Zoom Loom Turkey

Zoom Loom Turkey

Benjamin Krudwig

ZL turkey - finished

Here’s a quick project you can weave up just in time for Thanksgiving. The project requires only 4 squares, so you could easily finish in time to include Mr. Tom for your Thanksgiving table décor. Or, if you’re feeling ambitious: weave one for every place setting—a take-home gift for all of your guests.

Skill: Beginner

Equipment: Schacht Zoom Loom

zoom loom with hands

Yarn: 36-40 yards of King Cole Drifter DK in the Color (Shade 1367) are needed for 4 squares.

Weaving: Weave 4 squares. Since this is a variegated, spaced-dyed yarn, each square will look a little different.

zl-turkey-squares

Assembly: Sew 3 squares into a 1×3 strip. Accordion fold this piece and stitch one end together to create a fan shape. Set aside

zl-turkey-sewing-step-1

Orient the 4th square so it is a diamond. Fold the top two sides to the center to create an upside down kite-shape. Sew these edges together.

Fold the edges to the center one more time to create a skinnier kite shape. Then fold the edges together. Stitch along the edge. Fold down the skinny top to form a head and stitch it down.

zl-turkey-sewing-step-2

Sew this piece onto the front of the fan shape.

Benjamin Krudwig has a double degree in biology and photography. He also spins, weaves, knits and crochets.

Benjamin Krudwig

Benjamin has a double degree in biology and photography (he also spins, weaves, knits and crochets)--so he's a great mix of data and creativity--all wonderful traits as a member of our sales team. You'll often hear his friendly voice on the phone and you've probably noticed his name pop up in many places: Ravelry, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube. Ben is our digital media manager—the main reason you've seen more activity from us in social media.

Three Easy Woven Brooklyn Tweed Projects Perfect for This Fall

 

Earlier this year, We e-mailed the team at Brooklyn Tweed to see if they wanted to participate in one of our collaborations for 2016. I was thrilled when I heard that Jared Flood, Founder and Creative Director of Brooklyn Tweed, wanted to see what we could do. Not only were they game for a collaboration, they mentioned that they were releasing a new yarn in the fall that would be ideal for weaving.

Be still my beating heart.

I have been following Brooklyn Tweed since before they carried yarn, when they were primarily a knitting pattern powerhouse, so this opportunity was one I could not pass up. After talking to the team here at Schacht, and the team at Brooklyn Tweed, we decided to do a 3-piece woven collection focusing on their new yarn, Arbor. This series includes a zoom loom hat, a modern poncho, and a lovely fringed pillow. These projects are primarily made out of Arbor, but two of them also utilize Quarry, Brooklyn Tweed’s chunky weight yarn.

Before planning anything, we played around on the Zoom Loom weaving swatches with all of Brooklyn Tweed’s main yarn lines, Loft, Shelter, Quarry, and now Arbor. All of these yarns (except for Quarry) wove up easily on the Zoom Loom, and never was I concerned about the lofty-spun yarns separating. I did find a work-around for Quarry on the Zoom Loom which will be featured in a how-to on weaving bulky yarns on the Zoom Loom in the future.

 

Zoom Loom Plaid Redux Hat – Benjamin Krudwig

bt-hat

 

Difficulty Level: Easy

Equipment: Schacht Zoom Loom, weaving needle.

Yarn: Arbor from Brooklyn Tweed – DK weight in Alizarin – 1 skein 145 yards per skein

Quarry from Brooklyn Tweed – Bulky Weight in Moonstone – 20 yards (200 yards per skein)

Weaving: Weave 17 squares with Alizarin. While each square is still on the loom, weave 4 supplementary rows in a contrasting yarn, Quarry (bulky weight) in color Moonstone. Weave these accents randomly so there is little repetition from square to square, windowpane fashion. I call this pattern “Plaid Redux”. Use caution when pulling the bulky Quarry yarn through the woven fabric.

Assembly: Create two strips of 8 squares. Sew the ends of each strip together to create two loops of 8 squares. Offset these two loops by half a square and sew the loops together (see diagram below).

Take the final square and sew each side to every other square along the top of the upper loop (see diagram below). There will be 4 squares on the upper loop that won’t be attached to the crown square, take some excess yarn and weave through the top edge, then cinch it tight to close the holes. Stitch the holes shut if necessary.

assembly-of-the-hat

Finishing: heavily full the hat until felted; stop when you reach a good fit for your head.

Optional: AFTER felting the hat, create a large pompom out of Quarry and sew it to the top using a length of Arbor.

 

Pale Blue Fringed Pillow – Jane Patrick

 

pale-blue-pillow

Difficulty Level: Easy

Equipment: Schacht 15” Cricket Loom Kit, 1 15” stick shuttle.

Warp Yarn: Arbor from Brooklyn Tweed DK weight in Treehouse, 2 skeins, 145 yards per skein.

Weft Yarn: Arbor from Brooklyn Tweed DK weight, 1 skein each of Dorado and Rainier, 145 yards, per skein.

Warp length: 56” which includes take-up and 18” loom waste.

Width in reed: 15”

E.P.I.: 8

Total warp ends: 118

Total yardage needed: 185 yards

PPI: 8 (1 skein is perfect for this project, if you beat more than 8 ppi or weave longer, you’ll need another skein of Dorado.

Weaving: Use Dorado for the plain weave. Use Rainier doubled for the ghiordes knots. Weave 1” of plain weave. Tie the first row of ghiordes knots. It is important to begin at the correct place, as this first row of knots sets up the remainder of the rows. Using the key, make a row of knots following pattern A, weave 4 rows of plain weave, and then make a row of knots following pattern B. Weave 4 rows of plain weave and repeat.

 

Key to ghiordes knots rows.

ghiordes-knot-key

Note: Alternate rows A and B checking to be sure that the rows of knots alternate and line up. Working right to left, work in this way: count over 9 warps and then tie two ghiordes knots (each ghiordes knot is tied over 2 warps, so 2 knots require 4 warp ends [XXXX] on the diagram), skip 12 warp threads and tie another set of knots, and so on.

Measure weaving off tension until the pattern is square. Weave the backing in plain weave for 20”.

Finishing: Remove the fabric from the loom and secure the ends. Wash by hand in hot water with mild agitation. If the fabric is not fulled sufficiently, place in hot dryer for a few minutes, watching carefully. Lay flat to dry and then steam press.

Assembly: Zigzag and straight stitch between all cutting lines. Cut three pieces: the front leaving a ½” seam allowance at either end, cut the two pieces for the back which includes a flap closing–1 piece 8” long and another piece 9” long.

Sew a 1” hem in the longest piece and then attach the hook side of a 2” piece of a hook side of Velcro (the Velcro will stick to the wool fabric) and sew this to the hem on the wrong side. Turn under 1/2″ along the long edge of the other back piece and stitch.

Place the pillow front (fringe) side up (I used lengths of masking tape and temporarily taped the fringe to the inside to make sure it would not interfere with stitching). Place the back pillow piece with the Velcro facing up on top of the pillow front, and finally, overlap the short back flap piece on top of the Velcro piece. Sew around all sides. Press and turn right sides out.

Fill with your own pillow form or make your own with fiberfill and scrap fabric and insert in to your pillow. Enjoy!

 

Windowpane Poncho – Denise Renee Grace

rolled-collar

Difficulty Level: Easy

Equipment: 20” Flip loom with an 8-dent reed, tapestry needle for sewing.

Warp yarn: Arbor from Brooklyn Tweed DK weight in “Cobbler” 2.8 skeins, 145 yards per skein – 408 yards total.

Weft Yarn: Arbor from Brooklyn Tweed DK weight in “Cobbler” 1.2 skeins, 145 yards per skein – 174 yards total.

Quarry from Brooklyn Tweed Bulky weight in “Sulphur” 1 skein, 200 yards per skein

Warp length: 92” which includes take-up and loom waste.

Width in reed: 20”

EPI: 8

Total warp ends: 160

PPI: 6-8, this may need adjusting since you are using two weights of yarn.

Weaving: Hemstitch at the beginning.

fabric-detail

Weave plain weave through out. Weave Arbor for 1″ then, alternate between Arbor and Quarry every other pick. Be sure to weave a balanced plain weave so the picks of Quarry look square. Weave to the end of your warp, ending with 1″ of Arbor like in the beginning. Hemstitch at the end.

Assembly: Lay length of fabric down in a straight line. Bring one end down to a point. Bring the other end to a point overlapping the other end. With a 10 yard length of arbor, sew a square with a whip stitch where these points overlap.

Finishing: Hand wash, dry flat. Once dry, put in the dryer on medium heat for about 10 minutes until sufficiently fulled, checking often.

We hope you enjoy these fun and versatile projects. We hope you will be inspired to try these great projects and would love to see them. Be sure to tag your social media posts #schachtspindle, and #weavingwithbt so we can see them and share them!

Benjamin Krudwig

Benjamin has a double degree in biology and photography (he also spins, weaves, knits and crochets)--so he's a great mix of data and creativity--all wonderful traits as a member of our sales team. You'll often hear his friendly voice on the phone and you've probably noticed his name pop up in many places: Ravelry, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube. Ben is our digital media manager—the main reason you've seen more activity from us in social media.

Denise Renee Grace

Denise Renee Grace first learned to weave as a student at Bethel College. She later moved to Boulder and worked in a re-purposed product company where Barry Schacht discovered her and hired her to work in our sales and service department. Denise’s first love is spinning and she is especially fond of working with natural fibers on all four of her Schacht Wheels. When it comes to weaving, tabby tickles her. In charge of customer care, Denise spends her days here helping people—something she does so well.

Jane Patrick

Jane Patrick is Creative Director of Schacht Spindle Company. She is an author, lecturer, and teacher. You can find her class: Creative Weaving Techniques on the Rigid Heddle Loom, on Craftsy.

Blended Bubble Crepe Yarn – October House Collaboration

terrarium-fiber

You’re at the fiber show, and you see a braid of fiber that has to come home with you. You get it home and look at it and realize you don’t know what to do with this beautifully dyed variegated fiber. You turn to recent videos by Jillian Moreno, 12 Ways to Spin Handpainted Top, and 12 (Plus!) Ways to Spin Batts, for a great deal of help and a wealth of wonderful ideas. Pair those ideas with the Spinner’s Book of Yarn Designs by Sarah Anderson and your yarn creation will be unstoppable.

For this fiber collaboration, we paired with October House, an indie dyer based out of Hot Springs, Arkansas. We were drawn to her stunning and elegant colorways in both her yarns and her fibers. The color shown here is called Terrarium, and was dyed on her Polwarth Combed Top in a generous 4.45 oz braid. This colorway has stunning greens and burgundies and a hint of purple. I wanted to showcase the colors of the braid, but I also wanted to play with blending.

To spin this yarn you will need:

A wheel (or spindle)

A braid of variegated fiber

Tip: Try to find something that has a few coordinating colors in it as opposed to a braid with lots of very different colors. This will aid in getting a less muddy blend in the end.

Carders: I used a pair of Schacht Medium (72 PSI) Carders.

Optional but highly recommended: A tensioned Lazy Kate.

split-fiber

First, split your braid in half lengthwise.

Set one half aside.

Split the remaining fiber again into two smaller halves.

With each of those small halves, start blending the fiber together using your carders. I did an initial 2-3 passes, then split those resulting mini batts up and carded them together with other batts to achieve a more homogenous mixture.

Set aside until it’s time to spin.

With the uncarded fiber, split it into fourths and spin them end to end in the S direction, making a thicker single. This technique keeps the colors more vivid as there is less color mixing than if you spin from the large bunch of fiber.

With one of the piles of carded fiber, spin thin singles in the S direction.

Ply these two singles together in the Z direction, adding a little extra twist.

With the remaining pile of carded fiber, spin thin singles in the Z direction.

Ply this single with your two-ply in the S direction. When you have the right amount of twist in your final yarn, you will see a nice criss-crossing of the thin singles with the thicker single trapped in between.

For more detailed instructions on how to spin a bubble crepe yarn, check out page 169 of the Spinner’s Book of Yarn Designs. 

The effect of the blended thin singles creates a lovely cohesion of color throughout the finished yarn, while the uncarded fiber creates pops of color. If you make any yarn based on a tutorial we’ve done, post it on social media and tag us! We love to see what you’ve created!

 

A little more about October House:

October House began with my knitting designs. In October 2013 we added hand dyed fiber, and we launched our Etsy shop. Shortly after, we began hand dyeing yarn and creating patterns for our yarns. 

Our fibers are some of my favorite fibers to spin, and tend to be fine wools and luxury blends. Each October House yarn fills a need or a desire I had for a particular yarn. My knitting patterns tend to be those things I am looking to make or wear. I prefer simple over complicated, spare over fussy, and practical over complex.

Our yarns and fibers are gently hand dyed in small batches using all the care and love we can supply. Each skein or braid of fiber passes through our hands several times before heading out into the world, so you can be sure you are getting the best quality product we can provide. We ply our trade in our little home studio in Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas.

-Robin

Benjamin Krudwig

Benjamin has a double degree in biology and photography (he also spins, weaves, knits and crochets)--so he's a great mix of data and creativity--all wonderful traits as a member of our sales team. You'll often hear his friendly voice on the phone and you've probably noticed his name pop up in many places: Ravelry, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube. Ben is our digital media manager—the main reason you've seen more activity from us in social media.

Flatirons Starting to Ship!

We know that many of you have been waiting for this day to come, and we are nearly there! The new Flatiron Spinning Wheels are starting to ship this week, and we couldn’t be more excited!

Not only is the wheel itself unique in its construction and appearance, we have done something new with our instruction manual for the Flatiron. 3D renderings, labeled images, and full instructions for assembling the wheel with the flyer on the left or the right will make the assembly process a breeze. We are also well underway on the assembly video which is meant to act as an aid to the instructions, should you need a different visual. It has taken our testers here at Schacht about 1 – 1.5 hours to assemble the wheel from start to finish, with no sanding or oiling necessary!

While you’re waiting for your new wheel to arrive, please check out our promo video below. For more detailed specifications on the Flatiron Spinning Wheel, read all about them here.

If you haven’t placed an order for a wheel yet, please contact your local Schacht retailer, and they can assist you. Orders placed now are scheduled to ship in late September/Early October. Order soon to ensure pre-holiday season shipping!

Benjamin Krudwig

Benjamin has a double degree in biology and photography (he also spins, weaves, knits and crochets)--so he's a great mix of data and creativity--all wonderful traits as a member of our sales team. You'll often hear his friendly voice on the phone and you've probably noticed his name pop up in many places: Ravelry, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube. Ben is our digital media manager—the main reason you've seen more activity from us in social media.

My Story: Julia Sull

Julia Sull – The Beginning is a Thrilling Place to Be!

DSCN5119 - Version 2

I’m a beginner weaver, drawn to the loom by a love of textiles and an eagerness to always keep learning. After years of working full-time in my local yarn shop, knitting continuously and obsessively, I’ve come to feel fluent with yarn and needles in my hands. Surrounded all day by knitters and the tools of their trade, I’ve learned a lot in a short time, picked up more than my share of dropped stitches, helped make sense of confusing instructions, and shared in the frustrations and successes of the knitters around me.

When I began to weave, it was humbling to find myself a beginner again in a new craft, intimidated by a world of tools and techniques whose names I didn’t know. Anne Derby, who owns the Hillsborough Yarn Shop where I work, travels annually to a trade show to order new yarns and products for the shop. I’ve been lucky enough to tag along the past few years, helping to choose what comes home to our knitters and crocheters. Wandering by a handweaving booth at last year’s show, I mentioned that I might like to learn to weave one day. Anne responded generously, heading straight for the Schacht booth to ask, “How can we introduce weaving to our shop?” A few weeks later, a Cricket Loom arrived at our door, and Anne sent me home with the loom under one arm and the open-ended instruction to “play with it.”

DSCN4174

I sat on my living room floor to assemble the Cricket that night, and wove my first piece of fabric the next day. It was a loopy mess − my tension too loose or too tight, my selvedges veering in and out with abandon. Ten inches in, however, things started to even out. My hands moved rhythmically and the fabric looked more and more consistent, and by the time I exhausted that first warp, my mind was crowded with questions and ideas: How do you change colors? Can I use linen and alpaca together? What about combining two different weights of yarn? And wait, can I make plaid with this thing?

A year later, two of my woven scarves hang at the shop, where weavers compliment my tidy selvedges, and knitters ask me if I think they could learn to weave, too. Cricket Looms are sold and reordered, and experienced weavers find us, explaining, “I’m a Schacht person,” delighted to find a local source. When I wrote on our shop blog about learning to weave, our local weavers’ guild took notice and sought us out. They’re now offering introductory classes on rigid heddle weaving to support our newest Cricket owners. I’ve serendipitously come to own a vintage floor loom that I’m slowly studying and restoring, ordering bits and pieces from Schacht along the way. I’m still very much a beginner weaver, sometimes saying “gauge” instead of “sett” and “rows” instead of “picks,” but the beginning is a thrilling place to be.

Benjamin Krudwig

Benjamin has a double degree in biology and photography (he also spins, weaves, knits and crochets)--so he's a great mix of data and creativity--all wonderful traits as a member of our sales team. You'll often hear his friendly voice on the phone and you've probably noticed his name pop up in many places: Ravelry, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube. Ben is our digital media manager—the main reason you've seen more activity from us in social media.

Weaving with Speckled Yarn – Western Sky Knits Collaboration

 

loop

We’ve all been there; standing at a fiber show and staring at a wall of hand-dyed skeins of luxury yarn. They call to you, but your pocketbook screams in terror hoping that you don’t pull down enough for a sweater, and sighs a relief when you only pull down two skeins. A stunning speckled skein (so hot right now) and a semi-solid contrast skein.

It’s now been a few months, the yarn has languished in your stash waiting for the perfect project, but you don’t know what to do with it. The knitting patterns don’t sing to you, and crochet uses too much yarn, so what do you do?

Weave with it!

This scenario happened to me at Yarn Fest this year. I was in the Western Sky Knits booth and I couldn’t help myself when the Nightfall colorway leaped into my hands, and then I HAD to get a second contrasting skein.

A few months have gone by, and I couldn’t sit there and stare at my yarn any longer, I needed to do something with it, so I decided to swatch up some woven samples on my Zoom Loom, curious as to what would happen when I wove up the speckled yarn.

 

I fell in love with how the colors interacted with each other, and how they interacted with themselves. Wanting to have each of the samples represented in the finished piece, I decided to divide my warp in half with each color, and then weave blocks of color.

 

skeins

 

What you need:

2 skeins of yarn, one speckled, one solid or semi-solid.

I used Western Sky Knits Magnolia Sock

180 yards of Nightfall

190 yards of Peppered

10″ Cricket Loom

10-Dent Reed

Optional: Zoom Loom

Fabric folds

Warping: Direct warping method

Warp length: 92″ (234 cm)

Warp width: 8″ in 10-dent reed. 40 ends of Peppered, 40 ends of Nightfall.

Hemstitch at the beginning and the end.

Weave 40 pick sections of each color, alternating as you weave. End with the same color as you started with.

Remove the fabric from the loom and fringe twist the ends. I took 4 sections of 2 threads and twisted them together, which creates a robust, round fringe.

Optional: Weave two squares on the Zoom Loom with the speckled yarn and sew them onto the scarf approximately 14″ on either side of the center point. Tack down the edges leaving the ends open running weft-wise.sewing layout

This project is iconic of how I like to design my woven projects. If you want to learn more about designing, and weaving with stash yarn, I will be teaching a course called Design on the Fly this October, at the Sea Ranch Resort in the Outer Banks of North Carolina hosted by Island Fiberworks. If you’d like more information, we have set up a Facebook group with more details for people who are interested. Space is limited, so act soon if you’d like to join me this Fall!


Western Sky Knits started as a small online shop in 2007 and has grown into a hand-dyed yarn company. Based out of a studio on a ranch in Montana, each skein is hand dyed using various techniques such as kettle dyeing and hand painting. With many bases to choose from and stunning unique colors, there is surely a skein for you!

Benjamin Krudwig

Benjamin has a double degree in biology and photography (he also spins, weaves, knits and crochets)--so he's a great mix of data and creativity--all wonderful traits as a member of our sales team. You'll often hear his friendly voice on the phone and you've probably noticed his name pop up in many places: Ravelry, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube. Ben is our digital media manager—the main reason you've seen more activity from us in social media.

Block-Patterned Americana Pillow on the Wolf Pup

fabric in progress

As we head to Convergence 2016 in Milwaukee, we have been getting our show looms warped up and woven! We’ll be bringing some gorgeous fabrics with an Americana theme featured on our Baby Wolf, Wolf Pup, and Standard Floor Loom. Look for our posts to come for our other Convergence fabric designs, along with the drafts and color palettes over the next few weeks.

This week, we have a gorgeous fabric for home decor! We chose a small block design, Johann Schleelein’s No. 171, in Marguerite Davison’s Handweavers Pattern Book (page 121), and used off white, navy blue and an orang-y red for an old-timey fabric that looks both traditional and current at the same time. We think it would make a terrific fabric for an accent pillow. We’ve provided the fabric details but not the specifics for making the pillow.

All of our looms have been designed, warped and woven by our shipping clerk, Betty Paepke–so wonderful to have weavers on staff! And such good ones at that.

Revised Tie up
* Floating Selvedge

 

Fabric details

Loom: Schacht Wolf Pup LT, warping board, 3 11″ boat shuttles

Warp yarn: Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport Weight Wool Yarn in N915 – Aran and 1335 – Fog Blue

Pattern weft yarn: Cascade 220 in 9567 – Smoke Blue, 9465B – Burnt Orange, and 8393 – Navy.

Tabby weft yarn: Nature Spun Sport Weight in N915 – Aran.

Warp width: 16 3/4″

Number of warp ends: 205 (*includes floating selvedges), 189 ends of Aran and 16 ends of Fog Blue.

Warp length: 2 2/3 yards for a finished pillow about 15″ square.

Threading: Repeat threading 5 times (block A and B), ending with the balance (block A). Thread Fog Blue where indicated in draft. Allow for a floating selvedge at both sides.

EPI: 12

PPI: 13

Weaving: Weave as close to square as possible, alternating pattern picks with tabby rows. You will need 3-4 shuttles, one for each pattern color and one for the tabby weft. Alternately, if you don’t have 4 shuttles, you can just wind separate 4″ bobbins for each color and change them in your shuttle with each color change.

Finishing: Remove the fabric from the loom and repair any mistakes. Hand wash in warm water, rinse in cool water and lay flat to dry. If more fulling is needed, wet the fabric and place in a warm dryer for a few minutes watching carefully until finished to the desired hand. Lay flat to dry and steam press.

 

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Krudwig

Benjamin has a double degree in biology and photography (he also spins, weaves, knits and crochets)--so he's a great mix of data and creativity--all wonderful traits as a member of our sales team. You'll often hear his friendly voice on the phone and you've probably noticed his name pop up in many places: Ravelry, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube. Ben is our digital media manager—the main reason you've seen more activity from us in social media.

Creative Weaving Techniques on the Rigid Heddle Loom

 

Many of you may know Jane Patrick as our Creative Director here at Schacht, or as one of the friendly voices on our sales team when you call in. With many years of weaving knowledge and instruction under her belt, Jane has produced 4 books, 2 DVDs, and now brings her expertise to the Craftsy stage.

In her advanced beginner level class, Creative Weaving Techniques on the Rigid Heddle Loom, Jane explores techniques beyond the basics and into a world of creative fabric design. For those of you who want to increase your skill level or want to learn something new on your Schacht Flip or Cricket rigid heddle looms, this is the class for you!

Use the link above for $10.00 off of the course!

Check out the promotional video to see if this class is right for you!.

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Craftsy’s Description of the Class
“Design the beautiful fabrics you want on your rigid heddle loom! Learn how to create colorwork, openwork, rich textures, wider fabrics and more.

Turn your fabric dreams into woven realities with longtime weaving instructor Jane Patrick! During class, Jane will teach you versatile methods that open up new design possibilities for weaving on a rigid heddle loom. You’ll start with skills for stripes, open-weave fabrics and brilliant textures. Then, go beyond the grid to create curves and more, as Jane guides you through working with deflection, pulled threads and differential shrinkage. Want to take the fuss out of working with finer yarns? You’ll discover techniques for working with two heddles at a finer sett. Plus, you’ll end class with fun double-weaving techniques you can use for more complex, layered fabrics that look different on either side.”

 

Reviews of the class:

“… There is lots to recommend [in] this video in terms of tips and techniques. Jane is an expert in the area, and there are lots of tips she covers that are not in other videos, and which will improve even basic weaving. …”  -Cynthia

“It was a very comprehensive and detailed lesson. I enjoyed it very much! Thank you ever so much!” -Anna

“Very good instructor, clear instructions – great video. Enjoyed her class immensely.” -Sharla

Benjamin Krudwig

Benjamin has a double degree in biology and photography (he also spins, weaves, knits and crochets)--so he's a great mix of data and creativity--all wonderful traits as a member of our sales team. You'll often hear his friendly voice on the phone and you've probably noticed his name pop up in many places: Ravelry, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube. Ben is our digital media manager—the main reason you've seen more activity from us in social media.

How to Spin a Textured Gradient Cable Yarn – Classy Squid Fiber Co. Collaboration

long skein

When I first approached Amanda from Classy Squid Fiber Company about doing a collaboration with her fiber, I had no idea that we would mesh so well! I immediately resonated with her bright colors, innovative blends, and artistic personality. Amanda’s style could be classified as eclectic and nerdy, but overall there is something in her shop that everyone would like. For many of our collaborations we have asked for the yarn/fiber company for something in their existing line, but for this collab and our Gherkin’s Bucket collab, we asked the dyer/artist to create something unique for us.

I was blown away by the colors and the inspiration behind these batts. These blends were inspired by the inside and the outside of a mussel shell. The lovely textured batt comes from the outer shell, while the long, smooth gradient comes from the inside of the shell. I could have taken each batt and spun each one and then made a two ply out of them, but I wanted to try something new and exotic. Cable Ply!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Here’s what you’ll need:

Two contrasting batts of fiber, I used a gradient batt and a textured batt. The batts I used are now available in the Classy Squid Fiber Company shop.

Spinning wheel with 5 bobbins or a Drop Spindle. I used my Matchless Spinning Wheel in double drive and the smaller pulley of my medium whorl.

Lazy Kate

Here’s how to make this yarn:

  1. Split each batt in half. If you’re working with a gradient batt, be sure to split the gradient in half keeping both halves intact with the full gradient.
  2. Spin each half onto their own bobbins, spinning clockwise (Z spun).
  3. Take one bobbin from the textured batt and ply it counter-clockwise (S) with one bobbin of the gradient batt. Add twice as much twist to these plies as you would normally use.
  4. Repeat step 3 with the other two bobbins
  5. Ply these two-ply yarns together clockwise (Z). Make sure that your gradients are going the same direction before you ply. Ply this with the same amount of twist as the singles. This should create a balanced finished 4-ply yarn.

For a really great resource on cabled yarns and all other yarns for that matter, read The Spinner’s Book of Yarn Designs, a fantastic book by Sarah Anderson full of diagrams and colorful photography, which I find very helpful.

gradient

This type of yarn would be great for a hardwearing garment, like socks, mittens, or any other object that will get lots of love.

My yarn ended up being a bulky-weight and measured in at 52 yards, so I may weave a wall hanging that shows off the small quantity of yarn by itself. I may also put it in a decorative dish for display all skeined up.

-Benjamin Krudwig

 

A little bit about Classy Squid Fiber Company

BioPicClassy Squid Fiber Co. is an independant fiber company based in northern Massachusetts, specializing in spinning fibers of all kinds, art yarn kits, and handspun yarns. Amanda Anganes, Chief Maker and Head Fiberista, founded CSFC as an antidote to long hours spent on intangible computer tasks at her technology day-job. She thrives on creating exquisite blends and colorways for handspinners and fiber artists, enhancing but never hiding the intrinsic beauty of natural fibers, and bringing you more than just merino and silk. Batts, rolags, and more are inspired by nature, travels, the minute details of life, and pop culture. Find Classy Squid Fiber Co. online at www.classysquidfiberco.com.

 

Benjamin Krudwig

Benjamin has a double degree in biology and photography (he also spins, weaves, knits and crochets)--so he's a great mix of data and creativity--all wonderful traits as a member of our sales team. You'll often hear his friendly voice on the phone and you've probably noticed his name pop up in many places: Ravelry, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube. Ben is our digital media manager—the main reason you've seen more activity from us in social media.

Are You Prepared for the Tour de Fleece?

Every July the Tour de Fleece rolls around, and it never fails that we get a few phone calls around that time asking for repair parts or accessories for wheels. This year, we decided to help prepare you for this year’s “race” by publishing a handy guide.

First: If you want to start this year’s events with a brand new wheel, NOW is the time to order from your Schacht retailer. This gives you plenty of time to receive your shiny new wheel and to acquaint yourself with it. If you’ve participated in the Tour de Fleece before, you know there are several categories of spinners, I have outlined which wheels would be good for each type!

The spinner groups were taken from the Ravelry page devoted to the Tour de Fleece.

The Matchless: The following teams are for any spinner to participate in, and our tried and true Matchless is the “people’s” wheel. Though if the Matchless isn’t for you, there is a Schacht wheel for everybody, so pick your favorite one out of your line up and spin away!

  • Peloton (the main group)
  • Rookies (first years)
  • Climbers (conquer mountains, big personal challenges)
  • Lanterne Rouge (you will participate as much as possible but you may skip days here and there)
  • Maillot Blanc (This team is intended for our younger participants.)

Schacht ReevesThis wheel is perfect for spinning a lot of yarn in little time. Spin super fine yarn with ease and you’ll be on the high mileage club.

  • Sprinters (fast and/or high mileage, like lace, sweater quantities, etc.

Ladybug and SidekickPair these wheels with a Bulky Plyer Flyer, and you can spin any of your favorite textured art yarns!

  • Breakaways (textured “art” yarns)

 

Maintenance

Whether your wheel is 27 years old or brand new, every wheel deserves some love and attention now and then. Here are some tips to make sure your wheel is ready to spin every day for a month!

Dust things off: If it has been a long time since you’ve used your wheel, start by wiping your wheel down to dust it off a bit. Spinning fibers and general household dust tends to accumulate in every nook and cranny they can. If you have it, a can of compressed air may be helpful in this process.

Oil: Wheels have a lot of moving parts, and it’s important to lubricate. Both to keep the wheel healthy and in tip top shape, but also this will make spinning much easier. We have a great video on where to oil your flyer on our YouTube channel. Read your instruction manual for other lubrication points on your particular wheel.

Check-up: Give your wheel a basic check up. Look at each part of your spinning wheel to make sure that everything is in working order. If your wheel is older, it’s possible that it may need some replacement parts. Call up or visit your favorite Schacht retailer for assistance. If you need further assistance, our customer service at Schacht is top-notch, and we can point you in the right direction. Here are a few parts to check on if you haven’t given your wheel a good lookover in a long time.

  • Drive band – It’s important to tie a new one frequently to ensure a pleasant spinning experience. If your drive band is a poly drive band, check it for elasticity, however these generally last a very long time.
  • Scotch tension spring and string – Over time and with a lot of use (or curious toddlers) these can become stretched out and lose their effectiveness. Also check the loop that goes around your bobbin flange, as this can wear if your wheel gets a lot of use.
  •  Treadle hinges – These don’t wear out frequently, but it doesn’t hurt to take a look under your wheel once in awhile to check the state of things.
  • Footmen – These connect your treadles to the crank. Make sure that all of these connections are sound and lubricate as directed by your spinning wheel manual.

Stock up: Do you have a full bottle of oil? Enough drive band material to last a month? Do you have enough bobbin?

Stretch: This is less “wheel maintenance” and more personal maintenance, but when you get going during the month of July, be sure to stretch and take frequent breaks so as not to injure yourself.

If you want more spinning tips and tricks, check out our blogs from last year’s Spinzilla, and follow us on Pinterest. We have a ton of great spinning tutorials for your reading pleasure!

Benjamin Krudwig

Benjamin has a double degree in biology and photography (he also spins, weaves, knits and crochets)--so he's a great mix of data and creativity--all wonderful traits as a member of our sales team. You'll often hear his friendly voice on the phone and you've probably noticed his name pop up in many places: Ravelry, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube. Ben is our digital media manager—the main reason you've seen more activity from us in social media.

The Flatiron Spinning Wheel

The flat-packed Schacht

flatiron-front

The Flatiron Spinning Wheel rises from a flat-packed box much like Boulder’s iconic Flatirons tilted up from a once horizontal position. Sit down and feel the majesty of this rock-solid wheel. The elegant design of the formed maple, apple-ply body calls upon the same drama that makes the Flatirons so striking. This unique Saxony style wheel is anything but traditional, much like our Boulder, CO.

Just as the Colorado landmark is recognized all over the world, the Flatiron, with its ingenious, compact packaging can be shipped anywhere with ease! With nearly all the tools necessary for assembly in the box, you can set this wheel up in just a few hours.

The superb Flatiron spinning wheel is customizable; you can build it to your preference, with either the flyer on the left or the right. With self-aligning bearings in the maidens, and a fully adjustable drive wheel, the whole system is sure to spin true. The clever quick release lever makes changing out bobbins trouble free.

The Flatiron can be set up in all three tensioning systems combined with our thoughtfully designed fine threaded tension control. All of our current whorls can be used with the Flatiron, allowing you to spin the yarns of your dreams–from frog’s-hair fine to art yarn.

Specifications:

Double treadle

Spinning modes: Scotch, double drive, bobbin-lead

Spinning ratios: 4.6:1 to 26:1

Weight: 15 pounds

Drive wheel: 22 1/2”

Orifice height: 26”

Dimensions: 33” wide x 33” tall x 18” deep

Comes with 3 bobbins, medium and fast whorls, cotton and poly drive bands, threading hook.

Special features: Can be assembled with the flyer on the right or the flyer on the left. Packs flat for shipping.

The Saxony style Flatiron comes with everything you need to spin. Just add fiber.

Benjamin Krudwig

Benjamin has a double degree in biology and photography (he also spins, weaves, knits and crochets)--so he's a great mix of data and creativity--all wonderful traits as a member of our sales team. You'll often hear his friendly voice on the phone and you've probably noticed his name pop up in many places: Ravelry, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube. Ben is our digital media manager—the main reason you've seen more activity from us in social media.

How to Spin and Weave Thick and Thin Yarn – Gherkin’s Bucket Collaboration

project picture

When Krysten from Gherkin’s Bucket showed me the new colorway she dyed up for this collaboration, I was floored! The stunning blues, greens, greys, and browns are a perfect way to celebrate the coming of spring. When I started planning this project, I knew I wanted to spin a thick and thin single, then ply it with one of Krysten’s lovely laceweight yarns. I would then pair this new art yarn with the laceweight in a woven project. (Note: Gherkin’s Bucket will have a limited number of kits available in her shop that come with the fiber and the lace yarn.)

 

yarn and fiber

What you’ll need:

For spinning:

4 ounces of fiber, I used Gherkin’s Bucket “Downward Peacock” in her Double Merino/Silk base.

~100 yards of laceweight yarn in a complementary color, I used Gherkin’s Bucket Merino Silk Lace in “Royale”.

Spinning Wheel or Spindle, I used the Schacht Sidekick.

Optional: Bulky Flyer Plyer Package – Using the bulky flyer for this project will help prevent your really thick sections from snagging on the metal hooks of the flyer.

 

For Weaving

15″ Cricket Loom

15″ Variable Dent Reed, 4 – 12 dent sections and 2 – 5 dent sections.

70 yards of bulky art yarn.

500-600 yards of lace-weight, I used Gherkin’s Bucket Merino Silk Lace in “Royale”.

Irish tention
Sidekick in Irish Tension

Spinning:

First, I wanted to set myself up for success with spinning a thick and thin yarn, and I knew there was more to it than pretending that I was a beginner. I decided to watch Maggie Casey’s video Big and Lofty Yarns, as that kind of spinning technique would be necessary for the “thick” portions of the yarn. She recommended a wheel that was bobbin-led, or in other terms, a wheel that can be put into Irish tension. What this means, is that you place the drive band on the bobbin, and the brake (tension) band on the whorl. This increases the take up of yarn onto your bobbin significantly, allowing you to get bulky, low-twist yarn onto your bobbin quickly. You want to avoid overspun “ropy” yarn when spinning bulky.

After my wheel was set up properly, I moved onto fiber prep. I decided to split my braid into fourths so I could better control the thick portions of the singles yarn. I didn’t want to feed too much fiber on at a time. By reducing the amount of fiber in my hands, I reduced my risk of feeding too much fiber.

Since I knew that the lace yarn was plied Z, I spun the singles in S, to ply with the lace in Z. I didn’t want to remove any twist from the lace.

art yarn

I noticed right away how strong the uptake was on my singles, and needed to be careful not to let go of my fiber for risk of it getting yanked out of my hands. Though I didn’t want to let go of the fiber, I also made sure not to have a death-grip either. I got into a rhythm pretty quickly with a draft of thick and a few drafts of thin. I wasn’t much more methodical than that, as I wanted a more organic look to the thick and thin yarn.

Once all of my singles were spun, I wound a couple hundred yards of the laceweight yarn onto a bobbin and started plying. My finished yarn ended up being slightly over-plied because I added extra twist into the laceweight as I plied.

I soaked the yarn to finish as normal, then thwacked it to set the twist. This ensured that I would be able to put the yarn in my warp without any issues associated with crimpy yarn.

 

 

Weaving:

One of the beauties of the Variable Dent Reed, is its ability to hold more than one thickness of yarn in the same warp, without affecting the ideal sett for one or more of the yarns you choose to use. This project utilizes the far ends of the spectrum by using the largest and the smallest yarn I could fit through the reed sections.

Using a 15″ Variable Dent Reed at the full width, layout your reed with the 2.5″ reed sections in the following order 12, 5, 12, 5, 12, 12

With your warping peg 2.5 yards away from the back apron bar, direct warp with the lace-weight yarn in the 12-dent sections and the bulky weight in the 5-dent sections.

Weave with the lace-weight yarn, keeping maintaining a 12 ppi (picks per inch). Every few inches insert two picks of the chunky handspun yarn to create a fun texture.

Finish with a braided fringe using as much of the “waste” yarn as possible.

Wash, and lay flat or hang to dry, then cut the tips of the braids to 1″

By using this set-up, I was able to use every precious yard of my art yarn and still get a decently sized scarf by supplementing the rest of the warp with the plentiful amounts of lace yarn. This scarf ends up being extremely lightweight, airy, and visually interesting; making it ideal for spring and summer wearing. Try this technique with your own art yarns and share it with us on our social media platforms!

 

Gherkin’s Bucket, created in 2008 by Krysten (a.k.a. “Gherkin”), specializes in high-quality hand-dyed yarn and fiber, handspun yarns, and patterns for knit and crochet. Currently Krysten is enjoying her freshly-built dye studio, which is enabling her to create even larger quantities to supply eager crafters everywhere! Find Gherkin’s Bucket online at www.GherkinsBucket.com and in local yarn stores in Arizona.

Benjamin Krudwig

Benjamin has a double degree in biology and photography (he also spins, weaves, knits and crochets)--so he's a great mix of data and creativity--all wonderful traits as a member of our sales team. You'll often hear his friendly voice on the phone and you've probably noticed his name pop up in many places: Ravelry, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube. Ben is our digital media manager—the main reason you've seen more activity from us in social media.

My Story: Allison Thistlewood

Spinning—It’s Better than Sex!

Allison Sidekick spinning

When I first got back into knitting, I ended up getting fanatically into it. My friend who owned my LYS said, “Now we’ll just have to get you spinning!” to which I replied, “No way! Never gonna happen!” You’d think I’d know by now to “never say never.”

One day while reading Knitty magazine, I saw a review of the new Schacht Ladybug Spinning Wheel. This adorable, little wheel blew away any pre-conceived notions of what a spinning wheel was supposed to look like (hey, I’ve seen Sleeping Beauty, okay?). I was smitten!

I ventured to sign up for a spinning class, but it was not for the faint of heart! More than once I thought that there was no way I was coordinated enough to be treadling and drafting and faffing about with fluff and fiber – ALL AT THE SAME TIME! But I stuck with it and, finally, it clicked for me: that moment when you’re concentrating so hard that your mind empties of all but the spinning – there’s no room to think about anything else! And then the payoff – the realization that you’re actually creating yarn!

Hello Yarn 2-ply

My own yarn! It was a hand-carded, fanciful bit of fluff with some sparkle in it, too, that reminded me of a unicorn’s tail. It’s silly, but it’s still in my stash. Afterwards, feeling refreshed and giddy with spinning success (“It’s better than sex!” we joked with our spinning teacher), I drew the parallel between the clarity of mind I gained from spinning and the mindfulness of meditation. I’d learned about meditation as part of my post-cancer treatment self-care, but hadn’t been terribly good at it. Apparently, my mind doesn’t know how to rest! But it did with the spinning, and it was so peaceful. I told my partner afterwards, “Even if I only ever spin bad yarn, it will be totally worth it.”

First Handspun

Our five year wedding anniversary was not long after. Wood is the traditional gift, and he bought me my Ladybug. Five years later (and the addition of a Sidekick, not to mention a Cricket and a Zoom Loom), I’m no longer spinning really bad yarn. It’s not always good yarn, mind you, but I’m spinning! It’s an ongoing process of learning, exploring, and trying new things. Spinning has helped me to understand and appreciate the fiber arts even more than I thought possible, fueling a love of all things woolly that borders on irrational. What’s next on this fiber-y adventure? I’m ready!

Benjamin Krudwig

Benjamin has a double degree in biology and photography (he also spins, weaves, knits and crochets)--so he's a great mix of data and creativity--all wonderful traits as a member of our sales team. You'll often hear his friendly voice on the phone and you've probably noticed his name pop up in many places: Ravelry, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube. Ben is our digital media manager—the main reason you've seen more activity from us in social media.

Spinning Beaded Yarn – Into the Whirled Collaboration

skein

For our fiber collaboration this month, I had the pleasure of working with Into the Whirled (bio below). This month, I wanted to try my hand at spinning beaded yarn. There are a few ways to spin beads into yarn, but I think I might have chosen the most involved (but most secure) method.

The inspiration for my skein came from the name of the colorway; “Cripple Creek.” As many Coloradans know, Cripple Creek was a hotspot during the gold rush of 1890 founded by Bobby Womack. When I was a child, my grandfather and my uncle wrote a musical called “Bobby Womack and the City of Gold” so the link between Cripple Creek and gold has stuck with me ever since. I chose gold beads for this reason.

What you need

-Fiber: I used two four ounce braids of Into the Whirled 50/50 Bombyx Silk/Merino Blend. Alternatively you can use one braid split in half.
-One 24g tube of glass beads: 1mm hole or slightly larger
-Needle threader

beads and fiber

Recommended

Bulky Plyer Flyer Package – this helps prevent the beads or fiber from getting caught on hooks, and a larger orifice allows the beads to pass through with little contact.
-Slow speed whorl – This helps slow the spinning down to enable more care in the beaded portions of the spinning.

 

Fiber Prep

Step 1: Split the braid (or halves) into 1/4″ (or smaller) slivers.

Step 2: Using the needle threader, slip it through the hole of the bead.

Step 3: Pull out a 6-10″-long section of fiber and thread the tip of the fiber through the needle threader loop.

Step 4: Pull fiber through the hole of the bead.

(Click on the pictures below to enlarge.)

 

It helps to do all of the fiber prep at one time, so the spinning process isn’t interrupted.

If you are using just one 4-oz braid split in half, you may not have extra unbeaded fiber sections, and you may not use all of your beads. If you do have extra fiber, use it intermittently as you spin the beaded single.

Spinning the Beaded Single

Join some of your non-beaded fiber sections to your leader and start spinning as normal, I found that a short forward draw was best with my fiber prep, and with the beads.

When you have some yarn on your bobbin, grab a beaded section of fiber and join to the single.

As you get closer to the bead (fig 1), take a few fibers from just in front of the bead and fold them back to behind the bead (fig 2-3). Allow the twist to travel through/around the bead (fig 4.). Continue this process with all of your beaded fiber sections while interspersing any extra fiber sections here and there until you have spun all of your fiber.

figures of bead capturing

Spin the remaining half of the fiber without beads. Ply the two singles together. Though the beads are secure in the single, plying the yarn adds strength to the overall yarn and added security to the beaded portions. After plying, I was left with an 8 oz skein of yarn (not counting the weight of the beads) that measured 470 yards of approximately worsted weight yarn. This skein of yarn is destined to become a woven wrap, using the yarn in both the warp and the weft.

About Into the Whirled

Into the Whirled started in April of 2009 as a part time business, Etsy shop and all around “pie in the sky” idea. It is a labor of love for both James Shapiro and Christine Eschbach, the couple that run the small Indie Company. Into the Whirled is located in the heart of the Catskill Mountains where Cris and James meticulously create colorways in a variety of techniques. Yarns are available in both kettle dyed and hand painted varieties as well as a wide array of different bases and their fiber is offered in both combed top as well as drumcarded batts. Look for them at The New York Sheep & Wool Festival, The Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival, and online at www.intothewhirled.com.

Benjamin Krudwig

Benjamin has a double degree in biology and photography (he also spins, weaves, knits and crochets)--so he's a great mix of data and creativity--all wonderful traits as a member of our sales team. You'll often hear his friendly voice on the phone and you've probably noticed his name pop up in many places: Ravelry, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube. Ben is our digital media manager—the main reason you've seen more activity from us in social media.

Tapestry Weaving – The Long and the Short of It

We’ve all seen them on Pinterest, and they seem to be cropping up in all of the home decor magazines this spring. Some people saw these (made these!) the first time they came around in the early 1970’s. (fyi: I was not one of them.)

The trend I am talking about is free-form woven wall hangings that have dramatic texture, and tend to be monochromatic. I felt the need to experience this trend and try it out for myself, so I grabbed my Schacht School Loom, warped it up, and started weaving.

hanging tapestries
Traditional tapestry on the left, textured tapestry on the right.

 

I suppose I should back up. Between getting out my School Loom and weaving, I went through a pretty involved thought process when it came down to subject matter, style, and plan of attack.

At first I was only going to do a textured “throwback” wall hanging, then realized I didn’t know much about traditional tapestry weaving. Best, I thought, to learn more about traditional tapestry weaving before embarking upon the textural adventure.

After watching a few tutorials online, and doing some reading on-line, I was ready to start.

I decided to create two tapestries; one using traditional techniques, and one using the heavily-textured style.

I had three rules:

  1. Each tapestry would be done free-form without a cartoon.
  2. Each tapestry would be woven using my handspun yarn only (except for the warp.)
  3. Each tapestry would be of the same subject matter and color scheme.

A soft guideline was that I would try as many techniques as I wanted and not worry too much about being perfect. For this project I had one end-goal in mind: learn something new.

I chose an inspiration photo so I could start with at least a little direction. This helped guide my color choices and subject matter.

inspiration picture
Sky and clouds above Waneka Lake, behind my house.

Besides a warped School Loom, I needed yarn. I dove into my handspun stash and pulled out some leftovers that  happened to be in a soft blue color scheme. To this I added white and a dark red accent yarn.

yarn

These yarns were also used in the textured tapestry, but were transformed after I did the traditional tapestry, which I will explain later. I felt it was important to use yarns of similar fiber type, so besides some silk and some tencel blends, all of my yarn was wool of some breed or another.

Starting with traditional tapestry techniques in mind, I quickly sketched a basic picture, so that I could generally place certain elements. I started by laying some “ground” with my brown alpaca yarn. This allowed me to understand the necessity of bubbling to keep my weaving from drawing in.

I then moved to the sky where I tried two different ways of blending colors. The first technique was alternating a few picks of the first color, with one pick of the next color, and then changing the number of picks I did of each color. Later I learned this was a somewhat modified hatching technique. The second technique was to blend two colors together by using them together hold the first color and the second color together for a few picks. From far away, the second technique is much more subtle, while the first technique looks more stylistic and intentional.

For the clouds, I used two different techniques of changing colors in the middle of a warp, or using two colors in the same pick. The first technique I tried was meet and separate, which means you clasp the two colors of yarn around each other when they meet, and then when you change sheds, they separate to opposite sides of the tapestry again. The second technique involved bring the yarns to the same space between warp threads, change sheds and reverse directions. This is known as slit tapestry technique and causes a small gap in the tapestry. Overly long slits are often sewn closed on the back of the loom after weaving.

I was pretty diligent about “bubbling” my warp threads as I was weaving to help keep the sides from pulling in. That being said I still had about 3/4″ of draw in on each side of my tapestry when I finished. I will do further research on various methods of keeping my tapestry from shrinking (temples, tensioned threads, etc.) Practice will probably help, too.

As I wove, I placed clouds intuitively, trying for a balanced look. It felt a bit like painting with yarn, which made me feel immediately hooked on this style of weaving.

traditional tapestry

After I cut my little tapestry off the loom, I made 3/4″ hems on the top and bottom. This also created the pocket for my dowel to go through. Before placing the dowel, I fulled the tapestry pretty vigorously by hand and then laid it flat to dry. I fulled the bottom half a bit more than the top to aid in making the edges more parallel and to lessen some of the draw-in disparity from the bottom to top (this was my first tapestry!).

To increase the scale of my yarn for my free-form hanging,I made ropes using the Incredible Rope Machine out of my handspun yarn left over from my first project. I also pulled out some wool roving from my stash that coordinated. Click here to watch a 3 minute time-lapse of me weaving this wall hanging.

textured tapestry warped

For this wall hanging, I decided to put a spacer in the bottom to allow for a tie fringe afterwards. I grabbed one of the ropes and started weaving. I started placing things wherever I wanted to, without too much thought, just instinct.

I tried a few different tapestry techniques after laying a few sections down in plain-weave. I used the soumak knot technique in a couple of lines going across the warp using a cable-plied yarn, and in a small section where I used a small sliver of roving.

rope
Soumak in top left roving and bottom right roving section.

To make the white cloud, I used a 10-11″ chunk of roving and wove them in two layers. I placed the first layer, then untucked some “bubbles” of roving, then wove the second layer and repeated the “bubble” technique. For the rain cloud, I first took a few 8″ sections of my light blue yarn and added 3 sets of ghiordes knots next to each other, then I took two colors of roving together and worked as for the first cloud.

cloud

At the very top of the tapestry, I took my third to last pick of rope, and pulled out five loops of rope which I used as hanging loops for my wall hanging. I finished with two picks in plain weave. I needle wove some slivers of roving here and there to fill some gaps that made themselves known after removing the hanging from the loom. Overall, the warping/weaving took just over an hour.

textured tapestry

Because I feared felting the clouds if I washed my hanging, I decided to try a self-styled wet finish. I spritzed the back of the hanging with water until it was pretty damp all over. I then lightly blocked the piece on some paper towel until dry.

If I am to be honest, I was very hesitant to try to either of these techniques, but I am now addicted to how fun it was! I come from a family full of artists, and tapestry weaving really allowed me to express myself artistically and in a more free-form manner than some other weaving I have done. I wholeheartedly recommend picking up a School Loom and trying your hand at tapestry weaving.

Benjamin Krudwig

Benjamin has a double degree in biology and photography (he also spins, weaves, knits and crochets)--so he's a great mix of data and creativity--all wonderful traits as a member of our sales team. You'll often hear his friendly voice on the phone and you've probably noticed his name pop up in many places: Ravelry, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube. Ben is our digital media manager—the main reason you've seen more activity from us in social media.

My Story: Dr. Bev Felten

Handspun, handwoven, dog-hair rugs support dog-related charity organizations

 

Elements to enrich our lives are all around us, but we often fail to recognize them. It is that recognition that led me to spin dog hair−and to the Schacht Matchless Spinning Wheel.

Being a dog breeder and a conformation judge, I began to think about spinning dog hair, a gift so often simply thrown away. At a local dog show, I retrieved Collie and gorgeous Old English Sheep dog undercoat from the garbage cans. Word got out that I was looking for dog hair and the dog show community joined in by donating boxes of multiple-breed, high-quality undercoat.

bev

I love spinning dog hair in combination with other fibers. One of the first notable products off the loom were two rugs woven with handspun dog hair which I donated to Support Dogs, Inc., of Missouri, a non-profit organization that trains dogs for people with special needs. These dogs give back, yet again, by serving people.

I am a full-time nurse, and one day a colleague asked if I wanted her grandmother’s knitting machine.

Once I got the knitting machine home, I quickly learned that I would need to greatly improve my spinning skills.

crocheted dog hair

I learned to spin from a combination of unusual sources, including the Facebook list, “Spinners in the UK,” a 1400-member online-community of international spinners who generously nurture inexperienced spinners, regardless of country. I posted the question to the list, “If you were to buy the best quality spinning wheel available, price not a concern, what would you buy?” I received an answer from a British fiber instructor who told me to get a Schacht Matchless. Which I did and now I spin daily on my Matchless. A subsequently purchased Sidekick goes on the road, making it possible to spin both at dog shows and while camping.

-Dr. Bev Felten

Benjamin Krudwig

Benjamin has a double degree in biology and photography (he also spins, weaves, knits and crochets)--so he's a great mix of data and creativity--all wonderful traits as a member of our sales team. You'll often hear his friendly voice on the phone and you've probably noticed his name pop up in many places: Ravelry, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube. Ben is our digital media manager—the main reason you've seen more activity from us in social media.

My Story: Ann Slind

From Saskatchewan, Canada, to the Culture and Crafts of West Africa

“Little did I know that when I learned to weave, it would take me to Africa! I first tried weaving in 8th Grade art class and enjoyed it. Many years later, my husband Lawrence and I witnessed a floor loom set up in someone’s living room. Now that was notable! I loved fabrics and sewed many of our clothes, and the loom impressed me. But life moved on. Family, farm life, and community kept us busy in challenging ways.

Ann Slind at her Mighty Wolf Loom

While enrolled in an extension course, I spotted Dorothy and Harold Burnham’s book, Keep Me Warm One Night. I bought a loom, learned to weave, and started a small weaving enterprise, which eventually led my husband and me into development work in West Africa.Thus began a new venture, broadened horizons, and many experiences.

One day, a group of people dropped by the Weaving Studio in Gambissara, where we were living, to discuss how travelers might experience the culture and crafts of the Gambia. The Burnhams’ son, who worked with his parents on the book, was a member of the group. You can imagine my amazement and delight to meet him!

Our visits to neighboring countries where we witnessed beautiful examples of weaving were truly memorable. We watched young boys weaving intricate patterns on ground looms, while skeins of dyed cotton threads hung all around the compound. Now the Desert Sage Weavers’ and Spinners’ Guild in Oliver B.C. keeps me inspired and challenged with workshops.

Weaving has adjusted to all stages of my life, even now in retirement, relocation, and downsizing. My Mighty Wolf 36″ 8 Shaft Floor Loom is versatile, compact, and easy to warp. It is a treasure and gives me many hours of creative and challenging planning and weaving.”

-Ann Slind

Fabric piece Tencel

Ann Slind was a finalist in our Personal Stories Contest. Look for additional posts about other finalists here. The grand prize winners will be featured in upcoming issues of Handwoven and Spin-Off.

Benjamin Krudwig

Benjamin has a double degree in biology and photography (he also spins, weaves, knits and crochets)--so he's a great mix of data and creativity--all wonderful traits as a member of our sales team. You'll often hear his friendly voice on the phone and you've probably noticed his name pop up in many places: Ravelry, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube. Ben is our digital media manager—the main reason you've seen more activity from us in social media.

Winter Nights Wrap – Miss Babs Yarns Collaboration

poncho shawl

For this project, I was inspired by the icy blues seen in the deep mid-winter season around dusk and twilight. Cold clear nights with freshly fallen snow makes you want to curl up in something warm and cozy. This wrap is that “something warm and cozy”. A sock yarn with a high twist adds loftiness and squish to the woven fabric. These traits, coupled with the highly textured weave structure, traps air easily, keeping you warm during the coldest of days. Also, being made from 100% superwash merino wool, this will last the wearer many winters to come.

It’s no secret that gradient sets have been popular this last year in the yarn industry, so I wanted to play with them as well. When I was planning this project I fell head over heels in love with the Perseus gradient set from Miss Babs – Hand Dyed Yarns & Fibers. The Perseus set consists of 6 mini skeins of yarn in a gradient of marine blue. Each colorway is named after either a constellation or a star within the constellation. Dark Perseus, Perseus, Mirphak, Algol, Miram, and Atik.

Persus Gradient Set
From Left to Right: Dark Perseus, Perseus, Mirphak, Algol, Miram, Atik.

When I received the yarn and saw the colors together, I knew that I wanted to make a gradient color gamp. While plain weave allows for great color mixing, I didn’t think it would provide the movement I was seeking. Knowing that I wanted to play with pattern in this project I pulled out my 8-shaft Baby Wolf and started planning.

Here’s what you’re going to need to make this project:

Equipment: 4.5 yard warping board or other warping tool, 4-shaft Baby Wolf Loom with a weaving width of at least 22″.

Optional: Fringe twister

Yarn: Two sets of the Perseus Gradient set in her Yummy 2-ply Toes base, 1,596 yards total – 266 yards of each of the 6 colors.

To better understand the pattern, I have labeled the colors below.

A – Dark Perseus

B – Persus

C – Mirphak

D – Algol

E – Miram

F – Atik

Gradient warp on loom

Warp: 3 yards long, 264 ends total warp ends plus 2 additional ends for a floating selvedge on each side (Total warp ends: 266).

The warp sequence is 22 ends of each color in this order – A, B, C, D, E, F, F, E, D, C, B, A

22″ in reed, 17.25″ finished width.

The darkest portions of the gradient are on the selvedge edges, with the lightest portions being in the center of the warp.

Draft:

draft for winter wrap

For a complete draft in PDF format, click here.

Threading: point twill.

Sett: 12 epi

Weaving: Start by weaving 12 picks of plain weave (at 12 ppi) in the darkest color. Then begin following the treadling pattern, weaving about 18 ppi. Weave 32 picks of each color to square each color block. Follow the same color as was used in the warp. Weave the total sequence a total 3 times. End by weaving 12 picks of plain weave as in the beginning.

length-horizontal

Finishing:

Due to the large scale of this project, I left as long as fringe as possible (plus, I couldn’t bear wasting any material).

Twist or braid fringe. Wash and lay flat to dry.

Wearing:

This wrap is a versatile addition to your accessory collection. Here are a few easy ways to wear your new wrap!

Miss Babs comes from a family of entrepreneurs and artists and started in business while in her twenties. In 2003, she started Miss Babs which morphed into Miss Babs Hand-Dyed Yarns & Fibers in 2005 when she found that placing color on yarn and fiber was her core focus. Since 2005, Miss Babs has seen growth from 1 to 13 employees, and much success in the show and festival circuit. A new fiber club is geared towards the armchair traveler, featuring designs from popular knitwear designers such as Martina Behm, Romi Hill, and Franklin Habit. You can find Miss Babs online here: www.missbabs.com.

 

Benjamin Krudwig

Benjamin has a double degree in biology and photography (he also spins, weaves, knits and crochets)--so he's a great mix of data and creativity--all wonderful traits as a member of our sales team. You'll often hear his friendly voice on the phone and you've probably noticed his name pop up in many places: Ravelry, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube. Ben is our digital media manager—the main reason you've seen more activity from us in social media.

Reversible Tufted Cowl – Blue Sky Alpacas Collaboration

Thrummed Cowl

For our December yarn company collaboration, we worked with Blue Sky Alpacas for a very special and luxurious scarf woven on our 15″ Cricket Loom. Since Blue Sky Alpacas offers both yarns and fiber, I decided to use both in a project. For this fashionable cowl, I took my inspiration from a traditional knitting technique called thrumming. This is often used in the making of mittens where thrums or lengths of wool are inserted into the knitting to create tufts of wool inside the mitten. This creates a lofty and warm fabric.

Here’s what you’ll need for the project:

Equipment:

15″ Cricket Loom

8-dent rigid heddle reed

15″ stick shuttle

Optional: 15″ pick-up stick

Yarn:

2 skeins of Melange in the Peppercorn Colorway – 220 yards total

1 skein of Metalico in the Platinum Colorway – 147 yards total

1 bag of Handspin fiber

Note: You won’t use the whole bag for this project, so you can save it for future projects.

EPI: 8

PPI: 8

Width in Reed: 12″

Warp Length: 7 feet (2.3 yards)

Total warp ends: 96

Warping: Use the direct warping method.

Weaving: Hemstitch at the beginning and end. Using Metalico, weave 8 picks. Then, beginning about 1″ in from the side, choose two warp threads and create a ghiordes knot with a small chunk of fiber about 1/4″ thick and 6″ long. Here is a great tutorial on ghiordes knots; it starts about halfway down the page. Evenly space the knots across the warp 4 more times.

Thrummed ghiordes knot

Weave 8 more picks of Metalico, and place fiber tufts in the spaces between where the last tufts were placed. You can see this pattern best in the picture of the back side of the fabric. Note the offset polka dots. I found it helpful to take small sticky notes and mark where my tufts would go, however, as you weave it becomes more apparent in the finished fabric as to where the tufts go.

Repeat this process along the length of your warp.

As you advance your fabric around your fabric beam, it may help to put a warp separator paper in to help mitigate tension issues caused by the bumps of fiber.

Finishing: Fold the fabric in half tuft-side out, then take a group of 8 warp threads from each end of the fabric, bundle and tie them together in an overhand knot. Repeat this all the way across.

Soak and gently agitate the finished cowl in hot water. Be careful not to agitate too much, as the tufts are slightly delicate at this stage. Note: you want to full the fiber, not felt it. Lay flat to dry.

There are many styling options with this project, here are just a few!

About Blue Sky Alpacas

Founded in 1997, Blue Sky Alpacas is located near Minneapolis, Minnesota. The company started with a small herd of alpacas and has evolved into an industry leader in design, that sources the finest fibers to create a multitude of luxury yarns that are sold to fiber speciality retail locations worldwide.

Benjamin Krudwig

Benjamin has a double degree in biology and photography (he also spins, weaves, knits and crochets)--so he's a great mix of data and creativity--all wonderful traits as a member of our sales team. You'll often hear his friendly voice on the phone and you've probably noticed his name pop up in many places: Ravelry, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube. Ben is our digital media manager—the main reason you've seen more activity from us in social media.

Surprise Sugar Plum Fairy – Benjamin Krudwig

Sugarplum fairy Photo 6A

Skill Level: Beginner

Tools:
Zoom Loom
Weaving Needle
Tapestry Needle
Felting Needle
Crochet Hook
Optional Tools:
Incredible Rope Machine
Knitting Needles
Materials:
Sport Weight Wool Yarn in: Plum, Gray/Beige, and Green
Wool Roving or Leftover Yarn
Mohair Locks

Squares:
4- Plum
1- Grey/Beige
2- Green

Photo 1
Optional:
Beads
Embroidery Floss

Weaving:
Weave 7 squares in the colors specified above. Sew in tails and lightly full by hand in warm water. Lay flat to dry and steam press.

Assembly:
Dress Join 3 plum squares to create a ring. On one of the open ends, pull a thread in each square along the top edge and cinch to form the top of the skirt. For the bodice, fold the 4th plum square in half and seam the short ends together to create a small loop. Join the bottom of the small loop to the top of the skirt. (This is pretty cute on its own, and with a small hanger and some thread, this could make a great ornament.)

dress pieces Photo 2A
Head: Start by folding the gray/beige square in half, then roll it up, securing the edge of the roll to the body of the roll by a simple whipstitch. This should allow the center of the roll to pull out, creating a small pocket. Fill this pocket with wool or leftover yarn scraps, then sew the pocket up. The “stem” of the roll will serve as the neck of the fairy, and shaping it by stitching it together further will help the look of the finished piece.

Photo 3A Photo 3B Photo 3C

Wings and Leaf: (Make 2) Weave a length of matching yarn diagonally across the square, scrunch up the center, and then tie the length of yarn in a knot, securing the wing/leaf shape.

Photo 4A Photo 4B
Arms: Using a rope machine, make 2 passes of yarn in gray/beige, approximately 1/2 yard long. Tie knots approximately 7” apart from one another, and cut the rope on either side of these knots.
Alternate method: Knit some i-cord approximately 7” long and 3-4 stitches wide.
Adding the arms: Using a crochet hook, pass the arms through the sides of the bodice of the dress.
Attach the head: Place the neck of the head into the top bodice of the dress and tack it and the arms into place.

Photo 5
Add the wings: Stitch a wing/leaf to the back of the bodice.

Photo 6B
Stuff the bodice: Working on the inside, fill the bodice with wool or leftover yarn, and sew the bodice together, sewing 4 points together as shown. At this juncture, attach the remaining wing/leaf piece to create the leaves on the inside of the skirt.

Photo 2Bposter sugar plum
Drawstring: With one yard of gray/beige, create a thin rope by securing one end of the length of yarn to a table, adding twist to it, and then folding it in half, tying a knot in one side, and then letting it double back on itself. Weave the drawstring around the bottom edge of the dress, then tie a knot where the ends meet, and cut off the excess.
Adding hair: Needle felt mohair locks or yarn into place on top of the head.

Photo 7
Optional: Sew beads onto the face for eyes, decorate the bodice of the dress with embroidery or beads. Wrap an extra piece of the drawstring around the waist of the dress for added decoration.

Transform the Sugar Plum Fairy into a Sugar Plum by flipping the dress inside out and pulling the drawstring. Surprise!

Benjamin Krudwig

Benjamin has a double degree in biology and photography (he also spins, weaves, knits and crochets)--so he's a great mix of data and creativity--all wonderful traits as a member of our sales team. You'll often hear his friendly voice on the phone and you've probably noticed his name pop up in many places: Ravelry, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube. Ben is our digital media manager—the main reason you've seen more activity from us in social media.

This Winter Warm Up With Weaving

When the snow starts to fly, the urge to weave follows shortly thereafter. Whether you have a Standard Floor Loom or Zoom Loom, we have a collection of cozy projects to get you started. Here, too are some recommendations for gifts to add to your holiday gift-giving list–whether for yourself or your favorite weaver.

Cherry Wolf Looms are still available (limited edition) and if you order from your dealer by November 11th, chances are it’ll arrive in time for the holidays! Choose from: Cherry Wolf Pup LT, Baby Wolf 8H, and Mighty Wolf 8H. We have a range of accessories available for the cherry looms: ask your local dealer for more information!

Once in hand, warp your new Cherry Wolf Loom with a warm wrap or shawl!

Wrap on the loom

Looking for something smaller? The Cricket Loom is still a hit with weavers of all ages! The 15″ Cricket Loom is friendly and easy to learn on–a great first loom. This versatile, rigid heddle loom is ideal for the knitters in your life–and uses up stash yarn in a flash! Below is an example of a scarf that uses leftover lengths of yarn that would normally be too short for a knitting project.

Four scarves made from leftover knitting yarn

It’s easier than ever to carry your weaving loom with the  Cricket bag. Woven for us by Mayan Hands in Guatemala, our Cricket Bag is available in three colors and two sizes (10″ and 15″). Purchase of the Cricket Bag helps support weavers and their families, as well as sustaining a traditional weaving tradition.

Weaving is just as portable as knitting when you travel with the Zoom Loom, a fantastic gateway into the craft of weaving. Have you heard of the “Cozy Memories Blanket” that is so popular with knitters these days? Using 8 yards of sock weight yarn (just over 2 grams) you can use up all of those small bits of yarn in woven squares and join them together. This makes for a lighter weight blanket and a faster project!

Blanket made using many different yarns

Here’s a list of the “last date to order” for our products in order to receive them before the holidays. Share this list with your loved ones to ensure pre-holiday shipping.

Product Last Day to Order
Wolf Looms, Floor Looms, Table Loom Nov 11th
Matchless, Ladybug, Sidekick Nov 18th
Accessories, Small Looms, Bulky Packages Nov 25th
Crickets, Cricket Accessories, Zoom Looms Dec 2nd

 

Benjamin Krudwig

Benjamin has a double degree in biology and photography (he also spins, weaves, knits and crochets)--so he's a great mix of data and creativity--all wonderful traits as a member of our sales team. You'll often hear his friendly voice on the phone and you've probably noticed his name pop up in many places: Ravelry, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube. Ben is our digital media manager—the main reason you've seen more activity from us in social media.

Density Plaid Wrap – Voolenvine Yarns Collaboration

draped

 

I was thrilled When I had the chance to work with Kristin Lehrer from Voolenvine Yarns on a project! I have been following Kristin for some time through her video podcast on YouTube. I have admired the beauty of her hand-dyed yarns in each episode. She specializes in variegated colors, each a different recipe. Working with variegated yarns can be a challenge as one might encounter unexpected patterning, such as pooling of colors. However, when used in weaving, the effects of variegated yarns can produce stunning results where the yarn does all the work. In general, I find the color effects of variegated yarns vary from skein to skein, and depend largely on the length of the color repeats and the amount of color contrast. Kristin’s colorways always astound me, rich colors, subtle colors, all of them inspired.

Enjoy the Silence
Photo courtesy of Kristin Lehrer of Voolenvine Yarns

I fell in love with “Enjoy the Silence” due to the high contrast between the dark purples and pale cream, accented with flecks of intense colors throughout. I used two skeins of Alpaca Halo base, a 60/20/20 Superwash Merino, Superfine Alpaca, and Nylon blend.

Since variegated yarns tend to have a lot to say just on their own, I didn’t think it was necessary to add other weave structure patterning. Therefore, I chose a simple variation on a plain weave for my wrap.

Tools: This project can be woven on the Schacht 15″ Cricket Loom (or any of our other looms with a weaving width of at least 15″), 8-dent reed, 2 stick shuttles.

Yarn for warp and weft: 2 – 437 yard skeins of variegated fingering weight yarn – total 874 yards with some yarn left over. I used Alpaca Halo base in Enjoy the Silence from Voolenvine Yarns

Warping: I used the direct warping method with the peg approximately 7 feet away from the back apron bar, use the following threading pattern across 15″. Warping note: following the chart below, working right to left, thread 1 pass per slot 8 times (you will have two threads per slot), then thread 2 passes per slot (for a total of 4 threads per slot). After you wind the warp onto the back beam, you will then thread the holes. Again, following the chart below, you will take one thread out of the slot and thread it in the adjacent hole (repeat 8 times). Then, you will take 2 threads out of the slot and thread them in the adjacent hole (repeat 4 times), and so on. In this way you’ll have some areas that have single ends in the slots and holes and other areas where there are two ends in the slots and holes for a differential density.

threading draft

Wind one stick shuttle with a single strand of yarn, then another shuttle with two strands of yarn. Weave in the same pattern as the warp, in a balanced plain weave. Carry your yarns up the side of your weaving, catching the loose yarn with your working yarn. Weave the length of your warp until you can’t weave any further.

Detail of woven fabric

This creates a pattern I call a “density plaid” because instead of differing colors in a square grid, it uses different densities of yarn. This technique can also be called crammed and spaced.

The shorter repeats of color in this yarn create a beautiful mottled effect, almost tweed like. Yarns with longer color repeats weave up into more distinct patterns looking very much like plaids.

Finishing: Tie overhand knots in groups of 8 warp threads. Soak and lightly full in hot water. Trim the fringe to 2″.

Fringe detail

Finished size: 13″ wide X 5.5′ long (including 2 inches of fringe on each end)

This project is meant to be a small wrap, or an oversized scarf. Here are a few ways to style your Density Plaid Wrap!

Benjamin Krudwig

Benjamin has a double degree in biology and photography (he also spins, weaves, knits and crochets)--so he's a great mix of data and creativity--all wonderful traits as a member of our sales team. You'll often hear his friendly voice on the phone and you've probably noticed his name pop up in many places: Ravelry, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube. Ben is our digital media manager—the main reason you've seen more activity from us in social media.

Personal Stories Contest Winners Announced!

We want to thank you all so much for giving us the opportunity to consider your stories for our 2016 ad campaign. We had over 49 entries, and all of them showed us what a rich and vibrant community surrounds us.

We were teary eyed by some stories, tickled by others, and deeply impressed with how weaving and spinning have affected your lives. We will be publishing stories from our winners and runner ups over the next few weeks, and we think you’ll understand how we felt when reading these very personal stories.

Our winners and entrants have been contacted, and our winners are:

Grand Prize Winners:
Kyle Kunnecke
Monica and Abigail Spooner
Lynn Zimmerman
Nancy Nowak
Chris Gustin

Second Prize:
Joy Jensen
Patricia Y, Honda-Nations
Pamela Palma
Regina Talandis
Susan Elliot
Deborah Zeitler
America Smith
Demarie Jones
Julia Sull
Julia Weaver
Bev Felton
Susan Broadhurst Werrin

Third Prize:
Ann Slind
Carla Day
Frauke Erichsen
Olga Jamieson
Mary Piontek
Claire Warren
Wendy Hakala
Pamela Harwood
Kathy Zola
Mog Bremmer
Amanda Migoski
Lydia Kendrick
Maggie Heilmann
Wendy Cappetta
Nicole Gurnee
Kathleen Pease
Corene Crouse
Debbie Drake
Debbie Heilig
Sara Armstrong
Kathryn Olson
Birgit Greer
Sherry Phillips
Joy Sherburn-Reed
Allison Cantwell
Laurie Bruce
Jill Kettler
Sony Hartley
Kathleen Brookes
Dawne Wimbrow

Benjamin Krudwig

Benjamin has a double degree in biology and photography (he also spins, weaves, knits and crochets)--so he's a great mix of data and creativity--all wonderful traits as a member of our sales team. You'll often hear his friendly voice on the phone and you've probably noticed his name pop up in many places: Ravelry, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube. Ben is our digital media manager—the main reason you've seen more activity from us in social media.

Handmade With Handspun

Here at Schacht Spindle Company, we are no strangers to using handspun yarn in our projects. For many of us in the office, we rarely buy yarn, because our handspun stash grows so quickly. Events like the Tour de Fleece and Spinzilla give us an opportunity to really boost our stash of handspun, but sometimes that leads to project paralysis. After spinning so much yardage, many of us sit there wondering what to make with our handspun. We have a few projects for you whether you knit, crochet, or weave that are sure to utilize your handspun in the best of ways.

Spun yarn from Team Schacht Spindle in 2014

Weaving

You can make a handwoven blanket using a Zoom Loom and various yarns that you have spun as long as they are approximately fingering weight yarn.

David Pipinich made “Patched Life” with some handspun.

For something a little more decadent, some wall art can be made with your precious samples of handspun yarns.

Denise created three pieces, each using a bit of her handspun.

Or if you have a mind to weave a long wall hanging, you can follow along with Benjamin.

For something a bit more practical, and just as meaningful, you could weave a shawl to wear and remember what you’ve spun.

Smaller quantities of yarn make for great scarves like Denise’s Sashiko Posh Plum Scarf, or Benjamin’s Log Cabin Scarf.

For some yarns it doesn’t always make sense to make a garment or scarf, so something else must be done. Both the Pencil Case by Denise and the Back Pack by Benjamin would be great uses for that yarn you just don’t know what to do with.

Knitting

Handspun yarn tends to have a lot of energy, so it can make great knitting yarn.

A small cowl is good for small amounts of yardage, or you can spin your own gradient and make an entire shawl!

Crochet

If your yarn isn’t as consistent as you’d like and knitting with the yarn isn’t in your future, this fun kerchief is a great handspun project.

Knit and Crochet

And if you can’t quite decide whether you want to knit or crochet with your yarn, why not do both? This simple hat idea is great for those of us who are indecisive.

For more handspun projects, go to the link below. What do you make with your handspun yarn? Let us know in the comments!

Follow Schacht Spindle Company’s board Made With Handspun on Pinterest.

Benjamin Krudwig

Benjamin has a double degree in biology and photography (he also spins, weaves, knits and crochets)--so he's a great mix of data and creativity--all wonderful traits as a member of our sales team. You'll often hear his friendly voice on the phone and you've probably noticed his name pop up in many places: Ravelry, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube. Ben is our digital media manager—the main reason you've seen more activity from us in social media.

Seven Suggestions for Savvy Spinzilla Spinners

Preparing for our third year of Spinzilla, we have learned some things that helped keep the stress down during the week of full-speed ahead spinning.

1. Prep Prior to the week – This can’t be stressed enough. For many of us, we work a job, have families and still need to spin a bunch of yardage. We don’t have time in the middle of the week to prep fiber. Every minute is valuable. Wash/scour/process any fleeces you have and get it into a preparation that is easy to spin. Pre-draft any roving that may be compacted or thicker than is necessary. This also means getting your equipment in order. Clear off any bobbins, make sure all of the parts and pieces of your wheel/spindle are in working order, and prepare drive band materials if you aren’t using poly-material.

2. Get lots of rest – We aren’t robots, when you are tired, go to bed. Don’t fall into the trap at 10-11pm saying “just one more ounce and then I will go to sleep.” A refreshed spinner is a productive spinner!

3. Take breaks and stretch – Again, we aren’t robots. Spinning is a very physical activity, and with any activity, stretch before, during and after spinning. Take frequent breaks and avoid stressing fingers, arms, wrists, shoulders, etc, by breaking up your spinning sessions. Posture awareness will help avoid soreness.

4. What can we say, use the best equipment possible – www.schachtspindle.com

5. Oil – When our wheels haven’t been used in awhile, and when they are being used quite a bit, we need to keep them well oiled. We have a video on proper oiling techniques up on our YouTube channel.

6. Refreshments – Keep your favorite snacks and beverages close at hand! Though it may not seem like it, spinning requires is actually physical work. You need to stay hydrated and those calories need to be replenished. If you are hosting a spin-in or two, make it a potluck and everyone can bring their favorite foods along!

7. Have fun! – Though this is a competition and a fundraiser, this event is much bigger than both of those things. It’s about community and coming together to do something we love. Whether you’re on a team, or if you’ve gone rogue, find an event near you to spin with others. And as many spinners know, spinning with others is one of life’s wonderful joys.

 

Benjamin Krudwig

Benjamin has a double degree in biology and photography (he also spins, weaves, knits and crochets)--so he's a great mix of data and creativity--all wonderful traits as a member of our sales team. You'll often hear his friendly voice on the phone and you've probably noticed his name pop up in many places: Ravelry, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube. Ben is our digital media manager—the main reason you've seen more activity from us in social media.

For Spinzilla, Kate is Spinning…

What I love about Spinzilla is that it gets me spinning! Once I’ve got some momentum, spinning is a meditative, calming wonderland, but as a beginning spinner still, it can be hard to get those treadles moving. Last Spinzilla, however, I spun nearly a mile of fiber, and got a running start at the yarn for my tallis. Since then, I’ve tried some new styles and fibers with varying success, and my spinning oomph has dwindled. In October, though, I’ll hit the reset button, gather with other spinners for fun and support, and spin like mad for a week. I can’t wait.

This year I’m going in with another project in mind, which will require almost exactly a mile of singles. I also have a new Cherry Matchless, so this will be a great chance to get to know my wheel and to kindle my fiber fire again. Like Denise, I’ll be spinning with undyed fibers – my future project will be woven and then dyed with natural dyes. When first experimenting with natural dyes this winter, I was captivated by the depth of color they yielded, and would like to showcase this richness in a simple cloth.

From these intentions – and from my stash – I’ll let my yardage develop organically. I’ll start with BFL and from there all bets are off. Maybe I will want to keep spinning something comfortable (and there is plenty!), or maybe I’ll spin something that’s more challenging. I was shocked to find such a wide variety of undyed fiber in my stash: angora, yak, flax, silk. I would love to see how different fibers luxuriate differently in the same dyebath. This Spinzilla, the options are endless; my goal is to have a good time.

Spinzilla is a competition – and I’ve met my share of competitors! – but it also brings spinners together, gets us spinning for a full week, and promotes the craft. That full week can be used for maximum yardage, but with yardage also comes community, learning, excitement, support, and that quiet space that exists at the wheel. Additionally, registration fees support the Needle Arts Mentoring Program, which creates community partnerships around those same values and around the crafts we love.

Kate White

Kate White wears several hats here at Schacht. Some of the many roles she plays each day include computer operating system liaison, project manager, data maven, and interface between our sales and production departments.

Benjamin Krudwig

Benjamin has a double degree in biology and photography (he also spins, weaves, knits and crochets)--so he's a great mix of data and creativity--all wonderful traits as a member of our sales team. You'll often hear his friendly voice on the phone and you've probably noticed his name pop up in many places: Ravelry, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube. Ben is our digital media manager—the main reason you've seen more activity from us in social media.

For Spinzilla, Betty is Spinning…

One of our high-yardage spinners hails from our shipping department. An award winning and published spinner, BettyPaepke is known for her mixing and blending of fibers. As part of preparing her fiber, she loves starting with raw fleece.

Betty has been one of our top spinners two years in a row, and this year she isn’t fooling around with how much she expects to spin: Three pounds of hand-processed fleece and a hint of dyed roving, Betty is determined to spin this pile.

Grey kerakul and two stunning shades of alpaca fiber will keep her busy for most of the week. She says that she has a lot more where this came from if she happens to run out.

The alpaca fiber actually comes from a local farm, Fuzzy Farm Alpacas, which will also be seen in a future project from Benjamin Krudwig.

Betty’s stash reminds us to also support our local fiber producers all year round. If you are hankering to spin a large quantity of fiber for Spinzilla, this is a great way to do it!

Benjamin Krudwig

Benjamin has a double degree in biology and photography (he also spins, weaves, knits and crochets)--so he's a great mix of data and creativity--all wonderful traits as a member of our sales team. You'll often hear his friendly voice on the phone and you've probably noticed his name pop up in many places: Ravelry, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube. Ben is our digital media manager—the main reason you've seen more activity from us in social media.

For Spinzilla, Denise is Spinning…

One of the industry’s favorite hand dyers of yarn and fiber is Anzula, based in California. I love the consistency and colorways of their fiber braids which include Ocean, Forest, Garden, and Fire. Sabrina searches for yarn bases and fiber that are luxurious and high quality. Anzula also sells a variety of undyed natural fiber. Don’t get me wrong, I like working with hand-dyed braids, but there’s something about natural fiber that just softens my heart! It’s this subtle beauty and purity that I  prefer. When I spin for myself, I want to connect with the animal and it’s fiber as it was grown on the animal (with some processing in this case). I guess I am just a purist at heart. I realized this when I looked at all of the un-dyed shades of luxury fiber in my Anzula stash and decided that I am going to focus on the basics for Spinzilla.

anzula fibers

I have about four pounds of fiber including silk, merino/silk blend, BFL, merino with a bit of sparkle (ok that is not completely natural, but I couldn’t resist!), corriedale, yak, baby llama, baby camel/merino, pure brown baby camel, and baby alpaca. I can’t wait! I had to put it in a box on the top shelf where I wouldn’t be tempted to spin it early.

If you would like to get Anzula fiber for Spinzilla, don’t hesitate to ask your local yarn/fiber shop to order some. Ask now to ensure delivery by Spinzilla. Planning ahead is key. What are your spinning plans for Spinzilla?

Denise Renee Grace

Denise Renee Grace first learned to weave as a student at Bethel College. She later moved to Boulder and worked in a re-purposed product company where Barry Schacht discovered her and hired her to work in our sales and service department. Denise’s first love is spinning and she is especially fond of working with natural fibers on all four of her Schacht Wheels. When it comes to weaving, tabby tickles her. In charge of customer care, Denise spends her days here helping people—something she does so well.

Benjamin Krudwig

Benjamin has a double degree in biology and photography (he also spins, weaves, knits and crochets)--so he's a great mix of data and creativity--all wonderful traits as a member of our sales team. You'll often hear his friendly voice on the phone and you've probably noticed his name pop up in many places: Ravelry, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube. Ben is our digital media manager—the main reason you've seen more activity from us in social media.

For Spinzilla, Benjamin is Spinning…

For the past few months, I have been a subscriber to the Spunky Eclectic Fiber-of-the-Month Club. A service that provides me with hand dyed fiber every month!

Each month a different fiber type/breed is chosen and then dyed by Spunky owner, Amy King, in a color way inspired by a photo. I just love getting a mystery fiber shipped every month!

Amy’s inspiration photo for “Frostbite”
“Frostbite” fiber: Photo by Tracey Alice

This fiber-of-the-month club allows me to try breeds that I wouldn’t normally buy or be able to purchase. Also, I like being challenged by the colorways I wouldn’t normally gravitate towards. I’ve found, though, that once I try them I like them!

I have at least seven braids of fiber that I have been saving for Spinzilla, with two more to come between now and Spinzilla.

I don’t have a fiber problem. It’s only a problem when I run out!

There is still a little time between now and Spinzilla, so joining a fiber-of-the-month club could provide you with some great spinning fiber ahead of time! Spunky Eclectic also has fiber for sale that isn’t part of the club, so you can get your fix in a short amount of time. With Spinzilla less than two months away, its time to stock up! As always, check out your local yarn store for spinning fibers and try to support indie dyers when you can!

Time to spin!

-Benjamin Krudwig

Benjamin has a double degree in biology and photography (he also spins, weaves, knits and crochets)–so he’s a great mix of data and creativity–all wonderful traits as a member of our sales team. You’ll often hear his friendly voice on the phone and you’ve probably noticed his name pop up in many places: Ravelry, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube. Ben is our digital media manager–the main reason you’ve seen more activity on our Blog, Facebook, Ravelry, and Pinterest. To see what’s happening, click on the links below.

 

Benjamin Krudwig

Benjamin has a double degree in biology and photography (he also spins, weaves, knits and crochets)--so he's a great mix of data and creativity--all wonderful traits as a member of our sales team. You'll often hear his friendly voice on the phone and you've probably noticed his name pop up in many places: Ravelry, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube. Ben is our digital media manager—the main reason you've seen more activity from us in social media.

Upcycled Woven Pencil Box

Last year I made a woven notebook cover using fabric I had woven on my Cricket Loom. That project was fun, as it allowed me to breathe new life into an old sketchbook. I drew inspiration from the notebook cover and used the techniques from the Woven Sachet project by Jane Patrick to make a brand new-to-me pencil box.

I gathered a used chocolate box (no I didn’t eat them all myself), yarn in a complementary colorway, a weaving needle from my Zoom Loom, and some Mod Podge for fabric.

The yarn is Mountain Colors Crazyfoot in the Poppy Trail colorway.

Using similar directions from Jane’s project, I marked the edges of my box lid for where I would cut small slits for my yarn to wrap around. Using some sock yarn that was complementary to the box, I started warping the outer layer of my box lid. Since I was going to end up needle weaving the weft in place, I needed to wind off enough yarn to weave with. I measured this by wrapping the yarn around the box for as many times as I had notches on one side. I used a plain weave structure for the top of the box (I didn’t think a twill structure would be very visible).

 

Marking the edge before cutting was helpful in checking the spacing of my yarn.

After weaving the top of the box, it was time to weave around the outside edge of the box lid. I measured enough yarn to go around the sides five times and wove plain weave on the sides as well. The was quite open which let the back cover show behind the weaving, lending a dimensional quality to the fabric.

Warp threads waiting to be woven.

I used Mod Podge meant specifically for fabric to seal the yarn and secure it to the lid. I want this box to last a long time, so having it sealed and secure is necessary. The Mod Podge lessened the intensity of the colors of the yarn, but I love finished product!

While letting the lid dry, I moved on to the bottom of the box which I left unwoven. I drilled a 1/4″ hole about an inch out from each corner of the box.

I then made a rope using the Incredible Rope Machine. I made 3 passes with the yarn and made a rope that was approximately 1 yard long. I started with the bottom facing up, and threaded my rope in one hole from the outside and through the other one to the outside, making sure the rope was pretty close to centered end to end. I then poked each end through the remaining two holes and tied them together with a square knot.

Though I haven’t been in school for quite some time now, I still have a set of colored pencils that this special box would work great for. In the meantime however, my Zoom Loom and yarn fits very well inside.

-Benjamin Krudwig

Benjamin has a double degree in biology and photography (he also spins, weaves, knits and crochets)–so he’s a great mix of data and creativity–all wonderful traits as a member of our sales team. You’ll often hear his friendly voice on the phone and you’ve probably noticed his name pop up in many places: Ravelry, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube. Ben is our digital media manager–the main reason you’ve seen more activity on our Blog, Facebook, Ravelry, and Pinterest. To see what’s happening, click on the links below.

Benjamin Krudwig

Benjamin has a double degree in biology and photography (he also spins, weaves, knits and crochets)--so he's a great mix of data and creativity--all wonderful traits as a member of our sales team. You'll often hear his friendly voice on the phone and you've probably noticed his name pop up in many places: Ravelry, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube. Ben is our digital media manager—the main reason you've seen more activity from us in social media.