The Ditta Vest

From the early beginnings of my pin-loom journey I have been dreaming of make clothing items. Decades ago it was quite the standard for pin-loom weavers to think of making wearables. While there is much less the “need” to make clothing today, it can be fun and useful.

Ditta is a one-size-fits-many vest that will keep your back warm while gradually evolving into a flattering bolero-style front.

It can be worn open, or closed with a shawl pin.

The vest is woven on the Original TURTLE Loom™ R-regular sett for worsted weight yarn.

I used Purl Soho Linen Quill Worsted yarn, a beautiful natural and soft fiber blend that is fun to weave and awesome to wear.

You can use the same pattern with the F-fine sett and the XF- extra fine sett Original TURTLEs as well (and even a mix!) and use different yarns.

The pattern includes a blank chart so that you can create your own designs: Make the vest in a single, pretty yarn, use up scraps to make a patchwork vest, or plan yarns and colors in detail to make it “your” design!

Get the pattern at the Bluebonnet Crafters Etsy shop. We decided to ring in garment weaving with a 50% off sale until February 15th. No code necessary, the discount is automatically applied when you purchase the pattern.

Here is a 360-degree view of the Ditta Vest that also shows a little bit more the one-size-fits-many. I’m 5’5″ and wear size XL/14 clothing, for reference.

Suggestions on how to modify the size are in the pattern, and I’m happy to help with any questions that you may have.

If you decide to make the Ditta Vest, please share pictures! We will be tracking the Ditta Vest on social media with the hashtag #DittaVest.

There’s more to come!

Our ad in Little Looms Spring 2023 also announces that we will conduct a year-long pin-loom garment challenge this year: Weave any garment, on any loom, by Thanksgiving this year, to win an opportunity to have your garment photographed by professional photographer Gale Zucker! The details will be on the TexasGabi blog soon.

Special thanks …

go to Gale Zucker, www.gzucker.com, on Instagram @galezucker, for her amazing ability to bring out the best of a hand-crafted item in photography, and to Josephine Ankrah, Instagram @sweetjsphn, who added so much character to the Ditta vest by the way she models it.

Customer Projects Showcase – January 2023

New year, new ideas! Frequently, customers share pictures of their projects on social media or contact me directly, and this year we would like to start showcasing some of them here on the turtleloom blog. The goal is to post 3-5 projects in a blog on the first of each month. Sounds like a New Year’s resolution? Here’s the start!

Ravelry pin-loom fellow Lynne just finished her Cathedral Window blanket from Little Looms Fall 2022 (project on Ravelry). It was exiting to follow her row-by-row progress in the “Looms to Go” group, and the result is second-to-none! Lynne plans to make another Cathedral Windows blanket in natural tones … we can hardly wait to see it. You can find more information about the Cathedral Windows blanket in this post.

Taking a break from blanket weaving, Lynne also made this Firth of Clyde cowl (project on Ravelry). We introduced the pattern for this cowl as a welcome project for our new retailer Weft Blown in Scotland. You can find the free instructions for this cowl in this post.

One of our Australian customers, Kaye, was inspired by our owl blanket. But she took the idea and some further online inspiration to a whole new level … this is her owl blanket, woven on the PennyTURTLE™ !!!

Greta has been a TURTLE loom customer from the beginning. By now she has not only published her designs in multiple Little Looms and Handwoven magazines, but she also offers amazing patterns in her Etsy store. Here is her “Forest Fairy Capelet”, for example. Add her store to your Etsy favorites for a growing resource of hexagon patterns that are out of the ordinary!

Did you enjoy seeing these customer projects? Leave a comment below and tell us what you think!

And if you have a project that you would like to see shared in an upcoming Customer Project Showcase, please contact us.

How it works:

  • All we need is a picture of your project and a brief description.
  • The project can be after a pattern or your own.
  • You grant us permission to use your photo in our blog; you will be credited by name and you will keep the photo copyrights.
  • Selecting projects for posting will be at our discretion.
  • We will not be able to reimburse you in any way, but there’s a good chance that you will have a lot of fun sharing your work this way!

(Photo credits: All photos are by their respective project owners. Used with permission. All rights reserved.)

TO A GRAND 2023!

Merry Christmas, All Y’All!

TT22 and Linda are sending their warmest holiday wishes from Iowa!

Shortly after TT22 arrived in the Driftless Area, the snow set in … time for Linda to take TT22 on a test run …

Linda is experimenting … for the cute Christmas basket she put 8 random hexagons of her pretty wool together (2 rows of 4 hexagons sewn together, then closed along the short sides to form a tube. Sew the tips on one end of the tube together to shape the bottom … it’s a 4-hexagons-in-the-round basket). Then, full the basket and let it dry over a small wooden square. Santa surely seems to be pleased!

Best wishes from all of us for a joyous, peaceful holiday weekend.

(Photo credits: All photos by Linda Canton. Used with permission. All rights reserved.)

Welcome, Weft Blown!

Howdy! I would like to share the exciting news that our TURTLE looms are now available at Weft Blown, a weaving and spinning supplier in West Kilbride, Scotland, which is also known as Craft Town Scotland.

Photo credit: Weft Blown. Used with permission.

Some of you know store owner Ange Sewell and her team, who for years have welcomed pin-loom weavers in person at their store near the beautiful North Ayrshire Coast, as well as online. Ange plans to relocate in 2023 , but will still be in West Kilbride.

To celebrate Weft Blown as a new stockist, I designed a quick and easy cowl, inspired by the Firth of Clyde and the impressive island scenery, like the Isle of Arran, right off the shore near West Kilbride.

When Ange and I were chatting about yarns that have something to do with Scotland (but are also available in the United States), The Croft yarns from West Yorkshire Spinners came up. I had sampled those yarns a few years ago and fallen in love with them, and using them in a welcome project seemed a delightful choice.

Whether you use Shetland wool (I used The Croft Shetland Tweed Aran and Wild Shetland Aran Roving), a handspun yarn that you made, or any worsted weight yarn of your liking, the Firth of Clyde Cowl works up quickly on the Original TURTLE Loom R – regular sett, even in time for the upcoming holidays!

Ready to celebrate? Download the free cowl pattern now!

And here are a few suggestions for how to wear your cowl

Thank you for celebrating with us! Maybe some of you will get a chance to visit Weft Blown.
And to those who will make a Firth of Clyde cowl, make sure to share some pictures!

TT22 Is Going Back to Iowa!

Congratulations!
Linda Canton in Iowa
will be our last TT22 host this year, for December.

Linda and her husband Dan live in the very unique Driftless Area of north-east Iowa. She writes about herself “We are an off-grid family, living in a fixed up timber-frame barn (well, still working on it). We are both recently retired (mostly … I substitute as a bus driver), and loving it.”

They share their home with “pandemic puppy” Tex (he just turned 2), a Texas Heeler who keeps them on their toes and outside, hiking their woods and trails. Linda’s comment on the photo: “He barely tolerated the photo session…can’t you hear him thinking – you gotta be kidding, Mom …”

Linda on the topic of hobbies: “How long do you have? Fixing up old places (a turn of the century Norwegian log cabin, our barn/home), cutting wood, stacking wood, hauling wood, burning wood (just kidding … we heat with wood), spinning fiber, knitting (see my favorite felted mittens from last year), making braided rugs, sewing … learner of much, master of none. But it sure is fun to try!

About her pin-loom experience and plans Linda writes “Never used a hexagon loom, have tried to buy one, but they are (always) out of stock! Popular buggers. I do have an old 2 inch and 4 inch Weavette, along with a pile of squares. After reading a Little Looms magazine, I have set my sights a bit higher than acrylic squares … What would I like to make with the TURTLE? Don’t know yet … make some hexagons and see what shapes I can put together … a hat? Mittens? A sweater? I’m excited to see what I may make! I certainly have lots of yarn …”

TT22’s adventures of living off-the-grid with Linda, Dan, and Tex this December will be shared here on the blog … stay tuned!

(Photo credits: All photos except title are by Linda Canton. Used with permission. All rights reserved.)

Travel Turtle 2022 – Call for December Host

Here we are … 2022 is coming to an end … there is one more opportunity to host TT22 during the final month of the year, December !

If you are interested and available to “entertain” TT22 for a month, please leave a comment in the comments section below.

No hexagon weaving experience necessary … anyone who wants to weave hexagons is welcome.

Signup is open now, and will end Thursday, December 1st, at 6 pm US CDT. I will contact the new host and make the announcement shortly after I hear back from him/her.

If you would like to know more about how this challenge works, please see the plan.

Meanwhile … In case you’re wondering why we’re running a little bit late … TT22 is currently on a 4-day cruise, visiting Catalina! TT22 and Charleen want to share this photo with us, and they write “The tile and the turtle card were two things we purchased on Catalina, and the towel animal is something that the cabin stewards make for the guests and put in the cabins. Tomorrow we’re going to see Ensenada …”

Photo credits: All photos are by Charleen Rice. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

The “Extra Fine” is Coming!

It was during one of the Covid lockdowns when our CNC Meister and I were bored and decided to tackle a question that had been on our minds for a while: How “fine sett” can we get?

Our pin supplier joined in and provided a variety of thinner steel wires, and the testing began.

The CNC router kept routing and drilling until it got to a point where we had to use a magnifying glass to see the holes.

Trying thinner pins convinced us very quickly that what we’re currently using for the Square fine sett looms is the closest to what can be woven comfortably, without having to add a supply of band aides for pricked fingers to each loom kit.

We decided to settle on a loom that is “fine” enough to weave “finer” sock and fingering yarns, like this Lion Brand Sock-Ease.

Several popular sock and fingering yarns list a gauge of 30 sts/4″, which weaves up a nice but light fabric on the fine sett looms. We wanted an “extra fine” option, where the fabric is dense enough for clothing and similar projects.

Above pictures show the yarn example Rico Design Superba Bamboo Uni, available through Universal Yarn, on the new XF loom (left); fabric comparison XF (left) and F ( right); hexie off the XF loom. The header picture also shows that yarn, woven on all three Original TURTLE looms.

Another example is Lang Jawoll, shown woven on the XF extra fine sett on the left, and the F fine sett on the right.

The Original TURTLE loom XF expands the use of thinner yarns without jeopardizing the comfort of weaving.

6/2 cotton yarns like the popular Bluegreass Mills, available through the Woolery, now enter the category of yarns that weave well on TURTLE looms at about 12 epi, and with that the doors open to create a new range of beautiful kitchen items like hand towels and accessories.

Weaving single stranded Size 10 crochet thread on this loom still generates a light fabric, but it now generates a nice, light density for curtains or lacy table toppers.

When will the Original TURTLE Loom XF be available?

The loom is now available in our Etsy store: “Original TURTLE Loom™ XF “extra fine sett”

Also at the handweavers studio in London,

Congratulations!

Congratulations to Meredith and Denise CP (check your emails, please)! They are the winners of our treasure hunt contest and will be the first to receive a new Original TURTLE Loom XF.

Treasure Hunt!

The Handweavers Studio in London is now fully restocked … and there’s more! In support of the store’s tag line “A treasure trove for textile creatives” we decided to do a treasure hunt that is open to all TURTLE friends in the UK … and anywhere else.

Store owner Dawn and Alan and their team are now carrying the 1″, 2″, and 4″ Square looms, either to be used together with Elongons or on their own. They have also added the new, unique Jewel loom!

However, that’s not all … There is a new treasure hidden on the Handweavers Studio website, and if you find out what it is, you can enter to win that treasure! Entering for a chance to win is easy: Leave a comment on the blog when you find the treasure.

ETA: Denise CP was the first to find the treasure: It’s the Original TURTLE Loom XF – extra fine sett. I will tell the story of the loom in the next blog on Monday, but in a nutshell, this loom weaves finer sock yarns (knitting gauge 30sts/4″, weaving gauge about 12 epi) and will most likely be the finest sett loom that we will have in our product line.

YOU CAN CONTINUE TO ENTER FOR A CHANCE TO WIN THAT LOOM … just enter a comment below. Ask any questions that you may have about the new loom, write what you’d do with such a loom, or just say that you want to win it!

How it works:

  • Leave a comment on this blog.
  • One entry per person please, multiple comments from the same ID will count as one entry.
  • You can enter now until Sunday, November 20, 2022, 6 pm CT.
  • We will raffle off one (1) of “the hidden treasure”; the winner will be determined by random drawing.
  • The winner will be announced some time on Monday, on our blog.
  • No purchase necessary. No substitutes, no cash.
  • This giveaway is conducted by Bluebonnet Crafters, LLC. It is open to pin-loom lovers internationally unless there are any legal restrictions in your country that prevent us from shipping to you. (Note: In case you win, we will pay for USPS International First Class shipping or contribute to the postage in the equivalent amount of that. You will have to pay for any extra shipping cost and any custom and/or tax incurred by your country.)
  • We will use the contact information only to determine the winners. We do not share that information.
  • In case you win, we will ask for your permission to post your first name, state or country.

Ready? Go hunt!

Autumn Greetings from California

TT22 traveled all across the States (again) to California, where Char’s Liquid Amber tree provided the proper autumn welcome.

Char had not woven on a hexagon pin loom before, so she and TT22 spent some quality time watching the instructions video on YouTube together, after which the first hexagon – using the pretty yarn that October host Chris had sent along – was a breeze.

All excited, Char decided to visit her local yarn store The Knitting Tree, LA, where she found some Malabrigo Rios in beautiful autumn colors.

She writes: “It was so much fun making hexies that so far I have made five more, with a start on the sixth. I have a project in mind to use them in but want to make a few more hexies before seeing if it will work.”

It looks like the November team is off to a good start. Well, we all know that this is because Saphire is supervising! Keep up the good work, and have fun!

(Photo credits: All photos by Char Rice. Used with permission. All rights reserved.)

TT22 is Going to California!

Congratulations!
Char Rice in California
will be our TT22 host for November.

Char lives with her husband and certain feline pets (see below) in southern California.

Her very broad crafting skills and interests include working with beads (wirework, off-loom bead weaving and a little loom work), and she knits (mostly lace, aran, and fair isle), weaves (she has a floor loom, rigid heddle, and a plethora of smaller looms), and braids (kumihimo). She also likes to travel and is interested in photography, fresh flower arranging, and rose and Epiphyllum gardening.

Char says about herself that she “[has] been interested in fiber arts for quite a while but didn’t really learn and become interested in weaving techniques until I was in college.”

Asked if she has worked on TURTLE looms before, she answers “Not yet but will be this month!” She plans to make “something having to do with fall and/or flowers.”

You can follow Char on Ravelry, but TURTLE mascot Charlene (yes, she’s so proud to have a namesake!) wants to be in the picture, so we’ll probably do a blog or two this month, right here …

Meanwhile …

TT22 is currently on its way to California … October host Chris put TT22 to work one more time before packing up, to get enough hexies for this adorable table runner (Chris is not only speedy in court transcription, but wove up a weaving record with this one!)

(Photo credits: All photos except title and last are by by Charleen Rice. Last picture by Chris Thornton. Used with permission. All rights reserved.)