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.
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.
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 cottonsliver 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!
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.
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:
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.
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!
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.
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.
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 beautifulyarns: 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.
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. Alaser cut wooden honeycomb décor caught my eye: Those holes needed fabric … woven hexagons! Conveniently, JoAnn Fabrics also carriesLion Brand’s Bonbon yarn miniswhich 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!
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 …
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.
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!