Burn Test

At yesterday’s guild meeting we did a burn test to see what “mystery” fibers were. Cotton oddly smelt a bit like burnt marshmallows. We practically made new plastic wire out of nylon.

It was a hot day but cool in the shade. I don’t know if I regularly would do a burn test to figure out what some fibers are but it was interesting to do once! Especially for blends. It was pretty accurate to the guide.

Peg Loom Weaving

I learned about peg looms when I was checking out any book from the library that contained the words “warp”, “loom” or “weaving” months ago and thought it looked interesting.

I looked on Etsy for looms and saw some nice ones but they all were a little pricy and seemed like something I could make myself if I had access to the tools. I joined a peg loom group on Facebook and liked looking at their rug projects but didn’t feel any real urgency to get a peg loom. I had so many pin looms, two under used floor looms and frame looms already!

But…I got a good coupon from Michael’s and thought I’d see what they had in the way of weaving supplies. The last time I checked specially for weaving was last fall when I was trying to buy my dad a pot holder loom—they didn’t sell one and didn’t have any real weaving supplies at all. Maybe a few circular knitting looms or a sock loom. But that’s it.

So I was a little surprised to see that now they are selling two kinds of frame looms for tapestry, some needles, a pot holder loom, not heat-safe pot holder loops, some tapestry/wall hanging weaving kits and to my real surprise, a peg loom!

What?? Peg looms definitely wouldn’t have been my guess for what Michael’s would carry. I can see the frame looms since tapestry/wall hangings seem fairly popular right now. Pot holders are classic. I would not been surprised to see a Zoom Loom knockoff. The pot holder and pin loom people seem out in force in 2022 making a ton of things. There have been cotton pot holder loop shortages! But peg looms? Even the peg loom groups aren’t very active. I found one video on Tiktok and not much on Instagram. I haven’t found a single peg loom project in the Little Looms archives.

I guess it is an easy and inexpensive product to make. With the coupon it was under $20. Will there be a rush of peg loom interest now? The store had plenty in stock as did all the other locations around me so they are out there actually on the shelves.

Now I did have some issues putting it together. One set of instructions labeled “how to assemble” had you hammering the screws in while the inside of the label said to screw them. I did screw them right away before I noticed the second set of contradictory instructions on the label because it only made sense but that was odd. The second issue was the one of the feet would not stay screwed on so I ended up using some all-purpose silicone glue I had around to attach and secure the foot. If I really love peg loom weaving I can always upgrade to a fancier homemade version, especially if I figure out the difference between them and this one.

The instructions on the label were pretty bare bones (I’m really not sure why there was a separate Xerox copy looking instructions included—they were wrong and the instructions printed on the back of the label were fine) but they were clear about the assembly, there was some modest weaving tips about leaving space, not pulling tightly and how to finish off the piece and even a illustration showing how to make a lark’s head knot for fringe and tassels. More than I’ve seen in some Little Looms rigid heddle and pin loom projects to be honest! No project ideas beyond the rug(?) photograph on the label.

I used a technique similar to direct warping my rigid heddle by using the warping pegs from those looms, placed the length I wanted apart then I wrapped them the same number of pegs I wanted to use and cut one end. Then I used a needle to thread the pegs on the loom. I thought I was very clever figuring that out (I see people on the peg loom FB group talking about how tedious the warping is and measuring out each warp individually ) but then I opened up the peg loom and stick weaving book I got from the library and saw this illustration showing exactly what I had just done:

Ha! At least it was validating. I don’t see a lot of projects in the book that I’d want to make but it is the only peg loom and stick weaving book I can find. Even Little Looms magazine and other books about small looms or weaving pretty much ignores peg looms and weaving sticks.

I’m just practicing with some scrap yarn I didn’t end up using for my temperature blanket and the warp (which I don’t think anyone will really see) is some random thrifted yarn but it’s kind of a fun process. Very quick even with this relatively thin sport weight yarn. I can imagine it would be extremely quick with fabric strips or very thick yarn. Thicker yarn would probably be a better choice for how chunky the pegs are. Or maybe doubling the yarn? I don’t really like working with two strands at once so I didn’t bother.

The process of lifting the sticks to slide the yarn weaving onto the warp seemed counter intuitive to me (I wanted to pull the yarn over the sticks, not just lift them up) but obviously it works!

My husband asked what you can make on the peg loom that’s different or unique than other methods and I honestly don’t know. If I had to guess the loom came about as away to quickly weave up scrap yarn for rugs and mats. It has to be faster than hand braiding, the loom itself is easy to make and fairly collapsible, no sewing needed and you can use pretty much anything you can wrap around the pegs.

It’s a little bulkier than pin loom weaving but just as mindless to do while watching tv or a movie. Or weaving while your husband is washing dishes and you’re chatting.

Little Looms Magazine Fall 2022

I really do want to like this magazine but I’m not convinced anyone is actually editing the patterns. Or else they are written only for people who have already completed very similar projects.

I’ve been working on my temperature blanket (one month to go!) and I’m stitching the squares together by hand because I couldn’t find good instructions on making a crocheted or other border. I had really wanted a sort of stained glass effect but in the interest of time, I abandoned that idea.

So I was excited to see a stained glass pin loom blanket in the latest issue of Little Looms.

Gabi van Tassell’s pattern has some resources for weaving triangles, finishing off crochet and crochet glossary (all webpages) but doesn’t have any illustrations or info about the actual stitches she wants you to make. It’s strange that they think you won’t know what crochet abbreviations are but expect you to know how to crochet any stitches and connect them into a woven piece.

Later in the magazine they give you an illustration of how to do a French knot. How do they decide what people know?

I was going to re-up my subscription but I don’t think I will. There are a ton of cute ideas but the directions are written so strangely. I guess it stands out as a recipe writer but they don’t seem to value clarity. This is not the first time I’ve had my hopes dashed by this magazine.

New Triangle Loom!

I had two triangle pin looms that have the pins spaced evenly along all three sides. Some times they are called “bias” looms.

They are fine but I found using using them a lot more tedious than my Zoom Loom or bookmark loom. You need to use a crochet hook or a small locker hook to weave, similar to how “turtle looms” work. I find this kind of bulky and awkward. Part of what I like about pin looms is that it’s easy and I can do it without paying a lot of attention. The bias looms weren’t difficult once I got the hang of it but they are more hands on. You have to hook the yarn just so or it will fall off or get caught. It’s easy to grab or snag the wrong strand as well. I wish there was a better tool to use rather than trying to adapt tools from other crafts.

Part of the reason I got the 4 inch triangle loom was to be able to make designs pairing it with my Zoom Loom squares. I quickly realized that they didn’t quite fit together right. The Zoom Loom is three (sort of four, depending on how you count) layers and the bias loom was only two or one depending on the technique. Unless I was using very thick yarn, it gave a much more “lacy” look to the triangles than the Zoom Loom squares. It didn’t look quite right when you held them up to the squares I made on the Zoom Loom. I really wanted to be able to use the same yarn for both looms for a project and get a uniform look. I don’t have a square bias loom and didn’t really want one.

Oddly it was tricky to find a triangle loom with the 3 pin set up. Dewberry has some but the shipping was pretty high. I poked around and a lot of people talked about using Wunderwag Looms. I was hesitant because they don’t have a website and aren’t on Etsy. You just email them and they send you the details. I debated about it and finally emailed them and it went fine! He replied right away with a list of products and shipping prices. He offered a discount if you buy a set of three so I did that. I figured I probably would want a larger and smaller one eventually so why not save on shipping? They shipped and arrived super quickly.

Unlike the other looms I saw they were made out of clear plastic. They have numbers on all three sides to make it clear how and where to warp and weave. My only quibbles is that the instructions show a fully warped and woven triangle. I would have liked a break down of each layer like how the Zoom Loom instructions are. It’s color coded but it’s a little tricky to see. He also included some written instructions. I also think I would have preferred solid plastic rather than clear, it is a little distracting to see my fingers, the floor and the rest of the yarn through the loom.

I love how the triangles look. They are the perfect thickness and size to pair with my Zoom Loom woven squares which is exactly what I wanted!

It’s a little tricky at the top and around the hypotenuse where there is a lot of tight overlapping but it works up quickly. I really like the 3-pin method so it’s worth a little struggle. Using the crochet hook was a lot more tedious than this.

Pin Loom Bookmarks Part 2

I’ve shared a few bookmarks here but I’ve really been making them a lot lately! They are so quick to make and so satisfying. Since they are so narrow there is no real room for anything to get tangled. I’ve done over 290 temperature blanket squares and you’d be surprised how often I put it down for a second and the yarn mysteriously knots itself or something gets pulled funny.

I filmed my self warping and then weaving a bookmark and uploaded it to TikTok. It takes about 15 minutes total. It’s a great way to use the slightly stiff but cute variegated yarn I thrifted a number of weeks ago. I can’t imagine wanting to wear anything from the yarn but it makes a bookmark that is pretty flat and thick. Any yarn works but soft yarn does yield a floppier bookmark.

I’ve been washing them then air drying them on a drying cloth from Aldi outside when it’s sunny. It’s really interesting to see what patterns form. I’ve done squares with some of the same yarn (or the same yarn but a different colorway) and they end up looking totally different than the bookmark—like the green/orange below striped as a bookmark and almost made a plaid but was much more abstract as a 2 inch square. I also have that yarn in purple and blue shades for the temperature blanket and it looks very different, much less geometric and even, as a 4 inch square.

I’m not sure if I am going to make tassels or maybe attach something else to them. Maybe buttons? A flower made using my vintage daisy loom? More pompoms? Or leave them be?

It’s funny how much fun I have making them (I think I am up to around SIXTY) because despite reading over 200 books a year, I rarely read a physical book and when I do, I’m an awful dogearer.

Warped Weavers Meeting & Auction

I went to my first meeting of the Warped Weavers! It wasn’t too hard to get to. It was fun to meet people in person, I did the one Zoom but I was away and then had appointments on the other days they had it.

They have a huge library of books! It was also their auction day so I ended up with a rug shuttle, a couple of books and some yarn for under $20. Not too shabby.

I had thought it was the last meeting for the summer but I think they have one more in June. This meeting they shared their “stash busting” projects which was a lot of fun. So creative! One woman shared some info about lucets which was nice. My husband had gotten both of us one but we were kind of at a loss. She had used a latchet lucet to make cord to make pot holders and coiled containers.

Looking forward to the next meeting! I made some bookmarks out of scrap yarn while I was there but no one else brought something to work on.

Temperature Blanket Update #4

I finally packed away some of my coldest temperature yarns. I really overbought a couple colors because it was much colder than the last 3 years. In previous years, most winter days had highs in the 35-39 range but this year it was either much colder or much warmer.

It’s still been pretty cold and dreary here but we have ventured into the 80s this week and will probably hit 90 tomorrow. A return to the colors I started the blanket with!

I had kept up with one square a day all year but I’m a tiny bit behind now. I went to Ocean Grove, NJ for a little solo vacation break thought I’d spend the time working on some other pin loom projects. I ended up not doing any weaving at all because it was so windy on the beach and the room was tiny and awkward. Now I’m catching up. I’m doing the temps for Baltimore not where I actually was. I guess that makes sense? I don’t think I will be anywhere else overnight until after it’s finished. Maybe if I was away for longer I’d do the temperature there. But my husband and the dogs were still here in Baltimore so someone did experience that weather! It was cooler where I was.

Once I’m caught up (5 more squares to go!) I will be only 91 days/squares from completing the blanket.

I’m still debating about how to do a backing and if I should attach a key to the temperatures somehow. I asked in a couple Facebook groups and some people had it printed on to fabric or embroidered it on the back. I feel like I should add a key somehow because if I don’t, it just looks like an odd patchwork blanket.

Weaving Guild News

I decided to join the weaving guild that the woman who helped me warp the Wolf Pup at the library belongs to. It’s not the Greater Baltimore one which I still have mixed feelings about but one that is actually meets closer to Baltimore! It’s up on Bel Air, Maryland. They do weekly informal weaving zooms on Mondays, some learning zooms and then have a hybrid in person meeting once a month outside of summer. The dues were only $20 so really no downside.

I attended my first zoom today! They all seem very friendly and enthusiastic. It was interesting to hear them all talk about weaving. A lot of them said they really liked planning more than actually weaving which I thought was interesting. I’m not an unfinished project person.

I heard some stories about how rainy and muddy it was at Maryland Sheep & Wool this year but that sales were good. I bet everyone was desperate to get out and shop in person!

Later this month they are having their last in-person hybrid meeting until the fall and I’m going to attend. Apparently it will also be an auction so I might be able to pick up some supplies the women are donating from their stash.

I can’t really be on camera when Matt’s working but I could see everyone else. It will be nice to see them in person soon. I made a couple bookmarks during the zoom. I find them very satisfying to weave.

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.

Spring Frederick FiberFest!

We drove out to Frederick for the FiberFest. It was free if you pre-registered and you got entered into a drawing. Parking was free too! I had never been to the fairgrounds there before but it right before you would head into the historic Frederick area coming from Baltimore.

It was overcast but in the upper 60s so perfect festival weather! The yarn was all in two big buildings. I’d say about half the people were masking.

It was 99% knitting and crochet which I expected. The place in Catonsville that does some rigid heddle classes was there but only had yarn. I did see some woven scarves for sale and some (possibly twined?) place mats. One place had Zoom Looms for sale and a couple of pin looms and I saw a lot of people looking at them. I think there would be more interest if people were more exposed. Some woman was also there selling upcycled wool clothing art.

I was hoping someone would be selling shuttles but no luck.

I did get some half price hot pink yarn that I think will work with the reed I have for the Wolf Pup.

The Frederick County Master Gardeners were there having a plant sale and we impulse bought some fish pepper, pepperoncini and habenaro plants for us and a lemon boy tomato plant for my dad.

Then we got sandwiches at the Firestone Market and ate in the park. It was fun getting out and doing some Covid friendly activities. It’s been a long time since we’ve been to Frederick. I sort of wish we had run into the yarn store that’s there, I think they sell need punch/rug punch items but I don’t think they sell any weaving stuff and I don’t need to invest in rug punch right now! Maybe we will go back in the winter. I’m pretty tied up with the temperature blanket, making the t-shirt rugs and learning the floor loom.