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!

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.

New Recruit

Last weekend we went to a friend’s daughter’s 10th birthday party. Miranda reminds me of me at her age – quiet and creative. Her mum had told me Miranda has seen me weaving and embroidering and wants to learn.

So I thought long and hard about a present that would be suitable. Too simple OR too complicated might mean she’d get bored. A rigid heddle loom would be great, but I figured it would be better if she had a chance to try one first – and I didn’t have time to arrange that thanks to work deadlines.

Then something reminded me of my pin looming last year, and it occurred to me that this was a good way to teach the basic structure of cloth. Each square is complicated enough to be interesting but not overly time-consuming. They can be sewn together to make lots of different things.

I took along my shawl to show what can be made from squares. And I took my pin looms and some yarn I’ve been meaning to weave on them so I could teach Miranda if there was time. Since it was the family and adult friends party, not a kids party, once the presents were open it was okay for us to get started.



Miranda loved it. I think I have a convert.

Reddy Runner

Finished, washed, fringe trimmed:


I can see now that I should have used a heavier yarn for the thick weft. The pattern isn’t as obvious as it should be:


The Dyer & Philips loom did work well for warp rep, but I have to say I found the weaving technique tedious. Soooo many warp threads. Having to use a pick-up stick to open the shed fully annoyed me. And it took aaaaages to weave. Looking at it now, I can see I did eight repeats of the stripe sequence, and yet it felt like I’d done twice that many.

I’ve come to the conclusion that weft rep might be more my cup of tea. Fewer warp threads but similar patterns – just turned 90 degrees. Something to try, anyway.

But probably not on the D&P. It’s a cute loom and with plain weave it is a delight to use, but having projects on multiple looms just means it takes me longer to finishing any of them. If I find a loving home for it, I will let it go.

Once it Was Winter…

… you’d think I’d have been wearing the Handspun, Handwoven, Handsewn Jacket I finished earlier this year. Well, I haven’t. I did put it on once, but when I took it out of the drawer I’d stored it in it was all creased in the front. As I’d predicted, I didn’t like the fringe being so long. And the little bulge where the bottom of the cowl met the zip bugged me.


So after trimming the fringe, I decided to cut the top section down the front and make it a jacket. I could have zig zagged along each side and sewn it to the back, but I liked the idea of a fringe there, too. Easier said than done!

I unwove the weft until I had enough warp to tie knots. However, this meant I had to unweave past the point where the bottom section joined to so I also had to unpick the top and bottom sections along the front and re-sew them together.

In the meantime, I found I rather liked the way the top of the pockets flopped down, matching the angle of the front edges, so I stitched those in place.

Then I unpicked the shoulders, took out the darts and added a length of cotton tape across the top of the back to strengthen the fabric. After trying the jacket on, I decided I didn’t like the sleeves being so wide. Inspired by the folded pockets, I decided to unpick the top seam and overlap the pieces.

At last I was done:


After all the adjustments, I have a jacket I like, though it’s a tiny bit small for me – not quite long enough in the body or sleeves. But it’s wearable, and I’ve explored lots of ideas for making woven rectangles into clothing. I’d like to make this again, with wider pieces for the sleeve-upper body so that the seam where it joins the waistband sits under the bust line rather than over it.

Where There’s a T’will

Late last year I was sent some handspun by an Irish fan of my books. There were six small skeins of overdyed grey yarn, and one larger one of grey. The colours complement each other beautifully.


My first thought was to use the grey as a warp and weave with the colours. But there’s less messing about with ends if you do it the other way around. Since I couldn’t know how many metres of yarn I had, I decided to measure a two metre warp, as that’s a good length for a shawl, and just wound until I ran out of each colour. It made enough for an 18 inch wide shawl. I’m calling it the Fanspun Shawl.


Which made it a good width to use as my test project on the modified Ashford Table loom. All I had in mind for the weave structure was some kind of twill. When I came to threading, I decided a point twill would be nice, but not too small. So I threaded 2341234 3214321 to make deeper zigzags.


I’m loving how this is coming out. It’s weaving up fast, too.

A Bendy We Will Go

So last weekend I spent 5-6 hours on trains in order to go fibre shopping for four hours. Well, I didn’t only buy fibre, but the main bulk of my purchases was. I wanted to try some plant fibre, and silk, and also get some pretty sheep’s wool. Here’s what I got:

This is the collection of non-sheep fibres:


This is the four different kinds of silk I picked up:


And these are all the blended sheep-with-something fibres I bought:


I also bought a cookie cutter in the shape of a martini glass, a little Christmas pudding for Paul, a big date and butterscotch pudding, two hair clips, one merino ‘head sock’, and some alpaca yarn from a new mill on the Great Ocean Road.


I regret that I didn’t buy one of the nifty little spindle and spindle companion sets from Luxury Overdose (look under sold items if there’s none in the shop) and some carders from the Ashford stall. I’m not sure yet if I need a carder or a blending board, and I really want to be sure the spinning thing isn’t temporary before I splash out on expensive items, so both were in the ‘walk away and think about it’ category. I hadn’t managed to come to a decision when 4pm came around and I had a shuttle bus to catch.

But I might be able to pick up second hand carders at the Guild, and hopefully I can order the spindle set on Etsy in future, so really, holding back was sensible.

Braided Spectrum Rag Rug

It’s done and I love it:



When I got 3/4 of the way through I started putting it out of sight, not wanting to finish it too quickly, but it’s such good de-stressing activity that I’d soon pull it out for some more therapeutic braiding. Finally, when I wanted the satisfaction of finishing something, I wove on to the end.

The Jean Jeany Rag Rug is still going, so I have braiding to turn to when I need a non-thinky project.