Saturday, October 31, 2009

Scary Halloween Picture

(Click picture for full size image)

Here is my scary Halloween picture. I look just awful in brown.
I’m weaving a scarf on a Cricket RH Loom.

Have a happy All Hallows Eve!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

New Yahoogroup for Backstrap Loom Weavers

Backstrappers · Backstrap Weavers on yahoogroups

This group is a meeting place and resource for those who weave on a backstraploom and others who wish to learn and/or find out more about this ancient,traditional, and very-much-alive-and-kicking weaving technique.

The backstrap loom itself consists of a few sticks, around which the warp isstretched, then one end is fastened to a stationary object and the other end tothe weaver to maintain tension. It can be rolled up and stored out of the waywith the weaving still on it, and set-up costs are minimal.

Some of the mostbeautiful fabrics in the world are woven on the backstrap loom, and thebackstrap is probably still the most common loom in in use in the the worldtoday.

The portability of this loom, along with its small footprint, makes it ideal forour modern busy lifestyle. The variety of fabrics that can be woven on this loommakes it a viable alternative to larger more complex floor looms, and provesthat it is far more than just a toy, or a historical curiosity.

Please join the new group at

Have a good day!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Fingerweaving - pencils, belts, finishes

The fingerweaving is coming along, but I find it terribly slow. I found that using pencils to hold the two warp layers separate is helpful, but still very slow. Using rubber bands to hold the pencil to one set of warps makes it easy to add that weft string that comes out each row to become warp. Use short rubber bands or twist your rubber bands to shorten them.

Thank goodness I’m using fat cotton worsted yarn! I think I want to try this with some leather strips and laces.

On the yahoogroup Weaving, Sharon says she bought the book "Fingerweaving Basics", Gerald Findley. She says the illustrations are fantastic, but she can't find any directions for stopping or starting without braids or fringe. She would like to make a belt with a buckle or D rings.

Finishing by braid and fringe is traditional and about the only way to finish it without sewing.

"Basic Book of Fingerweaving" by Esther Warner Dendel shows a couple of belts, including one belt that uses a standard buckle at one end and finishes with a pointed end on the other. You might find this book in your library or it is available from the usual booksellers.

As Robin said, you could start your weaving by looping your warp through a D ring (or two D rings) and weaving down from there. I think with D rings at one end you could tie off the other end with overhand knots close to the weft, trim the fringe short and have a strap that can be run through the D rings.

If you want a squared off edge at one end, try looping your warp over a piece of coat hanger wire or other thick wire, then tying that to a dowel. This is a trick that strap weavers use to get a tiny set of loops on one edge that can be finished after weaving by pulling the wire out and weaving a final row or two of weft through the loops with a needle. The other end would still need to be finished by knotting or sewing.

Another way of doing would be to use a sewing machine to sew a couple rows across to stabilize the weave, cut across the strap, attach buckle and sew the strap down like you would a store bought strap.

Lastly, I have been wondering if a person could weave the ends back into the piece, in the manner of tapestry weavers and rug makers.

Another reply on Weaving by JEC of NEPA suggested the use of leather or plastic fabric to make a tab to fasten the buckle to the strap by sewing. Then take two pieces fashioned into a point to fit the buckle, then inserting the belt into the point and sew it in.

It's really good to be able to tap into all these sources of ideas and inquiries.

Have a good day!

Understanding a bungee cord

The bungee cords I buy are elastic strands with a woven/braided cover and a hook at each end. There is even a "sport" called bungee jumping where you jump off of high places with elastic bands tied to the feet.

As I study on finger weaving and braiding, usually braiding is done around a rope or cord to prevent stretching. Apparently one can braid around elastic bands, Then when the elastic stretches the woven cover stretches with it. With some experimentation someone could determine the best weaving angle or pattern for the cover.

It's interesting to see how things are put together. I've used bungee cords to tie down tarps and hold gates open/closed and only now understand the construction of the bungee cord.

It's not a terribly important detail, but it is one more thing I understand as a result of the fiber adventure.

Have a good day!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Fingerweaving - Chevron Pattern

Chevron pattern belt continues.

I have moved from the clipboard to a chair. The top of the weaving is held by a string that goes over the chair and is tied off to the front of the chair. The dowel at the top seemed like a good idea, but it did not work as planned. Because each strand has a loop around the dowel, it is spaced out as if plain weave. This needs to be closely spaced for warp faced weave.

Next time I will tie off bunches of yarn to the stick instead of wrapping a single turn on each yarn end.

The first part is plain weave at top, but becomes more warp faced as it goes down away from the dowel. This is supposed to be like two flat weave belts side by side. The selvedges should interlock at the sides. At first I made the mistake of interweaving the warps from the left side across the right side, and vice versa.

Then I read the directions again and saw that I should have been interlocking the two inner warps before weaving from center to the outside. Also need to get tension even on each side, it takes some practice. I stopped trying to flip the piece. I was having a tough time remembering what direction I was working on.

I've been unweaving and reweaving rows as needed.

It's getting better.

One thing to watch for is when I grab the bundle, a warp string can get pushed to the side and out of line. Then it is like a float. Or worse it pops up two stands over and creates another error. So keeping close track of the warps in the bundle is important.

Have a good day!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


I've had a major distraction since last Friday.

My new BFF, Kurt aka loominaria, had a Cricket rigid heddle loom in need of a new home. He contacted me because we're in the same town. When I get to his place he gives me a box with the Cricket with all the heddles, a bag of cotton yarns in assorted colors, and a few books.

Now you're thinking I am going be distracted by the Cricket? Noooooo!

There is a book on tapestry weaving (cool!) and two books on finger weaving/handweaving (awsome!).

So I've been spending all my free time reading about fingerweaving and trying it out.

Basic Book of Fingerweaving by Esther Warner Dendel and A Manual of Fingerweaving by Robert Austin show a craft that is best described as weaving without a loom.

Here I am using a technique called Peruvian flat weaving to create a flat belt. You can hang your work on any handy peg or nail, or Dendel suggests using a clipboard for small practice pieces.

Here is some more of the first piece. I have another piece in progress that has more colors in it. There are more techniques in the books.

Here is another strap in progress. If these colors look familiar to you, I am using cotton yarn from my scrap bag which has bits and pieces from recently woven pieces.

I like fingerweaving!

If anyone has more info on this fingerweaving craft, please let me know!

Have a good day!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

I'm becoming a fiber geek

I'm becoming a fiber geek.

I just spent an hour looking at fashion blogs.

I saw this blog

and I was looking at the Chanel Spring 2010 knit pieces.

Who would have thought red, white, and blue would be a fashion statement?

and I got wrapped up in clicking links to other blogs.

The models are very pretty but why do they have to be so skinny? I want to buy them a sandwich.

Have a good day!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Finished "Playtime" towels

Two towels/placemats, finished size is 15 x 22 inch

Closeup of the towels, there is a rough edge on the towel on the left, where the weaving was not at tight as it should be. It will probably tighten up with another wash, but I need more practice.

Have a good day!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Continue Weaving Along Towels

*continuing to weave along*
Here I have woven up to the marking knot of my measuring string. Just in time because you see I am at the end of the warp which is tied to the beam at the other side of the heddle. So now I am hand hemming the end of the towel.
My fringe has three ends per group. I have 128 ends divide by three is 42 groups plus 2 extra ends. So I have one extra group of 2 ends in the middle of the hem to make it come out even.

Then I cut the warp with about 1 and a half inch of fringe. Remove the heddle. Loosen the loom, wrap the towel on the beam and roll until I'm back to the middle where the separators are.

Then I remove a separator so I have room to hem the end. When done on this end, I will rotate the loom 180 degrees, remove the other separator, and hem the end. When done I'll roll the work on the loom to the beginning and hem that last end. Then I will have 4 hems on two towels. Cut the warp on the other end with 1 and half inch fringe. Remove towels from the loom.
I will wet finish these with wash/dry cycle with other light colored towels so I don't get dye or dark lint on them. I will cut the towels apart and put into a mesh bag to help keep the fringe looking better after the first wash.
Have a good day!