Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Inkle Loom Round Robin

Carolyn gave me her inkle loom when I was visiting her in Tucson recently.  We shipped it home in a very large box!  It's a different kind of design, with a handle for moving the unheddled threads up and down.  I think it also is a pretty loom, the design is elegant looking.

Here it is warped for an Inkle Loom Round Robin in Memphis last weekend.  I like to use the clamps to keep the looms from moving around when I weave, which they all seem to do. 

Here is a second (guild) loom I warped for the round robin.  This is how I deal with all the ends when there are a lot of color changes.

After the warping is finished, the thread ends are tied together while checking the warp threads for even tension.
We wove 14 different bands during the workshop / round robin! 

Left to right:

Warpwise Stripes, this was actually woven on the floor loom!  Without the reed / beater.

Crosswise Bars, an easy, fun design.

Checkerboard.  The thread is 10/2 perle cotton, and the checks are subtle because the thread is very fine and the colors do not contrast much, but it is real pretty close up!

T-Bars.  Another design that is simple to warp but makes an interesting design.  3/2 perle cotton was used.

Chains.  This beautiful bookmark was made with crochet cotton #10.  I love the weight of it and the smoothness of the thread, and the colors Patricia chose are so pretty.  I just received the new Knit Picks today, and page three has crochet cotton #10 in 20 colors!!  Click here to see Knit Picks 'Curio' Crochet Cotton.  And here to link to a mini tutorial about using this new Curio Crochet Cotton.

Hmmm, let's see, 20 colors at $3.99 each......  I think I need them all!!  Great for Irish crochet, too.

Back to the bookmarks....

The next is Flowers, in two color ways, using cotton rug warp.  'Flowers' was the pattern assigned to me, and since I had two looms at home (Carolyn's and one belonging to the guild), I decided to warp them both in two different color ways.  Thinking 'granny square afgan,' I warped one with a background of black and flowers in deep magenta, purple and rust.

The second Flowers I warped in a light green background with flowers of rose, yellow and lavender, with black centers. 

Rainbow.  This bookmark was made from 120/2 silk from Red Fish Dye Works.  It was hard to work on because it was quite narrow.  I had trouble seeing it, so my edges are a true mess!  I think it would be fun to try this very fine silk again, but wonder if you could put several (10?) strands through each heddle to make it wider/thicker?

Stars and Stripes, 5/2 perle cotton.  I'm not a flag waver, but this was fun to make!  And I learned how to do a clasped weft, using blue on the left selvedge and red on the right, so the edges match the color next to them.  Good technique to know.

Rep Weave.  Ok, my sample does not look very good, but this is a very interesting technique.  I stayed overnight at Angela's, and she has made several beautiful art pieces using this technique.  It kind of makes me think of trapunto, with the thick yarn woven in.  I would like to explore this technique more.  In different colors.

Beaded Edges.  Of course I loved this technique, adding beads to the edge of the trim.  A supplementary warp is threaded with beads, unheddled, and weighted and hung over the top of the loom.  The beaded warp is carried along, or set aside for a number of picks, depending on the design.  This technique was a bit difficult to figure out, but once I got the spacing down, it was pretty straight forward.  And I want to explore this technique a lot more!!  Passamenterie too!

Tubular Weave.  This technique is easy, and you almost don't need to think about it once you get going.  When you take it off the loom, the tube naturally wants to twist, so you get a nice spiral effect on the tube.  I can see this would be a fun technique for jewelry making.  But I still love my kumihimo braiding!

Krokbragd.  This technique was really interesting.  And hard!  Three sheds (instead of the normal two) are used, so an extra set of heddles are added to the loom, plus a shed stick.  The weavers in the group commented that it was very fun to learn, but this type of design would be easier done on a regular loom!

Baltic Style Pickup (far right, above, and below).  Wow, this was really, REALLY fun to do.  But it was hard, too.  Although once you figure out what you are doing (it took me about 6 - 8 rows), it all makes sense.  You just have to really pay attention to your graph to pick up and/or pick down the correct warp threads.  The background was linen, and the pattern was in wool, and these fibers want to stick together each time the shed is changed, but the wool stands out very nicely from the background.  I love my bookmark and want to explore this technique a lot more.

After we finished weaving our samples, they were cut from the looms and the techniques discussed.  My loom, with handle for lifting up or pushing down unheddled threads, was considered.  Roni, below, and the rest of the group thought it was a very good design, except that when you are moving the heddled threads with the right hand, you have to reach over to operate the handle.  And Patricia said she missed the tactile experience of pushing down and pulling up the warp threads with her fingers.

Before we took it off the loom, we moved the heddles to another dowel, as I thought I had put them on the wrong dowel (see first picture of this loom above).  They worked much better on the lower dowel!  It took me about four attempts to warp the loom, as I had not taken a photo of it warped at Carolyn's house. 
Here Angela explains Baltic Style Pickup, and how to graph out your own design.  She demonstrated that it is best to graph your pattern (foreground design) where the warps are normally up or down (I think!).  The two-day workshop / round robin was really fun, and we all learned a lot.  Angela is a great teacher, and a mentor to many new weavers.  Thanks, Angela!

Bonus!  On Sunday morning (workshop didn't start until 1:00), Angela got out her basket supplies and showed me how to make a 'jelly bean' basket.  Here are several colorful baskets she has made (the reeds are space dyed), and my little crooked basket sitting in another basket.  I'm going to try making more, using Rit dye to color the reeds.

Mac helps with my photography......

I love the inkle loom!  When I took the beginner workshop in April, I thought I would just try it to learn something new, but that I wasn't going to buy a loom or pursue it any further.  Of course, one hour into the workshop I was hooked!  There are so many different patterns to try, and the finished bands can be used for so many things (bookmark, hat band, dog collar, guitar strap, belt, purse strap, clothing trim, etc.).  It's also pretty easy to warp the loom, and portable!

Monday, June 24, 2013


We added coiled basket instruction to our recent fiber camp.  Success was limited!  The project might be just a tiny bit advanced for 10 year olds, although my 10 year old tester caught on to it pretty quickly.  I have tried several basketry techniques, and I think coiled basketry may be one of the easier types of baskets to create. 

Last week I taught the same technique to a group of adults at the public library.  It takes a bit of finessing to get a coiled basket started, but once you get to about the third row, it is really easy, and something you can work on while watching tv, or with your crafting group, etc.

Here is a photo of the four coiled basket samples I made for the class. 

For these baskets I used cotton clothesline from the hardware store and inexpensive yarn (acrylic) found at fabric and craft stores.  The largest basket, 1 1/2" tall x 4 1/2" across at the top, used 10 feet of clothesline and about 30 - 40 yards of yarn.  I used a #18 tapestry needle (DMC) to make the stitches. 
These little baskets are quite firm.  I take a stitch after about five wraps, always pulling tightly, on the stitch as well as the wraps. 
Because coiled basketry is made in a spiral, it is difficult to end it perfectly!  It is a good idea to finish the coiling directly above the place where you start gradually bending the sides upward.  I also cover the end with buttona, or a piece of costume jewelry, or even a shell (as in the basket on the lower right).  You can use glue to add the decoration, or clear nylon thread, which is how I attached the shell.
The coaster, lower left, was made with a cotton yarn, and works very well as a platform for an ice cold drink.
Click here to link to my directions to make a coiled basket.