Traveller Pendant

This was the craft project I took along on our trip to Norway and Denmark. It’s a line from a poem by J. R. R. Tolkien. I finished it just before the last weekend.


It’s a bit wonky, but I don’t mind too much. Stitching on trains and planes, with low lighting as well as constant rocking and shaking doesn’t make for neat stitches.

I’d also taken some small pieces of felt and a vague idea about stitching circles onto black cloth. But the tiny pair of scissors in my travel embroidery kit are really only good for snipping thread. Cutting neat circles was not going to happen. That was okay – by then I had nalbinding to do!

Looms In, Looms Out

Last weekend I joined Ilka White and her weaving students over lunch, to catch up on our progress (or lack of it, in my case) since attending her classes. I brought the renovated loom in to get Ilka’s opinion on how to thread the shafts. It was well worth doing, as she suggested a different, better way than what the loom originally had.


Since I was intending to sell the loom in the Textile Bazaar, I left it there. However, during the week one of her students, who she’d put me in touch with a while ago, contacted me to ask if she could buy it.

So that loom didn’t end up in the Bazaar. I still intended to put the Dyer & Philips one in as well as the Ashford Table Loom and its base. However, when I found out that the Guild’s commission was 30%, I realised it wasn’t going to make sense to sell the bigger loom at the Bazaar.

It all comes down to maths. With the Dyer & Philips loom, I got it free and the only parts that cost me money was $40 for the heddles. I hadn’t spend a big chunk of time fixing it up either. Add $20 for commission and I’ve got my money back.

With the Ashford Table Loom, I bought it new and spent money and time making the stand. It now costs $1025 for a new one. For an item that’s in excellent condition, I’d hope to get 2/3 to 3/4 the current price of a new one. If I reduce the loom to 3/4 the price of a new one, then add 30% commission, I’d be asking for more than a new one costs. Even if I reduce it to 2/3 the price of a new one, I’d still be expecting someone to buy a second hand loom at the new price.

The stand makes it more complicated. An Ashford stand for this loom costs $615, but of course mine is handmade and not particularly attractive (though I’d wager it was much sturdier). I would like to get something for it, but with commission forcing the asking price below 2/3 of new as it is, I’d have to give it away for free.

So I wound up taking just the D&P loom in for the Bazaar. Which sold to a weaver I follow on Instagram. Hello Mary!

In the meantime, I’ve been weaving. Thanks to edits being two weeks late to arrive, and Sunday’s lunch, I had lots of time and enthusiasm last week. I decided to get both the Katie and floor looms warped. I’ve put some 8/2 cotton onto the floor loom to weave tea towels in a pinwheel pattern:


And warped up the Katie with a doubleweave sampler:


I’ve made a few more squares on the pin loom:


And I’m eyeing the Knitters Loom, thinking maybe a hand-manipulated lace scarf would be an interesting contrast to the other projects. I’m even thinking of warping up the little inkle loom. Just how many weaving projects can I get in motion at once?

Hmm. Time to get that Ashford Table Loom advertised before it winds up with another ‘test’ project on it.

The List of Lists

Holidays can be like punctuation marks in the flow of daily routine. Sometimes they’re a like a comma – a small interruption after which life continues in the same vein. Sometimes they’re like full stops – things begin anew but on the same or similar subject. Sometimes they’re like paragraph returns – a shift in direction. And sometimes it’s like an entire chapter finishes and another begins.

The new problem with my neck that began at the beginning of this year forced me to find a new routine. I had to work out what I could and couldn’t continue to do by trial and error, and found that I needed to restrict sitting and typing/weaving/whatever to an hour at a time, once or twice a day.

Since what I do for a living involves sitting and typing, that meant lots of changes. But I had a deadline, which kept moving as I discovered my limits. Eventually I knew I’d finish just before going overseas, and a lot of things I needed or wanted to do were pushed onto the ‘when we get back’ list.

Now that we’re back, I’ve been considering all those things, and all my to-do lists. Last week I divided everything into six categories that fit across my computer screen: work, general, house, garden, art and craft. (I use a program called Stickies.) It allows me to not just prioritise within a category, but across them. And when one task is held up, I can consider spending my time on high priority tasks in other categories as well as in the same one.

It’s been working really well. When bad weather meant I couldn’t tackle many of the more important tasks, or items further down, I moved across the lists until I found something I could do. That turned out to be renovating a loom I’d rescued from the Guild. Knowing I really couldn’t do those other things means I could work on it guilt-free. I didn’t stuff around wasting time in the house or on the internet.

As a result I’ve got the loom finished in time to put it up for sale at the Guild’s Textile Bazaar next Saturday. I’ll be bringing in the Ashford Table Loom on the homemade stand as well as the Dyer & Phillips loom. Hopefully they’ll find new homes and I’ll make back the money I spent on them with a little extra for my time… to spend at the bazaar!


We travel with carry-on bags only, so when it comes to souvenir shopping, we stick to small, light items. There’s always the option to post things homes, though.


The first thing I bought was a metre of trim. Woven inkle could be found in most craft stores, as well as machine-make ribbon, for use in traditional costume.

When I bought the ball of yarn to try nalbinding, in the same ship I found a leather bracelet with rows of holes punched in it for cross-stitch. That’ll be a nice tv project. I posted this and the next item home with some books Paul bought.

The boxes of retors a broder I found in a second hand shop. The woman selling it gave a little laugh when I handed the boxes over and she looked inside and saw the thread. I have no idea why.

I found yarn stores everywhere. It got to the point where I’d expect to find one whenever we stepped off a bus or train. Most contained yarn best suited to knitting. If I’d still been knitting, I’d probably have wound up buying an extra bag and filling it. I got this skein, which feels well suited to weaving, in a shop in Roskilde that had lots of local yarn.

There was also the yarn I bought to nalbind with, of course.

Ancient Craft

A couple of days ago we got back from three weeks in Scandanavia. The last weekend I spent being a guest at a festival, and the rest was holiday time – half in Norway, half in Denmark.

While in Oslo we visited the Viking Ship Museum, where I picked up this book and a nalbinding needle:


I soon stumbled upon a yarn store (and I kept stumbling upon them throughout the trip) and bought a ball of yarn so I could have a try. I was a little doubtful. I tried to learn nalbinding from a YouTube video a few years back with no success. However, the promise of “The easiest, clearest ever guide!” held up, and I soon was nalbinding away happily – but keeping it to one hour max sessions so I didn’t stir up my RSI.

First up I made a test piece, then started on a glove that I soon pulled apart because it was too small. The next attempt fit right and eventually turned into these:


On the last day before we came home I found another store, and bought more yarn to make a hat. Nalbinding doesn’t seem to bother my hands as much as knitting does. It’s more of a stitching action. Though I’ve grown more proficient with practise, having to attach new lengths of yarn with spit/water joins all the time makes it a slow process. And it doesn’t unravel like knitting and crochet do, so it’s slow to undo mistakes.

But it is fun, and the fabric is makes has an attractive texture and robust feel.

Black Rose Red Cardigan

You might remember this cardigan that I embellished a while back:


Well, I had another. A red one. I wanted to embroider roses all over the front. I drew a design based on a single line quilting pattern but worked out pretty quickly that it was going to be hard on the hands and back and take forever. So I simplified the pattern a great deal, and came up with this:


Which I’m pretty happy with. I also changed the buttons over to black ones.

Blue & Linen

When I started spinning this roving, I thought it would take me several weeks to get through it. But it didn’t.


The long pieces of linen were a bit of a challenge to spin in neatly, but only enough to make it interesting. I managed to get most of it smoothly spun in, but here and there it sticks out and makes the yarn hairy. The plying worked fine this time, so I must be getting the knack of it again.


I have no idea what I’ll make out of it, but right now I don’t care. I made yarn!

Fanspun Shawl

It’s done and it’s pretty!


Warp & weft: handspun gift
Loom: Ashford Table
DPI: 10
Weave structure: Twill

It’ll probably be the last item I make on the Ashford Table Loom. I’ve mostly made up my mind to sell it. The only thing that’s holding me back is I’d like to test that the brake on my new old floor loom is working properly by putting something on it that requires a very tight warp.

I’m worried that if it isn’t, I won’t have a larger loom available while I get it fixed. Which is silly really. I have the Knitters and Katie loom to keep me occupied in the meantime. And inkle looms. And two knitting machines. And plenty of projects on the spinning, sewing, refashioning, jewellery-making, and other craft list.

But I’ve had this loom for nearly ten years. I need to be 100% ready to let it go.

Electric Boogaloo Scarf


Warp: Patonyle
Weft: Patonyle and hand dyed sock yarn
Loom: Ashford Knitters
DPI: 10
Weave structure: Clasped weft

I had a bout of finishitis through August, particularly with weaving projects. I started this project back in March, then decided to stop halfway because it would make a great portable project, should I need one.

When I decided to finish it I discovered pretty quickly that I wasn’t halfway through, but more like three-quarters. So the last of it wove up fast. There was enough left, however, for me to fall in love with clasped weft all over again. It was such a fun project to weave! I want to do another like this, maybe with a contrasting colour against the striped yarn instead.