Friday, January 13, 2012

Let's Weave

 Welcome to the corner of my bedroom where I have my wonderful loom.  This loom is different than what you think of a traditional loom.  It is The Sprigg's Adjustable Rectangle Loom from Hillcreek Fiber Studio. 

When you think of weaving, I think most of us think of a large floor loom with a warp and weft.  This loom is amazing and comes in several sizes and shapes.  I believe they have a triangle and square loom in various sizes as well as their rectangle loom.  I am more of a rectangle girl so I decided that this was the loom for me. I had observed some women working on the triangle loom while visiting a yarn store and I was hooked, or should I say obsessed right away.

To start you think about how big (wide and long) you would like your project.  You change the width and length of the loom by changing the screws on the back of the loom.  The rule of thumb here is that the length has to be a multiple of the width.  So for shawls I have decided that there has to be 60 nails for the width and 180 for the length. There is a continuous strand of yarn that will end up being your warp and weft.  Lets take a look.  First you make a slip knot and put it in the upper left corner.  From there you you count out 60 nails (they are marked every 10 nails) at the bottom and move your yarn under the 60th nail.  Next you move to the top and go around the 120th nail and back to the bottom for nail number 120 which is in the lower right hand corner.  (It looks like a zig zag)
Moving counterclockwise around the bottom nail, you move the yarn to the nails just to the left of your first nails and you are thus establishing a pattern.  When you make it back to the top left hand corner, your yarn goes under the first piece of yarn and on to the nail on the right. 
As you move down to the bottom you will start to weave your yarn. There will be areas that you will weave your yarn (moving left to right) and areas that self weave (moving right to left) because you have a continuous strand of yarn.  I know it sounds a bit confusing but it is easy peasy.
Here we have several more repetitions but the thought is the same.  You can see how it grows and what the weaving looks like as you progress.
Initially I like to weave using just my hands, and actually some people like to do this the whole project, but I end up using this long wooden hook to pull my yarn through once the project gets to be too wide for my hands.  I think it keeps the yarn more taunt, and is faster for me.
I also us a wide tooth comb to push the fibers together to help create a straighter line.
The very last portion is done with this crochet hook that has an eye like a needle.  Thread the eye portion and weave it through the remaining portion using the crochet hook as a giant needle. 
I always add fringe while the project is still on the loom. 
Then I carefully place the loom on the floor.  And then very, and I mean very carefully I take a very small crochet hook and start to unhook the top of the project from the loom.  I usually start in the upper right corner and move myself across the top as fast and as careful as possible.  This can make or break your project.  After all your hard work, if you snag this portion your project is a done and in the trash bin..
Hopefully most of your projects will end up like this.

I have learned a few things from the gazillion mistakes I have made while weaving.  Wool catches upon itself and will often pull apart just when you are at the end of your loop, and you will have to pull that portion out and start again.  This happens especially towards the end of the project, try not to scream, just re thread and try again.  A single ply yarn, while soft and yummy may not be your best bet for a larger project, (please see above).  The softer and yummier the yarn the easier it pulls apart just when you don't want it to.  Always start new yarn on the left side at the beginning of your loop, the tails are later incorporated into fringe.  The best thing I have learned is that this is really fun and a great way to play with yarn.  The shawls I have been weaving take about 400 yards of yarn, which includes the fringe.  You can go crazy with different yarns and ribbons, all of which I have done before.  But for these etsy shop shawls I wanted to be a little more conservative and let the beauty of the yarn speak for itself.  

Hope I haven't confused you too much.  You all know how yarn obsessed I am, weaving is just another fantastic way to play with yarn. 


by Teresa said...

Hi Meredith, that is neat to share with us how you do your gorgeous woven shawls! They are so pretty! I think it's great to add a new skill when you can. You'd love spinning! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

Claudia said...

What a great post, Mer! Informative and fascinating. I can vouch for how beautiful your work is - your box came yesterday and I was gone, so I just opened it up this afternoon. BEAUTIFUL!!!

Love your tags, too.


Monica said...

My, it looks very complicated but the finished result is amazing!
Your shawls are beautiful...
Many thanks for ALL the encouraging, friendly, sweet notes you have left me lately. Sorry if I haven't visited in a while...
Hope your 2012 is sparkling and joyous and serene... and 'change' challenges you to fly higher!
Big hugs,

T's Daily Treasures said...

Wow! Your shawls are so gorgeous. I've seen rugs being woven in India and Nepal. You sure make it look easy but I know it is a process. Beautiful work. Best wishes, Tammy

mynestofyarnandbuttons said...

Meredith that was so interesting. I really enjoyed it. Thank you. It really is different then I thought. I thought it would be a flat table type loom. And I thought there would be a comb or rack that comes across. The shawl is so lovely. What a wonderful art with yarn.


The Garden Bell said...

WOW. You are amazing. This is a great post about how they all come together. So cool. Why did I think that is was way different than this. Now, I want one of these too.

Annaboo said...

I am in AWE.
What a beautiful, amazing craft.
Your shawl is absolutely stunning.
Happy weekend to you.

Toni said...

Oh, I loved the explanation. I keep swearing to myself that I am NOT going to take up weaving or spinning, so I am trying very hard not to let your lovely weaving tempt me......:)

Tina said...

Fantastically beautiful! You are such a stinker with that evil seed planting of WANT. This makes you seedy and wanton! HA! Welcome to my day! ;)

Teresa said...

This is so beautiful, Meredith... really, really gorgeous job!
And like Toni, no, it is not another craft to try out, or I won't have a finished project in a year, there are so many things I want to try out!

MaryMargaret said...

I've never seen anyone work with a loom before- it's amazing! What beautiful work, and gorgeous colors!

Susan H. said...

Meredith this looks so great. You are definitely making me want to get a loom. Last year when I found your blog I was very intrigued by your loom and aftering seeing more things you make I think a loom is in my future.
xo Susan

Faeryfay said...

WOW! I love the look of your loom! It looks so complicated, but the end result is just beautiful! Very clever!:-)

Rose Red said...

Wow! I wondered how you got your weaving to be diagonal, I didn't realise it was a different type of loom. I love it! Really interesting and produces a beautiful end product.

Maddy Maddocks said...

Impressive. I love your loom. I've done some small projects on a board to make a 3d woven figure but nothing like yours. Fabulous

brsmaryland said...

Meredith, thanks for taking us step by step on how to use this loom. It is a very different way of connecting with yarn compared to knitting. Your shawls are SO PRETTY and I agree that sometimes you just want to let the yarn do the talking. I'm sure you and Claudia will do very well with your new Etsy shop.
Have a wonderful weekend.

Ilix said...

Wow, super interesting! Thanks for the fantastic walk-through, I have never seen that type of loom before.

kathy b said...

Thanks Mere for your sweet comments about my blog.!!!

Your weaving is amazing. I love the result. Cool loom.

Susanne said...

Now that was quite interesting. I have never seen a loom like that either, but rather the huge ones that sit on the floor where a shuttle is passed through and I think you know of what I write. Thank you for sharing, I really learned a lot from you today.
(((HUGS))) Susanne :)

Beth P said...

Oh Meredith, know you've gone and done it... I have not yet taken up weaving as I'm still learning to spin my own yarns but after seeing this loom... damn!!! er, darn that is!:D I MUST have one!!! I'm off to check out this company now! Your blog should come with a danger warning, lol!
Hugs from your new blogging sister,
Beth P