Freeform, SAORI-Inspired Weaving on the Cricket Loom

 

If you are an avid fiber crafter, there’s a good chance that you’ve taken notice of weaving and the incredible surge in popularity this craft has been experiencing. Perhaps you’ve even dipped a toe in the water, having purchased a small rigid heddle loom for yourself before you order that special floor loom. Soon, you think, you’ll be freeform weaving Saori-style, just like the pros you see on Instagram.

Well, here’s a little known fact: Saori-style, freeform weaving can be done on any kind of loom, and The Cricket Loom is the perfect vehicle for delving into all of your own freeform and Saori-based weaving experiments.

What is Saori?
This free-style form of weaving, which originated in Japan, is all about exhibiting one’s true self through expressive, no-rules weaving. Saori, which means a process to uncover the hidden power of creativity, was founded by Misao Jo, who discovered through a missed warp thread that there is unique human value in a non-machine-like fabric. Saori is based on the Japanese aesthetic of Wabi-Sabi, or the acceptance of imperfection. Whatever is woven is perfect as it is: broken and repaired warp threads, lumpy selvedges, whatever … These irregularities represent the uniqueness of human-made woven cloth as compared to a “perfectly” woven cloth. Imperfections, on all levels, are to be embraced. Most of all, Saori encourages the inclusion of anyone who wishes to weave.

As a new weaver myself, exploring free-style weaving using my 15-inch Cricket rigid heddle loom has allowed me to learn by doing, without fearing results which may be somehow “wrong.”
When I first posted the photos of my orange scarf on my various social media platforms, I received dozens of questions from other Cricket owners asking for specifics on how I came to create this exact scarf. Here’s the thing: It cannot be reproduced; it is one of a kind, created from 100 percent handspun yarns at a specific point in time. However, after speaking with the nice folks at Schacht Spindle Company, we decided that a “Freeform Cricket Loom Scarf” was in order to help owners of rigid heddle looms learn to feel more comfortable with their own weaving.

orange scarf saori debbi held schacht
Orange Scarf by Debbie Held

Selecting yarn and heddle size
While I weave exclusively with my own handspun yarns, freeform weaving can and should be accomplished with almost any commercial yarn you have on hand. You may even mix yarn weights together if your heddle/reed is spaced accordingly to support the size of your yarn, though for a first project I would recommend dramatic differences in yarn size be left for weft (weaving side to side) and not for your warp.

Both the 10-and 15-inch Crickets come with an 8-dent heddle, but this recipe works equally well with the 10-dent (which has more slots/holes per inch and yields a slightly lighter weight fabric) and of course with the variable dent reed.

Building a color palette
For assured visual success, create a color palette. Select a main color (MC) from one favorite skein of fingering–DK-weight yarn, and then add to your color scheme from there.

What you’ll need for this project:
● 1 (3.5 oz) skein of fingering-DK-weight yarn in your main color (MC); tonal, semi-solid or solid being ideal.
● 1–2 skeins (3.5 oz total, so partial skeins are fine) of coordinating colored (CC) yarns, featuring a darker or lighter version of your MC plus at least one more additional color; color repeats are ideal, e.g. speckles, space-dyed, even self-patterning repeats.
● Several yards of one color pop (CP) yarn, something that stands out against your other yarns/colors.
● Bits and pieces of yarn from stash with some “extra textural personality” (think: novelty yarn, ribbon yarn, eyelash, etc. You know you still have some…) in MC, CC and/or CP. You’ll only need a few yards of each.

Not so great with color, you say? Fear not! Here are some easy ways to feel more confident in your color-gathering results:
● Trust your yarn stash and the dyers who helped you to cultivate it. Base your choices off of what you already love.
● Think of a simple theme and go with the colors it makes you think of (blues in winter; reds and oranges in fall; greys on a rainy day; etc.).
● Look at an online color wheel for added assistance.
● Try going monochromatic, using varying shades/hues of your MC and letting yarns with texture do all the work.
● If you’d rather weave with two colors, weave with two colors. It’s your weaving!

Warping the loom

If you’re new to warping a rigid heddle loom, this 3-minute video from Liz Gipson is remarkably concise and clear. I have a 15-inch Cricket, and I like my scarves warped at around 10–12 inches wide, so I tie on 1.5–2.5 inches from one side and simply work across my apron bar until I’m the same distance away from the other side. (If you’re using a 10-inch Cricket or another, narrower rigid heddle loom, go ahead and warp the entire width, unless you want a narrower scarf.) I clamp my warping peg to a bar stool and set it at 90–95 inches away from my working table, measuring from the back of the loom.

If you are comfortable with warping, tie on a second color—any from your palette—off-center, toward one side of the warp. Just eyeball it. Warp one or two slots with this second color, then tie it off and return to using your MC.

While you should have more than enough yarn for this particular project, remember that with freeform weaving there are no “mistakes”—not as one would normally consider them. Make do. You have plenty of yarn in your color collection.

Freeform Weaving

Finally, the best part: weaving.
Weave freely, inspired by your yarn selection, your mood, the weather. Try not to be too stringent about yarn placement nor about order of use, especially. Vary the order in which you weave your colors and stagger the number or rows or inches you weave with each. Every here and again, vary the yarn size (if such a choice is among your yarn selection), texture, and so on. Experiment to your heart’s content. For added zing, leave a few ends dangling when you are switching yarns, then come back and add beads to some of them (or just leave them plain) during finishing. I like to hemstitch the beginning and end of my weaving. When you can’t weave any further, remove your weaving from the loom. Finish it by soaking in a tepid bath with wool-safe wash, roll it in a towel to remove excess water, and then lay or hang to dry. Don’t be surprised to see shrinkage of approximately 10 percent. Trim your fringe using sharp scissors. (I like my fringe about 3 inches long.)

(Please note: the texture in my scarves is made up mainly from the inclusion of dyed sheep locks. I just wove them right into my fabric.)

All photos and weaving by Debbie Held.

There is simply no better way to learn any new skill than by learning through doing. As a newer weaver and an insatiable spinner, I have found my 15-inch Cricket loom to be the jelly to my handspinning’s peanut butter: delicious apart, but even more perfect together.

 

 

 

 

 

To learn more about SAORI weaving visit: www.saorinomori.com/eng/en_saori.html

Debbie Held

Debbie Held is an Atlanta-based freelance writer who is fixated on handspinning and wool. She may be reached through her website, www.debbieheld.com. She is doodler01 on both Ravelry and Instagram (where she now posts her own weaving photos).

Try Something New: progressing from a rigid heddle loom to a shaft loom

For the past 10 years, I’ve been weaving on the Flip or Cricket Loom, exploring and writing about rigid heddle weaving. Now I’m yearning to get back to working with shafts (also called harnesses) to study weave structures again.
If you are currently weaving on a rigid heddle loom, the difference between a rigid heddle loom and a shaft loom is that you have more pattern possibilities. On a rigid heddle loom, you create patterns with either a pick-up stick or by using finger-controlled weaves (You can check out my book, The Weaver’s Idea Book, to see the vast possibilities that the rigid heddle loom has to offer.) On a shaft loom you have shafts, or harnesses, that hold heddles. To thread the loom, you thread the reed that determines the sett (number of warp ends per inch) and then separately thread the heddles. The pattern is determined by the order in which you thread the heddles on the shafts. For example, you might thread the first thread in a heddle on shaft 1, the next thread in a heddle on shaft 2, and so on. Different than a rigid heddle loom where you can change the pattern by changing the pick-up stick, once you have the pattern threaded on a shaft loom, you can’t change it. What you can do, though, is change how you weave the pattern.
On a shaft loom, once you have the pattern threaded, you have the option of how you are going to lift the shafts. Let’s say that on a 4-shaft loom, you have threaded the shafts in what’s called a straight draw: 1,2,3,4; 1,2,3,4; repeat. To weave this you might lift shafts 1-2 together, 2- 3 together, then 3-4, then 1-4. This would weave what’s called a 2-2 twill. But you could change this pattern by changing the combination of shafts that are lifted. For example you could lift 1-2-3, 2-3-4, 3-4-1, 4-1-2. This is also a twill pattern, but it is called a 3-1 twill.
What I’ve given you is a very broad overview. To delve deeper, I recommend Deborah Chandler’s Learning to Weave. Working through this book is just like taking a class with this encouraging and knowledgeable teacher. Deborah really understands the different weave structures and is able to explain how to weave, for example, summer & winter, overshot, or Bronson lace (if these names intrigue you then you are on the way to exploring shaft loom weaving).
Up to now I’ve referred to just “shaft loom”. A shaft loom could be a table loom or a floor loom. A table loom is what it sounds like, a loom that sits on a table with levers for lifting the shafts. Table looms are wonderful for learning about weave structure because it is easy to change the pattern by using different levers. Examples of Schacht floor looms are the Wolf Pup, Baby Wolf, Mighty Wolf, and Standard Floor Looms. Floor looms are handy because they have treadles, or pedals, which you push with your feet to move the shafts, leaving your hands free to throw the shuttle and beat in the weft. All these looms come with 4 or 8 shafts. Essentially the more shafts, the more pattern possibilities (see book resources in the accompanying article).
On my journey back to shaft loom weaving, I decided I’d start exploring 8-shaft twill, threading up an 8-shaft table loom for a set of luncheon napkins, weaving a different weft sequence with each napkin. The yarn I chose was one I’ve wanted to use for a long time. It is a beautiful unmercerized 8/2 cotton from Mayan Hands that is commercially spun in Guatemala and hand-dyed with natural dyes by the Mayan Hands cooperative and available kit form from Cotton Clouds. To try out the colors, I threaded up broad stripes and wove the weft colors in the same way, creating a plaid. I love how the colors play against each other. This kit is sold as a kitchen towel yarn kit—but you don’t have to use the yarn this way!

progressing from rigid heddle to shaft loom

Here’s how I threaded up my loom in a straight draw: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8. I also put a floating selvedge on each edge, which is a warp thread at each selvedge (in this case the floating selvedges are doubled) threaded through the reed but not a heddle, thus floating midway in the shed. When you enter the shed you go over the floating selvedge. When you exit the shed you go under the floating selvedge. After a while it becomes an automatic motion that you don’t even notice. A floating selvedge is a good idea when you are weaving a structure where the edge thread is not caught every other row.
Here are the details:
Loom15″ 8-shaft Schacht Table Loom
Yarn: 8/2 unmercerized cotton from Mayan Hands, in 4 colors.
Color order: 34 blue, 32 white, 32 orange, 32 gold, 32 orange, 32 white, 34 blue.
EPI: 20 ends per inch (2 ends sleyed together in a 10-dent reed)
Width in reed: 11 3/8”
PPI: 20 for a balanced weave
Below is the chart, called a draft, that tells you how to thread, lift, and weave


In blue box across the top is the threading. This tells you that you are going to thread the first thread on shaft 1, the second on shaft 2, and so on. You repeat this for as many times as needed. In this case you will repeat the threading 28 times (don’t forget that the first 2 threads and that last two threads will not be threaded in a heddle).
The purple square is what’s called the tie-up. This tells you which shafts you will operate with each row of weaving. On a floor loom each column represents a treadle to which the shafts are tied, creating the lift pattern. On a table loom, as I’ve done here, you will pull down the necessary levers in each column. In this example, the first row of weaving, you will pull down levers 1,2,3 and 5. On the next row, you’ll pull down 2,3,4 and 6, and so on.

Finally the red vertical column represents the treadling, or the order in which the shafts are lifted. In this first example, I’ve repeatedly woven 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8—which makes a straight twill. You can see that the weaving makes a diagonal line in one direction.

8-shaft twill

For the next sample, you can see what happens when I changed the tie-up. The threading and the treadling are the same. I’ve only changed the tie-up box–a super easy thing to do on a table loom. 

This is just the beginning of my pattern explorations. I hope you will be inspired to try something new in 2017.

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.

Converting a Knitting Pattern into a Weaving Pattern – Part 2

 

IMG_2288

The challenge that I set up for myself was to convert a knit kimono sweater pattern to a woven one. Since knit fabrics and woven fabrics do not share the same drape and elasticity, this proved challenging. In part 1, I covered some information about sett and sampling, the specifications for weaving the body of the garment, as well as basics of the sweater’s construction. In part 2 we move on to weaving the bands and finishing the garment.

The bands require 2 warps.

Equipment: 10”-wide Cricket rigid heddle loom, 10-dent reed, 2 stick shuttles

Yarn: 250 yards Classic Elite Classic Silk, 2 skeins and 433 yards Habu Stainless Silk, 2 cones

Sampling notes: I used a 10-dent reed for my sampling. For my first sample, I alternated Classic Silk and Habu Wool Crepe in the warp and tried various wefts. My favorite part of this sample was the section with Habu Stainless Silk weft(photo: Sample 1). For the next sample warp, I tried a combination of Classic Silk and Stainless Silk, trying out different sequences of each. The second sample gave me what I was looking for (photo: sample 2). However, in my excitement to see the result, I failed to measure my sample before washing it. Therefore, the exact amount of shrinkage wasn’t possible to determine. This was an unfortunate mistake, but I guessed that it was around 10%.

While trying on the sweater assembled thus far, I looked in the mirror to figure out how long I wanted the sleeves and how wide the collar band should be. I then held a tape measure to the bottom edge of the kimono to determine where I would like it to hit my hips. (Hint, always aim for above or below the widest part of your hips.)

From my calculations, I found that two warps would be needed, one for the sleeves and collar and the other for the bottom band. For the first warp, I simply measured the circumference of the sleeves (18” on mine), then measured for the collar band, being sure to include the length of the bottom band (60” on mine).  So the math on my first warp looks like this;

collar band 60″

shrinkage 6″

sleeve  #1 18″

shrinkage 1 3/4″

sleeve #2 18″

shrinkage 1 3/4″

loom waste 20″

between pieces 2″ x 2 = 4″

Total: 129.5″ rounded up to 130″

Threading: 6 threads Classic Silk, 6 threads Stainless Silk, (4 threads Classic Silk, 6 threads Stainless Silk, repeat this sequence 7 times) End with 6 threads Classic Silk.

Total number of warp ends (epi): 88

Warp #2

Loom 10″ Cricket Loom with a 10-dent reed

Because the second warp would be just the bottom band, it would be much simpler. I needed it to be 40″ long, so I added 10% shrinkage (4″) plus 20″ loom waste. Rarely do I include take-up (the distance the warp has to travel over and under the weft) into my calculations. This is mainly because I work with fairly fine yarns and the 20″ of loom waste provides enough leeway to cover the take-up.

Warp length: 64″

Threading: 6 threads Classic Silk, 6 threads Stainless Silk, (4 threads Classic Silk, 6 threads Stainless Silk, repeat this sequence 3 times). End with 6 threads Classic Silk.

Total warp ends: 48

Time to get warped. The warping and the weaving was very straight forward, it looked like clear sailing. Until….while finishing the sleeves and the collar band I wound the last of the stainless silk onto my stick shuttle. Yep. Thought all my calculations were spot on, until I realized I was calculating using all the yardage I started with and did not take into account what I used for my samples. YARN EMERGENCY!  As luck would have it, the Habu Stainless Silk in Brick Red was no longer available from their website. Ugh. Thank goodness for the Internet.  A shop in Ohio had the yarn I needed, but couldn’t offer express shipping. Double Ugh, I said, “”YARN EMERGENCY”. Shelley from Knitterly in Petaluma, CA put on her cape and saved my day. Understanding that there are yarn emergencies, she went straight to the post office for me and my yarn arrived just as I was finishing the first band. Crisis averted, I finished the bands and washed them. What a happy surprise when I measured the pieces and the shrinkage was exactly ten percent!

I attached the bands using my sewing machine, binding the exposed edges with a 1 1/2” nylon tricot. Starting with the sleeves, I sewed right side to right side together at the very edge of the hemstitching. Laying the right side of the fabric to the right side of the tricot, I ran a stitch in 1/4″ from the edge.

Then I folded the tricot with its wrong side to the fabric’s right side and sewed a stitch in the ditch on the right side of the fabric to catch the tricot on the back. I did this on all the bands, then I folded the bound edge down to the wrong side of the main fabric and used a hemstitch to sew the tricot binding to the main fabric. The bands were then attached by overlapping the bands on top of the main fabric and sewing two straight lines of stitching. (This keeps the bands flat to the main fabric and reduces the bulk.) Voila, a woven kimono sweater.

Hindsight is always 20/20, and in the middle of this project I felt discouraged, like I had failed to prove my point that weaving is faster than knitting. Then, realizing that if I had had a pattern that someone had edited, sampled and tested, this would have been a very fast and straightforward weaving project. The total time for warping and weaving off all of the pieces for this project was around 9 hours–much faster than if I had knit this piece. I also realize that I gained several nuggets of wisdom. In addition, the enjoyment that I will get from having made this kimono myself and the experience I gained from making it helps me in future projects. No one can take knowledge away from you…or my sweater from me!

Stephanie Flynn-Sokolov

Stephanie Flynn Sokolov trained in accessory design at the Fashion Institute of Technology. She teaches classes in weaving and spinning around the U.S. She lives in Boulder, Colorado.

Converting a Knitting Pattern to a Weaving Pattern – Part 1

Equipment: Schacht Rigid Heddle Loom (Flip or Cricket) 15” or wider, 10-dent rigid heddle reed, darning needle.

Materials: 7 Skeins Classic Silk Color # 6979 (50% cotton, 30% silk, 20% nylon, 135 yards per 50g)

Trim: Habu Wool Crepe, color C3004 (100% Merino wool, 747 yard per 28g or 1oz)

Matching sewing thread for assembly.

Weaving is so fast. At least that is what I tell new weavers (and myself) when it comes to committing to a project. Why would I knit it when I could weave it in less than half the time? Now is the time for me to put the money where the loom is.

Recently, I unearthed a knitting pattern for a kimono purchased years ago with the intended yarn, Classic Silk, in a bag ready to go. Looking at the pattern it occurred to me why I had never cast on: too much knitting. But, after looking at the pattern and realizing that all the pieces were rectangles, it struck me that this was the perfect knitting project to convert to weaving. The first big question was whether I would have enough yarn. Since the pattern and the yarn had been purchased years ago, the likelihood of finding the same dye lot was bleak. In order to determine the amount of yarn I would need I first needed to sample. After doing a yarn wrapping (16 wpi), I determined that I would first try a 10-dent reed. The fabric that I was aiming for was something soft and supple, but firm with a little give. This was my reasoning for starting with the 10-dent reed instead of an 8-dent which would be the usual starting point with a 16 wpi yield (16 wraps per inch divided by 2 = 8). I thought that if I sampled different beats in plain weave, hopefully I would hit my mark on the first try.

Warping the loom with 36″ warp length, 5” wide gave me enough length to sample 4 variations. First, I beat the weft densely at 17 picks per inch (ppi) using the same yarn as the warp. After just a little weaving, I knew it was too firm. Next, I tried 10 ppi, then 8 ppi and finally, I tried a favorite yarn, Habu wool crepe. This very fine, over-twisted yarn beat in at 25 ppi. After washing and drying the sample, the 8 ppi was my favorite, followed by the Habu wool crepe.

This is often how I arrive at my setts and beat samples. If you keep records of your samples, you may find one that didn’t make the cut for this project but would be a great start for a different project later on.

Instructions

A kimono garment shape is a great place to start if you are fearful of cutting into your handwoven fabric. When converting a knitting pattern to weaving, you first need to convert each pattern piece in your size to the correct finished dimensions as indicated on your pattern.

Now you need to think (yikes, sometimes it hurts). Plan your woven pieces to take into account take-up, draw-in, and shrinkage in both the warp and weft, easy if you made a sample. For example, if you know your sample shrank 11.5% in length, you will need to weave your piece 11.5% longer than the finished piece before washing. The same holds true for the width. Making all these little calculations allowed me to weave the back (in two pieces), the right front, left front and both sleeves on only two warps.

The first warp was 118″ long and 10″ wide (total 100 warp ends). I wove two pieces each at 22 1/4″ long and two pieces each 25 1/2″ long with only 20″ allowed for take-up and loom waste (so you’ll need to economize when you tie on your warp and weave as far as you can on the loom). The second warp was 66″ long and 13 1/4″ wide (total 132 warp ends) with 15″ for take up and loom waste. My finished pieces measured as follows: sleeves–9″ x 20″, fronts–9″ x 23″ and two back pieces–12″ x 23″.

Layout

When weaving multiple pieces on the same warp, the space in-between the pieces needs to be taken into account and prepared for finishing the raw ends.

Schacht 2016 Convert a Sweater Pattern End Finishing Photo 3

Hint: Reduce bulk by using a very fine yarn or thread at the beginning and end of each piece with hemstitching. This is very helpful when sewing together the shoulder seams and underneath the sleeves.

Once all your pieces are woven, wash and dry them the same way you did your sample.

Now, assemble your pieces as your pattern dictates. Like a traditional kimono, there is a trim that runs up the front to become the neckband and trim on the bottom of the sleeves. I’ll cover weaving the trim–red in the diagram–and finishing next month in part 2.

I sewed the back center seam first. I used a flat sewing stitch.

sewing

Next, I used a back stitch to sew the right and left fronts to the back at the shoulder seams starting at the outside edge leaving a neck opening.

Schacht 2016 Convert a Sweater Pattern Shoulder Back stitch

To attach the sleeves, find the midpoint and pin it to the shoulder seam and sew using the same flat stitch used for butting the back pieces together. Now you will have one continuous piece that looks like the Kimono Layout. Use the flat stitch again to sew the seam from the armpit to the bottom right and left. The last seam will be the backstitch from the armpit to the cuff of the sleeve. Now you will have a t-shirt looking cardigan. This technique for converting a pattern works best with square or rectangular pieces. Although you can convert any knitting pattern to weaving, remember that woven fabric doesn’t stretch the same as a knit, and you may need to change the ease or even go up a size in the pattern. Right now I am not sure if it is faster than knitting, only time and the next installment will tell.  Until then….

In Converting a Sweater Pattern Part 2, I will cover weaving and attaching the band along with embellishments.

Stephanie Flynn-Sokolov

Stephanie Flynn Sokolov trained in accessory design at the Fashion Institute of Technology. She teaches classes in weaving and spinning around the U.S. She lives in Boulder, Colorado.

Three Easy Weaving Projects for the 20″ Flip Loom – Mountain Meadow Wools Collaboration

For this month’s yarn collaboration, we worked with Mountain Meadow Yarns. Their rustic, American grown and milled yarn paired perfectly with the Schacht Flip Loom. All three of the following projects can be made with the 20″ model of Flip. The rise of small looms continues, and you can create stunning woven pieces in very little time, with nothing more than plain weave and some stunning yarn. If you make any of these projects or other woven projects with Mountain Meadow Yarns, tag them on Instagram with the hashtag #MountainMeadowWeaves.

Houndstooth Pillow

Houndstooth Piullow

Equipment: 20″ Flip Loom with a 5-dent reed

Yarn: 2 skeins of Sheridan in Medium Grey (102 yards per skein) and 2 skeins of Sheridan in Geranium (102 yards per skein)

Other Notions: 16″ pillow form

Warp: 2 yards long, 18″ wide in reed

Warping: Using the direct, peg warping method, alternate colors in each slot while warping. That is, sley all of the Grey yarns first, threading a slot, skipping a slot and so on. After all of the Grey yarns are threaded, fill in the empty slots with Geranium. Wind the warp onto the back beam and then thread the adjacent holes. Your color order will be 2 Grey, 2 Geranium, repeat.

Weaving: Alternate 2 ends of Grey and 2 ends of Geranium, repeat, just as you did in the warp. Weave a balanced weave which means that you will see a square space (not a rectangle space or lack of space) between the intersection of the warp and weft threads. This will ensure that the houndstooth pattern will be balanced warp-wise and weft-wise.

Finishing: To secure the weft for washing, knot the warp yarns in groups of 4 on both ends of the weaving. Wash in hot water with soap, rinse  in cool water with a 1/2 cup of vinegar, and then rinse in clean water for 15 minute each. Put the fabric in the dryer with a few towels on medium heat for 15 minutes, checking frequently. Lay flat to dry.

To make the pillow: Wrap the fabric around the 16”x16” square pillow form. To measure, start with a knotted end and place it in the middle of the pillow. Then wrap the fabric all the way around the pillow form, past the knotted end and to the edge of the pillow form (like an envelope). Mark this end at the edge of the pillow and sew a couple of zigzag lines across at this point. (You can also serge this line.) Turn over the zigzag end and hand sew a 1/2″ hem. Lay the fabric flat with the right wide up (hem down) and fold it in an envelope with the knotted side first and the right side of the hem meeting the edge of the pillow. Single crochet or stitch up the sides and turn right side out.

 

Forest Wrap

green wrap

 

Equipment: 20″ Flip with a 5-dent reed.

Yarn: Laramie, 1 skein of Forest variegated and 1 skein- of Grass semi solid.

Warp: 130″ of Forest variegated, 20″ wide.

Warping: Using the direct peg warping method, sley some slots and leave others open in a random manner in this way: s2 o3 s1 o2 s2 o3 s1 o1 s1 o2 s2 o3 s1 o1 s1 o2 s2 o3 s2 o2 s1 o1 s1 o2 s2 o2 s1 o2 s2. Note: s= sley, o=open, as in s2= sley two slots, o3=leave 3 slots unthreaded, and so on.

swatch
This has been rotated to the warp is vertical and the weft is horizontal.

Weaving: Using Grass weave 8 picks of balanced weave, then leave one inch open or unwoven (you can use a thin cardboard as a spacer across the warp if you find that helpful, removing it after the next 8 picks are woven). Alternate in this manner for the entire length of the warp.

Finishing: Remove from the loom and secure the ends by tying the warp threads in groups of 4. Wash the fabric in the washing machine with detergent on warm with on a short cycle, checking often so as to not over full. Place the fabric in the dryer with a bath towel for 30 minutes on medium heat, checking the fabric every 5 minutes or so. Tighten any loose knots and cut off the excess warp near the knot.

 

Salmon Scarf

salmon scarf

 

Equipment: 20” Flip with an 8-dent reed

Yarn: Salem, 2 skeins of scarlet.

Warp: 103″ long, 18 1/2″ wide.

Warping: Using the direct peg warping method, thread the first 2 slots then thereafter skip every other slot in the reed with ending with 2 threaded slots on the other edge.

Weaving: Weave in loosely in plain weave at about 6 picks per inch.

salmon swatch

Finishing: Remove the fabric from the loom and secure the ends by tying groups of 4 warp threads. Wash the fabric on a warm, short cycle with detergent, checking the fabric often. Place the fabric in the dryer with a towel and dry on medium for about 30 minutes, checking often.

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.

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.

Projects Abound

Beth Smith and Jillian Moreno

Beth Smith and Jillian Moreno live about 30 minutes from each other and spend a lot of spinning time together, trading ideas and cheering each other on. Recently, the two have found weaving sneaking into their thoughts more and more. “Wouldn’t it be fun,” they said, “to do a project where we spin our yarn and weave it and see what happens?” “Yes!” they said, “that sounds like an awesome plan.” We thought so, too. Through the end of the year, they will post on the Schacht Spindle blog, telling you about their journey weaving with handspun on a rigid heddle loom.

Beth:

The fabric is off the loom; finished and trimmed, but there is still some work to do to make a skirt.

I made a pattern for a six-gore skirt. I chose six gores because I used a 15″-wide loom. I knew the fabric would shrink and estimated that the finished fabric would be about 13 inches wide. This may seem opposite of what may have been the safe way of proceeding: finishing the fabric and then making the pattern. However, since I had made a sample and finished it before, I had enough information to continue weaving my yardage.

I only needed one pattern piece because all six gores would be identical for this skirt. I took that piece, beginning at one end of the fabric, pinned it down and traced it with tailor’s chalk. I traced every gore before cutting just to make sure that everything would fit. Luckily I still had about 12 inches left of excess fabric!

columbia skirt rh cut

Once everything was cut, I went to the sewing machine and sewed each piece together, remembering to leave an adequate opening on one side of the skirt for the zipper.

Columbia skirt sewing

Before I added the zipper I tried the skirt on my own body and then I put it on the dress form and let it sit there overnight. This would allow the fabric to move around if it wanted to.

Next I cut and sewed the lining in the same way I sewed the body of the skirt. I wanted to line it for several reasons. First, most high-quality clothing is lined, and since I had spun, woven, and sewed this myself I am considering it couture! In addition, I decided to not have a waist band for this project. Adding a lining would allow that top edge to be finished.

columbia skirt no lining

And finally comes the zipper and the hem.

columbia skirt zipper

You might think this skirt is finished now but it isn’t. Even though I love to spin and weave with white, I really like color in my wardrobe. The plan is to send this skirt to Amy King, the owner of Spunky Eclectic, in Maine. She will put her expert dyeing hands to work to make this skirt extra special.

I’m not showing you the fully finished skirt yet, so stay tuned for the beautiful modeling of this project.

 

Jillian:

Wow-wee I am almost done!

What I did for this round wasn’t time consuming or even a big deal, if you’re Beth, but it scared the snot out of me. Scissors + handwoven cloth = the heebie-jeebies. I also sewed my cloth with a machine.

I am a big baby when it comes to cutting and sewing handwoven cloth. I don’t even like to trim my fringe.

To make my mobius wrap I have to finish my ends and sew them together somehow. I had a few choices to think about while I finished my edges.

1 sewing

I knew I wasn’t going to get perfectly smooth and even ends without a serger, so I let that little glimmer of perfectionism go right away. I sewed one line of stitches last time on my dying Singer. I got paranoid that that single line of sewing wasn’t going to hold, so I added two more lines of stitching on each side, close to the first line.

2 lines

Yes, I sew really crookedly, which is one of the reasons I don’t quilt or make my own clothes. The other is that I can’t cut a straight line to save my life. You’ll see in a second. I sewed my lines and then I had to trim my cloth close to the stitches: the cutting part. I put my cloth in the brightest light I could find and checked at least three times that it wasn’t doubled over in any spots, then cut.

3 cutting

I cut the fabric on both ends as close to the sewn lines as I could without cutting through them. Success! They are not entirely straight lines, but still success.

4 cut edges

Then came the decorative stitching. I wasn’t worried about this as much, but since I was using my weft yarn, I knew the stitch I chose had to be simple, because the yarn is pretty big. I did some thinking and looking through books and decided that I wanted to use an insertion stitch .

Insertion stitches are used to hold two edges of cloth together, sometimes with a space between them. I tried five different stitches before going back to the plainest one. The yarn was too big for anything fancy, because instead of fancy I was getting clumpy. I used a stitch called Twisted Insertion Stitch by Mary Thomas and Twisted Faggoting Stitch by Elizabeth Glasier Foster in Embroidery and Design in the New Stitchery (1926).

5 books

Again I used a lot of light and a wooden lap desk to separate the layers of cloth.  I twisted my fabric, so it would be a mobius when stitched together and stitched it, pulled it out, stitched it, messed with the spacing and tension, and called it done.

6 stitching done

I think it came out good, but not great. I love the twisted side, but the stitched side needs more.

7 twist

I want more stitching, more embellishing. I’m going back to my embroidery books to make a plan for what to add.

One of the great things about working with variegated yarn is having so many colors to choose from when I use it for embroidery.

8 yarn

This is what I have left and I know I can really add to the wrap with just a bit of stitching here and there. Next time you can see it my embellishing and see me wearing my wrap.

Part Six

Part Eight

Beth Smith

Jillian Moreno

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.

Finishing the Cloth

Beth Smith and Jillian Moreno

Beth Smith and Jillian Moreno live about 30 minutes from each other and spend a lot of spinning time together, trading ideas and cheering each other on. Recently, the two have found weaving sneaking into their thoughts more and more. “Wouldn’t it be fun,” they said, “to do a project where we spin our yarn and weave it and see what happens?” “Yes!” they said, “that sounds like an awesome plan.” We thought so, too. Through the end of the year, they will post on the Schacht Spindle blog, telling you about their journey weaving with handspun on a rigid heddle loom.

Beth:

This week I took my cloth off the loom and finished it.

I learned something that I knew in my head but had to experience for myself. Weaving on a rigid heddle loom takes a bit of time if you are making a lot of yardage with fine yarn; the floor loom is much faster. Probably 3 times faster. That includes winding, threading, and weaving. This whole weaving took me about 5 weeks total – not including the spinning, which was about a week for the full 4,000 yards. That includes several days where I wove for more than 6 hours in a day. So if you are thinking about doing a project like this, plan on a good 3 months of focus from start to finish. However, the rigid heddle loom is a fine alternative to a floor loom if you don’t have the space or budget for one. My selvedges are pretty even, the tension was good and the fabric turned out beautifully.

After I came to the end – that’s where the warp won’t advance anymore and you can no longer get the shuttle through the shed – I cut the fabric off and took it to the sewing machine so I could zig zag the edges so the threads wouldn’t ravel in the washer.

schacht drying (5)

After the sewing the ends of the fabric, I went back to my comfy chair to sew in any ends that needed to be secured or fix any holes that occurred due to fixing broken threads. Only 3 threads broke throughout the weaving. During weaving, I fixed these with a knot tied to the broken thread and the end of the new yarn wrapped around a t-pin. Broken threads used to terrify me, but I’m getting pretty good at them now. With the fabric off the loom, I used a sharp darning needle and just wove in the ends for about an inch. I let the ends hang there until after the fabric was finished. At this point I trimmed all the threads even with the fabric surface.

schacht drying (2)

Off I went to the (top-loading) washing machine. I filled it with HOT water and a tiny bit of soap. For this type of fabric, I like to use Soak wash because the fabric doesn’t require rinsing–and because its easy. I let the fabric soak for at least 15 minutes and then I turned on the agitation for 5 minutes. I then checked the fabric, making sure that the fabric was cohesive. Everything looked good so I spun it out in the washer. I then placed the fabric in the dryer, this time for 10 minutes.

schacht drying (4)

I removed the still-damp fabric from the dryer and then I used the iron and pressed it under a cloth on the highest setting. This takes out any wrinkles or bends. You don’t want the wrinkles to dry into it or, according to Sara Lamb, you are stuck with them forever.

schacht drying (3)

After pressing, I hung the yardage over a hanger and let it dry the rest of the way.

schacht drying (1)

Next I’m going to chop it all up and make it be a skirt. Keep watching!

Jillian:

I finished my cloth this week. It really shouldn’t have taken as long as it did, but I kept squeezing in other projects. To finish I set myself up in front of the TV and watched selected episodes from the first season of Outlander. I may have dreamed about weaving a tartan. I may have thought about other, less weaverly things too.

I was grateful to have discovered the arcing style of laying in weft early in my practice weaving. Every time I noticed my selvedge edges pulling in, I added more arc to my weft and they smoothed right out.

The first thing I noticed when I pulled my cloth off of the loom…well, right after swinging the cloth over my head and doing a little victory dance… is that I miss a lot of threads when I weave.

1 float

I took a peek into Liz Gipson’s Weaving Made Easy and found an easy fix. Using some matching weft yarn and for a couple of inches in either direction follow the path of the weft thread with the skip, right next to it and work the correct under or over at the mistake spot.

2 needle fix

I did some corrections above and some below the thread with the mistake and it didn’t seem to make a difference which side I did the correction on. I could see the double threads, but it really did help the skipped thread recede.

3 fixing threads 1

Because I’m going to sew the end of my cloth together to make a mobius, I stitched a straight line close to both ends using my sewing machine. I was going to use a zig-zag stitch, but my machine had other ideas and just sewed straight while overheating. It was $20 at a garage sale about six years ago, I’m glad it made it through these last two stitched lines! Maybe Santa will bring me a new sewing machine.

4 stitched line

After stitching my edges, I finished my cloth. That’s a simple sentence but it created such anxiety in my little maker heart. I spun the yarn and wove this cloth, and I was fully aware I could totally screw it up in the finishing. Should I finish it in the sink or in the washing machine? I had an idea that I wanted to finish it in the sink with a hot water soak. I wanted the threads to pull in just a little, for the most drape, and I thought that a machine even on a delicate cycle would do more than that.

I did an experiment first. I took my practice weaving, which I wove using superwash merino yarn, and ran it through the washer on delicate and low dry in the dryer. I am not a huge fan of superwash yarn. I think it feels limp and not quite right, like the life has been stripped out of it. My woven cloth came out fine — not too stiff and really fluffy.

5 sw cloth

The fringe I tied at the ends was another story. Remember the groundhog that lives under my deck? My fringe looked like he had special Outlander-inspired frolicking times with my fringe.

6 fringe sw

Because the yarn was superwash the ends came completely untwisted and frayed. My original idea to do a soft finish to my handspun cloth was cemented.

I soaked my cloth in tap-hot water with a drop of SOAK Wash for 30 minutes. I rolled it in a towel and hung it near my fireplace to dry. Now I can’t quit petting it. It’s drapey and Blue Faced Leicester silky. The warp and weft pulled in just slightly and the yarns plumped. The result is spectacular, better than I had hoped.

7 finished cloth

The play of the color is another thing that worked beyond my plan, which was to throw it at the wall and see what sticks. The two colorways I chose worked really well together. The warp was mostly red with some orange and the weft ran between a sage green, orange and dark blue-green. I really like that I can see the color changes in the weft. I can already feel a bunch of color experiments gathering in my brain.

8 cloth color

The cloth I made also passed my favorite test: the one where I leave it sitting on my dining room table and see how many people touch it and comment. A lot of people touched this one. Even my mostly wool-allergic husband touched it. Other people stroked it, squished it, flung it around their neck, and generally cooed over it.

I can’t wait to put this shawl together. There will be hand stitching and maybe even some embroidery, but that’s for next time!

Part Five

Part Seven

Beth Smith

Jillian Moreno

Winter Berry Shrug

Winter Berry Shrug

We partnered with Skacel to create this stunning piece which is featured in their Magalog, volume 8. Our Winter Berry Shrug is woven in a subtle plaid using five lovely shades of HiKoo Sueno in the warp. For weft we alternated HiKoo Sueno and Tiara for just a hint a sparkle.

This was a true collaboration of all of our local talent. Sara Goldenberg, Jane’s co-author of Simple Woven Garments, designed the fabric. We engaged our shipping clerk, spinner and weaver, Betty Paepke, to weave the fabric on a 25” Flip Loom. Jane adapted the original shrug pattern from Simple Woven Garments by adding a pick-up pattern to the cuffs and tapering the sleeves. Judy Pagels, our shipping manager and one of our resident knitters, created the perfect cuffs that add a layered look to the piece. You can find the instructions at:  http://www.skacelknitting.com/Winter-Berry-Shrug/

Check out all of Skacel’s dreamy yarns at www.skacelknitting.com

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.

Dispatches from the Loom

Beth Smith and Jillian Moreno

Beth Smith and Jillian Moreno live about 30 minutes from each other and spend a lot of spinning time together, trading ideas and cheering each other on. Recently, the two have found weaving sneaking into their thoughts more and more. “Wouldn’t it be fun,” they said, “to do a project where we spin our yarn and weave it and see what happens?” “Yes!” they said, “that sounds like an awesome plan.” We thought so, too. Through the end of the year, they will post on the Schacht Spindle blog, telling you about their journey weaving with handspun on a rigid heddle loom.

Beth:

I’m deep in the weaving of the yardage. Deep. I’m only about 1/3 of the way through, but the fabric is beautiful. Beautiful enough that I am encouraged to continue on. I am in no way saying that everybody will want to weave 6 yards of white fabric. If that sounds like too much for you, please add color. But I have a long and delightful relationship with white.

Fabric on the front beam

I’ve learned a lot, too. 

First, I’ve learned that with a sticky yarn, tighter tension is better. This yarn is sticky because it is woolen spun, so there are lots of little bits that stick out. That means when the sheds are changing, the warp yarns get stuck on each other. Tight tension allows the threads to move past each other more easily.

You might be saying, “But Beth, you talked in the last post about how the threads have lower twist in the singles and the ply! How can you tighten the tension so much?” Well, let me tell you. You can. Think about a piece of paper. You can rip one piece very easily. If, however, you take a stack of 200 pages you can’t rip it. Works the same way with yarn. The tension is distributed over the whole warp width and so even though I can easily break one thread with my hands, I can tighten the tension with no breakage.

Second, I learned the benefit of advancing the warp more often. The main reason for this is that on the rigid heddle loom, one set of threads stays stationary and one is moved up and down. The ones moving up and down are being stretched. As you weave more and more and don’t advance, those threads are getting stretched even more because a shorter length of yarn has to go into the up and down shed. To avoid stretching them excessively I advance every 2 inches or so.

Third, the Schacht Flip is superior to other rigid heddles with the double heddle option. Because the second heddle spot is built in, everything is in the proper position when you change sheds. Because the rear heddle sits a bit higher than the front heddle, everything is in line. With another brand that I used, the open shed isn’t as clean in front of the reed as it is with the Schacht. Any messiness is behind, as you can see from the photo.

Open shed on Flip loom

Of course with this much yardage to weave I need to spend a lot of time doing it. And there can be issues with that since it is less portable than say, knitting a sock. Regardless, I’ve been making it work. In October I had a 2-week trip and it just went along with me. This would not be possible with my floor loom, so a rigid heddle loom, especially one that folds like the Flip is a great for traveling.

Loom in the car

When I’m home, I just make sure I do some weaving every day. It takes me about an hour to weave 6 inches, so I need to keep at it.

One more tip: Make sure to give your yarn a bit of an angle with each throw of the shuttle. The weft yarn will be longer than the warp width when you go to beat it in, but because of the up-and-down movement around each warp thread, you need that extra length.

Diagonal weft

And just so you know…I’m doing an even weave for this fabric. I have 20 ends per inch and so I am matching that with 20 picks per inch. What I’ve decided is that I would want to try this fabric again with the warp sett even closer and see what would happen if I weave a warp faced fabric. I have a tendency to start asking questions during a project that lead to even more experiments. I’ll keep you updated with the results.

 

Jillian:

Finally it’s time to weave! Well, after I get the loom warped.

I’m really glad I did a test weave before I tackled this main project. I learned quite a bit, just getting something on and off the loom without being worried about the outcome.

I wound all of my yarn into cakes before warping, I knew I didn’t want to warp from yarn on a swift. It was too tangly when I tried that with my scarf.

While I wound my yarn I remeasured the wpi on all three yarns and got 9 pretty consistently, a little big for a 8 epi sett.  As I wound, I pondered my wrap-to-be, I really wanted it drapey and I read on a few weaving blogs that for plain weave, your sett should be ½ (ish) of wpi, so I decided to change my sett from 8 epi to 5 epi.

I know, I live on the wild side.

Even Beat

 

I redid my warp and weft math. I knew I had enough, that my yarn totals would be less going with a smaller sett, but I wanted to see it in black and white. My new totals are 163 yards for warp (down from 261) and 140 yards for weft (down from 224). I kept everything else the same: finished size of 12”x 60”, 12” for loom waste, 10% for take up and 10% for draw in; I just changed the sett from 8 to 5.

That my wrap will use less yarn made me happier from a color standpoint. I have three yarns, one primarily red, one primarily orange and one dark purple. Using less yardage overall means I won’t have to dip so heavily into the dark purple yarn that will dampen the rest of the colors.

Three skeins of yarn

I used the direct method of warping, the same as my practice weaving. I did remember to turn my loom the right way this time! I like warping this way; it’s quick and easy. It does take up space, but I took the dining room table hostage for an evening.  Threading 5 epi is fantastically quick and I ended up making my wrap a little wider than I originally planned; I threaded 14” instead of 12”. This is exactly why I need to think in terms of “ish” — I like to change my plans on the go.

warp set up

When I started weaving I remembered what I learned about placement of weft yarn and selvedges. For me, my selvedges stay more even if I place my yarn in an arc rather than a diagonal. I’m not sure why, but the difference in my practice piece was dramatic so I made sure to do it this way.

placing weft

I am really happy that I can cart my Cricket around from room to room; I worked at the dining room table, on my lap and using the stand. I have extra love for weaving on the stand because the height of the loom is close to the height of the orifice on my Matchless, so my favorite spinning chair is perfect to use for weaving too.

Stand height

Ready for my hot tip and my lemonade-from-lemons moment? I realized that weaving 5 weft threads to the inch was trickier than I thought because of the need for more precise spacing and the need to pay attention. However, I cut my index finger to the bone this week in the kitchen (don’t ask, it was monumentally stupid) – an injury that required 7 stitches and a fat band aid. To help myself maintain my weft spacing, I marked 5 evenly spaced lines over an inch on my band aid and used it to check my warp threads. Perfectly lazy/genius, my favorite type of trick!

making lemons into lemonade

Part Four

Part Six

Beth Smith

Jillian Moreno

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.

The Weaver and the Groundhog

Beth Smith and Jillian Moreno live about 30 minutes from each other and spend a lot of spinning time together, trading ideas and cheering each other on. Recently, the two have found weaving sneaking into their thoughts more and more. “Wouldn’t it be fun,” they said, “to do a project where we spin our yarn and weave it and see what happens?” “Yes!” they said, “that sounds like an awesome plan.” We thought so, too. Through the end of the year, they will post on the Schacht Spindle blog, telling you about their journey weaving with handspun on a rigid heddle loom.

Beth Smith and Jillian Moreno

Beth

This week is all about sampling on the loom. I know. It sounds hard, and frankly it’s what kept me from weaving anything more serious than a scarf for years. But, I have had knitting projects that were a disaster because I didn’t knit a swatch. And I tell my students how important it is to sample for the yarn they are spinning–all the way through a finished fabric–to make sure the yarn is going to work for its intended purpose. Heck, I wrote a whole book about sampling! It’s called The Spinner’s Book of Fleece. So, I decided that I would stop being a baby and learn how to sample on a loom.

It is true that when you are sampling for weaving it will take a bit more yarn than a knitted or crocheted swatch. And yes, if you are spinning for weaving, the yarn feels that much more precious. However, I’d rather spin a few extra hundred yards and know that my fabric will work, than spin a thousand yards or more that never see the light of day because the fabric failured.

So, I started with what I know. I know that generally, if you want a balanced plain weave, you take the wraps per inch (wpi) and divide by two to get the ends per inch (epi). My yarn had about 18 wpi, so according to this formula, I would sett it at 9 epi. The thing is, I want to make a skirt, and I had made a few samples a couple of years ago when I started to think about this project. I made three samples at that time. One sample was sett at 10 epi, one at 12 epi and one at 15 epi. None of the samples were right. None of them were woven tightly enough to make a skirt that was going to be stretched and twisted and sat on.

First skirt samples

Since I knew all of that, I decided to sett this sample at 20 epi and see how things worked out. I was worried that the fabric might be too stiff, but I went ahead. I could always make more yarn and try again. So I put a yard of warp on the loom and I made a sample the full 15″ on my Flip Loom. I wanted to be able to see how the fabric would drape, so a large sample was important. (Remember that all of the rules about sett are just guidelines.) It’s sort of like the gauge that is listed on a yarn ball. You can do whatever is best for your project.

Twenty epi on a rigid heddle loom requires two 10-dent heddles and some fancy warping that you can find in The Weaver’s Idea Book by Jane Patrick. It took me a little bit to figure it out but once I had threaded the first inch I was on a roll.

Since I was weaving a plain weave fabric, both heddles were moved to the same position each time I needed to change the shed. (There are some weave structures, like twill, where you move the heddles independently of each other.)

columbia rigid heddle weaving

After I wove the fabric with about the same number of picks per inch as I had ends per inch, I removed the fabric from the loom and zigzagged along the cut edges so the fabric wouldn’t ravel. I finished the fabric according to the finishing instructions in Spin to Weave by Sara Lamb. First, I threw the sample in very hot water in the washing machine and let it soak for 20 minutes. Then, I turned the machine on and let it agitate for 5 minutes. I began checking the sample every minute until the fabric seemed to be sufficiently fulled. I wasn’t going for felted fabric, but I did want the yarns to settle in together. After a full ten minutes of agitation, I was happy with the fabric. I spun the water out in the machine and then threw it in the dryer. I know! It’s wool! But I did it anyway because Sara said so. I left it in there for about 10 minutes. At this point it wasn’t completely dry but it was fluffed up. I then pressed fabric with a press cloth. I know! I put a hot iron on wool. I didn’t move the iron back and forth, rather I would put it down in a spot then lifted it up, and the put it at the next spot. This took away any wrinkles and dried the fabric more. I laid it flat until it was completely dry.

Columbia rigid heddle fabric

At this point I made my decision that I was happy with the fabric and I would stick with 20 epi for the actual skirt weaving.

Since I was happy, it was time to finish spinning the rest of the yarn I would need. We’ll talk about that next time.

Jillian

This week for me was all about remembering how to weave. I’ve spun my warp yarns for my mobius and thought about just jumping in and warping the loom with those, but I had a tickly feeling that my weaving skills were more than a bit rusty.

In the end, I decided to do a dry run with commercial yarn and boy am I glad I did.

I grabbed two skeins of DK superwash merino from Fiberstory that I’ve been hoarding. The darker (Milo) would be used for the warp and the reddish (October), I would use for weft. I’ll do a scarf, I thought, it’ll be quick, I thought. Snort.

Fiberstory yarn

First came the warping of the Cricket. I was too lazy to wind my yarn into a cake so I warped off of a skein winder. It was a lovely fall day and I worked on my back deck. It was breezy, lovely to stand around in, but not so great when the breeze constantly wraps your yarn around the swift, stopping it dead. There was grumbling and words not fit for this blog.

Warping off a swift

I finished warping the loom and wound my yarn around the, back beam, wait, no, I wound it onto the front beam! I warped my loom backwards! Holy cats, I looked at all of the pictures, I even had extra tea, my brain should have been working better! More words were muttered, but I wound my warp through to the back beam and re-tied the loom the right way.

Warped Backwards

If I had been using my handspun for this I would have been sweating buckets. This is my first ever handspun-for-warp project, so I’m feeling a little precious about my warp-to-be yarn.

Handspun warp

I finished threading the loom with no problems and then started weaving. I decided to use the leftover Milo color for thin stripes in the weft between the thicker stripes of October, just to see how the colors played out with a matching and a contrasting variegated yarn. I wove some in the afternoon and some at night while I watched TV. (Quantico, if you must know. Don’t judge.) It went well, at least until I looked at it in the morning.

My loom looked like the groundhog that lives under my deck snuck in and did my weaving. My edges were ragged, both too loose and too tight. I had threads I didn’t catch, so there are floats on top. The saddest part was I was looking right at my weaving while I worked because I was focused on the spacing of the weft threads.

Weaving woes

I went to my books and read about selvedges. When I wove before I always angled my warp threads in a big diagonal, but now I tried putting them in as more of an arc.

I watched both my weft spacing and my selvedges, looking at the bigger weaving picture. I also had that sad talk with myself, “Woman, you are 52 years old, you cannot weave a dark warp with dark weft in a dark room. You need extra light”. Sad, but true.

6 better selvedge

It all smoothed out with light and patience and few tricks from the weaving books. I’m running away this weekend for cabin and movie time with a bunch of other crafty women. I’ll be finishing this scarf up and putting on my precious handspun warp. We’ll see what mischief happens this time. Maybe the groundhog is a better weaver?

 

 

Part Two

Part Four

Beth Smith

Jillian Moreno

Sampling: the Long and Short of it

Beth Smith and Jillian Moreno live about 30 minutes from each other and spend a lot of spinning time together, trading ideas and cheering each other on. Recently, the two have found weaving sneaking into their thoughts more and more. “Wouldn’t it be fun,” they said, “to do a project where we spin our yarn and weave it and see what happens?” “Yes!” they said, “that sounds like an awesome plan.” We thought so, too. Through the end of the year, they will post on the Schacht Spindle blog, telling you about their journey weaving with handspun on a rigid heddle loom.

Beth

This week we’re talking about sampling our fiber to get the yarn we want for our project.

When this rigid heddle weaving project came along I decided to make it an extension of the floor loom project – I thought it might be fun to make two skirts out of the same yarn on two different looms and compare the resulting fabrics. I had already started spinning Columbia wool from Imperial Stock Ranch. Since the prepared fiber was roving I was spinning it with a supported long draw. Since I was going to spin a LOT of this yarn, I made a sample card (the usual thing I do when I spin many, many bobbins of a yarn).

On the sample card I write all of the details about making that yarn: spinning wheel used, whorl, drafting method, and any other information that will help me reproduce the yarn over a long period of time. In addition, I wrap some singles around the card so that I can compare from time to time while I’m spinning. I also add plybacks: a 2-ply sample and a 3-ply sample. Although I know I want a 2-ply yarn for this project, I like to add a 3-ply sample in case I ever want to match this 3-ply for a future project. The card becomes part of my record library when I’ve finished the project. The plyback samples give me a starting point when I begin the plying process. I can compare the angle of twist and increase or decrease it depending on what I want the yarn to do.

Sample Card

For this project I’m going to try to match my plyback. I don’t feel that I need to add more twist to the ply to strengthen the yarn for weaving. I’m confident that it’ll hold up for weaving (another goal of this project is to show that most handspun yarn is not as delicate as some people are convinced it is).

I had already spun and plied 3,000 yards of 2-ply yarn, yielding about 18 wraps per inch. Here are my calculations for the warp:

  • Pattern length: 30″ x 6 gores [ed: skirt panels] = 180″
  • Plus 30″ for sampling and loom waste = 210″ or 5.83 yards. I rounded up to 6 yards to be safe.
  • Ends per inch: 20 x 15″ warp width = 300 ends.
  • 300 ends x 6 yards = 1800 yards. (Wow!!)

I’m going to try for a balanced weave, so I’ll need approximately the same amount for weft. I’m going to round up a little to 2000 yards to cover any unforeseen needs. So, for both warp and weft I’ll need 3800 yards for this project, to which I’m going round up a little bit more for a total of 4000 yards. (You do not want to run out of yarn in the middle of weaving!) When determining and rounding up my yardage, I keep in mind that I usually experience about 10% shrinkage when spinning a fine wool.

Columbia Yarn

Columbia is a soft, bouncy wool, which I chose because I wanted a cohesive fabric that would easily come together in the finishing. I also was a little afraid of working with a slippery fiber since this is the first time I am cutting my handspun, handwoven fabric. (I want to be sure, for this first step into a new land, that I’ll be successful, at least in the cutting part.) The fiber has some neps in it and those neps combined with the spinning technique make for a somewhat inconsistent yarn. This inconsistency will also be interesting in the fabric. Will it disappear? Will it make some interesting texture to the fabric? I don’t know. There is a ton to learn from this project, for sure.

I am also reading up on how to warp a two heddles on a rigid heddle loom. I have Jane Patrick’s The Weaver’s Idea Book for expert direction, as well as Hands on Rigid Heddle Weaving by Betty Davenport, which has been around forever! In the meantime, I have more spinning ahead of me.

Weaving Resources

 Jillian

I’m still getting ready to weave; I did a bunch of research, picked fiber, and spun a sample yarn.

I love doing research, but I rarely read a book cover-to-cover when working on something new. I pick a topic and read about that one thing, then I hop around until I feel like I have enough bases covered to start and just go. I like my crafts very flexible and ish-y. I will never be a quilter.

I picked two books to help me through this project. One is the recently-revised Weaving Made Easy: 17 Projects Using a Rigid Heddle Loom By Liz Gipson. Did you know she writes a rigid heddle weaving column for Knitty now? The other is a brand new book by Syne Mitchell from Storey Publishing, Inventive Weaving on a Little Loom: Discover the Full Potential of the Rigid-Heddle Loom, for Beginners and Beyond.  (I was just at Storey doing the photo shoot for my spinning book and I was able to get an early copy.)

Weaving Books

Both books are great for beginners and walked me through the basics of figuring out how much yarn I’ll need for my project. I’ve learned from every fiber craft I’ve ever done that the real answer is, “More.” I do the math I’m supposed to do for yarn amounts then always add more. I figured out that a finished object of 12” wide x 60” long, with an extra 10% slapped on for take up and drawn in, plus 12” for loom waste, gets me a warp and weft of less than 300 yards each. (I said I like ish-y , I mean ish-y). My warp is 261 yards and weft is 224 yards.

After a bit of reading and thinking I decided on a balanced plain weave, with a worsted-ish 2-ply. I’m really intrigued by weaving with singles, but I’ll save that for project number two. I think I want an infinity scarf. I’m not feeling the fiddle and fringe of a regular scarf, plus I really like the stacked looked when an infinity scarf is doubled around my neck.

While I was perusing weaving books, I also looked at three by Jane Patrick: The Weaver’s Idea Book: Creative Cloth on a Rigid Heddle Loom, Woven Scarves: 26 Inspired Designs for the Rigid Heddle Loom with Stephanie Flynn Sokolov, and Simple Woven Garments: 20+ Projects to Weave & Wear with Sara Goldenberg. These are my aspirational books. Right now it’s about plain weave and just getting the mechanics right.

Jane Patrick's Books

I have the what and the how much, now it’s time for the fiber. I hopped down to my basement stash, the deep stash, and pretty much exploded it. Dumped the bins and bags looking for the fiber that caught my attention. I came up with three braids of BFL top from Woolgatherings.

Woolgatherings Fiber

Pretty aren’t they? These have been marinating in my stash for at least three years. I thought I’d use one for warp and one for weft, but I had to do a little color dance after I spun my sample yarn as the red sample yarn came out fab. My 2-ply is about 10 wpi, perfectly worsted weight, and 672 yards per pound. That would be 168 yards from a 4 oz braid – not enough fiber to use one color for the warp or weft.

Red Yarn

I may try to spin my yarn with a little more loft and maybe a little less ply twist to stretch the fiber for a little more yardage, but I doubt I’ll get all of my warp yardage out of 4 oz. I’ll spin all three colors, thread the loom with the red for warp as far as it goes, and then fill in with the other color that moves me that day. I’ll do the same with the weft, though maybe I’ll use all three colors in the weft. I’m excited to see how the colors play off of each other, really excited.

It might just be the start of a weaving and color rabbit hole and that’s fine with me.

 

Part One

Part Three

Beth Smith

Jillian Moreno

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.

Benjamin’s Outlandish Tartan Scarf

Recently I had the pleasure of working with the Lhasa Wilderness yarn from Bijou Basin Ranch in a few of their new colors from their Outlandish colorway series which was inspired by Outlander, a book and recent TV series based in the Scottish Highlands.

When I was thinking of projects for this yarn I immediately knew that I had to weave a tartan-plaid with it. (My Scottish ancestry is generations back and not well recorded, so I decided it was best to not weave a traditional tartan that I didn’t have claim to.)

To create my plaid, I arranged my warp threads to make sure I used the same number of each color in the pattern. Not only did this give me peace of mind that I would use the same amount of each color of yarn, it gave me a visually balanced scheme. I wasn’t worried about anything but the looks of the finished tartan. Using a weaving program allowed me to move colors around in the design without committing to a final setup.

Equipment: Baby Wolf Loom – This could be done on any of our floor looms or rigid heddle looms.

Yarns with original draft. From left to right: Skye, Watercress, Laoghaire (yellow–but it looks orange here), Lallybroch.

Yarn: Lhasa Wilderness from Bijou Basin Ranch, 130 yards each in the following colors

31 – Laoghaire (Lira) (yellow)

43 – Watercress (bright green)

44 – Lallybroch (dark green)

52 – Skye (blue)

Warp: 80 ends total at 3 yards long.

Sett: 12 epi for plain weave (If weaving in a 2/2 twill sett the warp at 16 epi and increase your yarn yardage).

Structure: Plain weave.
I set up the loom as a straight draw, using 4 shafts just to distribute my heddles evenly. This also allowed me to have the option of doing a twill structure if I wanted to.

Repeat two times.
Weaving: Weave about 2.5 yards following the same color sequence as in the warp.
Finishing: Using four groups of two threads, make “four stranded flat braids” all the way across your warp.

I found that my selvedges weren’t up to snuff, so I chose the dark green (Lallybroch) and single crocheted a border around the edge. I also found that this added a more “masculine” edge to the scarf, making it feel more substantial.

Detail of crocheted border on each side of the scarf

Helpful Hint: When I use my Baby Wolf, I normally use my lease sticks to keep my warp cross because I generally have a pretty wide warp. For this project I had a much skinnier warp than normal, and I felt that my lease sticks would be too large. I had an “aha” moment when I looked over and saw my Variable Dent Reed on my shelf. I took out the individual dents, and slid the frame around the cross. I re-screwed the frame together and then lashed it onto my loom.

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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.

Gingham Heirloom Bag Collaboration

Photo courtesy of Fancy Tiger Crafts

We love a challenge here at Schacht, so when we opened a package from Fancy Tiger Crafts full of their Heirloom Yarn, fabric and some webbing, we were excited! Denise and I have done a couple of collaborations before, but this one is perhaps our favorite.

Heirloom is the “house” yarn from Fancy Tiger Crafts; 100% Romney wool, grown, milled, and dyed in the U.S. Being a hardy, rustic wool, both Denise and I thought “bag.” Since over-sized gingham is a fashion trend this year, we decided that would be an easy pattern to create on a rigid heddle loom.

This bag has a clever construction, one long piece of fabric is sewn up the middle with no cutting required. The fabric lays on the bias when the bag is finished, adding just one more element of excitement. The finished piece is an over-sized bag that reminds us a bit of the 70’s. Funky fringe (so in this year) and beautiful buttons make it an awesome fashion accessory.

Photo courtesy of Fancy Tiger Crafts

Supplies: 2 skeins each of Heirloom in the colors Fava Bean and Butternut, 1 yard of cotton fabric, 2 yards of cotton webbing, or other strap material. 15″ Cricket Loom, 8-dent reed, and 5 buttons. Optional: fringe twister.

Fava Bean and Butternut
Photo courtesy of Fancy Tiger Crafts

Warping: warp length 3.5 yards. In an 8-dent reed, thread 12 ends of Fava Bean and 12 ends of Butternut, alternating stripes across the full weaving width of your loom. 120 total ends; 10 stripes making up the warp.

Weaving: Plain weave structure, alternating 12 picks of Fava Bean, and 12 picks of Butternut. Weave a balanced weave (same picks per inch as warps per inch), or to square the pattern. Hemstitch at the beginning, weave the whole length of your warp, and end with hemstitching.

Felt the fabric to create a dense yet soft fabric. We put the fabric in the washing machine on a full hot cycle with soap and threw it in the dryer for around 30 min. on high (you could hand-felt the fabric as well). We advise monitoring the fulling process. You do not want to over felt. You can always do more but never less.

Photo courtesy of Fancy Tiger Crafts

Construction:

1: Fold the finished fabric in half.

2: Hand sew up one side using a whip stitch. Try to line up your stripes in this process.

3: Open the folded piece up, flattening the corner at the bottom.

4: Take the top right edge of the fabric and bring it down so the right edge lines up with    the top of the triangular portion, whip stitch along this seam.

5: Turn over. Fold the flap down.

6: For the strap, poke two holes in each corner of the bag and pass the end of the webbing through the holes. Fold the raw end back onto the strap. Wrap the strap around the raw end and sew into place hiding the end in the strap.


7: Fringe twist the ends in groups of 4, to create 3 tassels in each stripe.

8: Using the cotton fabric, sew a liner a little smaller than the bag itself. Leave enough room at the top to fold down leaving the raw edge between the liner and the bag. Whip stitch along the top edge of the bag to set the liner in place.

9: For added decoration, take some buttons and sew them along the top of the bag following the middle seam of the fabric.

Photo courtesy of Fancy Tiger Crafts

This project is extremely versatile, and can be customized to suit your needs. Different widths and lengths of fabric will make differently shaped bags. The strap could be attached somewhere else with another technique and be made a different length. Make your own bag and share them with us on our social media!

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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.

Simple Woven Garments

It’s here! The book we have all been waiting for, “Simple Woven Garments” by Jane Patrick and Sara Goldenberg is off the press!

From a classic capelet to an ode to Coco Chanel, this book is chock full of stunning new designs. Sara and Jane will take you from simple, elegant projects and give you the resources you need for more complicated garments. Jane and Sara have created over 20 designs for all occasions and seasons.

This book uses mostly knitting yarns that you can find at your local yarn shop and some that are likely in your stash. A few of the projects utilize accent stripes which are a great way to use up some of those leftover bits of yarn. Overall this book is a fantastic resource not just for weaving techniques, but also for garment design, inspiration, and construction.

My personal favorite is the hoodie. I love the modern style of this wardrobe staple, and can’t wait to warp up my loom for my own! Keep an eye on our blog in the coming months for designs made by the office staff inspired by the book.

Grab your own copy of “Simple Woven Garments” from a Schacht Dealer near you!
  google+  pinterest  ravelry  twitter  youtube

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.

Stellar Cowl – Lois Weaver

Stellar Cowl – Designed and woven by Lois Weaver

This cowl was a result of an escape to my local coffee shop, Stellar Coffee Company (thus the name), after a stressful week in my studio. I grabbed the squares I’d woven from one ball of Tempo and my tapestry needle and the rest is history.

This cowl works up very quickly and uses just one ball of the fabulous S. Charles “Tempo” yarn. The shifting of colors is what makes it so effective to work with.

Photo courtesy of Tahki Stacy Charles

Difficulty rating: Easy

Yarns: 1 ball of Tempo by Filatura Di Crosa

Equipment: Zoom Loom

Notions: Tapestry Needle

Weaving: Weave 14 squares leaving the long tail for sewing together. Work in the short end as you weave.

Assembly: Lay out your blocks in sets of two (see photo below). Play around with the colors until you find a pleasing layout. There are many possibilities.

Whip stitch each set of two squares together using the long tail. Weave in any loose ends and trim.
As in the photo, sew each of the sets of two blocks together, stair-stepping each set.

To finish, bring ends together and stitch.

Finishing: Hand wash with warm water and mild soap. Lay flat to dry. Steam press.

Finished size: 30 inches end to end, 15 inches folded.

For more great pin loom garments and designs by Lois Weaver, such as the Harlequin Vest, check out her Etsy store. Her innovative designs are fashion forward and are a delight to weave up!


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Lois Weaver

Lois is a hand weaver, and designer, with a focus on apparel. She creates limited edition and one-of-a-kind items sold in boutiques. She also teaches a variety of weaving classes. Her studio is located in Roswell, New Mexico, just blocks from The Roswell Museum and Art Center, The Anderson Museum of Contemporary Arts and the Alien Museum. When you're in the neighborhood, give her a call to schedule an appointment to visit her studio.

Georgia On my Mind – Denise Renee Grace

 

Recently Rebecca Mezoff and I went sheep shearing. This is one of my favorite times of year. The coats of the sheep are big and fluffy around their pregnant bellies. They get sheared before lambing to make it easier on everyone. After the ewes are sheared, they tend to want to have their lambs in the warmth of the barn instead of in the cold field. Shearing always inspires me to dig into fleece. I love the smell and feel of it. I love everything about it!

One of the sheep that got sheared was named Georgia. I took a pound of her CVM fleece and got brave enough to try washing it in the washer. I put the wool in lingerie bags, filled the washer with HOT soapy water. (To make sure it was really hot, I added a kettle full of boiling water). I gently put the bags into the water making sure they were submersed in the water with a wooden spoon. I followed with another soapy wash, one rinse with vinegar, and one with just plain hot water, not agitating at all, only going through a soak and spin cycle. It worked!

Usually, I use a drum carder, but I wanted to try the method of holding a 72 psi carder on my lap, taking a lock of hair, “flicking” it, and then spinning one right after the other. It was an interesting experience. I thought this would be a shorter process than drum carding. Now writing that, I realize that it might have been an unrealistic expectation, but I had the crazy idea that it would be quicker. It was not. Also, it didn’t homogenize the color, so it had patches of darker spots. I did like that look for this project. In the end I had spun about 3ounces of fiber into 195 yards of a two ply DK weight yarn, using my Schacht Matchless to spin, and my Ladybug to ply.

I like the circular nature of crochet hats, but love the ease and flexibility of a knitted rim. So I thought, why not do both? I used the appropriate size crochet hook for the yarn (I love my Addi Swing hooks), then I switched to knitting needles picking up stitches around the edge of the crocheted portion. I gradually went down a few sizes to make the brim fit tighter.

The warmth of the fleece paired with the open-knit fabric makes this the perfect spring or fall hat! Thanks Georgia!

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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.

Pocket Weave Sachet – Jane Patrick

“The most common materials can become works of art if the ideas and the execution are approached creatively.”

–Jean R Laury quoted in Weaving: A Handbook for the Fiber Craftsman by Shirley E. Held.

Every late summer our neighbor would come over to help my mother prepare our clothes for the next school year. We’d see what fit, and what didn’t was passed down to the next girl to which Mildred made the necessary adjustments. Our hems went down or up depending on style and growth spurts.

I remember my mother telling about her mother making over clothes during the war, because fabric wasn’t readily available and money was scarce. Whole garments were dismantled and remade in the current style. Nothing wasted, everything saved.

How many of us today have a rag basket or button jar? Today I would guess most of us begin a project by going to the store. There’s never a question of not finding just what we’re looking for. The selection can be astounding. It is even more astonishing if we think that not long ago, just over 200 years, fabric was still made by hand. Starting with raw fiber such as wool, it had to be spun into yarn, dyed if color was desired, and finally woven and finished. With so much labor invested in each piece of fabric it is not surprising that it was mended and remade and used and reused until it had nothing more to give except to be cut up and rewoven.

Besides their humble beginnings, what I find appealing about textiles woven with rags is what happens to them when they are woven. Nothing is consistent, the surface is irregular and unpredictable. Fabric strips twists and fray, creating lively, dynamic color and texture. Even if their only past lives were as bolts of fabric at the store, even woven rags today hold little secrets about what they once looked like in their former selves.

This easy pocket trick is a fun way to weave a no-sew bag on a simple cardboard loom. The pocket is made by weaving around and around a form, first weaving across the front, then around to the back and back to the front and so on. After the pocket is woven, the flap is made by weaving back and forth on one layer only.


Materials: Orange print cotton quilting fabric cut in ½” (1.3 cm) strips, ¼ yard (23 cm) is sufficient for weaving the bag and the inserted herbal sachet pillow; 6 ½ yards (6 m) of 5/2 pearl cotton in avocado, matching orange sewing thread, antique pearl button with shank. You’ll also need herbs, either purchased or from your garden.

Equipment: Mat board cut to shape, weaving needle, sewing needle, scissors, rotary cutter, straight edge, cutting board, pencil, masking tape, tape measure. You’ll also need a steam iron and press cloth.

Resource: Fabric, yarn, quilting, and hobby stores stock fabric, yarn and thread. Look at health food stores in the bulk herb section for sachet herbs. Alternately, dry herbs from your garden for sachets.

Finished Size: 3 ¼” x 3” x ¼” (8.1 x 7.5 x 6 mm).


1. Cut mat board in a T-shape following the illustration. While the pocket could be woven straight up, the flap draws in somewhat during the weaving and doesn’t cover the top sufficiently. Increasing the flap by two threads on either side of the pocket solves this problem. Score the cardboard 3” (7.5 cm) from the end and fold up to form a square. Mark and cut slots every 1/8th inch (3 mm) slot along bottom and top edges (this will yield 8 warp ends per inch (2.5 cm).

2. Warp the loom. With the loom folded, attach the warp yarn with masking tape on the inside, lower right. (Note: It is important to begin at the correct place so that the proper number of warps result—an odd number of warps is necessary to make the over-under-over-under weaving work with each round of circular weaving.) Bring the warp end up on the short side, around a tab and then continue around to the back (long side) round the tab in a direct line. Continue on the long side down around to the front and around the second tab. Finish by winding the two short warps, carry the warp yarn across the top to the other side and wind the last two warps. Secure the end with masking tape. You will have a total of 29 warps.

3. With rotary cutter or scissors cut strips ½” (1.3 cm) wide. Thread one length onto a weaving needle. Leave a 3” (7.5 cm) tail. Weave from right to left, over-under, over-under across the front. Slide this first weft pick to the bottom edge of the weaving.

4. You’ll now begin weaving around and around. Turn the loom over and weave across the back from right to left and then around to the front. Continue weaving around and around until the short side is filled. To compress the weaving, after you’ve inserted the needle, but before drawing the weft through, push down with the needle to slide the previous rows down so that about 7 picks per inch (2.5 cm) are achieved. To finish, weave as close to the edge as possible so that the weaving will be as snug as possible. If you have trouble getting the needle through at the top, switch to a smaller needle and trim off 1/8” from the width of the fabric strip. When you can’t weave any further, cut off the weft and secure.

5. With a new length of rag, weave the flap by weaving back and forth only. Weave as close to the top edge as possible. When you can’t weave further, remove the weaving from the loom by sliding it out of the cardboard slots. Turn the weaving inside out and sew the weft tails into the weaving.

6. Finish the sachet by steam pressing with a damp press cloth and hot iron. Hem flap edge by turning under 1 row and hand stitching in place. Press. For closure, attach a small pearl button with a shank in the center of the pocket, ½” (1. 3 cm) from the top edge. For sachet, make a pillow 2 ¾” (7 cm) square and stuff with herbs and insert in woven pocket.

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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.

Spinning and Weaving Lessons: Crafting a Life

When we weave and spin, we create something new. From nature, we gather that which appears to be formless and apply the uniquely human work of our hearts, hands, and minds. We spin countless individual fibers together into a yarn that is strong. We then cross that yarn with another one, over and under, to make the cloth. The child of this marriage is strong, beautiful, and imperfect. There is wonder in these ancient crafts.

This hand-spun, hand-woven project is special to me because of where it came from and where it will take me. I must believe that dozens, if not hundreds, of hands touched my tallit (Jewish prayer shawl) before it became mine. Before I even started spinning the yarn, the sheep had to be fed, the lambs wormed, the fleece sheared. Take another step back and the barn had to be built, hay harvested.To take a step forward, the fleece had to be processed, transported, taken to market. To spin the roving, I used a spinning wheel, which, like the barn and the truck and the thresher, required a skilled builder with the right tools.

I used a commercial yarn for a warp, behind which there are people I will never meet but who, like me, make their living in this trade. Some handle the product, while others support the companies through accounting, machine maintenance, or answering phone calls. We are among the lucky few who feed ourselves and our families from the proceeds of handmade.

 

In my own circle, Cindy, Denise, Judy, and Lucas all gifted me with yarn, spun on wheels built by Luis, Mercedes, and Joe. Ben took one glance at the painting of wings I was puzzling over and scampered off to write a pattern for me. Sara, who years ago taught me to weave on a rigid heddle loom, helped me get oriented on her floor loom (built by Mike) and let me spend days in her studio with her cat. Alice helped me to tie the tzitzit (“fringe” – here, the white knots at the corners) that after months made my rectangle into a tallit.

The amazing thing is that every person that touched this project carries with them their own stories and communities. It’s difficult to comprehend that everyone’s life is as compelling to them as mine is to me – that spirit is inconceivable but permeates this work. We all likely learned spinning and weaving, agriculture, commerce, from someone else, who learned from someone before them, a priceless tradition of tinkerers, perfecters, and teachers. Then, we take up the mantle and day by day, engage in our craft – whatever it may be – untangling our own knots in the process of creation.

So now I have a tallit, an object with a rich story of its own, made from untold hearts, hands, and minds creating something out of formlessness. Considering the energy infused into this object helps me to consider the energy that has brought me to this life – the warmth of my loved ones; the richness and depth, heartbreaks and struggles of each of those people; the infinite network of relations and ancestors that have brought us all here; and a few sheep. When I wrap myself in this garment, I wrap myself in the fable of fiber, the heritage of the Jewish people, and my own mythology. If I’m lucky, I can catch the tail of this sense of timelessness and eternity. And it’s all possible because we spin countless individual fibers together into a yarn that is strong, and then we cross that yarn with another one, over and under, to make the cloth.

There is wonder in these ancient crafts.

 

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The tallit was woven on a Schacht Standard Floor Loom with finished dimensions of 74″ x 30″.
The weft was wool or merino-silk handspun on the Ladybug, Sidekick, Matchless, and Schacht-Reeves. It is, on average, worsted weight.
The warp is Jagger Spun Zephyr Wool-Silk 2/18, in colorways suede and aegean blue. The yarns were held together to warp and sleyed in a 10-dent reed.
The pattern is an extended undulating twill on 8 harnesses, drafted by Benjamin Krudwig.
The atarah (collar) and corners were machine-embroidered by Jan Gorelick and machine-sewn onto the tallit.

 

 

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.

Ombre Yarn Update – Pulsar Shawl

It is almost always intimidating to me to work with handspun. Whether it’s mine or spun by somebody else, I find myself paralyzed with anxiety. After the immediate fear of working with handspun yarn, the joy and pride I feel when I wear a completely hand-made item washes all of those fears away. This fear makes me very picky about what project I choose to use my handpsun with.

This scrutinizing mind was ruthless when thinking about ideas for my handspun ombre yarn. This yarn was special not only because it was handspun, but also because it was blended by hand.


It is particularly important to swatch when working with handspun yarns. When many hours of work have already been put into a project and many more hours ahead, no amount of wasted yarn is worth jumping in without looking first. This preparation helps alleviate that initial hesitation when picking up that hank of yarn. I knit, wove and crocheted swatches with this yarn just so I knew how the yarn interacted with each craft.

Crocheted Swatch – US Size G hook

Knit Swatch – US size 6 needles

Woven Swatch – 4″ X 4″ Zoom Loom

After looking at all of them, and feeling the drape, I chose to knit with my yarn. I mulled many ideas around in my head for some time until I settled on the idea of a shawl. I knew that I wanted to make a simple project, something that you could do with very little thought and had the ability to be set down and picked back up again. I also knew that I didn’t want too much texture or pattern that distracted from the beauty of the handspun yarn, so a stockinette stitch dominated pattern was ideal.

After I determined the basic framework of what I desired, I teased out the design further by punctuating the stockinette sections with yarn-over feather motifs that run down the whole length of the shawl.

At this point, the Pulsar Shawl began to to take shape. The slight variations in the colors and the drape of the knitted shawl is simply decadent. I am very pleased with this pattern and will enjoy it for a very long time, knowing what all went into it.

I always try to showcase my handspun yarns, and with this versatile shawl I think I succeeded. I hope this inspires you to pull out your own yarn and make something with it! Share your projects with us on our various social media platforms!

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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.

Snowflake Scarf – Judy Pagels


I find inspiration in so many of the Woven Scarves book designs but have been particularly drawn to exploring the bleaching technique (discharge dyeing) in Stephanie’s Steampunk Scarf. I had wanted to make a scarf for my dear sister-in-law for some time and this was going to be that very project. It all came together so nicely, first the yarn selection. I chose Crabapple Yarns ardent fingering weight 51% organic cotton and 49% bamboo in the colorway Niagra (sett was 10 epi). Perfect for three reasons – #1 organic, #2 blue is her favorite color, and #3 the fiber would respond to the bleach pen.

I wove a plain weave scarf on my Cricket Loom while contemplating the perfect design for the completed scarf. My sister in-law LOVES snowflakes so that was an obvious choice, but I wanted the scarf to be wearable for all seasons. I decided to feature partial, simple, over-sized flakes down the scarf. Perfect element #4: this yarn has subtle value variations, nearly white in some places, which made a lovely backdrop for the snowflakes.

Since I have a light table, I opted to use it to help “transfer” the flakes to the scarf, as opposed to the stencils as used in the book. I enlarged my design on my copier until it was quite oversized. Then, I put the design on the light table, covered it with a piece of glass.

I began discharged dyeing at the end of the scarf, positioning the scarf over the flake where I wanted it to appear (holding the scarf in place with masking tape to prevent it from moving around). Starting with one of the circles and moving on to the rest of the flake I noticed right off that the first circle was too large. Oops! Helpful tidbit – SHAKE the pen before applying the bleach or it may run. OK no problem, I just made some more of the circles a bit larger for consistency, which in turn led to a less obvious snowflake look. Aha, could perhaps be a stylized branch for my master gardener sister-in-law. Terrific! Perfect element number 5!

After bleaching the first flake, I carefully moved the fabric away and wiped the residue bleach off the glass, ready for the next flake and application. I was also careful to keep the completed part of the scarf from touching itself or anything else. After letting the bleach dry, I rinsed the scarf several times, hand washed it in the sink, and partially machine dried it.

This was a blast! It was fiber meets graphics, meets a very personalized gift! Like with so many projects, I was thinking of my next endeavor before I had finished the one at hand. What other bleached designs await? Hmm, I do love paisley, just doodling sounds fun, perhaps text, bleaching and embellishing… And on what? Another scarf? A pillow? A window covering? A mixed media piece? YES to all!


Judy Pagels

Judy Pagels comes to Schacht from a varied background in printing, graphic design, and flower arranging. Hired initially as our shipping manager, Judy shortly afterwards was promoted to sales and service manager where she is in charge of new accounts, as well as sales and service. Judy is first a knitter, but also weaves and spins—always with a keen eye to great design.

Dancer in the Dark – Jane Patrick

Simplicity with a twist—that’s what I love so much about my Woven Scarves co-author Stephanie’s design sensibilities. Her Gypsy Dancer, woven in bright pink with a dark red streak down the center and a pop of gold and yellow along the edges, creates such a happy piece. While this scarf looks tricky, it’s really just plain weave with differential shrinkage—which means some yarns shrink and others do not. For the Gypsy Dancer, Stephanie placed a fine alpaca warp stripe down the middle, which she spot-felted during the finishing process, gathering the fabric along the center line for a wavy result.

My version uses similar materials: the same bamboo yarn in warp and weft in a deep chocolate brown. The edges are trimmed in a metallic gold and mohair, just as Stephanie did in the original. For the center stripe I used Helen’s Lace from Lorna’s Laces—which readily felted by rubbing the stripe with hot water and soap on a washboard.

This is just one of the many great projects in Woven Scarves. All of the scarves in the book were woven on a Cricket Loom, either a 10” or 15” weaving width. I find myself continually astonished by the variety that can be achieved with such a simple loom—which goes to show you that creating great stuff is all about pushing materials, color combinations, and processes.

If you are are curious about weaving on a rigid heddle loom, visit your local Schacht dealer. You may also check out Stephanie’s excellent Pickup Stick and Finger Control Techniques class on Craftsy. We hope you are as inspired by this powerful loom as we are!
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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.

Reformed Bananagram Scarf – Stephanie Flynn Sokolov

The Bananagram scarf featured on the cover of the book Woven Scarves by Jane Patrick and myself is a great beginner project. One of the things I love about this scarf is that it is easier to do than it looks. A fine merino wool yarn, woven at 12 ends per inch, is felted with tie-in objects which leave a lasting impression after the finishing process. For this “Reformed Bananagram” Scarf, I Changed the object used for the resist from a Bananagram to a Lego (not a far leap in my house). These building blocks now come in all different shapes and sizes which create a variety of lively shapes. The yarn is JoJoLand Harmony (the same one used in the book), great for its softness and flexibility. The orange color made it super fun to weave. To get started, pull out your 10″ Cricket loom, put in a 12- dent reed, direct warp the full width and you are ready to weave. Even though this scarf has a 24 picks pr inch and a 104″ warp length, it moves right along in plain weave.

Once the scarf is woven, round up your Legos and position them randomly along the scarf, securing them with small rubber bands.

Be sure to secure each block twice around with the rubber band (I learned this the hard way). Even though some of the blocks seemed big enough to warrant just once around, but don’t be fooled, the bricks will fall out when finishing. I also had a learning moment when I saw that some of the long skinny blocks poked through the fabric and slid out completely during the washing process. This scarf can take on many different shapes, depending on the objects you use for the felt resist, so get creative, look around, and start weaving.

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Stephanie Flynn-Sokolov

Stephanie Flynn Sokolov trained in accessory design at the Fashion Institute of Technology. She teaches classes in weaving and spinning around the U.S. She lives in Boulder, Colorado.

Sashiko Posh Plum – Denise Renee Grace

I am often pleasantly surprised with “happy accidents” in my creative process, and this scarf is one of those gifts. I set out to do something like the “Posh Plum” scarf from the book Woven Scarves. Even though I planned to double the warp every inch or so, when it came to warping, I went on auto pilot and totally forgot. Still wanting the striped effect, Sashiko seemed to be the perfect answer to my “accident”.Recently, I have been exploring a Japanese-style embroidery technique that uses basic running stitches and I thought it would be great to add stripes to the fabric of my scarf.

Handspun yarn adds delicious texture to any handwoven piece

One of the many things I love about hand-made items is seeing the progress. Each step feels like a mini victory, but when the end product is done, it takes on a life of it’s own. This is the yarn from my default challenge: handspun from merino/silk roving in Garden colorway and For Better or Worsted Yarn in Grace colorway, both from Anzula.

The project was woven on my 10″ Cricket handweaving loom using an 8-dent heddle with For Better or Worsted in the full width of the heddle. I set the warping peg about 84″ from the rear apron bar. Using the handspun as the weft, the project was simple, but has a subtle and elegant beauty. The running Sashiko stitched stripes were done about an inch apart. These stitches cause the fabric to have a different look and feel, giving a slightly gathered depth to the scarf. The fringe just wanted to be twisted for the perfect finishing touch!

Did you get inspired by one of the scarves in the Woven Scarves book? Please share pictures with us! We love to see the endless possibilities of woven creations!
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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.

Fibonacci Scarf – Kate White

I keep having to remind myself that I’m a beginner. Working for Schacht, a company that produces spinning wheels and looms, I spend a fair amount of time thinking about the crafts. Shortly after starting here, I learned to spin and weave, but between the planning, replanning, obsessing, and fantasizing, I spend a relatively small amount of time actually making. After I made my challah cover, however, I had an unwarped Cricket Loom and lots of beautiful, leftover hand-dyed yarn. I also had a roommate who’d been tolerating a kitchen full of dye pots and had a birthday coming up. A long, skinny scarf seemed just the ticket – with the tools and materials immediately at hand, and a deadline, this scarf would practically weave itself! I found that clearing the mental clutter and choosing a simple project helped me focus on developing two other important aspects of weaving: technique and instinct.

Naturally-dyed warp yarn

Warping
When I first set up my loom to warp, it was backwards! When direct-warping a rigid heddle loom, the reed should be in neutral, which is the groove near the back of the loom. The front of the loom faces your warping peg.

Make sure the warp goes over the back beam. It’s easy to just pick up the apron bar where it sits and start warping, but if it’s going under the beam, you won’t get a proper shed. We get calls every week from experienced weavers who have made this mistake – it’s easy to do! My first weaving teacher told me that the apron bars will give your loom a hug. A double-check before you start warping will save you a lot of grief.

Proper pathway for your warp around the back beam

Weaving
This scarf ended up being nearly 8 feet long, so I had a lot of practice with my selvedges. By not complicating my pattern, I had more awareness of getting the proper tug and angle in my picks. In each pick, I paid attention to how tight I was pulling along the selvedge thread, and to the angle at which I was placing the yarn in the shed. For a more in-depth exploration on great selvedges, check out Dear Tabby in the Schacht E-Newes.

I also focused a lot on my beat – as I mentioned in my previous post, I packed my challah cover at nearly twice the sett that was called for by the yarn. With this scarf, I was very careful to beat gently and maintain about 8 picks per inch. I counted at first, and then got a feeling for it and just checked occasionally. Different projects will have different needs, but reminding myself to be mindful of the process will help me in the execution of plan into product.

Color
I’ve been intimidated by color in my weaving, and have tended work more texture via pattern. Working with natural dyes, however, made me want to let the colors speak for themselves. I had plenty of yardage in two of my hand-dyed colorways, and pillaged my stash of commercial yarns for a third. I did a modified Fibonacci sequence (“modified” in that I messed up the order of some of the threads and decided not to fix it) for the warp. The colors were a seafloor blue (the commercial yarn) and the brown that was my weft for the challah cover.

For the weft, I used a hand-dyed skein that had a run of brown to pink. This yarn was my sample warp from my challah cover, wherein I displayed a total lack of understanding for how a warp works. The great news was that I had actually planned for the sample, so I got the education, a second chance at my goal warp, and a skein of yarn that was completely lovely. I was a little concerned about the pinkness of the yarn for my recipient, but with the other colors, it blended into a lovely field of russet tones.

Detail of the striping sequence shows the color interactions beautifully

My color changes were very subtle, so I didn’t put any thought into transitioning between stick shuttles, but Denise wrote a blog on the treatment of color changes that you might find helpful for semi-solid yarns.

With a weekend, a good tv show, and my roommate out of town, I warped and wove this scarf in just a few hours. It was a great reminder that simplicity lends itself to success. I am still a beginning weaver after all, and there was plenty of opportunity to challenge myself. Plus, by not being overwhelmed with over-complex visions, I actually wound up with a finished project in hand, in time for my friend’s birthday. That’s pretty rewarding.

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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.

Weathered Brick “Log Cabin” Scarf – Benjamin Krudwig

As an office, we decided that we would love to use Jane and Stephanie’s book, Woven Scarves, as inspiration for our next projects. This book has a wealth of ideas and stunning photos–plenty of ideas to choose from. Each of us thumbed through our copy of the book and chose a scarf that we found personally inspiring. Of course, Denise and I aren’t happy doing just one challenge, we decided that we should also weave our scarves with yarn we spun during Spinzilla.

I have always been drawn to very graphic patterns. Bold colors and high contrast are immediate attention-getters for me. I love color-and-weave patterns because, though they look like a complex deal, once you get past the threading, it’s all plain weave from there. This is what drew me to the Log Cabin scarf in the book. I knew at that moment that I would do my own log cabin scarf. Because the yarn I chose to use was variegated, I knew that my finished piece wouldn’t be a traditional looking log cabin pattern. This made me even more excited to warp and weave my scarf!

My hand dyed and handspun yarn in the colors “Ghost Ranch” on the left and “New England Tide” on the right

I chose a color scheme based on a photo that I took while my wife and I were on a trip to Boston. This inspiration came from a side alley on my way to a coffee shop. The weathered brick was stunning in the cold February light, a contrast of cool and warm.

Exposed bricks in a Boston alley inspired this color scheme lending to the truth,
that inspiration can be found anywhere!

A close up begins to reveal the log cabin pattern.

I warped up my 15″ Cricket with 140 ends giving me 14″ in the reed. My sett ended up being 10 epi, whereas the chunky log cabin scarf in the book boasts 5 epi. I did pattern blocks of 20 picks, which ended up being perfect for my yarn. Since the yarn varied in hue and saturation, the log cabin pattern isn’t immediately apparent, yet upon closer inspection, the structured blocks become more visible.

A closer look lends a more structured view

Using my two variegated yarns created a surprisingly beautiful fabric that had an organized chaos that I love so much. I finished my scarf by separating the different colors of yarn and fringe twisting them together.

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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 Dublin Poncho – Denise Renee Grace

I was thrilled when we came out with the 30″ Flip. I wanted to get something on it right away, but as life goes, I had other projects to finish. I finally got the chance to work with the new wider loom, and I love it. I filled the width to test its full capacity, and I did a rather large project to push the limits.

Universal Yarn was the perfect yarn for this project. It is affordable high quality yarn. The grey yarn is Deluxe DK Superwash in “Sweatshirt Grey,” and the gorgeous green yarn is Deluxe Worsted 100% Wool in “Shamrock.” I love the heather in the Shamrock yarn. It gives the finished fabric depth with hints of surprise colors every now and then! I ended up using about 6 balls of the Sweatshirt Grey and 3 skeins of the Shamrock.

Since I was doing a project of this scale, I actually sampled. I guess Jane influenced me in that regard. I put a solid grey warp on my 10″ Cricket and wove three sections. Starting from the left picture below; grey was used in the weft, the middle picture shows my sample alternating grey and green weft threads, and to the right is green in the weft. I ended up really liking the middle one.

Swatches showing the 3 different combinations of warp/weft

I decided on an 8 dent reed, full 30″ width and I set my warping pegs about 120″ away. This seemed like a lot. I set it up so the pegs were on one side of the counter and the threads that were closest to the peg were laying on the counter before going to the loom on the stand I set up in the living room. So the warp threads were supported by the counter a little. I found this to be really helpful in the warping process. I warped the loom with the Sweatshirt Grey all the way across the loom. While weaving, I loaded 2 shuttles, one with the grey and one with the Shamrock and alternated back and forth between the two colors. I beat evenly making a balanced weave until I couldn’t weave anymore, and then tied off the knots in groups of 4.

I used a serger to separate the pieces for the Poncho Pattern. You could also use a zig zag stitch on your regular sewing machine or even Liquid Stitch. If you are applying the Liquid Stitch, I would recommend putting a half inch strip all the way down your fabric, letting it dry and then cutting in the middle of that half inch strip. I cut 2 pieces that were 40″ from either side of the woven piece of fabric so that there would be 2 large pieces with fringe (keeping as much fringe as possible to work with later), along with a third piece in the middle. From that middle piece, I cut a piece that measured 15″ X 24″ (the width of the fabric) that became the hood.

Assembling the poncho:
Take one of the long strips of fabric and lay it vertically, measure 14″ down the right side of the vertical strip, and place the short end of the identical strip perpendicular to the first. Stitch these together along the dotted line.

Assembly of the Body of the Poncho

Measuring 14″ from the seam, identify point B along the top of the horizontal strip. Match points B to B and A to A. Seam the length of A to B (dotted lines). The seams holding the main body together are a tight elongated whip stitch with the fabric overlapped (pictured below). I continued down the single serged edge with this stitch for a decorative finish. The 14″ unseamed corner creates the neck-hole of the poncho.

Detail of the stitching along the seams

To create the hood, fold the set-aside fabric in half, and seam along the top, round the corner, and side. Fold back about an inch of fabric at the front of the hood and tack that in place. Fold the hood to be right side out after trimming any extra fabric along the curve.

Assembly of the hood

To attach the hood, center the poncho on your body and find the center front. Pin the front edges of the hood on either side of this center mark and whip stitch the hood onto the poncho. Around the face of the hood, the edge is rolled back in a 1″ hem to add a finishing touch.

To complete the poncho, fringe twist the ends in groups of four (twist two groups of two in one direction, and then twist those back on each other the opposite way).  Mine ended up being 5″ fringe after twisting and knotting the ends. Wash and lay flat to dry. Wear often to stay warm and comfy!


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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.