Author Archives: thewooleryguy

How to Warp A Cricket Loom

Warping the Schacht Cricket Loom utilizes a technique called “direct warping,” this means that you are measuring your warp directly on your loom. On today’s blog, we’ll show you step-by-step how to get your loom warped for your next project! 

What you need:

Cricket Loom

Rigid Heddle Reed for the Cricket Loom

Heddle Hook

Warp yarn

Warping Peg

Loom Clamps


Warp separator (pick-up sticks, cardstock paper, flexible corrugated cardboard, paint sticks)

Optional: 2 small rubber bands.


Before you start: Determine how wide your warp will be, and then center that on your reed by marking in pencil or tying string at the two outside points.

Step 1: Attach your loom to a stand or a table using the clamps that come with the loom. Attach the warping peg a set distance away from your loom depending on how long you want your warp to be.


Step 2: With the reed in neutral position, make sure your back apron rod is coming up and around the back beam. Take 2 rubber bands and secure the edges of your reeds to the edges of the apron rod.

Step 3: Tie a knot around the apron rod with your warp yarn.


Step 4: With your heddle hook, take a loop of warp yarn through a slot in the reed.


Step 5: Take the loop and place it around the warping peg.

Note: It is best to keep consistent tension on the warp yarn as you’re warping to avoid tension issues during the weaving process, but take care not to put on too much tension! Here in the shop, we say “no banjos!” – an excess of tension can cause you to accidentally pull your peg off of the clamp, end up with too short of a warp, break your yarn, or other issues.


Step 6: Continue steps 4-5 all the way across the width of your warp.


Step 7: Cut the warp yarn and tie the end to the apron bar.


Step 8: Remove the loop of yarn at the warping peg and cut the loops of yarn. Be careful not to move the yarn too much as that can cause tension issues as well.


Step 9: Remove the rubber bands from the apron bar and set aside for future use. Slowly start winding the warp onto the back beam, while placing the warp separator on the back beam as well. Keep one hand on the bundle of warp to keep even tension as you wind on. Stop when you have about 10” of yarn in front of the reed.



Step 10: Sleying the reed. Take a pair of threads in one of the slots, pull out a thread and pull it through the adjacent hole. Note: it doesn’t matter if you put it in the left hole or right hole, as long as you keep it consistent across the reed.


Step 11: Take the two rubber bands and attach the edges of the front apron rod to the edges of the reed. Start taking 1” bundles of warp threads and tie them onto the front apron bar using a square knot.



Some of our staff use a slightly different way to tie the warp onto the front apron bar. This helps even the tension along all of the warp threads by using a continuous piece of non-elastic yarn, and can be done in these four easy steps: 

Step 1. Using an overhand knot, tie 1″ width sections of warp threads together.


Step 2. With a non-elastic yarn, like cotton twine, tie one end to the apron rod and start lacing the yarn through the center of each 1″ bundle of warp threads.

step-2a step-2b

Step 3. Repeat step 2 until you pass through the last warp thread bundle, tie a knot using the threading yarn.


Once you have tied on the warp using whichever method you prefer, you can proceed to these final two steps:

Step 12: Adjust the warp knots until all of them are under the same tension.
Step 13: Wind your weft yarn onto a stick shuttle and start weaving!

We’d love to see what projects you are making with your Cricket Looms – be sure to share them with us using #thewoolery in your post so that we can include it in our Community Scrapbook page!

All the best,

Wave, Perri & the entire Woolery Team

Ask Nancy: New Spinner Suggestions

Got weaving problems? Stumped by your spinning? Our resident expert Nancy Reid will answer all of your burning questions in this new regular feature! Previously only available on our newsletter, we are moving Nancy’s informative column over to the Woolery blog for easy reference. In this month’s edition, we are sharing a few questions about fiber prep; to ask your own question, email orclick here to post your questions in our Ravelry group

All the Best,

Wave, Perri, and the entire Woolery Team



I am interested in getting a spinning wheel for my wife for Christmas. She wants to learn to spin so it needs to be one that would be easy to use.  Since we go to Florida for three months, I am leaning toward one that folds.  Price is also a consideration.  What wheels do you recommend?


The learning curve in spinning wheels is about the same no matter what wheel one uses; the first couple of hours are just an awkward time, no matter the wheel, and there is a steep learning curve.  As long as the wheel is not too awfully fast, or at least able to be slowed down, they are all about the same experience as far as the ease of learning goes.

For folding wheels in a medium price range, look at the Kromski Sonata, the Ashford Joy, and the Lendrum Original.  Those are the best of the bunch in folding wheels! Let us know if there’s anything else you need!


I am a new spinner, which spindle would you recommend for angora?


That’s either 2 separate questions or a question with 2 answers!

Angora, because it is so warm, is usually spun very finely, lest you need to move to the Arctic to wear it; and fine spinning needs a very light-weight spindle.

However, fine spinning is not going to be what a neophyte will be spinning, especially not with Angora, which is a slippery and difficult fiber, especially for a beginner.  So I would counsel you to start with at least half-a-pound of wool first, and get through that before you tackle angora; look for something in the 1 to 1 1/2 oz range for that. Hope this helps!

Free Printable: Handspun Yarn Labels!

At 11:59 PM this past Sunday, Spinzilla drew to a close. While we await the results to see who won this year’s Golden Niddy Noddy, we’d like to congratulate ALL spinners who participated in this yearly event – especially those on Team Woolery!

Day 1 of the Spindle Tour

Day 1 of the Spindle Tour – outside of our new space!

Our team captain, Taevia, did double duty by spinning on both a wheel and a drop spindle, and each day of the event, she shared “spindle tour” photos of where she happened to be spinning! You can view them all here in the team thread on Ravelry, along with all of our team members’ photos from before, during and after the event.

Day 3 of the Spindle Tour

Day 3 of the Spindle Tour – beautiful Frankfort, KY

Now that Spinzilla is over, it’s time to make sure that all of your beautiful handspun skeins are labeled and organized until you find the perfect project for each skein. We’ve created a free PDF of printable labels to ensure that you’ll have all the important stats handy for each special skein.

Label your handspun yarns with this free printable PDF from the Woolery!

Click here to  download our free PDF printable of handspun yarn labels; you’ll also be signed up for our newsletter so that you can stay inspired and be updated we we add new products and deals to our shop! If you are already a subscriber, sit tight – we’ll be sending out your free labels in our next newsletter due out this Thursday, so be sure to check your inboxes then! Of course, if you don’t want to wait until then, you can always use this link to download the PDF today – simply enter the email address that is already subscribed to our newsletter to ensure that you don’t receive duplicate messages.

scrapbooklinkBe sure to share your photos with us on social media using #thewoolery in your post so that they can be added to our new community scrapbook! Click here to see what others are posting & get inspired for your next project!

All the Best,

Wave, Perri, and the entire Woolery Team

Mug Rugabilities – Pillow Cushion Tutorial

The beautifully-made portable weaving looms from Purl & Loop have arrived at the Woolery! We’re pleased to introduce the Swatch Maker 3 in 1 Portable with optional stand, which is great for using up leftover yarn in your stash to create a variety of projects. To celebrate, we asked Angela, founder of Purl & Loop, to share a special tutorial with our blog readers. 

All the Best,

Wave, Perri & the entire Woolery Team

Our Stash Blaster® portable weaving looms (mug rug size) were inspired by the problem of what to do with all my yarn stash. In some cases, I had no way of identifying the yarn or knowing if there was enough yarn for a particular pattern. The little looms solved that because I could mix and match my yarns to make all the mug rugs I wanted. Since I found weaving to be very meditative, I accumulated those mug rugs quickly. I decided it was time to expand my mug rugabilities with a pillow cushion.

Free woven pillow tutorial from Purl & Loop on the Woolery Blog

I sorted through my stash of finished rugs and chose four very similar in size.  The type of fiber used was not a factor in the choices. The four rugs put together measured 10” x 12.5” and I chose a piece of natural linen measuring 11” x 13.5” for the backing. The four rugs were all positioned with the less pretty sides (aka more mistakes) all facing the same direction. In the photo below, the less pretty sides are all facing down into the linen. 

Free woven pillow tutorial from Purl & Loop on the Woolery Blog

I had already decided that this project was going to be done all by hand because I wanted a work in progress I could carry around in a big purse and I was not sure how machine sewing would interact with the yarn. Also, I have been partial to hand sewing my whole life. My grandmother owned a cleaning and tailoring business in Chicago and I hand sewed all of my Barbie clothes while hanging around her shop as a child. Using Appleton crewel wool, just because I liked the texture, I attached the pieces using a mattress stitch. Using mattress stitch is not a must, it was just what I thought, after watching a variety of videos demonstrating how to attached knitted pieces together, might be the least visible and most effective at the same time. Surprisingly, this was completed in about one hour. 

Free woven pillow tutorial from Purl & Loop on the Woolery Blog

Below is a photo of all four mug rugs stitched together.

Free woven pillow tutorial from Purl & Loop on the Woolery Blog

Next, I attached the mug rug piece to the linen.  In this case, the less pretty side faces up because once the pillow is turned right side out, the less pretty side will be inside. 

Free woven pillow tutorial from Purl & Loop on the Woolery Blog

Continuing with the crewel wool and using a straight stitch, I attached the rugs to the linen backing on three sides.

Free woven pillow tutorial from Purl & Loop on the Woolery Blog

This is a photo of what the backside (what will be the inside of the pillow cushion) looked like. 

Free woven pillow tutorial from Purl & Loop on the Woolery Blog

I gently turned the pillow casing inside out so the good sides were facing outward.  You will see there is a good amount of extra linen on this edge that is here on purpose.  This will be explained a little bit later.

Free woven pillow tutorial from Purl & Loop on the Woolery Blog

The pillow was stuffed with pillow stuffing from a craft supply store.

Free woven pillow tutorial from Purl & Loop on the Woolery Blog

I folded the extra bit of linen in toward the inside of the pillow and used pins to hold it all together.  I brought my needle from inside so my tail would not be visible and continued using a straight stitch to close this final side.  I worked from the mug rug side but only attached to the folded in linen facing the inside so my stitches were not visible. 

Free woven pillow tutorial from Purl & Loop on the Woolery Blog

This cushion was quick to finish with already completed mug rugs and we look forward to trying to make a larger one. 

Free woven pillow tutorial from Purl & Loop on the Woolery Blog

We hope this inspires you to think of all your mug rugabilities!

Angela and Audrey Pearl, one of our two studio dogs.

Angela and Audrey Pearl, one of our two studio dogs.

Angela Smith is the owner of Purl & Loop.  Purl & Loop specializes in needlecraft kits and supplies with a focus on needle felting and weaving.  Purl & Loop is the creator of the Stash Blaster® and Swatch Maker 3-in-1 (patent pending) weaving looms.  Purl & Loop sources all of their materials in Houston based businesses where possible or from other North American suppliers.  All human staff (Hector, Missy and Liana) are paid a living wage and canine staff receive deluxe housing and organic food and treats.  All products are designed and manufactured in the Houston, Texas studio.

Ask Nancy: Warp, Weft & Tension

Ask NancyGot weaving problems? Stumped by your spinning? Our resident expert Nancy Reid will answer all of your burning questions in this new regular feature! Previously only available on our newsletter, we are moving Nancy’s informative column over to the Woolery blog for easy reference. In this month’s edition, we are sharing a few questions about fiber prep; to ask your own question, email or click here to post your questions in our Ravelry group

All the Best,

Wave, Perri, and the entire Woolery Team


I’ve been weaving a cotton hand towel (my second project) and noticed that when I change colors in the weft, my weft is (ahem!) “angled.” I have a 15″ Schacht Flip, and I’m wondering how much tension is too much? I don’t want to mess up my loom! To complicate matters, some of my warp threads are looser than others, even though I “yanked and cranked.” I’ve tied the worst offender to a five pound hand weight (a lot more fun than exercising with it), but unfortunately this doesn’t seem to be what is causing me trouble. I think the source is actually the ever so slightly off down shed threads in the warp. I have Syne Mitchell’s book Inventive Weaving on a Little Loom (which I highly recommend to my fellow newbie RH weavers), but would love to see a video to help me troubleshoot. Thanks!



Well, let’s take it from the top; there are a few things going on here.  First, the angle. This happens most often when a weaver ties on to the front apron rod from left-to-right (or right-to-left, it doesn’t matter) and doesn’t go back and even the tension up. Tying on just straight across like that will always leave the initial side slacker than the final side, and lead to problems.

A better way to do it is to tie one selvedge first, then the other selvedge; then go back and tie up the next-inner bundle on the first side, then the next inner bundle on the other side, and so on; still, you need to go back and even things up after they are all tied. With the flat of your hand, pat gently across the width of the warp to see if the tensions are all even, and make any adjustments needed.

As a final check, throw in 1 shot of weft and beat it gently into place; a warp bundle that has more tension than its buddies will deflect the weft toward you; a warp bundle with less tension will deflect the weft away, toward the heddle; you can make your adjustments visually that way. Remember also to tie your warp bundles in 1/2” increments at the selvedges, and 1” bundles the rest of the way across.  


The Schacht Flip Rigid Heddle Loom

Next, let’s address tension, since this seems to be an issue for you overall. The goal is absolutely even and equal tension all the way across, not high tension. Tension and abrasion are the biggest enemies of your warp, and so we work to minimize those, with careful sizing of the warp yarn to the heddle used, and just enough tension for error-free weaving.  

As an example of correct tension, when I need to tie in a repair warp end or fix a “slacker,” I use an old plastic film can with pennies in it for weight; with wool yarns, it can take sometimes 6¢ or 7¢ for a stout yarn; a cotton yarn might want 10¢ or 12¢, but never as much as even a 1 pound weight, much less 5 pounds; that much tension will destroy your loom in fairly short order, as well as being hard on the yarn.  

slots_and_holes_-_3_ways_to_warp_your_rigid_heddle_loom_3When you wind on your warp, you want to keep a steady, even tension on it, but I would never “yank.”  Also, the heddle absolutely must be in the neutral position, with all the yarns following the same distance of travel, both in winding on and in the final knot-tying and tying to the front apron rod. The fact that your slackers are in the bottom layer of the warp leads me to think that you tied on with your warp not all in the same plane; the heddle has to be in neutral.

For a video (because why re-invent the wheel, or loom, as it were?), look at Liz Gipson’s Slots and Holes DVD, which I think it will help a lot.


Who’s Worthy of a Handmade Gift?

It’s that time of year when friends, family, and sometimes even acquaintances might start hinting that they would like (or perhaps even expect) a handmade gift under the tree. Sure, they see you spinning, weaving, hooking or knitting, and they might have some idea of all the time and effort such a request entails – but are they truly worthy of a handmade gift? We’ve created a handy flow chart to take the guesswork out of this process for you so that you can enjoy your fall and winter crafting stress-free:


Click image to view full size!

Be sure to pin and share with your crafty friends, or click here to download a printable PDF version to keep handy!

Free Guide to Spinning Wheel Maintenance

Whether you’ve just purchased your first spinning wheel or have a growing collection, routine maintenance is key to enjoying a lifetime of spinning. Cleaning and caring for your wheel regularly will protect your investment – and we truly believe that a spinning wheel is an investment! Besides allowing you to create beautiful yarns that you couldn’t possible buy off the shelves at your LYS, a spinning wheel is also an investment in YOU. Enjoyment, stress relief, and sense of accomplishment are just a few of the benefits that many spinners cite when asked why they do what they do. We hope some of those reasons apply to you, too!


Our free guide to spinning wheel maintenance is a useful reference to keep handy for the next time you hear a squeak or clatter, or notice your wheel is lurching a bit while you treadle. Knowing what to look for, along with how to fix these issues yourself, will keep your spinning stress-free.

Click here to download your free guide today. Don’t forget, our friendly staff is always happy to answer questions, too – just give us a call at 1-800-441-9665. You can also email our resident fiber guru Nancy at or click here to post your questions in our Ravelry group.

We’ll also be hosting a Spinzilla Team this year – spinner registration opens on September 1 at! Stay up-to-date by joining the conversation here in our team thread on Ravelry.

All the Best,

Wave, Perri & the entire Woolery Team