Completed Temperature Blanket!

Woo! I’m excited it is done and (most) of the ends are trimmed off.

It took some planning but I ended up including my birthday this year as a square and adding some triangle squares in order for each temperature in the final row as a “guide”. I also wove three variegated “blank” squares to finish off the row. Each row is two weeks long. I would sew together a row then attach it to the next one. I marked the first square each row with a bit of pink yarn and had a safety pin through the very first square so I didn’t get confused about the direction.

Each square reflects that day’s high temperature and the colors were in 5° increments. I have seen a lot of blankets where they take the average and it makes no sense to me! That is not a reflection of any temperature you most likely actually experienced! I lived all these highs.

I was happy we got up to 100° once so I could use that color which had always been on the chart. I was less happy that we had highs in the 20s so I had to add in an unplanned color! We had a lot more 30-34° days than I had expected which was unfortunate because it was my least favorite color. I had only chose it because it seemed like it would only represent 1-2 days and hopefully would be next to the greys which were the only colors it really looked good next to. That did not happen!

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I don’t think I will make another pin loom blanket this size. I am glad I did the project because it was fun having something little to make every day (did not miss a day!) but the yarn bin did take up a lot of room in the living room and sometimes I was just tired or didn’t feel well. It was easy enough that I felt like I should do it so I did as not to fall behind but sometimes it was a real chore.

Part of this is is that I found that the 4 inch pin loom is quick but not the quickest. I found my favorites are the 2 inch square and the bookmark loom which I found to be quicker and easier to work up. It was easy to start a square, get distracted and put it down and somehow, without touching it, it would get tangled. 4 inches is just wide enough that it was easy to make one mistake and feel like it was too far gone to want to start again. I do think during a square each day really helped me internalize how weaving works but it was a lot of squares to do!

I am not sure if I am going to do a backing. It is a little bumpy but I think it looks fine. I washed it in the tub and then had it out on our big table outside to dry. That really pulled the squares together and gave it a uniformed look. I also don’t know how much actual heavy use it will get although the dogs love lying on it while I am working on it.

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I have some little 2 inch squares I made with scraps from the yarn. I think I might make them into a tiny blanket for my first Cabbage Patch Doll that lives in the former craft room turned office. Right now she has a sleeping bag I made when I was around seven so maybe it’s time for an upgrade.

I have a good bit of yarn left. A few whole skeins and a pretty full ball on the go for almost all the colors. I had spent a lot of time researching the occurrence of each temperature range over the previous three years but we had an unusually cold winter and then few than usual “in between” days in the 70s, 60s, 50s, 40s than what appeared to be common in the past.

I turned some of the smaller scraps (too small to weave any size square out of) into pompoms along with other scraps from other projects. About 20 of these are from the blanket! Maybe more!

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It’s a little weird not to have it to work on! I’m hoping to spend that time on trying some other projects. Not that it took long each day but it was hard to pick up something else to do in the evenings when I had the blanket waiting.

I did a little Tiktok of it to get a better idea of how it looks. It’s too big for any table I have!

Temperature Blanket update #5: Final Week!

I’m in the home stretch! I started the blanket on my birthday (August 19th) last year. I had found a chart that showed how make an elongated rectangle blanket with 4 inch pin loom squares that was 14 squares wide. That appealed to me because it was a clear two weeks in each row, other configurations did not have anything remotely resembling an actual week. What’s the point of a temperature blanket if you can’t get a rough idea of what day happened when?

As I got closer to August however I realized that the wording was so strange in the “pattern” that I didn’t realize that doing this didn’t give you a full year of squares. It had you ending 2-3 days early. What? What is the point? Who would do this?

I still wanted a way to show all of the colors I used like a key because again, why wouldn’t I want to make it clear what the blanket is and what the squares mean? I had a really hard time figuring out how to do that. I had thought maybe a pillow but then they might get separated. Doing something on the already seam filled back didn’t seem right.

Finally I think I have come up with a solution. I am going to make triangles of each color using my 4 inch triangle pin loom and stitch them together. Then I am going to finish up the year including my actual birthday. That gives me 8 squares made up of 16 triangles of each color used (we did get up to 100° one day!), 3 date squares and 3 empty squares (color unknown) for the final row. I can put the dates on the blank squares.

Still not sure about a backing but I think the blanket will be cute!

Vermont Weaving Club: Rag Rugs

My birthday is next week and I got a little early present—a subscription to the Vermont Weaving Club! My in-laws normally get me a subscription box like FabFitFun each year but then I came across this one right before the July deadline so I signed up for that instead.

You can chose to get just the yarn and pattern or to get that and learning component for a little extra. I went for the learning version. I’ve been looking for some project kits to get me started so this sounded perfect. With the learning version you get “ a detailed weaving lesson followed by a Zoom session for show & tell and questions & answers.”. You can always drop that part if you want which is nice.

In line with my interest in upcycling, this box is a rag rug. They send you yarn for the warp (I wish it was thicker because we had to double it up) and you use fabric strips for the weft. I bought some flat sheets at the thrift store to use. It was finally cool enough to take them outside and cut them up. You’d be amazed how many particles come out of cutting up so much fabric!

I am maybe a quarter through warping the loom. It takes forever and I have to drag it out to use it and put it back before we eat meals or watch tv so I try to do the warping when my husband goes into the office. I’m paranoid something will bump it but it should be fine. It’s through the reed at least. I think it’s slightly off center and I’m debating about adding more before I get started to even it out but I’m also nervous I don’t have enough weft.

We will see! It sounds like a fun project.

Peg Loom Project #1 Table Topper

I used some thrifted yarn to make a little table topper on the peg loom. Nothing fancy and not the colors I’d chose to put together but I used up a lot of yarn! I also got a good sense of what weaving on the peg loom was like.

It was very quick and easy. I still don’t quite know how it all doesn’t fall off the warp as you advance it but I know better than to ask questions.

I wanted something to use as a buffer on a dresser that keeps making noise when we walk by because my husband keeps his bongos up there. Very niche problems.

I can see how using really thick or fluffy yarn would make a cute rug but I think it looks fine as a table runner/topper. The loops remind me of ripples on water.

I did see how much yarn it took and how much it “shrank” when it came time to take it off the loom. Making a rug must be a huge undertaking!

The loom from Michael’s worked well enough. I can see how having a solid base would be nice, it is very long and it clearly wanted to bow in the middle. It didn’t, but it didn’t feel as stable as something solid would be.

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.

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.

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.

Potholders!

I bought my dad a potholder loom and extra cotton loops for Christmas because he had said that he remembered making them as a child. He makes paintable wooden objects that he donates to a domestic violence shelter during the warmer months when he can work outside but he didn’t have a craft to do when it was cold or in bad weather so I thought he might enjoy it.

Recently he said he hadn’t tried it out yet because his arthritis was acting up. I wondered if there was some trick that might make it easier so I used a gift card and bought myself a larger “pro” loom to try it out myself.

I went over to help him with some paperwork recently and before I left I whipped out my loom and the practice potholder I made the night before and told him it was time to potholder!

He didn’t need help at all! He quickly made a potholder and finished it off. He said he thinks he was even making them when I was a baby. Why didn’t anyone think to get me one? So many weaving years wasted.

It was nice doing a little father-daughter craft project! Normally we just eat lunch and get to work.

I can see how people get really into this! It was fun trying different patterns and color combos.

It was a bit of a workout, hooking those hoops was much more difficult than looping yarn around my pin looms. My Apple Watch thought I was exercising.

I will say that the Harrisville loops are pretty pricy. They are the only ones I can find that are 100% cotton and heat safe so I guess they cornered the market. It is a sturdy loom though. I think I’ll try cotton yarn but I know my dad would be more comfortable with the loops.

I did order some loops directly from Harrisville, along with some cone yarn for other projects so I’ll definitely make some more. It’s nice to have something small to work on in the evenings.