LoftyFiber Studio in New Hampshire

Retailer Spotlight: LoftyFiber

Location: Rochester, New Hampshire not far from the Massachusetts and Maine borders.

Website: www.loftyfiber.com

LoftyFiber Studio in New Hampshire

LoftyFiber began in 2015, and is a large and well equipped weaving studio. Situated in a comfortable home, the studio has plenty of classroom space as well as yarn, supplies and equipment for sale.

LoftyFiber Studio in New Hampshire

Looking to take a road trip to New England? The studio is 20 minutes from Portsmouth NH, a very popular tourist destination near the coast.  LoftyFiber is also right off the major highway that leads to the Lakes Region and beautiful White Mountains of New Hampshire.

LoftyFiber Studio in New Hampshire

In addition to hosting classes and having local weavers and knitters stop by, LoftyFiber also has an online store at www.loftyfiber.com which offers personalized service and fast shipping.

LoftyFiber Studio in New Hampshire

And in case you thought LoftyFibers was just a studio, shop and classroom (which is amazing enough!), they’re also innovators! As the developers of TempoTreadle, a computing device that attaches to non-dobby floor and table looms, LoftyFibers is making weaving even more accessible and pleasurable. Dawne of LoftyFibers says, “we’re devoted to helping weavers achieve excellence in their weaving, while relaxing and enjoying the process. Our motto is “Inspired Craftsmanship”.   We feel this refrain echoes through everything that we and our customers do.   It’s so inspiring to see what people create with the products we sell!”

The Tempo Treadle attaches to many Louet Looms, including the David, Jane and Spring. Dawne says, “Speaking of craftsmanship, Louet quality is unsurpassed.  Louet products are a natural fit for the fiber artist who is serious about their craft.”

LoftyFiber Studio in New Hampshire

When asked to reflect on the role of technology in weaving, Dawne says, “Many weavers are interested in entering and designing weaving drafts by computer.   We enjoy helping them obtain the skills they need.  Whether it’s basic computer skills or learning the intricacies of weaving design software, we tailor learning programs to the individual.”

LoftyFiber Studio in New Hampshire

“I do feel that weaving is becoming increasingly popular.  Whether it’s the ease of designing by computer and the options to make it simpler to weave those designs using TempoTreadle or looms such as Louet’s Megado, it’s an exciting time to create unique fabrics that would have been too complex to imagine in the past. ”

LoftyFiber Studio in New Hampshire

Address: 16 Pierce Drive, Rochester, NH 03867

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/loftyfiber 

Website: www.loftyfiber.com

 

This blog post is sponsored content, featuring a shop that retails our products. Opinions and text are our own.

Yarn Barn of Kansas

Retailer Spotlight: Yarn Barn of Kansas

Location: Downtown Lawrence, KS

Website: http://www.yarnbarn-ks.com/

Yarn Barn of Kansas

The Yarn Barn of Kansas downtown shopping area of Lawrence, Kansas. Massachusetts Street is an old-fashioned shopping street, with lots of locally-owned stores and restaurants… visitors to the shop can easily send their tag-along family members to the science store, toy store, British-goods store, European market, or one of several clothing stores (and that is just on the same block!)

Lawrence is a beautiful college town that’s home to the University of Kansas, a mecca for basketball fans. Just slightly farther afield from the shop, James Naismith’s original “Rules of Basket Ball” are on display. There are art and natural history museums on the campus as well as a local history museum downtown. It’s easy to find many excuses to visit Lawrence!

Yarn Barn of Kansas

But I know why you’re reading… it’s to hear about the shop and their yarn and spinning/weaving supplies, right?

The Yarn Barn has been open for 46 years (with the same owner!) and is well-known as one of the country’s best stocked yarn and fiber equipment shops. The photos only hint at the abundance of yummy products in the shop!

Yarn Barn of Kansas

But when asked about the driving force of the shop, owner Susan Bateman points to her shop’s focus on customer service. “We believe that the best thing we can do for customers is to give them the skills and knowledge they need to complete a project successfully. When they are investing money in yarn and time in knitting or weaving something, they deserve to have a good result.” Helpful staff are available to guide customers through the abundance of yarn choices.

The service doesn’t stop there. Susan says, “In addition to the many classes we teach in knitting, weaving, spinning, and crochet, we help customers daily with their projects: correcting mistakes, explaining techniques, and interpreting patterns. We also love getting people off on the right foot when they are planning a new project.”

Yarn Barn Louet S17 spinning wheel

Although the shop draws customers every day from the general northeastern Kansas area, including Kansas City and Topeka, the community isn’t just local. Susan is proud to point out that a number of “weavers and spinners come from surrounding states to our classes, and we have mail order customers who have been with us for 25 years or more. They keep us posted by phone and e-mail on their lives and projects. In the summertime, we are often a destination for these long-distance customers, who stop in on their travels across the country.”

Kansas is in the heart of America (literally. The exact center of the US is located near Lebanon, KS!), and having done drives through Kansas myself, I can attest that the Yarn Barn and the town of Lawrence are a treat worth planning your road trips through!

Yarn Barn of Kansas

Even though the shop has been open for nearly 5 decades, you’d be wrong to think it’s a shop that’s just standing still. Yarn Barn is constantly looking for new trends to help it’s customers connect with projects they love. Susan tells us her customers are going crazy for the “American raised and spun Brooklyn Tweed yarns! The yarns are beautiful and the patterns are incredibly well written.” Unique fibers are striking a cord with customers in the shop. “We carry Tencel from two different companies and are constantly finding uses for its luminous colors, beautiful sheen, and great drape having many of the qualities of silk but at a fraction of the cost!”

Susan also notes that small floor looms, like the Jane, are steady sellers, especially as tapestries are very hot right now!

If you’re anywhere nearby, I recommend putting Yarn Barn on your list of detours well-worth it! Get help selecting the perfect project (or new fiber hobby!) from their friendly staff!

This blog post is sponsored content, featuring a shop that retails our products. Opinions and text are our own.

Louet Gems Fall 2017 Skeins

Fall Yarn Trend: Jewel Tones

Now that we’re in October, it’s definitely fall. The leaves are turning and crunching and apples are abundant. (by the way, I’ll be making this Apple Crisp Recipe, the secret ingredient being boiled cider which is supposed to make it super-especially-apple-y. Yum.)
And in shops, the fall-wardrobe is in full swing. Have you noticed lots of rich cranberry, hunter green and delicious mustard colors? It’s the season of jewel tones!
Fall Yarn Trend: Jewel Tones
Our new Fall 2017 colors of Louet Gems captures this luscious palette of colors!
Look for these new fall colors to be hitting shops, soon!
I’m planning to cast on for Hatcher in our new Gold…. the great stitch definition of Gems means that cables knit up fabulously!
These rich colors add to our Gems (100% merino wool) yarn line some of the the gorgeous jewel tones that were already available in Cottolin (our 60% cotton/40% linen weaving yarn)!
I’ve also been thinking of a woven piece combining Deep Plum, Dark Purple, Autumn Red and Rich Red combo… yummy!
What are the colors you’re feeling inspired by this season?

Book Review: Handwoven Home by Liz Gipson

Rigid-Heddle Loom weaving is a great gateway into Loom weaving: it has the ability to create much larger fabrics than a simple frame loom, without the complexity of managing a number of shafts. In Handwoven Home: Weaving Techniques, Tips and Projects for the Rigid-Heddle Loom, Liz Gipson shows us that you needn’t think of this ‘simple’ loom as simple at all. She creates a lovely array of woven items (and patterns!) for the home using a rigid-heddle with weaving widths as small as 8″.
Book - Handwoven Home by Liz Gipson

Who the Book is For

The introduction of the book says that the book is for anyone who has completed weaving one project on a rigid heddle.

The book, however, contains detailed instructions (with step-by-step photos) about how to warp your rigid-heddle loom, how to finish your weaving and a review of basic know-how for the beginner weaver. While it’s always easier to learn a new craft by taking an in-person class, I’d venture to say that an adventurous newbie who learns well from books could learn to weave for the first time from this book.

It’s a joy to see a project-based book that dedicates significant effort into the introductory how-to steps. In today’s publishing world, these sorts of instructions are often shaved off for a thinner (and quicker) book.

A more advanced weaver will still find plenty of variety in this book. The projects are lovely and the patterns present a fresh and modern spin on ‘classics’ like the linen tea towel. This book came out of Liz’s 2015 New Year’s Resolution to weave fabric for all of the rooms of her home, and I think any weaver who picks up this book will be similarly inspired to do the same.

Topics Covered in this Book

The main chapters are organized by room of the house, and are as follows:

  • Yarn for Interiors
  • Know-How For the Rigid-Heddle
  • Following the Patterns
  • The Kitchen
  • The Dining Room
  • The Living Room
  • The Bathroom
  • Warp your Rigid-Heddle Loom
  • Finishing your Weaving

These titles don’t quite reveal how much this book is a blend between a project book and a reference guide for weaving. The introduction contains a considerable discussion of choosing yarn for your projects (think of a miniature The Knitter’s Book of Yarn for weavers) and detailed step-by-step photos of many of the techniques demonstrated.

Short insets on selecting colors that work well together, interesting weaving patterns and fun variations of fringes convey useful information that readers can apply to any of their weaving projects.

Featured Yarns

We are delighted to have our yarns featured in over half a dozen projects in this book! Our Organic Cotton and Cottolin are always popular with weavers, but we were also very excited to see that Euroflax (a delicious, but usually knitting, yarn) scored a feature!

Knitters will find this book a welcome introduction to weaving. As Liz is also a knitter, a number of projects use ‘knitting yarn’ in a way that is not traditionally found abundantly in weaving patterns. This presents a fun opportunity to dive through your stash to create fun new projects.

I love the ‘give it a try’ spirit that Liz presents throughout the book. She gives you the tools, it’s up to you to go and make something fun!

Other resources

* 25% off the full retail price of any Craftsy class. Cannot be combined with any other coupons. Link is a Craftsy affiliate link. Expires November 19, 2017.

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: Jane Stafford on Weaving with Louet Organic Cotton

Today, Jane Stafford returns as our guest on the Louet blog to share the reasons why she loves weaving with our cotton yarns in her studio. Jane also suggests some great weaving patterns which are designed specifically for today’s featured yarns and are available as free downloads on our website. Enjoy!

At Jane Stafford Textiles (JST), we love weaving with cotton and cottolin, especially when it is spun with organic cotton. Louet North America’s Organic Cotton and Cottolin yarns are manufactured by Venne in Holland, spun from Egyptian cotton, and certified organic through GOTS (Global Organics Textile Standards).

Organic cotton is so SOFT! It is amazing how different it feels compared to regular cotton, and it reduces the impact that growing cotton has on the environment. That’s why we love to use it at JST: to support the production and growth of sustainable textiles, while creating exquisitely woven pieces. Venne’s Organic Cotton can be used for so many items: the traditional tea towel, runners, scarves, shawls, and more.

I have always looked at the humble tea towel with great respect. Towels do so much work for us everyday, from drying our hands and dishes, to looking absolutely beautiful on a table or in a basket. We like to sett our 2/8 Venne at 18 epi for plain weave tea towels….it beats in at 18 ppi easily and the result is a stunning fabric. The patterns for our Cornucopia Tea Towels are available for free download here.

Cornucopia Towels - Free Weaving Pattern at Louet.com.The result is soft yet sturdy with a lovely drape and hand. Having said all that, why not take your 2/8 cotton out of the kitchen and into some luxurious
scarves and shawls. This Bronson Lace scarf is light and lovely, perfect for a summer evening out and about (click here for a free pattern download).

Elegant and versatile, organic cotton also makes lovely place mats or a runner for your living room, dinning room, kitchen, or anywhere. This plain weave runner incorporates log cabin blocks to create a beautiful, earth-tone piece for a table or side board. It is also available for free download here on Louet’s website.

Click here to explore all of our VENNE yarns for your next weaving project. 

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!

2015 Holiday Gift Guide

It’s crunch time! The clock is ticking for holiday shoppers, and we know the gifts that fiber lovers want! Whether you knit, spin, crochet or weave, Louet has you covered this year with gifts you’ll love to give & receive!

1. SOAK Wash: this premium no-rinse formula is ideal for washing just about any hand-made project, and it comes in four fresh fragrances (shown here in Yuzu) as well as an unscented option. If you’ve made gifts for those on your list this year, we recommend a SOAK travel pack so that you can include a sample of SOAK with your gift, ensuring that the recipient cares for it properly!

Louet Drop Spindle Kit - Great for Beginners

2. Spinning Kits: We have developed a variety of kits geared towards handspinning enthusiasts! Beginners will love our Drop Spindle Kit (shown above in the dyed fiber option; click here for our natural fiber kit), which has everything you need to begin your handspinning journey. Intermediate and advanced spinners will love our Saranac and Pippi project kits which feature luxurious Louet Fibers and gorgeous knit shawl designs from Kirsten Kapur.

3. Blending Board: Fiber artists will love our portable, user-friendly blending board for creating unique batts and rolags; click here to read more about this versatile tool from our blog archive! Louet’s Blending Board is an affordable addition to any spinners’ toolkit.

4. Yarn: There aren’t many knitters, crocheters or weavers who would object to being gifted yarn. So long as you have a good idea of what colors they prefer and what types of projects they like to make, you should be able to successfully make a yarn selection:

5. Gaywool Dyes Bush Blends Starter Kit: This handy set is ideal for first-time dyers as well as those who are interested in exploring color and experimenting with auxiliary chemicals to produce beautifully intense colors. Each set includes easy-to-follow instructions and safety information which will allow dyers of all capabilities to achieve a variety of shades and intensities which can all be easily reproduced again and again. A starter set is a great way to send yarn and fiber lovers on a colorful journey!

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.

Holiday Weaving Inspiration

We’re gearing up for the holiday season and have handmade gifting on our minds. In today’s post, we’ll share some of our favorite weaving patterns for gift projects, many of which are available for free! 

Colorful towels using our Organic Cotton will certainly be a welcome gift, as pretty as they are practical:

 

From L-R: Spring Stripes Tea Towel by Jane Stafford (free), Kitchen Kitsch by Liz Gipson, Cornucopia Tea Towel by Jane Stafford (free). 

A lovely woven scarf using our Cottolin (cotton/linen) yarn is a great choice for your style-conscious friends:

L-R: Pretty in Pink Scarf by Jane Stafford (free),  Lace Lined Scarf by Deborah Jarchow (free), Linda’s Scarf by Jane Stafford.

For those who love to entertain, Organic Cotton or Cottolin placemats and table runners are an excellent choice:

L-R: Placemats – Summer & Christmas Versions by Jane Stafford, Elegant Placemats by Suzie Liles (free), Claire’s Table Runner by Jane Stafford (free), Two on Two Log Cabin Table Runner by Jane Patrick (free).

For the yogi on your list, this handwoven yoga mat bag is sure to delight, especially when you use our eco-friendly Organic Cotton!

Yoga Mat Carrier by Sue Bleiweiss (free)

Here’s a shot of Dave with the Warping Mill in action from last month’s SOAR event.

Finally, don’t forget yourself this holiday season: our new Warping Mill makes a great gift! Eliminate shoulder strain from the warping process with this easy-to-use mill allowing you to create a warp that is approximately 18 yards in length.

The horizontal cross members that hold your cross can be re-positioned on any quarter of the mill. The pegs that hold the cross are attached to the cross members with wing nuts which ensure that your pegs will never wiggle loose. To remove the warp from the mill all you have to do is undo the wing nut on your last peg and the peg will slip free. It also folds flat for easy storage.  

With its strong stable base and smooth action,  you will love making all your warps with our new Warping Mill, which is available at your nearest Louet Retailer or via our online store

Make sure Santa knows it’s on your wishlist!