrying bag to keep everything together. As someone new to weaving, I really appreciate that I could get everything I needed in one spot. Even more importantly, though, the instructions are concise and well-written and accompanied by clear color photos. Simply put, it is a fantastic introductory loom.

Quite literally I did not have to lift a finger to help my daughter get started. Like many moms,  a little part of me wanted to be needed, but she read through the directions and then informed me she could handle it. She went on to warp her Wee Weaver easily in just a few minutes and was weaving effortlessly in no time. She couldn’t have been more proud and I felt like we’d made a great choice.

Start weaving right out of the bag!

Start weaving right out of the bag!

Of course I was happy to see my girl succeed and fall in love with weaving. What I didn’t expect was how quickly I fell in love, too. The Wee Weaver, it turns out, is the perfect loom to introduce anyone to weaving. As I watched my daughter whiz through her little squares and make fun plans as to how to use them, a whole new world opened before my eyes. Along with my loads of knitterly yarn scraps, the spinner in me saw unlimited potential for handspun yarns. The fiber artist in me knew I had to get my hands on a loom.

Purl & Loop Placemat Weaver, distributed by Louet North America.With the Wee Weaver such a hit, shortly after acquiring it we added a Purl & Loop Placemat Weaver to our collection. Getting the Placemat Weaver was primarily to give my daughter some more options in her craft. She was having a blast and I really wanted to encourage her. I’ll confess though that there might have been the slightest hint of selfish motivation. It wasn’t lost on me that her devoting attention to a new loom would free up the Wee Weaver for me and I definitely wanted a turn to play with it.

With my daughter busy with the Placemat Weaver, I thought it would be very fun to put this little loom through its paces and at the same time create some fun Christmas gifts. Louet’s Gems Worsted is a great fit for the Wee Weaver – the worsted weight insures projects will be quick and there are loads of colors to pick from to personalize your projects. I picked Brick Red, Fern Green, and Cobalt Blue, thinking these colors would have a Christmas feel that wasn’t so overpowering that they couldn’t be used all year round. And then I got weaving!

Mug Rugs woven on the Purl & Loop Wee Weaver with Louet's Gems Worsted yarn.

I started with some very basic fringed mug rugs. The instruction manual includes directions both for squares with fringe and without, so doing this was a snap. For fun, I made one mug rug with a green warp & red weft and one with a red warp & green weft. I think a set of four would make a great little handmade hostess gift or stocking stuffer. I could also see making individual, personalized ones for co-workers or even having kids make them themselves for their teachers. There are so many ways you could go!

Mug Rugs woven on the Purl & Loop Wee Weaver with Louet's Gems Worsted yarn.

I learned very quickly the not-too-loose and not-too-tight place that was just right for my warp. I discovered that weaving my weft in at a slight angle before combing it down helped to keep my edges nice and neat and that taking a little time to check on my edges throughout was well worth it. I also found it fun to experiment with how tightly you ‘beat’ the weft as it can really change the feel of the fabric. And that’s the great thing about the Wee Weaver, it’s a fantastic tool to just play & observe & try things out.

It's easy to make a mug rug with Purl & Loop's Wee Weaver!

With my mug rugs complete, I had another idea in mind to test. What about a coffee sleeve? I whipped up three identical fringeless squares, sewed them together, and voilá! A quick & easy coffee sleeve! I used my sewing machine to sew the squares together, but you could just as easily hand sew them. I especially love that thanks to the fact that Gems Worsted is machine washable & dryable, this sleeve is reusable and easy to care for – always an added bonus, especially when you’re making gifts.

Turn your Wee Weaver Squares into a useful coffee sleeve - visit the Louet blog for more project inspiration from Knitting Sarah!

I’m so very impressed with the mighty Wee Weaver. This loom that fits in the palm of my hand and is very reasonably priced has turned both my daughter and me into fully fledged weavers. Whether you just want a new tool to play with, you want an easy and fun way to make unique gifts, or you want to get a taste for weaving, young or old, the Wee Weaver is for you. Be prepared to fall in love with weaving – I think you will!

 

Back from TNNA!

At the beginning of this month, we headed to Phoenix, Arizona for The National NeedleArts Association (TNNA) trade show. This is where folks in the fiber arts industry come together to share their latest products, network, and learn!

It was here that we debuted our Spring 2015 Pattern Collection, which we’ll be sharing in greater detail her on our blog very soon; in the mean time, you can visit your  LYS for early access to these exciting new designs! These patterns are available at your nearest Louet Retailer only until the end of February.

Our GEMS yarn (which comes in fingering, sport and worsted weights) was a hot seller at the show, and savvy retailers also stocked up on Euroflax yarn in anticipation of warmer temperatures ahead. Our S10 Concept received a warm welcome, and the Jane Loom we had set up as part of the window display (shown above) received a lot of attention.

Our own Dave Van Stralen stopped by the Spinning & Weaving group booth, which was adorned with garlands made up of handspun bows contributed by Spinzilla spinners. Sheepzilla was on hand for photo ops and even hitched a ride with Dave as he set off in search of a place to take a spinning break!

Be sure to bookmark our blog – we’ll be sharing some sneak peeks of our new Spring 2015 Pattern Collection in February!

Spotlight on David Loom + Mystery KAL

The David loom is a unique sinking shed jack loom which is a compactly constructed floor loom that takes less floor space, but still has many of the same features of a large floor loom. The David now comes with the tension brake included. The sliding beater, well received since its 2013 introduction, has a shuttle race, and is adjustable in height. It stays back, close to the shafts to get the optimal shed. At both sides the beater is guided by special bearings along a stainless steel rod. By adjusting the position of these rods, the weaver can adjust the height of the beater.

We always enjoy hearing from our customers, and the David loom has been quite popular in recent years. Here are just a few of the comments we’ve come across on Ravelry:

Raveler macweaver shared this photo (left) of how the warp runs through the raddle on her David loom and notes: “It is easy to use and so efficient.”

Raveler Dortea999 said, “I do like my David better. It is easier to tie up. It gets out of my way when weaving. Treadling is light and easy.”

Raveler ilaine shared a detailed review of the David loom: “This loom exactly met my criteria for compromise between the loom of my dreams and my living space. I need it to be small and quiet, but had to have 8 harnesses, and the ability to have two independent warps. Treadling is easy and beater light to move. The loom is a thing of beauty, feels nice to the touch. Parts are well made, the loom is surprisingly sturdy for its light weight.” 

1930s Mystery Shawl-a-long


mystery KAL

Heritage Spinning and Weaving in Lake Orion, Michigan let us know about a new mystery knit-a-long (KAL) that will be starting in March.

Inspired by the colors, textures and economic climate of the 1930′s, designer Jae Koscierzynski has hit another home run. There will be five clues, the pre-clue will be issued 3/7 with Clue A coming on 3/14, Clue B on 3/21, Clue C on 4/11, Clue D on 4/25, and ending with Clue E on May 9th. This shawl is an arc (sort of heart-shaped so that it will fit nicely) worked from the bottom up. The shawl features lots of texture and some cables. The yarn selected is Louet Gems Sport weight. Joan and her team have selected the colors in which they believe the shawl will look best, either knit in one solid color or in either of two selected colorways.

The fee to participate is $15 for the pattern OR, if you purchase your yarn through Heritage Spinning and Weaving, the pattern fee is waived. For yarn ordered prior to 2/15, you will receive a $10 discount. The KAL will be closed on 3/21. After that, later this year, you can get the pattern on Ravelry. Click here to register.

Guest Blogger: Jane Stafford Reviews the Octado Loom

We recently asked Jane Stafford to review our Octado Loom, a dobby loom that  is easy on the weaver because it eliminates the need for tie-ups.  The Octado can be operated with a mechanical dobby, or with an electronic interface, giving the end user endless possibilities. The electronic interface works with most popular computer weaving software, including Fiberworks PCW, Patternland, PixieLoom, Weavemaker, Proweave and Weave It. Jane shared the following comments from her customers with us, along with her final thoughts when it comes to this user-friendly floor loom.

“The Octado has revived my passion for weaving! The loom allows me to warp and weave in comfort. From the raddle on the castle, to the single wide pedal, to the elegant tension mechanism and the smooth shuttle race, every part of the loom works together to provide a joyful weaving experience for me. I am grateful each time I am at my Octado. It is perfect for me! And it is beautiful too!”  
Linda, Vancouver Island, B.C.

“I am almost 71 and have some ‘hip’ issues.  My Octado has allowed me to keep weaving with minimal wear and tear on my body.  I love the fact that I can play around and experiment without having to crawl around on the floor changing the tie-up.  No more yelling for Nick to help me get up off the floor.  It has been incredibly helpful both physically and emotionally, perhaps even saved our marriage!”
Tanis, Salt Spring Island, B.C.

 

In the end, my review of the Octado sums it all up like this: what a fabulous, easy loom to work on.  There are 10 million things you can do with 8 shafts and it is so easy to try them all out without having to change the tie-ups under the loom.  A simple click or two on the computer and everything is changed.  It is so liberating as I get older.  I will also add that I am not a computer person; I have come kicking and screaming to this but I have found the loom so simple and easy to use that I am not intimidated by any part of it!

-Jane Stafford, Lifetime Weaver