T-Shirt Rug #2

I went to Savers on discount Monday and bought some t-shirts and a long jersey dress (you can see it in the rug, it’s the pink print) and cut it up to make this rug. I think it came out really well! The edges are a little cleaner, I think the trick is to pick loops that are exactly the same stretchiness. Slightly less stretchy is okay but you don’t want any one that is more than any of the others.

Each rug takes a lot of loops! My neighbor gave me some old shirts which will help. I need to get on people’s radar that I’m looking for them.

I also think it is easier to do the cutting on a different day than the weaving. It’s a lot of leaning over.

Pin Loom Project: Woven Bookmarks

I bought a cute narrow rectangle pin loom and made a few bookmarks with it. I made one for my dad who is still using the bookmark I made him in about 1991.

Then I made a couple more with thrifted yarn. I love how the ones with pompoms turned out! It’s easy to see where you are in the book but the body of the bookmark is flat enough that the book is flopping open.

I’ve been half thinking that I might do a pop up market one day and these would be fun to make and sell as a smaller, more affordable item.

Upcycled T-Shirt Rug

I saw plans for making a giant potholder loom to make rugs with and really liked the idea. I think every culture makes rag rugs of some kind and has for hundreds of years. Making giant loops out of old t-shirts sounded very aligned with my love of reducing waste and weaving.

The only problem is that we don’t really have many tools or a workbench. We don’t have the space here in the city (we are at bursting with these looms!) and neither of us has a ton of interest in constructing anything so it isn’t a priority. None of our friends build things either!

I tried posting on my neighborhood Facebook group and got one taker who works at the local lutherie but then he ghosted me. Then he contacted me again after I updated my post saying I still was looking for someone. I responded and still haven’t heard back. I also emailed our local tool library and the maker space asking if any instructors did side projects or if they had any suggestions and didn’t get an answer.

During all that, I crowdsourced suggestions for finding someone to do some easy, reasonably priced woodworking online and someone suggested cold contacting random people selling homemade furniture on Facebook Marketplace. I sent out a couple messages and one guy who had posted some simple wooden boxes he makes messaged me back.

He had no idea what I was talking about but was game. I sent him some directions and Youtube videos. We did lots of messaging and then last week on a really foggy, misty night I picked them up.

I got him to make me one really big one (48×43 inches) and one still big but a little smaller at 38×28 inches.

They are both a little rustic (I said it was fine to make them out of scrap wood) but I think they will do the trick. He showed me the workshed he built himself out of scrap wood and he was very nice and helped me (in the rain!) attach the larger loom to the roof of my car when it wouldn’t fit. It was so close, I really thought it would fit. I have a Toyota Matrix and have hauled some massive items in there!

One weird coincidence— it turned out we graduated from the same high school, two years apart! No wonder people say the whole Baltimore area is one small town. I knew the names of some of the people he mentioned once we figured out we attended at the same time but we didn’t know each other. Our school wasn’t huge (I think there were 220 in my graduating class) but pulled from a large area and he lived in the opposite direction.

It was funny because during the whole searching for someone who has tools and a workbench I kept thinking that every dad I knew growing up had this set up and that I bet a lot of the guys from my very blue-collar/working-class high school must be those dads now. And I was right! I literally hired that guy.

It was also a little unexpected because neither of us live *that* close to where we grew up–he is in a different county and I live in the city limits (in high school half our block was in the city and half in the county and I went to a county school) on the complete opposite side. I had only mentioned high school because I hadn’t taken the bridge I had to cross over since I was in high school and was making awkward small talk.

He made me promise three times to send him a picture of a final project and told me he was happy to make me anything else. I might get him to make me a square one. If you are in the Baltimore area and want a box or planter or large loom made, I have a guy!

The day after I picked it up was super sunny and nice so I cut up some old t-shirts into loops and got to weaving on the smaller loom. Boy was that a workout! I think if I really get into making these I need to get an easel. I had it flat on our picnic table and it was a lot of bending over. My fitness tracker thought I did a very long exercise routine which I guess I did.

I was a little worried the nails wouldn’t be strong enough but one survived the 40-minute journey home over the bridge strapped to the roof of the Matrix and I made one on the smaller (still huge) and it was fine. He told me if I needed him to make any adjustments to let him know so if that changes, that’s an option.

I made a tiktok weaving it that has had 4.5k views which is unexpected because I don’t have many followers! It was fun making the rug and now I have to figure out how to source t-shirts to cut up.

Rigid Heddle Project Nine: Sparkly Scarf

I warped my Kromski 32 yesterday for a table runner and kept the momentum for the Cricket 15 today.

Warping the Cricket is so much quicker and easier since it is a smaller loom and I can firmly clamp it to our heavy coffee table. It makes such a difference!

I warped a pretty wide scarf because I wanted to get all of the colors in it. I used Lion Brand Mandela Sparkle in Crux. As much as I love wool, it really isn’t feasible to only use that, especially as I’m still learning. That’s just too much of a financial commitment and I’ve already sunk a lot into the looms and other odds and ends needed for weaving.

I think it came out pretty well. The yarn wanted to catch on the warping sticks though which made it tedious to work with. I like the colors and sparkle though!

Temperature Blanket Update #4

It was warm today so I took it out to make a little video of my progress through last week.

The weather has been very warm for December and November and lot of variation. It’s been 69° one day and 43° the next. I’m glad I picked colors that work well together overall.

I uploaded a video to Tiktok of it. I’m posting it below but I’m not sure how great it will embed.

You can see below that the back is kind of bumpy so I’m already thinking about how if I will weave a backing and how.

I think it looks great so far! A few loose yarns and I haven’t washed it, of course, but it’s coming together. I wove a design on a few of the squares but nothing fancy. I saw a pattern for a heart I’m tempted by but I’m normally sort of tired by the time I’m doing the squares and don’t want to concentrate that hard.

I have only had one day since the beginning that I skipped so I’ve been keeping up! 115 blocks done. One a day and attaching them to the day before. I do a row of 14 squares (days) then attach them to the rest of the blanket. It’s going to be hot to do that when I finish in August!

Rigid Heddle Project 8: Blueberry Pudding Wrap

I warped this on my Kromski 32 the same day as I warped the towels on my Cricket 15. That was kind of brutal! I liked the idea of having both ready to go at the same time but I’m not sure if I am going to do that again. The Kromski is more difficult to work on during the evenings because it takes up a lot of the living room when I’m using it. The Cricket is fine to use on the coffee table and therefore better when I want to weave while we are watching a movie or something in the evenings.

Warping both took 3-4 episodes of Queen Sugar and tied up the whole room. Good thing Matt was working because the route to the bathroom and the backyard was cut off due to the long warps.

I was reminded how much more like the Kromski than the Cricket. The Cricket size is a bonus for evening weaving and I like being able to clamp it to the coffee table when I’m warping but it feels so flimsy. The heddle wants to flop off the sides every time I touch it. It just doesn’t stay the loom the same way because it is basically the same width of the loom and sits in a open slot versus being set into a more solid heddle block. The size makes the heddle very light weight as well. I have to use rubber bands to hold the heddle steady with both but I only have problems with the heddle shifting after that with the Cricket. I also don’t like the double bars on the back, it’s harder to use the warp sticks (instead of Kraft paper) because you can’t see what you are doing as well and they sort of fall to the same place when you wind the yarn on.

Anyway, it was nice to get back to the Kromski. I really love the look of the walnut too. I wish I had walnut warp sticks. Would it be too far to stain them myself?

For this wrap I used a Caron “Skinny Cakes” cake in Blueberry Pudding which is apparently special to Michael’s. I got it there on clearance a couple months ago. It is 100% acrylic but not as springy as the Lion Mandela yarn I’ve used twice before and really cozy feeling. I used an 8 dent heddle but I almost wonder if I could have used a 5 because the yarn was pretty thick despite being DK/sport weight. I’m not sure why it is called a “skinny” cake; I looked on the site and it didn’t provide any answers. I don’t know if I’ve ever used Caron yarn before. I did find one join when I was warping on so I cut it and tied it on again.

I warped this back in August and just finished it! I think it turned out pretty well. I love how the colors turned out. I can see where I missed a few warp stings (how??) but since it’s just for me it doesn’t matter. I’m excited to warp on something new! This took a while to do when I got side tracked with my temperature blanket and it’s a bigger loom so I generally only use it during the day when my husband is working.

I did realize how important it is to center your warps, I had wanted to make the wrap slightly wider than it is but there was knot or a tangle and I ended up making it slightly narrower so there were a few more slots empty on the right side than the left and the weaving felt a little lopsided. The weaving itself was totally fine, it was just more awkward working that giant 32 inch heddle.

Rigid Heddle Project 7: A Lonely Dish Towel

I wanted to make something more everyday useful so I found this pattern for dish towels using a 15 inch Cricket that yields four dish towels on one warp, one after another.

It was a long warp—-155 inches— which was challenging because that is almost the length of my living room. I’m convinced no weaver lives in a small space. The amount of random junk and long tables I see so many patterns, books and blogs call for is mind boggling. Is everyone who weaves a pack rat in a giant house? I’m glad I didn’t take too much notice of this before I got started because that might have discouraged me.

I used Hobbii 8/4 cotton in Turquoise (#33) for the warp. I used almost 3 (186 yds each). Next time I will wind it into balls first, it tangled very easily no matter where I pulled from and there was a large clump of tangled yarn in the middle of the ball. It is not the brand of yarn the pattern called for but less than $1.50 a ball on sale, it seemed like a better choice for a first towel project. It is the same thickness and fiber.

I didn’t really enjoy using the yarn for the weft, just the length off the shuttle passing through would knot.

After weaving one towel length I decided to teach myself the hem stitch and pull one off the warp. I should have hemmed it in the beginning (I think that’s something people do? but the pattern I was roughly following didn’t call for it. Hem stitching the end side while on the loom went fine but when I tried to go back and hem stitch the first bit, the yarn tangled so much I ended up just knotting it into tassels. Not ideal but I was really left with a mess I didn’t even think I could even machine hem.

I hand washed it and put in the yard to dry. I am not someone who really beats down the yarn so I wanted to see if any shrinkage would help with that. It did! It really tightened up.

I retied the warp on the apron and that was oddly difficult and resulted in having to cut off a big chunk of yarn so that has derailed my plans because I have a lot less warp than I planned on. I’m going to just weave something else on it and call a day.

I have a ton of this yarn left in several colors so I need to come up with some use for it! It tangles so easily! I think it might be good for a bread bag? It is a slightly coarse weave and thicker yarn than how I prefer towels. Warping on for a shorter project would be less fraught I think.

So not a total failure-I do have one functional towel—but now I have a lot of warp to use.

Temperature Blanket Update #3: 8 Weeks

I made a little video to show my progress. It’s not washed or blocked so it’s a little bumpy but you can get an idea of the temperature fluctuations.

We were getting into the blues of the 70s but it’s been warm the last few days so the next strip will be back to some purples.

I’m sewing 14 days together and then adding the whole strip at once on top of the previous weeks. You can see the pink square on the bottom left with a safety pin in it—that’s day one. I’ve been sticking a piece of pink yarn through the first day of each new row to keep that straight too. I don’t want any mistakes!

I have a notebook too (of course!) where I track the temps and what block I am on and the over all square number.

So far it’s a manageable project! I’ve found I really prefer it when I can get it done during the day, our house is dark and the bright light makes it so much easier to see. Plus it frees up some time the evenings to do other weaving (I have two projects on the go on my Cricket and Kromski rigid heddles) or something else. When I’m tired I dawdle on the pin loom because it’s a little fiddly once you get towards the end.

Temperature Blanket Update #2: Joining

After the angst of my last post, I decided not to do a decorative crochet join with the squares. I practiced it a lot and got the hang of it but it was so long and tedious. If I was making a small blanket or wall hanging, I’d go for it but it was driving me bananas and that is not the purpose of this project!

I really wanted a project with a small, manageable daily goal. Making a square and then crocheting it perfectly into another square every day did not seem manageable.

I agonized over how else to join the squares and went with something both easy and secure. It does create a ridge on the wrong side but techniques that simply stitched them together so they laid flat did not seem strong enough for what will be a pretty heavy blanket and left gaps.

Wrong side
Right side

I set up my lounge chair on a sunny day and stitched them all together- right sides together, stitched through both loops using the tails I had left on and then pulling the yarn through the seam to secure. It only took me a couple of hours to get caught up from when it started on August 19th.

I’m doing 14 across and if my math is correct, this will leave me with a rectangular blanket and one extra square I could embroider the dates on.

I’m adding the square on to the last day’s square every day and then joining the strips once they reach two weeks. Much more manageable! I’m almost at six weeks now.

Pin Loom Temperature Blanket 1 Month Update

It’s been about a month since I started my temperature blanket. I caught up on the “back” squares and have been able to make a square a day which has been great!

Not so great is that I still haven’t been able to join the squares together. I think I am going to use this technique from this YouTube video. I wish you could see what she was doing a little more clearly but her narration was pretty solid. I made a couple of squares with spare yarn and was able to get a good join.

I had been leaving long tails because I wasn’t sure how I was going to join them but I realized I really preferred to have some sort of border between each one rather than having different day’s colors overlap. I found the above technique and decided to use charcoal colored yarn as my connecting yarn. I’m hoping for sort of a stained glass effect.

My husband was on “vacation” a couple weeks ago when I figured this out. We don’t live near a Micheal’s, maker of the yarn I’m using, and last time I made a order for in-store pick up they gave me the wrong color and made a big deal of how I would have to make another near hour round trip to swap it out. Anyway, I kept thinking we were going to do some day trips and didn’t want to tie up a day with finding a Michael’s with this yarn in stock so I ordered it online for home delivery. It said 3 day delivery and it took two full weeks! This really put me behind.

What’s worse is that we actually didn’t end up doing much of anything over his vacation so I could have taken the time and just picked up the yarn myself. Ugh. I am seriously stressed out about joining a whole month of squares together and keeping up with the daily square. There are only so many hours in the day! Maybe I should have picked something smaller for my first pin loom project? It seemed very manageable at the time and I hope it still is.

Part of what I am learning in my adventures down the pin loom/zoom loom rabbit hole is that there is a lot of talk about making the squares (aka “weavies” a term I’m not sure I like) but very little about actually doing anything with them or how to connect them. That’s why I thought the blanket would be fun. It was a manageable task each day.

I was excited when the Holiday issue of Little Looms magazine arrived and on the cover it said there would be directions on how to knit, crochet and cross stitch pin-loom squares.

I was a little disappointed by the actual article by Gabi van Tassell though, she uses crochet terms like “slip stitch” without giving any idea what that is or how to do it. I’m a recipe developer, I know how important clear directions are. Instead we get “keys” and directions like this:

Why are there no tips on how to keep the yarn underneath the fabric? She also doesn’t mention how or if you have to to line the squares up like the video by the other woman does. The pictures don’t show any squares next to each other so there is no way to know. Zoom loom squares (which are the kind pictured) have bumps and valleys that can “hook” together. Am I supposed to line them up? The video woman says its very important to line them up correctly but van Tassell doesn’t mention it at all.

The bumps have two loops. Which loop do I use? Both? At the same time or separate? Any tips on working in from the front? It’s a very counter intuitive way to join something together. What is a slip stitch? I’ve done some crocheting and never had to do a slip stitch nor it is in any of the “beginning crocheter” videos or articles I’ve read.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised because I bought a turtle loom from this woman and while she seems very nice, her directions on that were just as horrible. Is there such a dearth of pin loom weavers this is the best we’ve got? Maybe so? Writing directions is an art and I’m surprised these got published in this (very expensive) magazine. I hope it’s not true of all Little Looms patterns! Maybe they don’t have much staff? Or editors? I can see possibly assuming anyone getting the magazine is pretty into weaving but assuming they also know all other yarn crafts seems unreasonable.

Is every weaver a proficient crocheter? I highly doubt it. When I watch crochet videos about weaving together granny squares with a slip stitch, it’s clear it isn’t the most common method and that it is done differently than how you have to for pin loom squares. Further confusing the issue is that the US slip stitch is the same as the UK single crochet.

The magazine looks cute but between this low quality and how they argued with me when I reached out for help accessing the digital copies I paid for, I’m not thinking they are the most critical thinkers there. They kept saying I didn’t know how to log in and was the problem when later it was clear the app was just having technical difficulties that were resolved. Maybe I just need to become very good at weaving and take over the industry.

So one month in I’m stressed and cranky. Hopefully I can zoom through some joining and get back on track. My husband keeps saying it’s all pressure I’m putting on myself but I planned the project so it would be very manageable and leave me plenty of time to do other things. Now I’m way behind and have to hustle to catch up through no fault of my own. If I get too far behind I know I will just not catch up and will have wasted a lot of time, effort and money.