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!