Category Archives: Advice and Help

Weave With Kids: Resources & Free Tutorial!

Teaching kids a craft is a great way for them to practice fine motor skills, their ability to focus, and – most importantly – patience!

Give them a break from their screens, and get them doing something tactile with their hands with our list of the best kid-friendly weaving products.

Harrisville Designs Potholder PRO

Taking one last road trip before school starts? Grab a potholder loom and a five-pound bag of sock ends to keep small hands busy while you drive!

Run out of rainy day activities? Small looms such as the Purl & Loop Wee Weaver and Schacht School Loom are perfect for learning the basics of weaving while making fun, small projects.

Free tutorial: weaving with kids - tooth fairy necklace project

Learn how to weave a toothy fairy necklace with our new free tutorial, which includes tips for helping kids in various age groups complete this project using the Wee Weaver!

Click here to get the free tutorial PDF when you sign up for our newsletter (if you’re already a subscriber, simply enter your email address to confirm & claim your free download).

We’d love to see your little one’s creations  – be sure to share photos using #thewoolery in your post!

All the Best,

Wave, Perri and the entire Woolery team

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Make Do & Mend: How to Give New Life To Well-Loved Garments

When your favorite garment has more holes than a slice of swiss cheese, do you toss it in the rag pile or trash can? Rips and tears near a seam are easy to repair invisibly, but a hole that’s front and center requires a little bit of ingenuity – here’s where the visible mending trend can come in handy.

Visible mending has become an art form unto itself by using a variety of materials and techniques to highlight what was once an imperfection in a garment, turning it into something unique.

Below, you’ll find some creative ways to reinvigorate your wardrobe with visible mending!

All the Best,

Wave, Perri and the entire Woolery crew

Fixing a holey sweater with embroidery - great visible mending idea from Hunter Hammersen!

Image by Hunter Hammersen, used with permission.

Knitwear designer Hunter Hammersen has been chronicling her process for repairing a holey sweater using colorful embroidery techniques.

Here, a pair of torn jeans have been mended using Sashiko, a traditional Japanese embroidery technique that employs repeating geometric designs.

A combination of fabric patches and Sashiko were used to mend these children’s garments on the Swoodson Says blog.

Find loads of visible mending inspiration here on the Tom of Holland blog; this excellent tutorial on the Sew Mama Sew blog will help you master the sewing techniques needed to embark on your own visible mending adventures with needle and thread.

Bonus: You can combine any of the techniques listed above with our latest tutorial, using Zoom Loom squares to patch holes in any garment – click here to download our free PDF!

Free PDF tutorial to mending holes using Zoom Loom squares as patches.

What are your favorite tutorials or techniques for visible mending? Leave them in the comments, or share your photos with us over on Instagram using #thewooleryshop in your post!

How to Maximize the Use of a Gradient Yarn

Gradient yarns are hard to pass up, and we’ve created a free step-by-step guide which demonstrates how you can use any two colors of fiber to blend your very own set of gradient batts, which can be used to spin a totally unique gradient yarn. Click here to get our guide!

Free guide to blending spinning fiber to spin a gradient yarn.

Once you’ve spun your yarn, it’s time to find the perfect project to show it off. Depending on your yardage, you could knit or crochet a simple accessory that shows off the long color transitions, such as a hat, cowl or scarf. The great thing about making a scarf is that you can just keep knitting or crocheting til you run out of yarn!

knitting

You could also try weaving with your beautiful gradient yarn – you will have to do just a little bit of math to ensure that you don’t run out of yarn. Here, we’ve blended a total of 8oz. of fiber to create a single-ply gradient. If you have a complementary color of thinner yarn that you can use to weave with, you can warp you loom with your handspun gradient yarn and then loosely weave with your complementary yarn to get a warp dominant project using the instructions to follow!

Handspun Gradient Yarn, get our free tutorial on the Woolery blog.

Here’s how to maximize use of any gradient yarn in your weaving project:

  1. Make sure that you have an accurate measurement of yardage in your skein. Example: Yardage: 260 yards.
  2. Calculate how wide you want your woven piece to be, and multiply that number by the number of EPI (ends per inch) you need. Example: Weaving width: 10” x Sett: 5 ends per inch = Total number of ends: 50.
  3. Divide the number you got for Step 2 by your total yardage in Step 1. This number is the how long your warp ends need to be to use every last inch of your yarn! Example: 260yards/50 ends = 5.2 yards warp length.

Find out how to plan your weaving project using a skein of gradient handspun yarn on the Woolery blog!

We can’t wait to see what you make with your handspun gradient yarns – be sure to share them with us on social media using #thewoolery in your post!

All the Best,

Wave, Perri & the entire Woolery Team

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Maximize the use of any gradient yarn AND get our free guide on blending fiber to spin your own gradient yarn, too!

Ask Nancy: Loom Choices

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 weavernancy@woolery.com or click here to post your questions in our Ravelry group

Q:

I have never used a loom before, but I would like to weave a blanket. Any advice on what loom to buy and what I will need to begin?

A:

The Schacht Flip, a rigid heddle loom.

The Schacht Flip, a rigid heddle loom.

Loom choice goes according to a couple of factors; size, capacity, and price being the top 3. First, you can’t weave any wider than the width of your loom, so there’s that. You can (more advanced technique) weave double-width on a loom with at least 4 harnesses, or you can weave in panels and sew them together.

Rigid heddle looms will handle at most about 4 1/2 yards of warp; but again, you can seam panels together. And then there’s cost: floor looms which will handle a full-width blanket without seams are thousands of dollars (seriously, minimum 4K for a wide one; again, seams are a possibility); but a small rigid heddle loom and a capacity to think modularly will bring the price down to $200-$300. And then there’s everything in between…you’ve asked a big question here!

And after those 3 considerations, there is the amount of space you have available….there’s the rabbit hole to fall in! Give us a call at 800-441-9665 and we can discuss this further; it’s a question with a lot of parts to it.

Q:

Louet David Floor Loom

Louet David Floor Loom

I am a new weaver (tapestry and rigid heddle) and I am thinking of moving onto a floor loom with a max. weaving width of 36″. I have been thinking of the Louet David, but the price is somewhat steep, plus it is a jack loom. I want to do both tapestry as well as other fiber art and the occasional rag rug on it, but I am not sure if a jack loom is suited for tapestry weaving.

I already have a couple of upright or frame tapestry looms, one of them being a 22″ Mirrix. The reason I want to go for a floor loom is to weave a wider width and to weave something more than tapestries. I looked at the Mighty Wolf but was told that the tension isn’t great on it. Another reason for wanting to do tapestry on a floor loom is to give my shoulders a break. Any suggestions?

A:

Come on over to the dark side… we have cookies!  Let’s talk first about what looms do what things best.

Tapestry Weaving by Claudia Chase of Mirrix Looms

Tapestry Weaving by Claudia Chase of Mirrix Looms

Tapestry is a very visual and painter-ly thing to do, and having it in front of your face is important; that’s why most tapestry looms are vertical or in an easel rather than horizontal; it’s easier to see what you are doing. This is not to say that you can’t do tapestry in a horizontal plane (a jack loom), but it does add to the degree of difficulty in seeing what you are doing accurately.

A good rug is one that lasts and wears well, and in order to do that, it needs to be woven under pretty high tension and with a very firm beat, and that implies a VERY sturdy loom with a lot of lumber and mass behind it; weaving rugs has destroyed less-sturdy looms. You can certainly weave a rug-shaped object on a less-sturdy loom, but it won’t last and wear well.

So what we have in your 2 stated desires are 2 wildly varying looms, neither one of which is the David, it not being either heavy enough or vertical. There is no inherent reason not to weave rugs on a (heavy) jack loom, and though a countermarche loom is optimal, it’s also very expensive. A heavy counterbalance loom is also a dandy rug loom though, and can be found used very reasonably.  If you only want to do an occasional rug, a lighter weight loom will do it without too much complaint, but it’s not highly recommended. And vertical tapestry looms really are better.

All that having been said, I think you need to look at a large studio space; you have wide-ranging interests!
Let us know if there’s anything else you need; there are less expensive ways to do a lot of things, and the David is one of the more-expensive options.

Serious tapestry weavers use the Gobelin from Leclerc, found here. If we’re dreaming, we might as well dream big! And honestly, there is nothing wrong with the Mighty Wolf unless you are married to the idea of a steady diet of rugs (I own one myself, and I’d never dream of being parted from it). If you can find a used Leclerc counterbalance (and they are out there, for $500-ish) to do your rugs, you can do everything else in your life except big tapestries on the Mighty Wolf, including fine linen towels. But ask around; you’ll find that I am not the only person with opinions!

How to weave seamless stripes, a free printable weaving tip from the Woolery.NEW! Free Printables from The Woolery

In our previous post, we shared a new section dedicated to sharing free projects for the Schacht Zoom loom (click here if you missed it!). Today, we want to introduce another new section where we’ll share even more tips, tricks & project ideas! In our Free Printables section, you will find downloadable PDFs featuring tips, tricks and project ideas for spinners and weavers. As this is new for 2017, we have just a few PDFs to share thus far; rest assured, we will be adding more as the year progresses, so stay tuned!

 

Free Guide: Getting Started with a Rigid Heddle Loom

A new year is full of possibilities! If one of your 2017 resolutions is to learn how to weave, or to pull your loom out of the closet and rediscover this craft, we’ve created a free guide to help you reach your goals with ease.

Visit the Woolery blog for a free guide to getting started with a Rigid Heddle loom.

Whether you’re new to rigid heddle weaving or just need a refresher on the basics, our free guide will jump start your weaving in 2017!

Click here to download our free PDF guide to Getting Started with a Rigid Heddle Loom.

If you are already on our mailing list, check your inbox – you should have already received a download link from us.

Photo Credit: Liz Gipson of Yarnworker.com.

Photo Credit: Liz Gipson of Yarnworker.com.

Our guide will help you choose the right loom & accessories to get started; it also covers essential weaving terms, the anatomy of a loom & more.

Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can visit our website for free weaving patterns and lots of other helpful info, too.

We look forward to helping you on your weaving journey!

All the Best,

Wave, Perri, and the entire Woolery Team

Ask Nancy: On Weaving & Baking

Ask NancyIt’s our final blog post of 2016 and we’re saving the best for last: on today’s post, Nancy sprinkles in a little baking knowledge while answering an interesting question from one of our customers.

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 weavernancy@woolery.com or click here to post your questions in our Ravelry group

All the Best,

Wave, Perri, and the entire Woolery Team

Q:

I’m looking to weave some soft tea towels from cotton yarn that will to wrap home baked loaves of bread – I would like the towels to be soft and also dense enough to keep the bread from getting too terribly stale. I’m not sure if this is possible, but I wondered if someone might be able to recommend a nice yarn that would work?? It might be a long shot, I’m not sure!

Nancy shares sage advice about weaving & baking on this week's post!

A:

One of the properties of cotton that makes it so wonderful for clothing is that it wicks moisture away from the (skin) surface, carrying it up to the outer surface of the cloth where it can evaporate and cool the body. That precise property of wicking moisture away will create staling very rapidly in a loaf of bread. While a cotton cloth is nice to keep steam from condensing on a fresh-baked hot loaf (unlike plastic, which traps the steam on the surface and causes sogginess), that same cotton cloth will facilitate the further transport of moisture quite well, and make a loaf stale up awfully quickly. For best keeping, allow a loaf to air-cool with good circulation until it reaches ambient temperature, then encase it in nice air-tight plastic. I used to bake professionally long ago…

To answer the non-food textile portion of your question, either 8/2 (found here) or 6/2 (found here) unmercerized cotton will produce the cloth you are looking for.  I set the 8/2 at 20 EPI in a plain weave and the 6/2 at 16 EPI in plain weave.

Including a handwoven tea towel with your home-baked bread is a lovely gift, and we’ve found a few free patterns for anyone interested in a last-minute weaving project this holiday season (hint: this would also be a great hostess gift for New Year’s!):

Free pattern from Louet for handwoven tea towels.

Cornucopia Tea Towels from Louet

Free Friendship Towel pattern from Schacht.

Friendship Towels from Schacht

Free Woven Dish Towel from LeClerc.

Dish Towel from LeClerc

Follow us here on Pinterest for more great weaving inspiration!

Fast Finishes for Fixing Flaws

It’s down to the wire: Christmas is right around the corner, and you have finished or nearly finished your handmade gifts. The problem? You aren’t 100% satisfied with how it looks.

Here are 3 different finishing techniques that you can pull right out of your hat to turn those projects from flawed to fabulous! 

Finish #1: Crochet bind off for knitting project.

This finish is good to use when you don’t have enough time to do a full knitted bind off. By slipping a few stitches at a time onto a crochet hook, and then using your working yarn to yarnover, and bring through two loops, and continue across until you have fully bound off (check out this tutorial video to view this technique in action!). This bind off is just as stretchy, if not more, than a traditional knitted bind off.

Try the crochet bind off for a neat edge on your next knitting project. Find more finishing ideas on the Woolery blog!

Try the crochet bind off for a neat edge on your next knitting project. Find more finishing ideas on the Woolery blog!

Try the crochet bind off for a neat edge on your next knitting project. Find more finishing ideas on the Woolery blog!

Finish #2: Single crochet border on a woven project.

Sometimes your selvedge edges aren’t even, and they look lumpy, loose, or down-right funky. By using one of the yarns in your project, you can single crochet a border on any selvedge edge to hide the mistakes. This can be a great idea for plaid or other colorwork scarves that require the yarn to travel up the side of the work. If you don’t know how to crochet, follow these simple steps  to master single crochet.

Finish wonky edges of your weaving with single crochet - find more great tips on the Woolery blog!

Finish wonky edges of your weaving with single crochet - find more great tips on the Woolery blog!

Finish wonky edges of your weaving with single crochet - find more great tips on the Woolery blog!

Finish 3: Just add Fringe.

Most crocheters know that single crochet has a tendency to curl along the edges, and that can be annoying – but other crafts aren’t immune to this problem!

Got curls? Tame those curly edges on your handmade projects by adding fringe!

To help prevent that, add fringe. You can speed up the process of making fringe by taking a book (preferably hard cover) that has a larger front and back cover than its pages. Wind your yarn around the book, until you have 2 times the number of wraps than you have stitches to attach fringe to.

Making fringe is easy with this clever hack on the Woolery blog!

Cut the fringe using one of the gaps create by the space between the cover and the pages, then start attaching fringe to your piece. Insert your hook into the stitch, take two pieces of fringe yarn and pull a loop through the stitch, then yarnover with the fringe yarn and pull through the loop. Pull snug. As you attach the fringe to both edges, the fabric will want to curl less!

Attaching fringe to a project using a crochet hook. Find more finishing tips on the Woolery blog.

Fringe is fabulous! Find out how to add fringe to any project easily on the Woolery blog.

Now you’re ready to finish all of those holiday gift projects with ease, giving you more time for R&R once Christmas rolls around!

All the Best,

Wave, Perri & the entire Woolery team