Merry Fiberful X-Mas to me! One of the highlights of my Christmas was getting a rigid heddle loom. And I was so taken with my new loom I finished my first project on New Year's Day.
I did a teensy bit of weaving in college- a rectangle big enough to be a placemat (I don't use placemats), so I'm not counting it as a project. Besides, that was a floor loom. This is a rigid heddle loom.
For those of you unfamiliar with weaving terms, a little primer. Warp threads are those that run parallel to the selvedge. Weft threads run parallel to the crosswise grain. When weaving you set up all your warp threads & weave your weft threads through them. Warp threads have to be tight enough to make the weaving process easier. Since weft threads aren't under much pressure, I believe this is why there's usually more stretch along the crosswise grain. Also, because you're not making loops & knots in your fabric, weaving is incredibly fast & uses shockingly little yarn compared to knitting or crocheting. Well, inexperienced weaver that I am feels like less yarn is used. Most everyone says weaving takes up a lot of yarn.
Anyway, my loom came pre-warped, which meant I got to play with it fresh out of the box. It was really nice because I felt free to make all sorts of mistakes & not get attached to the couple inch wide strip of fabric I was making.
I finished my test strip just a day or two after X-Mas, then immediately started my first real project, a scarf. To be honest I really didn't know if I was making it for myself or my boyfriend. Awhile ago I knit him a scarf & he lost it when we moved this fall. I hate knitting scarves. They go on forever. But woven scarves, my friends, are quick little beasts. Besides, I was hearing many complaints about how much he missed his old scarf. And he was the one who bought the loom for me. But wouldn't you know? I found the scarf buried in his closet soon after finishing the new scarf!
Alright, it would have been a lightening quick project if I had had my warp set up properly, but for the first few feet it was much too loose & unevenly so. Finally, I got things sorted out & the weaving flew by a lot faster. But, the early uneven tension caused some ripples in the final product. The learning curve on getting your warp right is probably a lot quicker on fancier looms because they're designed to make it more even. I tell you this in case you're interested in getting a loom yourself. I highly recommend it! More on that later.
My goal was to entirely use up some of my stash yarn. Well, I hadn't calculated the yardage for my warp because I like winging things when I'm first learning. And the method for warping your loom I learned in the Craftsy Rigid Heddle Weaving course didn't work perfectly for this loom. So I really did have to wing it (I step on directions! I dig my heel into them & spit! Yeah I know, I'm like the stereotypical guy who won't ask for directions when he's lost. I probably should have done more than skimmed the included instructions).
Big shocker! My scarf came out short. I should have known it would. My stash busting scarf left me with bits of stash instead of projects worth. Ah well. I'm sure they'll be easily used in future weaving projects. And the scarf is around 53″ long. That's just long enough to tie around your neck, but not long enough to do a nice double wrapping. When I was done weaving I soaked the scarf in warm water, kind of like you're supposed to do with a knitting project. Instead of blocking it though (drying it flat in the desired shape) I let it hang by the parts that were most uneven & bubbly. This helped straighten things out a lot, although it's not perfect.
The weft is a beautiful mix of bright burgundy wool/alpaca, variegated red & fuschia wool, and heathered dark burgundy wool. Brown wool yarn makes up the warp. Actually, the color combo would go perfectly with my favorite coat…
In fact, when my boyfriend saw me trying on the scarf with my burgundy coat he said my cheeks puffed up. Apparently that means I'm pleased with what I see. So if I weave him another scarf he'll let me keep this one. Doesn't that defeat the purpose of giving it to him? It is sooo warm though…
If you don't care about looms then stop reading, but if you're interested or would like to buy one yourself, read on.
My new toy is a Beka 10″ loom, which is actually designed for children. But all the reviews said good things about it & many of the reviewers were adults who had bought it for themselves. And people, it costs about half as much as the same size looms from other companies. Q bought it for me from the Woolery & I'd really recommend them. I think we purchased it on the Friday before X-Mas & it arrived that Monday, X-Mas eve. We picked the cheapest, normal shipping option too! So check out the Woolery. They have the lowest price on it to boot. And no, they're not paying me or plying me with free fiber to say this.
Like I said, it's a child's loom, so it's not as slick as the popular Cricket rigid heddle loom. This means that instead of winding your warp & finished weaving around a fancy roller, you manually unwrap the warp from a block of wood & slide your weaving through some wooden sticks. Not difficult, just not as smooth. Remember what i said earlier about tension problems? This block & the lack of rollers can make things uneven. But, I actually like the super simplistic design because it would be so easy to replicate if I wanted to make a loom myself (I have grand plans of one day learning more than really basic wood working so I can build myself furniture & spinning wheels, yes, multiple spinning wheels, & bookshelves, lots of bookshelves). Now go buy a loom so I'm not the only beginner lurking about this corner of the internet! I want to see your pretty projects!