Travel Turtle ’22 en Route to First Destination

Travel Turtle ’22 is all packed up and on its way to Gilbert, Arizona, a small farm town that grew into a city on the outskirts of Phoenix. There, it will meet our first host Terry, a dedicated fiber enthusiast.

January host Terry is an indie dyer by profession, and her hobbies include knitting, spinning, and art weaving. Terry has been pin loom weaving for long enough that she doesn’t remember when and how it started. And yes, she has woven on TURTLEs before and has several fine-sett hexagon looms in her collection, and Squares, too. When asked what she’s made with those looms so far she replies:

Mostly I have been experimenting with all the different yarns, including some of my hand dyed yarns.  It’s fascinating to see how the squares and hexagons work up different when you change yarns.
I am currently working on making enough elongated hexagons to do a scarf or cowl of some sort.  The way I work my projects is to collect a lot of the pieces and let them tell me what they want to be.
The best part of using the Turtle looms is that I make one piece and something is completed, a finished piece. I get instant gratification by making one hexagon.”

Asked about her plans for TT’s visit Terry contemplates that she is still thinking about it (but there are already rumors that she might engage her husband in some small sightseeing around Gilbert):
“I have some wonderful small skeins of worsted weight yarn that I have been stashing in great colors.  Since this will be my first experience with a regular sett loom, I want to make as many hexagons as I can, and then let them become something more grown up over the next year.”

I think we are now ALL looking forward to following along! Terry will be reporting TT’22s travel adventures directly through her Instagram account, you can follow her here: Spinfiber on Instagram. Also, look for hashtag #travelturtleloom2022 on other social media.

Last not least, I certainly felt happy to have Charlene around to help with the travel preparations …

2021 No-Stress Patchwork Project … Concluded

How has 2021 worked out for you? Quite a roller coaster, wasn’t it? But here we are.

My 2021 no-stress patchwork project has been repurposed to become a regular project . I’ve enjoyed weaving up single skeins of Berroco Ultra Alpaca, and I still have one and a half skeins to go. I will keep it “no stress”, weave up the remaining yarn for more hexagons to join the 200+ that I have so far. Then … I think those hexagons will become a “cape blanket”: A round blanket with an opening along the radius, so that it can be worn like a cape.

With that, my “official” 2021 projects turned into one-weavie coasters! These coasters are also meant as an encouragement to those of you who had big plans this year, but then life happened. Whatever you have, and even if it is just one weavie, call it your 2021 project and enjoy!

What about 2022? Another no-stress patchwork project … absolutely! I will start by putting together sample hexagons from yarns that I tried out, and leftover hexagons from some projects.

But there has also been increased interest in doing more temperature blankets. If you would like to learn more about that, consider joining us on Facebook (any pin loom is fine!)

2022 promises to become a good pin loom weaving year with lots of inspiration. This will be the first year with four (!) Little Looms publications, and each of them will contain at least one hexagon pin loom project. The first one might already be in your mailbox, so fasten your seatbelts!

It’s Here: TexaTURTLE in Fine Sett

We’re doing a “Quick Release” to give this loom the best chance possible to be with you for the holidays.
Shipping speed and timely delivery cannot be guaranteed, that is out of our control. But we can get the first batch on its way asap.

You can buy the loom in our Etsy store: TexaTURTLE™ Hexagon Pin Loom Kit – 6″ F – for Fingering/Sock Weight Yarn

If the looms are sold out, you can sign up to be notified on Etsy so that you will know right away when we list more. Please note that the sign-up features is not available on the Etsy app. Just go to the shop through a browser app.

The TexaTURTLE™ is currently the largest TURTLE, measuring about 6″ side to side. The loom kit ships as usual with everything you need: The loom, weaving tools (Afghan crochet hook, 8″ weaving needle, packing comb), and instructions.

Just add yarn! The fine sett pin spacing allows you to use thinner yarns of sock/fingering weight. Yarns with a knitting gauge of 24-28 sts/4″ typically work well. Like all of our fine sett looms, the weaving results in a fabric with about 10 epi (ends per inch).

A note about the larger amount of yarn that is needed to weave the center section (about 6.4 yards):

  • Default TURTLE method: Wrap the full amount of yarn (11 times for the TexaTURTLE F, see stamp on loom back), then weave back and forth as usual. In the beginning you will have a lot of yarn to pull through, though!
  • Partial weave: Wrap 6 times and weave up the yarn. Then wrap a little bit more than the remaining 5 times and weave the remaining part. For the first row, overlap the the new and old yarn by weaving one row where both yarns have the same over/under movement, “sharing the same shed”.)
  • Use the weaving method as shown for the Janus hexagons (just all in one color). We plan to provide photo-guided instructions that will show how to use the method on the TexaTURTLE F here on the blog by the end of this month.

There is no locker hook option for this loom. Aluminum hooks that long won’t be sturdy enough to stay straight. If you like to use a locker hook and don’t mind weaving the longer rows in sections, the 2.75mm locker hook (6.5″ long) works for all TURTLE fine-sett looms.

Ready, set, loom! We’re looking forward to seeing your creations!

(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!

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.