My First True Sampler

Okay, I have made a sampler before. I wove one when I first got my table loom to familiarise myself with it and working with four shafts. But this is the first sample I’ve done one for a project.


Why? I couldn’t decide which colour yarns to match with two of the three metallic yarns I want to use as borders of a shawl. Weaving a sample helped me work out which combinations appealed most.

The answer? Gold with the redder purple. Silver with the bluer purple.

What it has also told me is that the two purples and the navy look great together. Unfortunately, Bendigo Woollen Mills isn’t selling this yarn in 200 gram cones any more. You have to buy 500 gram cones. And at $35 a cone that makes multi-coloured projects a touch expensive.

Hunky Hank Blanket… Jacket… Rug… Shawl

I finished the last square for this months ago. Since then I’ve sewn then together only to pick them part again twice. Why? Well, I was going to crochet them into a blanket, but on a whim I tried ‘draping’ them on the dress model and came up with an arrangement for a jacket that I was pretty excited about.


But I had second thoughts as I was joining the squares. It was looking, well, ugly. I blamed it on using the crochet method of joining, which made the seams stand out and the squares pucker a little, so I undid that and started sewing the squares together instead.

Yet I was still getting an ‘ugly’ vibe. The fabric was a bit too thin and open for a jacket. And a little scratchy. So I put it aside, my jewellery-making providing a mental break from the project. After a few weeks I decided I had to trust my instincts. I unpicked what I’d done and went back to my original idea of a blanket or rug, only this time I’d sew not crochet them together.

Another whim had me sew them together in this pattern:


Which, because of the thin and open fabric, put me more in mind of a shawl. It made a long, narrow rectangle, too – more shawl-like than blanket-like.

So I crocheted around the outside and called it a shawl. Which I like very much.



New Weave

An empty loom. Two empty looms. We can’t have that!

So I’m doing something I never do – weaving a sampler. I want to weave a couple of shawls with a metallic stripe at each end. Only I can’t decide which colour warp to match with the three metallic yarns I have.


The idea was to see how the three metallic threads looked with a few different warp yarns. Only I’m rather liking the combination of colours.


I use an old cordless drill to wind my bobbins. The battery lasts for one or two before it runs out of puff. And it takes days to charge it up. It was flat when I wanted to start the sampler, so I turned my attention to the rigid heddle loom.

I had bought some brown warp to go with this olive handspun ages ago.


The handspun is interesting enough that I don’t need a weave structure more complex than plain old tabby. I’m using the finest reed. 12.5 dpi, I think.


I don’t know what I’m going to make out of it yet.

Scary Tea Towels


As I was weaving these, I kept thinking that the further along I got, the more likely it was I would miscalculate and do too few stripe repeats for the size of tea towels I wanted. Turns out the second and third were fine, but I’d made the first one too short. Never mind! I’m calling it a hand towel. Here’s the fabric that came off the loom:


I used up the last of the weft at the end of the warp, leaving me with a scrap to play with, or a sampler to keep with my project notes.

And these are the finished, hemmed towels.


As it turned out, this project wasn’t as scary as it initially seemed. The problem was a) not having enough heddles to make something of tea towel width if I wove using 16/2 cotton, b) I assumed the loom would come with enough heddles to make something like this so when there wasn’t enough I figured I had the math wrong, and c) I had the math wrong anyway – but a different part of the equation.

I know now that I can weave tea towels on this loom if I use a 8/2 cotton warp, or I convert the loom to 8 shafts so I can double the heddles without losing a whole lot of weaving width when weaving thicker yarn.

And if I want to weave anything else with yarn thinner than 8/2 cotton and wider than a scarf I’ll have to convert the loom, too.

Converting the loom will mean adding more pedals to our handmade loom table, too, so it’s no easy decision.

And there’s still plenty I on my list of weaving techniques I want to try with 4 shafts before I start exploring the possibilities of 8 shafts. Now now that I’ve woven with 8/2 cotton, I’m looking forward to doing it again. Perhaps waffle weave tea towels next, because these are a bit thin for tea towels.

But not straight away. I’ve cut a warp for a sampler using 4ply Bendigo Classic, to work out what I want and need to do to make some shawls.

Tapestry Hat

The Tapestry Hat is done:


It came off my modified loom easily, just a bit of ‘persuasion’ to get the circle of plastic out from inside.


Once out I knit a brim:


Then I gave it a good rub under hot soupy water followed with a cold rinse and good squeeze, to get the yarn to felt a little. Even so, I think I should have woven a more densely packed fabric…


Still, the gaps don’t appear unless the hat is stretched, and it’s not stretched when worn, so it looks fine on my head. Still, I’ll keep it in mind if I make another.

Now that my fidgety projects are done, I’ve been whittling away at the WIPs. The scary tea towels are off the loom and being wet finished. The woven squares are slowly being assembled to make a jacket. Though I’m not 100% happy with the look of crochet joins on a garment, so may end up doing it all again.


I contracted a bout of startitis recently. Though I’d made progress on the tea towels and had started crocheting together pin loom squares, I also cast on for the Capuchine Cowl and started a tapestry woven hat.

The latter happened after a friend said she wanted to do some simple weaving on a cardboard loom at the school she works at. I went through books and bookmarked web pages for suitable methods. One of the more complicated ones was in this book:


It involved making a circular cardboard loom to weave a beret:


Looking closely, I got to thinking about how the circle could be altered so you didn’t have to tear it up to get the beret off. I found an old scrap of plastic and using an awl, knife and scissors came up with something I think – and hope – the hat can be removed from without damaging either. And then I got stitching, using some leftover scrapes of discontinued Vintage Hues.


Turns out, it’s quite addictive. With added suspense, because I won’t really know if I can remove the ‘loom’ until I finish and give it a try.

On the Go

I’m still weaving two-yarn squares while watching tv:


I have nearly 30. Though I only had one ball of black and three of the multi-coloured, the black ball weighed twice as much as one multi-coloured ball and is slightly thinner, so won’t have as much leftover multi as I’d expected. I’ll join the squares with it, and do a crochet border. While I intended to make a blanket, I like the fabric so much I’m tempted to try making a garment of some sort. There might be enough for a simple kimono style jacket.

One Scary Tea Towels has been woven:


Two more to go.

I’ve started two new projects. The first is to de-boringify a cashmere cardigan. I bought it for travel as it’s light and warm, and easily layered:


After trying several embroidery methods, I’ve settled on using a crochet hook to do chain stitch. It’s fiddly, and very slow. I’m hoping that using some tearaway stabiliser and putting it on hoop will make it easier and faster.

The other project is a hat knit from frogged Inca yarn:


Yes, that’s hand knitting. I’ll stick to a couple of rows a time, every couple of nights, it the hope of avoiding an RSI flare up. The thing is, weaving the yarn didn’t appeal, and it’s a bit thick for the knitting machine. I’ve got to use it somehow, so hand knitting it is.

Neon Blue Blanket

I’ve had a head cold since Monday last week and have spent my days sleeping, reading, watching dvds and, when I was at my most energetic, doing a little weaving. I was most of the way through tying the Scary Tea Towels warp on the table loom, so I finished that Monday morning and wove about 8cm.

I also turned this:


Into this:


The squares were joined with a crochet hook and then I did a simple hooked edge around the outside. I had just two tiny balls of yarn left. I’m going to give this to my parents – they can fight it out between them who will use it of a night.

The pin loom bug has bitten deep, so I’ve started a another small blanket. This ones has two-colour squares. I’m using black paired with some multicoloured yarn I bought in New Zealand years ago.


I tried the multicoloured yarn with the hexagon loom, but the colour sequence didn’t look that good, so I’ll have to dig something else out of the stash for a hexagon project.

Reed Easy

I thought I’d get sick of winding warp for these, but I’ve made enough big blankets that use all of the heddles on my table loom (and more) now that I felt like an old hat at projects with lots of ends.

And 300+ ends doesn’t look like much, when the yarn is this thin:


I think this might be the first time I’ve removed the reed while threading. It let find a more comfortable position, so I’ll be doing that more in future. There’s no trick for making threading the heddles more ergonomic, however so I’m tacking them a stripe or two at a time.