(S)Watch This!

One useful application of pin loom weaving is that you can test a new yarn for weave-ability in just minutes. It will not replace proper sampling for a project, but it is a quick way to find out what a yarn looks and feels like when it is woven, and it provides an instant piece of cloth for blocking.

Take for example this collection of scrumptiousness, which was part of my haul from this year’s Yellow Rose Fiber Fiesta where I “discovered” Winterstrom Ranch, a full service mill, with an intriguing variety of yarns in different blends, weights, and colors.

For my sampling, I used the Original TURTLE Loom™ R-regular (about 7.25 epi) for the thicker weight yarns, and the Original TURTLE Loom™ F-fine-sett (about 10 epi) for the lighter yarns.

My conclusion is that all yarns weave up and block beautifully.
The yarns have only little stretch, perfect for weaving. The yarns are smooth and not stiff.
I wove a hexagon each and sewed them together into a flower shape prior to blocking, just for fun. I blocked in cold water with a little bit Eucalan, for about 20 minutes. All fibers gently fulled, minimal shrinking, all color fast.

But see for yourself!
Winterstrom Ranch is one of the vendors at the CHT 2021 Conference Marketplace this weekend …

Swatch … Always …

A Fiber Runs Through It

The theme of the CHT conference 2021 is “A Fiber Runs Through It”. It reminds of the river walk that meanders through San Antonio, TX, but it also inspires to think of fibers and how they “run” through our weaving.

This post shows a quick project that was inspired by the theme: A little lavender puff with small pieces of fiber randomly running through it.

The project uses fibers that will be available from vendors at the CHT Marketplace!

The puff front is woven of a Windmill Crest Farms custom blend alpaca yarn Trilogy ( 75% Alpaca, 15% Bamboo, and 5% Silk waste) in strawberry pink. The back is woven of Morning Glory/Titan (80% Alpaca, 20% Bamboo), a marled yarn in natural colors that weaves up into a cloth with a vivid effect. Both yarns are fingering weight that weave up beautifully on the Original TURTLE Loom™ in fine-sett.

The “fiber that runs through it” is organic Texas cotton sliver from Conserving Threads, who offers a wide variety of natural fibers.

Weave the lavender puff hexagons:
– Following the loom instructions, weave one hexagon in Morning Glory/Titan for the back.
– Start weaving the front hexagon in Trilogy until you switch to weaving back and forth.
– Prepare 4-5 sliver pieces (see below) and weave them in randomly:

Prepare the sliver pieces:
– Pull an end of sliver off the rope, about 3″ long.
– Split that end into 2-3 pieces.
– Gently twist each piece, so that it doesn’t fall apart when handled.

Use a crochet hook to gently pull a piece through the shed from the previous row. Continue weaving, pack well.

Each front will look unique! When finished, lift the hexagon off the loom.

Sew the puff:
– Turn the front hexagon. The “right” side will be the side without ends. This will lock in the sliver pieces and prevent fraying.
– Put front and back hexagons on top of each other – wrong sides facing – and use the tails to sew along five sides (use simple whip stitch).
– No need to turn.

Stuff the puff:
– Use a small amount of stuffing (we used polyfil, but you could even use some of the leftover cotton sliver).
– Add about a teaspoon of dried lavender flowers to the center of the stuffing and fold close.
– Insert the stuffing into the puff and close the remaining sides.

Give a lavender puff to a friend. Put one under your pillow.
Gently squish the puff to release more lavender aroma.
Enjoy!

Come Visit Us at the CHT Conference!

All TURTLEs are busy preparing for an appearance at this year’s Contemporary Handweavers of Texas conference in San Antonio, TX. The great news is that the vendor market will be open to the public, so anyone can come!

We will not just bring all TURTLEs, but also exhibit some of the projects that have not been on display before, including the Wings shawlette, the Indian Blanket flower afghan, and the Hope vest. There will be more on display, as space allows … let us know if you want us to bring any other specific project that you’d like to see!

Besides the TURTLEs, we will have all currently in print Little Looms magazines available for purchase, as well as the current Handwoven May/June 2021, SpinOff Summer 2021, and PieceWork Summer 2021 (all published by Long Thread Media).

The hours for the Vendor Hall (Grand Ballroom E and F) are:
Thursday     4 pm – 7 pm
Friday 11 am – 5:30 pm  AND  7:30 pm – 9:30 pm (“Moonlight Madness”)
Saturday 10 am – 12 noon  AND  1:30 pm – 7 pm

Make it a road trip … the conference offers free access to the remarkable CHT weaving exhibit, which is an awesome opportunity to get inspired by an exquisite variety of masterly handwoven treasures. And if you have not been to San Antonio before, add a visit to the historic Alamo (One of the tour guides is a fellow pin loom weaver … ask for Laurel!) and the River Walk.

While exercising good COVID habits (wearing masks and cleaning hands and tools frequently), we will have a sample table to try out the TURTLEs, and we will be there to answer any questions that you may have.

As simple as that … hope to see you, soon!

Happy World Turtle Day!

This year’s World Turtle Day (May 23, 2021) is presented to you by Shelldon and Shellington, who are both creations of fellow pin loom weaver Susan Pihl.

Susan wrote recently that she was inspired by our turtle mascot Charlie, the first ever stuffed turtle project that we made, using the only TURTLE loom that was available at the time, the Original TURTLE Loom™ for worsted weight yarn.

Now that our hexagon pin looms come in multiple sizes, Susan used several to make her own turtle … meet Shelldon!

As it is the nature of stuffed turtles, you can’t just have one turtle, so Shelldon quickly got a friend, Shellington.

Here’s a brief anatomy of (or you could say instructions for) Shelldon and Shellington. All credits go to Susan, with a big thank you for sharing!
Susan used Loops & Threads Impeccable on regular sett TURTLE looms:

– The body is made of two Original TURTLE Loom hexagons, sewn together and gently stuffed.
– The head is made of two TinyTURTLE™ hexagons, sewn together and gently stuffed.
– The front flippers are made of TinyTURTLE hexagons, folded in half.
– The back flippers are single hexagons woven on the BabyTURTLE™.
– Join all pieces as shown in the picture.

Susan used small black beads for Shelldon’s eyes and French Knots for Shellington’s: Work one eye, then stitch through the head to work the other eye, holding the yarn in a little bit, which adds a touch of perfect shaping to the head.

Shelldon and Shellington are best buddies and decided to decorate with TURTLE looms this year, to celebrate their favorite holiday, World Turtle Day.

Mishell prefers to watch the events from the sideline, resting comfortably on her turtle pad.

We understand that not all turtles can be woven, but they can still celebrate! Vogue street fashion has it that this year it is “in” to “wear” a turtle loom if you are not made of woven hexagons.

Whether you consider to make a Charlie, or a Shelldon, or your own creation, we all hope that you will have a wonderful World Turtle Day!

Photo credits, except the “Charlie” project photo, Susan Pihl. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

Did you make a turtle? Send us a picture, and we’ll add it here to the Turtle Gallery:

Designing with Hexagons – Going 3D (Part 2)

Ready for more 3D? Handwoven posted the next blog article about designing with hexagons … Part 2 of Going 3D covers sharing hexagons between layers, fun ways to gain volume and change width, and a few handy tips.

Read the article: Designing with Hexagons: Going 3D (Part 2)

For your convenience, here is a list of all projects mentioned in the article.
Please note that if you are now a subscriber to Little Looms magazine, you will have access to all projects that were published in previous issues!

Forget-Me-Not Pillow
Cocoa Bear, in Little Looms Holiday 2020
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 20180929_163151_resized.jpgAspen Clutch, in Little Looms 2019
20180512_123357_resized (2)Grape Table Topper, in Little Looms 2018
IMG_3494Grape Pillow
Stuffed Toys A Sheep and a Pig Hexagon Pin Loom image 2Stuffed Pig Toy
Flower Power Emoji Meter
GVt 22nd century hat22nd Century Hat
sloth GVTWell, you already know him, but here’s the link again …
Take it Like a Sloth!

Go ahead, go 3D!

Dreams Come True

I’ve been waiting for the opportunity to take these pictures for years …

When we first moved to Texas more than a decade ago, I was inspired by seeing the Indian Summer Blanket wild flowers in this little field. A real blanket like this would be awesome … “I want to make this!”

It took many trials and errors to find a way to express the shape of the blooms, and in the end, hexagons were the answer.
I sampled many yarns, because I wanted the colors to be as close as possible to the “real thing”. I found Scheepjes Catona, a cool summer cotton, that seemed perfect for the purpose. It comes in over 100 colors, including shades that were close.

Then … the opportunity to make the blanket for Easy Weaving with Little Looms Summer 2020.

Finally, this spring, the Indian Summer Blanket flowers are blooming again, and Texas weather is at it’s best. The blanket that looks and feels like a field of Indian Summer Blanket flowers … in the field that provided the inspiration.

Never give up on ideas that inspire you.
Dreams come true.

The Hope Vest

It has been a great privilege to tell the story of Diana and Handspun Hope in Handwoven May/June 2021. A story of “stepping up” to help widows and orphans in Rwanda. A story of building a way to live in peace, with food and shelter. And a story of reaching out to the rest of the world, through fiber.

It is our wish that the Hope Vest will encourage weavers to explore the all natural, handmade fibers from this country far away. See and feel the pride that the women in Rwanda put into their work.
You can call it a weaving adventure in may ways, filled with hope for a better life.

Handspun Hope provides three lines of beautiful yarns: Ethiopian Handspun Cotton (top left), a precious Angora and Merino Blend (top right, used for the Hope Vest), and Organic Merino Wool that comes in different weights (bottom left in worsted, bottom right in bulky) . Visit Handspun Hope online to learn more and shop these yarns.

For a limited time we are providing a digital version of the Hope Vest Project Guide free of charge, but please consider making a small donation to the Handspun Hope organization.

Weave the magic, share your thoughts!

Honey, It’s A Spring Wreath!

I happen to spot hexagons almost everywhere (and I hear you all laughing!) Therefore it is no surprise that the “beeing kind” spring theme at JoAnn Fabrics pulled me right in. A laser cut wooden honeycomb décor caught my eye: Those holes needed fabric … woven hexagons! Conveniently, JoAnn Fabrics also carries Lion Brand’s Bonbon yarn minis which are perfect for hexagon pin loom weaving, so a pack of “601 Nature”, a honeycomb wood décor, and I checked out the store minutes later.

The TinyTURTLE™ hexagon pin loom in fine-sett is the perfect weaving companion to weave the “bonbon” cotton and create hexagons that are exactly the right size to cover the hexagon shapes in the wooden template.

Feeling inspired? Read on for instructions!

I decided to only fill the full hexagon shapes on the wooden template (16).
I wove a bunch of hexagons and moved them around until I liked the looks: With the colors at hand I simulated the looks of a honey comb, and the hexagon shapes behind “leaves” would be backed with green. The pink and purples would serve as flower centers (5).

Go ahead and create your own, or follow along to make what I made!

For extra fun, I used all colors. For the honeycomb I wove:
(2) natural
(6) light yellow
(3) beige
(2) brown
Add (3) green hexagons for the leaves areas.
Use the photo to join the hexagons. Hexagons to rows first, then rows to rows will work best.

Great assembly practice, and the seams don’t have to be pretty, because they will be covered by the wooden template!

I stapled the sewn hexagon patch to the back of the wooden template.
Note: Don’t press the stapler too hard, because otherwise – even with 6mm staples – the ends may show through (if that happens, just pull the staple back with a knife carefully). You can also hot glue the hexagon patch in place.

For the flower centers I wove:
(2) pink
(1) lavender
(2) purple
Weave in the ends.

PS: There is still plenty of time to finish this project in time for Mother’s Day.
PSS: I left the wooden template untreated, but you could lacquer it or even paint it for additional effect.
PSSS: As of this writing (4/24/2021) all place & time items are 50% off at JoAnn’s.
PSSSS: I’m really done now. Thank you for reading!

Enjoy making it! Enjoy decorating with it!

Earth Day 2021

The idea started yesterday when I was reading an article by Handwoven editor Susan Horton, “WIFs for Earth Day Weaving”, with a call to plan or weave a project that’s good for the planet.

I realized that If I make one hexagon every day until Earth Day (April 22, 2021), I will have seven hexagons to make a flower table topper! I will use this post to track the daily progress on my earth friendly weaving for the week to come …

For Day 1 I raided my yarn ends bowl, which yielded just enough to make my first hexagon … the classic “Leave no ends behind” hexagon, edition 2021.

For Day 2 I decided to try a new yarn. Lion Brand features a “Sustainable Stitching” yarn collection, and I was curious to try out their “Just Hemp” (100% hemp) yarn. It is a 5-Bulky weight yarn, but it weaves up nicely into a dense fabric on the Original TURTLE Loom™ R – regular. I recommend using a locker hook for the weaving and packing after each row.

Day 3 is a recycle day, using pretty ribbons that remind of blissful chocolates.
Use a locker hook and take your time for the weaving. Skip pins as needed to accommodate the thicker ribbon.
Day 3 derailed a little bit … once I took the hexagon off the loom … it looked like a holiday ornament, so that’s what it turned into: My first holiday gift for 2021 is done.
Will have to make up a day for the Earth Day flower …

Day 4: To compensate for yesterday’s repurposed hexagon, I chose to weave two hexagons today, of different Berroco yarns: Remix Light, which has been one of my favorite, 100% recycled yarns for years, and the new Chai, which with 56% linen and 44% silk deserves to be called a sustainable yarn. Both yarns get two thumbs up for weaving on the Original TURTLE Loom in fine-sett!

Day 5: Feedbag ties come in handy when you need something thin and strong to tie something. But those ties also weave very well! For today’s recycle hexagon I held two strands of ties together, which creates a nice basket weave on the Original TURTLE Loom™ in fine-sett. Extra bonus for having more than one color!

For Day 6 I consulted my yarn sample basket once again, and Lion Brand’s shiny Nuboo won the “pick me!” contest. Made of sustainable 100% Lyocell (bamboo pulp), Nuboo is listed as worsted weight. However, the yarn is more on the thinner side and very smooth: It weaves up beautifully – with a great sheen and drape – on the Original TURTLE Loom™ in fine-sett.

For Day 7 I wove “plarn”, plastic yarn, a rather popular way to recycle plastic bags. About half a bag from an 8-pack of HEB hamburger buns, cut into 1/2″ strips, is sufficient to weave one hexagon on the Original TURTLE Loom™ R – regular. Take your time, weave loosely, and skip a pin or two as needed. Weave in the ends anywhere back into the hexagon and use a different yarn for sewing.

And here is the Earth Day Flower! … Table topper, wall hanging, backyard yarn bombing, …

I hope you feel inspired by the things you’ve seen. Earth friendly doesn’t mean that it has to look cheap or won’t be any fun. There is no need to suffer or miss out on anything. We have so many options these days that living earth friendly every day is very possible and does not have to be a burden.

When the Easter Bunny Steals the Elf Basket …

Remember the Efl Baskets? It only takes a few more steps to turn that pattern into an Easter bunny basket … and more …

You can never have enough baskets (particularly those that hold treats). To make your next basket, try the Elongon™ 2″ R-regular loom (because that will give you extra tippy ears). You will need about 20 yards of yarn. I used a variety of Caron Simply Soft, Caron Cakes, and Caron Latte Cakes yarns. Leftovers are awesome for this project!

Follow the instructions for the Elf Basket: Start weaving the “ear” color (I used off white), then weave the stripes in any contrasting color that you’d like. Fold two tips on opposing sites and sew them into place with just a few stitches. These sides will be the back and the front of the bunny. The remaining two sides have the tips which are now the bunny ears!

Add a pompom tail (wrap yarn around 2 fingers 20 times and tie off and trim; or use a store bought pompom). For the eyes, I used 12 mm safety eyes (or embroider, use buttons, or felt). Two leftover ends of yarn may serve as whiskers.

Adding handles is optional … Join two strands of yarn in one corner. Crochet about 25 chain stitches. Slip stitch into the next corner (on a side with a “ear”). Fasten off.

And who is this? Easter … Yoda?!

For a Yoda-style basket, weave two hexagons like for the Elf basket, and two hexagons in solid green (these will be the “face” and the back of the head). Assemble the basket as usual.

Flip and sew the tips of the solid hexagons.
Hold in the “ears” with an extra piece of yarn and shape into style. Add eyes … fill with your favorite candy … all year long!

Happy Easter!

Wings

The “Wings” shawl shown in a recent Handwoven Reader’s Gallery article comes with a special story … please allow me to share …

Fellow pin loom weaver Carolien and I like to go yarn shopping together … virtually, since we live a few thousand miles apart. Two years ago on her birthday, Carolien visited “Stephen and Penelope” in Amsterdam, and “we” bought a skein of Qing Fibre Merino Singles.

The yarn created a fabric as light as a feather, and I decided to make a shawl. When I needed a little bit more yarn, I took my inspiration from Stephen West’s love for bold colors and unusual shapes, very much stepping out of my comfort zone.

The finished shawl felt perfect. I decided to name it “Wings”, reminding of long distance friendships without borders. Wings that envelop the wearer with soft and gentle comfort. Wings that free.

It was a precious moment when I was able to show the finished shawl to Stephen during a knitting event and share the story with him. Perfectly Stephen, he did not hesitate to model the shawl. (Thank you, Stephen, you rock!)

Last not least, Wings encouraged me to enter new territory and have it professionally photographed. I’m a big fan of Gale Zucker … The way she saw Wings through her camera lens is second to none. Thank you, Gale Zucker, let this just be the beginning!

Ready to make your own Wings?

The hexagons are woven on the Elongon 2″ fine-sett TURTLE loom. The shawl requires one skein of Qing Fibre Merino Single in Cuttlefish and added accents are worked in small amounts of Chaos Fiber Co Tonal Elite Sock in Hot Green and Purple Pop (the latter is also used to crochet the border).

Follow this chart to layout and assemble your “Wings” shawl:

The observant weaver will notice that the design includes four half hexagons … do not worry, by the time you will get to weaving those … you will find the instructions right here on this blog!

Happy birthday, Carolien!

Designing with Hexagons – Going 3D (Part 1)

The next article from the “Designing with Hexagons” series is now available on the Handwoven website. The title is “Going 3D”, and the article will come in two parts, because there is so much to tell about making things with “just hexagons”.

Read the article now:
Designing with Hexagons: Going 3D (Part 1)

We hope that you will enjoy the article and find it useful.

“Do you have instructions for those projects?” – Yes, we do, for most of them. Here is a list of links …

Sloth
Bear Ornament
Flower Petals (just follow
the instructions in the article
and use as shown).
Turtle Mascot
Mouse
Pickle Ornament
Motorbike
Amulet Pouch
Coin Purse
Paint Drop Toss Game
Coming soon …

The Lozenges Scarf – A Bias Study Project

If you have that one skein of precious, beautiful worsted weight yarn, here is a project suggestion for you … You can use the bias fabric feature, as it is described in the article “Designing with Hexagons: Basic Concepts”, to stretch your one skein supply and make a cool scarf on your TexaTURTLE loom!

Here is how it goes: Weave up your skein into hexagons, then watch the following video that shows you how to connect hexagons on the bias for maximum stretch:

The Lozenges Scarf as shown is made of 14 TexaTURTLE hexagons and results in a scarf that is about 80″ long, unstretched. You can adjust the length by using more or fewer hexagons.

Wear your scarf wrapped twice or three times for volume, open as “duster” accessory, double for a warming and decorative effect.

You can use different TURTLE looms and yarns, too … the first Lozenges Scarf was actually featured by Cocoa Bear in the Little Looms Holiday 2020 magazine. That scarf was woven on the TinyTURTLE fine-sett loom, using sock yarn.

Struggling with joining hexagons? This project is great “first time” joining exercise that is as easy as it can get. Watch stitch-by-stitch instructions here:

Go ahead and give the Lozenges Scarf a try! Easy to make, lots to learn, fun to enjoy.

TURTLE customer Lynne B. made this TexaTURTLE scarf earlier this year (see her comments below). While the joining direction for her hexagons is random, the scarf turned out to be lovely! And … don’t miss those humongous pompoms! Brava, Lynne!
(photos posted with permission)

Thank you, Lynne for sharing!

Lozenges Scarf, wrapped around a tree, showing stretched and un-stretched hexagons.

Turtles are Back!

After an “interesting” week of rolling blackouts, frozen water pipes, and cold coffee, we are very happy to say that all turtles made it safely through this record breaking winter weather in Texas. There’s still cleanup and repair work that needs to be done, but we will start shipping and making looms again.

Thank you, all, for the many kind words and comments that we received!

Turtle Will Go Hibernate for a Little While …

Long story short, Texas is in an extremely cold and long stretch of winter weather, and our workshop has no heating. If “winter” is just a couple of days, as usual, we can make up for that time, but right now it looks like there won’t be any lacquering possible until the end of the week.

What that means … Our Etsy store will look empty, but:

Be assured: While loom production will hibernate, we’ll still be chatting hexagons and projects and answer any questions that you may have!

To hibernate, Turtle chose one of Beth’s flower scarves made of 100% wool Blue Sky Fibers Woolstok which creates a light, soft, and warm fabric … perfect for a good cuddle.

Stay warm, be safe!

Designing with Hexagons

Late last summer, I received and email from Handwoven editor Susan Horton … if I would be interested to write an article about designing with hexagons. I checked twice to make sure that she really meant me, and she did.

Of course I’d love to! My enthusiasm resulted in a table of contents that exceeded the word count that was allotted for the planned article.

Long story short, over the next few weeks you may expect three articles that will cover a selection of topics around designing with hexagons. While those topics apply to all fabric hexagons, the examples are taken from experience with pin loom woven hexagons.

The first article covers basics concepts, including observations on arranging hexagons, some ideas on shapes that you can make when you put hexagons together, how you can integrate fabric direction into your designs, and lastly a list of sources for inspiration.

Also, the article includes a link to download free hexagon design templates, so that you can start drafting your own designs!

Read the article: “Designing with Hexagons: Basic Concepts”

I want to thank Long Thread Media for this opportunity, and it is my hope that many readers will find these articles useful and will benefit from them for years to come.

Hearts! … or How To Tame Bias Woven Squares

It’s the time of the year where it’s cold outside and warm, pink, and red everywhere else. Valentine’s Day is approaching! While it’s still about a month to go, this is the time to start crafting for it!

In this blog we will take a look at “shaping fabric”. Bias fabric can be tricky to understand, but if we master its properties, we can put those special features to work and make beautiful things … like hearts!

We are going to make a little Heart Wall Accent. Instructions are below, but if you prefer, you can watch this how-to video:

We used the new Square 2″ fine-sett loom for this project. However, the instructions will work for any square loom of any size that allows you to weave the continuous-strand bias weaving method.

SUPPLIES
One square makes one heart. A Square 2″ fine-sett woven motif needs 2.7 yards of any sock/fingering weight yarn. We used Scheepjes Catona in colors 114, 222, and 238. Have some extra yardage for the hanger and the optional tassel.
The base (holding 3 hearts) is about 2.5″ wide and 9″ tall. We used chicken wire ribbon, but you can also use felt, fabric, wood, or any other material of your liking.

MAKE A HEART

Weave one square and take it off the loom. Have one yarn end facing up/away from you, the other one to the right.

Hold the center of the square down, then slide the yarn end that is facing away from you towards the center.

This will gather the fabric of the top half together.

Secure the gathered fabric with a few stitches in the back of the heart.

Stretch the sides of the remaining square to round the sides into a heart shape.
The “shaping” will work for most yarns. If your yarn slides or bounces back, block/stiffen it after completing the heart.

Gently pull the other yarn end to round the sides of the heart.

Slide in the fabric on the other side to match both sides.

Secure the tail, weave in and clip the end.

Your heart is now ready to use. Keep the remaining tail to attach the heart to a base, or use it as a hanger if you want to use the heart the way it is.

Optionally you can use your Square loom to make a tassel . We used 15 wraps of yarn. Tie it at the top loop, clip the bottom loop. Wrap and secure the tassel head and clip the ends even. Done! If needed, the video shows the making in more detail.

ASSEMBLY
For the base, cut a 9″ piece of chicken wire and carefully bend the ends.
Use three strands of yarn to make a hanger (you can also use a piece of ribbon or make a string using crochet, lucet, or any other craft of your liking).
Attach the tassel to the bottom of the wall accent.
Enjoy!

The hearts can be used for many other crafts: Make Valentine’s cards, for example. Or applique them to a pillow. Stiffen them and make a hearts mobile!

Happy Valentine’s Day … every day!

“No Stress” 2021 Patchwork Project

What a year 2020 has turned out to be! I don’t think any of us had a clue when we started our “No-Stress” 2020 Patchwork Project last year as to how much we would need that “no stress” aspect for our crafts!

But here we are, at the beginning of a new year. Those of you who participated in last year’s project and those who have been watching the progress from the sideline have indicated a clear “Let’s do it again”!

We mentioned last year that any loom is ok, but this year I want to put more emphasis on that: I will have two “no stress” patchwork projects to work on, one on the Original TURTLE Loom™ in regular and fine-sett, and one on a Schacht Zoom loom, as an example for “any other loom”.

Let’s review what this project is all about:
This is a pin loom project that carries on throughout the year. Work on it as time allows, but without stress or frustration.

  • Keep it simple and flexible, because … life happens!
  • The idea is to weave motifs and sew them together into a project as you go (see project ideas below).
  • Use sample/swatch weavies, leftover weavies from other projects, or weave one in a pretty yarn that you like.
  • Use any loom you like. I do suggest, though, to just use one loom size, because that makes it easy to add to your project as you go. Examples: I will use the original 4″ hexagon looms in both, the “regular”and “fine sett”, because they create the same size hexagons. I also will use a Schacht Zoom loom for a second project, as an example for a non-hexagon loom.
  • Weave as time allows, until December 31, 2021. Maybe one a day, but most likely less, because there will be busy times throughout the year when there’s just no time to weave.
  • Start late (you don’t have to start January 1st), end early (if you reach a point where you like the project and the year is not over, just consider it done).
  • (Optional) Keep notes in a little notebook, but keep it simple: Date, material, optional brief comments (for example for a special occasion). With or without writing down notes, the patchwork project will have stories to tell!
  • (Optional) Take a picture once a month to record progress throughout the year.
  • Unless you know what you want to make, start with the first motif in the middle and work around that center. This way, the resulting project is determined by how many weavies are woven. That will make it “no stress with guaranteed success”: Just make one motif, the 2021 project will be a coaster. If you make some, it may be a trivet, shawl, or table runner. If you go crazy and make 2 or more every day … here is your king size bed cover!

At the end of the year you will have a project that you can call your 2021 Patchwork Project and that you can be proud of, no matter what it turns out to be. Take a look at some of the projects from 2020:

Will you join in this year? You can follow along here on the blog, or in the Facebook Pin Loom Weaving Support Group, or in the Ravelry “Looms to Go” group.

The Squares are Coming!

We are happy to announce that the new Square 2″ fine-sett loom is now available.
The new Square 2″ fine-sett loom is a perfect companion to the Elongon™ 2″ fine-sett hexagon.
Learn more about this new loom in our launch video:

The new Square has the same pin spacing as the tips of the Elongon 2″ fine-sett. This means that the squares result in a very similar fabric that will match nicely when both shapes are used in one project.

The pins are thinner than the hexagon looms (but without beeing too thin), to allow to work more comfortably in a tight space.

The beginning pins are marked with lines like on the hexagon looms. The widest point of the square has a convenient, wider space between the pins that will allow you to weave comfortably to the last row.

The weaving is easy: Just start weaving bias, as if to begin weaving a hexagon, until you “run out of space”. Lock the weaving with one last woven row, and the square is done.
Not sure how it works? The following video shows how to weave a Bias Square:

The Square 2″ loom kit is now available at our Etsy shop.

Not sure what to do with such a loom? We invite you to explore the possibilities with a table topper pattern and a free worksheet.

The 5th Fiber Gift of Christmas

If you have heard of the phrase “The 12 Fiber Gifts of Christmas” you most likely heard it from The Woolery, a company who has been serving the needs of fiber artists for over 30 years. During the holiday season, the Woolery features a different fiber related product each week for 12 weeks.

Our Original TURTLE Loom™ for worsted weight yarn is the 5th Fiber Gift of the 2020 season!

While the special is over, the Woolery continues to offer the Original TURTLE Loom kit. Here’s where you can find it at the Woolery. Click here to see the kit at THE WOOLERY.

The Woolery does not only have a scrumptious selection of weaving equipment and accessories, but they also offer a great variety of not-so-typical yarns.

I could not resist to make … a basket (!) with one of their yarns, the Cestari Mt. Vernon.

I hope you will find it entertaining and useful to watch me make an Elf Basket in this new project video:

I am a big fan of Handspun Hope yarns, whose 100% Organic Merino wool was the Woolery’s 4th Fiber Gift of Christmas this year! I quickly grabbed some Rich Salvi and Voca Peach from my stash and made another Elf Basket …

Inspired? The Woolery carries Handspun Hope 100% Merino Yarn in many colors!

DON’T MISS! Learn more about the 12 Fiber Gifts and enter weekly to win the fiber product of that week on the Woolery website: FOLLOW THE 12 FIBER GIFTS OF CHRISTMAS

RAFFLE TIME: Here is the link to enter the raffle for this week’s Woolery Giveaway (you can win an Original TURTLE Loom kit): ENTER THE RAFFLE

Welcome, Elongon 1″ R!

While the new Elongon™ 1″ R loom for worsted weight yarn has its stellar premier with the Scandinavian Stardust Doilies in the new Little Looms Holiday 2020 magazine, the possibilities for this little loom of course go far beyond applique.

Each side measures 1″, a hexagons only takes 1.6 yards of yarn, and you can weave it up in a matter of minutes.

Perfect for prototyping ideas, making “mini” versions of anything, and just the right size for doll clothes and accessories, … or quick gifts!

One example are these personalized coasters.
With the holidays coming up, make one for each family member, loved one, colleague, or friend, and choose their favorite colors or color themes. And if you won’t be able to have an in-person gathering, those coasters ship very easily!

Weave and sew some thoughts about each recipient into each coaster as you make it!

Here are instructions:

For each coaster, you will need a total of about 14 yards of worsted weight yarn, about 7 yards in two colors of your choice. I used Universal Yarn Uptown Worsted, a super soft, fun to weave, anti-pilling acrylic yarn with a delicate sheen, available in many colors.

Weave 4 hexagons each in two colors.
Weave in the end tails (see pictures below), but save the starting tails for sewing.

First, sew the inner set of four hexagons together.
Use the following pictures to guide you: Starting from the center, sew each side with about 5 stitches. Do not weave in the ends.

Next, add the remaining four hexagons: Use the tails to sew in each hexagon as shown. Use about 5 stitches per side. Weave in the ends.
Your coaster is now complete!

Here are some color suggestions for your inspiration, and …
reversing the colors instantly allows for two different coasters.

You can’t go wrong with classic red and green holiday colors. Play with different shades of red and green to achieve different moods, from jolly to calm and rustic.

If your recipient is a little human, maybe a super hero color scheme will do the job, like Spiderman or Superman. Choose soft pinks and purples for the little unicorn or princess lover!

For a newly wed couple, make a set of “his” and “hers” coasters in their wedding colors.

Choose colors according to a recipient’s hobby, for example hunting.

Match a holiday decorating theme, for example “peppermint”, or a recipient’s home décor colors, like this Norwegian Blues example.

If all else fails, patchwork is a very adorable option:
Use different colors of the same yarn or different yarns all together, to make each coaster unique.

We hope you feel inspired …
Don’t forget the hot cocoa, and Happy Weaving!

Little Looms Holiday 2020

May I begin with sending a round of applause to the Little Looms editor team for this amazing inaugural holiday edition of Little Looms! In just a few months the team crafted an amazing magazine with incredible content in superb quality! I can hardly wait to try Anne Merrow’s interesting Tree Scarf or Angela Tong’s Rigid-Heddle Bread Bags … Oh? Yes! There’s pin loom weaving, too! And there’s so much to tell …

First, there are the Scandinavian Stardust Doilies, our daughter’s first very own published design. She used one of her favorite yarns, Woolstok by Blue Sky Fibers, one of her favorite Elongon looms, the Elongon™ 2″ R, and another loom that was not even released yet! Long story short, please welcome the new Elongon 1″ R loom!

The new Elongon 1″ R hexagon pin loom allows you to weave small elongated hexagons using worsted weight yarns. For the Scandinavian Stardust doilies these hexagons are appliqued onto the base fabric, but of course you can use them for many other projects as well … I think they are the perfect size for doll accessories!

Then, there is the Cocoa Bear, a very huggable species of teddy bear, made of Berroco Ultra Wool Chunky on the TexaTURTLE™, Original TURTLE Loom™, and optionally the PennyTURTLE™.
The Little Looms editors included very detailed instructions, including photos, which makes it very easy to follow.

Beware … making those teddies is VERY addictive! I’m currently working on my fourth teddy and will present them in the upcoming blog posts. The first “friend” is Mrs. Cocoa, made of the same yarn, but in very ladylike colors, and featuring a cape and a purse (stay tuned for details).

Lastly, for your convenience you can now order the print edition of the Little Looms Holiday 2020 issue along with your looms from our Etsy store. If you don’t want to wait, you can get the digital edition instantly and directly from Long Thread Media.

Fasten your seatbelt and get ready for a winter-long craft excitement!

Trick or Treat!

Hurray! It did not take fellow pin loom weaver Teresa very long to find the “Coming soon” message for our new Square 2″ fine-sett loom! Teresa will receive one of the first Square looms as her treat, congratulations!

The new Square fine-sett looms are perfectly matched to our fine-sett Elongons. Simply weave the continuous strand method like you would when you start weaving a hexagon … until the square is complete. Joining is a breeze, since the edgings are the same between the looms.

The combination of elongated hexagons and squares allow for even more design possibilities, but you can of course use the squares on their own for other projects that require sock/fingering weight yarns.

The Square 2″ fine-sett loom will become available in November 2020.

Previously published Trick or Treat message:

A secret message to TURTLE loom followers … We’ve hidden some unusual news on our blog website … if you find it, describe what you found in the comments section of this blog. The first correct answer gets a “treat”!

Beware of the Candy Monsters!

Here’s one more “spooky” project: Make two candy monsters for your little puppeteers! When I went to JoAnn Fabrics this summer I noticed a Red Heart “mini” yarn display. For pin loom weaving, I like to have a variety of coordinated colors, in small amounts, in one unit. I couldn’t resist to sample the yarn, and with Halloween coming, the “Monster” color run seemed to be a great choice.

I used the Original TURTLE Loom™ R for worsted weight yarn for my weaving. The yarn is very pleasant to weave, it is very smooth and has little stretch, which is perfect for weaving. Each color yields two hexagons and some leftovers, (you might get three by keeping the tails just a little bit shorter than suggested).

One “mini” is enough to make two child-size puppets, a Frankenstein monster and a ghost! Each puppet measures about 3.5″ wide and 7.5″ long Read on for instructions.

For the monster head, take a purple and an orange hexagon and sew them partly together, as shown.

Fold the orange hexagon in half, then sew the second purple hexagon to the other half of the orange and to the rest of the first purple hexagon, as indicated.

For the monster body, put the two green hexagons together and sew the two sides shown, this will shape a sleeve.

Fold the body as shown, then sew the body to the head.

Decorate the puppet as desired with eyes and some hair. Think of the age of the recipient to make safe choices.

Work the ghost the same way, use the photos to guide you with the color choices.

VARIATIONS:
– Red Heart offers many different color runs, you can make puppets for different seasons, occasions, and themes: Yes, there is a “Holiday” color run, so that you can make some mischievous elves. And you could also make some playful unicorns (“Rainbow”), or fairies (“Rose Bud” or “Spring Mix”) and princesses (“Princess”), or how about “Americana” for Elmo and the Cookie Monster?
– If you have a grownup puppeteer with larger hands, you can use the TexaTURTLE loom and two “Mini”s to make a larger puppet.
– On the topic of larger “puppets”… the TexaTURTLE sized project in wool would make a great oven mitt, just sayin’.

Have a happy and safe Halloween, all y’all!

Spooky Cat Hot Pad

Let’s welcome October with a quick spooky project (ok, just barely spooky, but cute): A spooky cat hot pad.

In our Hobby Lobby yarn talk last week I mentioned that I like to use the “I Love This Cotton” yarn double layered. I showed last year’s pumpkin hot pad as example.

The Spooky Cat hot pad uses the same “I Love This Cotton” yarn in 102 Glowing and 02 Black Sparkle (Please note that the Black Sparkle contains 3% Metallic Polyester which most likely is not heat resistant. You could use a plain black instead.)

You will weave (1) hexagon in each color on the TexaTURTLE™ loom for the head, and (2) hexagons in black on the Original TURTLE Loom™ for the ears.

Using two strands of yarn, embroider the faces on each large hexagon. Use the photos for details.

Fold the “ear” hexagons in half and whip stitch them to the two layers of the head.

Using the orange yarn, starting at the bottom tip, work one round of single crochet, connecting both fabric layers.
Work 2 sc on each tip.
For the hanger, work a loop with 20 chain stitches between the ears.
Weave in ends.
Enjoy!

Yarn Talk: A Selection of Hobby Lobby Yarns

My favorite season is autumn. Because of the weather, yes, but mostly for the fact that this is the time when the new fall/winter yarns are released!

This year, I decided to do something new and share my sampling thoughts with you in a video, starting with a selection of Hobby Lobby yarns that I tried out recently.

Please let me know what you think about such a presentation! Are you enjoying it? Do you find it useful? Would you like to see something different? Leave a comment here on the blog …

But now, enjoy watching!

All the sample hexagons are put to “good use”: I add them to my Patchwork 2020 project!

Is there a particular yarn that you like best?

Cute! A Hedgehog Scrubbie Holder

Last week, I stopped at Hobby Lobby to take a look at their new yarns. Taking a “shortcut” through their fall decoration department turned out to be not a shortcut, though, particularly when an adorable little hedgehog, holding a scrubbie pad, caught my eyes. “It needs some color, though …”

On to the yarn department, to find some seasonally colored scrubbie yarn. The plan to make a scrubbie cover was confirmed!

Back home I wove two hexagons on the Original TURTLE Loom™. It goes so fast, you probably won’t need more than one cup of tea or glass of wine to finish the job.

Using any of the tail ends, sew the two hexagons together along four sides, insert the scrubby that comes with the hedgehog, then close completely. Weave in any remaining tails.

I call this a pin loom doodle project … a project that just happens by chance, low key, no stress, but a lot of fun.

When this scrubbie is used up, I’ll get a utility sponge and cut it to shape, and maybe the next scrubbie will be – very seasonal – in red, for the holidays!

Hobby Lobby offers the hedgehog with scrubbie online, but they seem to be very popular and at the time of this writing the item is sold out. Check with your local Hobby Lobby if you have one (and don’t forget to bring your coupon). If you are out of luck, Hobby Lobby and many other home decoration and crafting store are great (or dangerous) places to find a substitute to display your seasonal scrubbie, for example a pretty little plate or dish. Or consider using a “last one of the set” dish that is collecting dust in your cupboard!

Happy fall, y’all!

The Janus Hexagon

Projects that look interesting on both sides are the theme of Handwoven November/December 2020. Weaving hexagons with two colors and changing colors after every row creates a unique pattern where the right side of the fabric shows the opposite pattern to the wrong side … two opposite faces, like Janus. (Meriam-Webster, Janus, “a Roman god that is identified with doors, gates, and all beginnings and that is depicted with two opposite faces”)

The weaving pattern will work on all TURTLE hexagon looms. For this demonstration and for the Janus doily project we used the Original TURTLE Loom™ and Universal Yarn Uptown Worsted, a quality acrylic yarn that is super soft and comes in many colors.

Weaving a Janus hexagon is not complicated, you just have to look out for a few things. Even better, we’re explaining a different, speedy method to fill in the center of the hexagon: Instead of the traditional back-and-forth weaving, we are using what we call the Afterthought Layer Weaving Method™. Everything is explained in the following video.

Using a different loom? You can! The weaving method is the same for all TURTLE hexagon looms, but you need to adjust the number of wraps: Use a little bit more than half of the recommended wraps for your loom to weave the last “layer”.

What to do with Janus hexagons? Here are just a few ideas about arranging those hexagons differently. Add to that using different colors!

And don’t forget the chocolates!

“Cold Feet” Home Remedy – A Footstool

20200130_170501_resizedOur house has concrete floors, which means – even in Texas – the floors are COLD during the winter, causing uncomfortably cold feet when sitting at the desk for prolonged times.

Hexagons to the rescue to make a pretty and practical footstool! If you can get your feet just a few inches off the cold floor, it helps them to stay warmer. Continue reading “Cold Feet” Home Remedy – A Footstool

Last Minute Hat Ornaments

January 1, 2019 … You plan to start in August and knit (real) hats for all your relatives for Christmas.
December 20, 2019 … You are on your way to the family Christmas gathering … the hats didn’t happen (and not much else, either).

TURTLEs to the rescue, to make some minutia hat ornaments for everyone! Continue reading Last Minute Hat Ornaments

Ready to Ship!

We would like to let you know that all items on our Bluebonnet Crafters Etsy store are “ready to ship”, so for the remainder of this year we will do our best to have your purchase in the mail the next USPS day, with the shipping option of your choice.

Here is a link to the USPS “Holiday Deadlines” chart so that you can determine if your order will still arrive in time for Christmas: 2019 Holiday Shipping Deadlines

We constantly relist looms as they become “ready to ship”, but don’t procrastinate … it is first come, first serve.

Have a Joyous Time!

2nd Anniversary Giveaway Winners

THANK YOU for all the kind comments, and that you are sharing the excitement about the new “Little Looms 2019” magazine!

espo119002-1[1]I think this 4th edition of the “Little Looms” magazine is the best so far: Seven pin loom projects contribute to a nicely balanced representation of little looms. Projects from shawls to bags to home decoration and more. Techniques from simple to intricate. Yarns that surprise in their effects. Beautiful photography, excellent instructions, and informative articles. I hope you’ll love it as much as I do!

But now, drum rolls for our winners:

On our blog: Susan P. from North Carolina
On Facebook: Alicia W. from Maryland

Congratulations! We will contact the winners and send out their “Little Looms 2019” copy as soon as it becomes available.

PS: Photo credit for the Happy 2nd Anniversary hexagon goes to fellow pin loom weaver Carolien. Used with permission. Thank you, Carolien, and I think you started another tradition!

Weaving Some Handspun Hope Today …

Dedicated to the people in Rwanda who show strength and determination to overcome the genocide tragedy that started 25 years today, April 7th, 1994.

I made the “Easy Tassel Basket” in Rich Topiary, the border and tassels are Cosmos. The basket displays a skein Natural.

100% Organic Merino Wool from the True Vineyard Ministries yarn shop.

Free basket instructions on Ravelry: Easy Tassel Basket

 

 

Step with the Right Foot into 2019

Make sure to step with the right foot into 2019! If you need a reminder, put an ankle moebius on your right foot.

20181224_110708_resizedMake the cowl on the original TURTLE Loom™️ with about 42 yards of worsted weight yarn; we used hand-dyed yarn from The Sheepwalk™️ in “Retro” colors.

Instructions are on Ravelry, and if you have any 7 hexagons floating around, it’s a true last minute project before the party begins.

To an amazing 2019!

May it be filled with peace, health, happiness, prosperity, and friends.

 

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Feeding a Fad …Weave an Ankle Cowl

Just a few days ago I saw a picture circulating on social media, featuring a knitted “ankle scarf”. It looked photo-shopped, but I had to chuckle about the idea, and the idea didn’t leave me. Today I discovered the first ankle shawl knitting pattern on Ravelry, and I decided that maybe the idea is not as ridiculous as it initially seemed … Continue reading Feeding a Fad …Weave an Ankle Cowl