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

Share Your Crafts With Those In Need!

The holiday season is a wonderful time to use your fiber arts skills to help those in need. As temperatures drop in many parts of the country, warm winter woolens can be in high demand. Perhaps you have been accruing a pile of mittens, scarves, hats or even blankets that are looking for a good home, or you have finished all of your gift-making and are looking for a new project to start. Here are some tips for using your knitting, crocheting and weaving skills to help others this winter.

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Tip #1: Do your research.

Most charitable organizations have a list of requirements for donations – for handmade items, they may stipulate that all items must be machine washable or contain a certain fiber content, for example. Some charities will only accept certain items or have other regulations that they must uphold, so it’s best to check their website or contact them via email to find out what they are most in need of.

Tip #2: Think Local.

Contact local homeless shelters, animal shelters, churches, and other community-based organizations to see if they need help – not only will your donations directly impact your community, but you will save money on shipping (which means you can buy more supplies for making more items to donate!). Allfreeknitting.com has a list of resources here and you can also check out Crochet.org’s resource list here to help get you started.

Tips for donating handmade items to charity this holiday season - click to read more on the Woolery blog.

Tip #3: Think Outside the Box.

In some areas, good samaritans have been placing scarves, hats and even coats in public areas with notes stating that they are intended for those in need. While many of these donations are store bought, there are many yarn crafters who are sharing their gifts (and there is even an official movement of called Chase the Chill which has locally-based chapters throughout the globe). Even if you don’t have a local chapter, you could just as easily employ this approach on your own!

Tip #4: Consider a Monetary Donation. 

Many organizations have limited space, and while the thought behind donating a handmade item is wonderful, it could have an adverse effect but straining other resources. Consider making a monetary donation instead; you could even sell your handmade goods and use the proceeds to fund your donation.

If you have any suggestions you don’t see here or favorite charity where you donate your handmade items, we’d love to hear about it – leave a comment on your post to share your thoughts with us!

All the Best,

Wave, Perri & the entire Woolery team

 

Winner + Free Printable Gift Tags

Congratulation to Erin R., you are the lucky winner for our special blog giveaway this month! We will be in touch with you shortly to arrange for the delivery of your prize, a copy of Jillian Moreno’s Yarnitecture: The Knitter’s Guide to Spinning: Building Exactly the Yarn You Want.

In the spirit of the holiday season, we’ve created printable gift tags which you can use for all of your handmade gifts this year – click here for a free PDF download! These tags feature cute designs and allow to to customize fiber content and care instructions for the recipient.

Free Printable PDF Gift Tags for Handmade Gifts from The Woolery

Please note, you will need to sign up for our newsletter to receive our free PDF; if you are already a subscriber, check your inbox! We included a link to download the labels this month.

Once your handmade gifts are complete, it’s time to add the final finishing touch with some of these beautiful gift wrap ideas – click the image below to view more info:

Gift wrap inspiration & free printable gift tags for handmade items on the Woolery blog.

Gift wrap inspiration & free printable gift tags for handmade items on the Woolery blog.

Gift wrap inspiration & free printable gift tags for handmade items on the Woolery blog.

We have still more DIY gift wrap ideas here on Pinterest to inspire you this holiday season!

All the Best,

Wave, Perri & the entire Woolery team

 

 

Spinning with Dyed Fiber + Giveaway

Check out Jillian Moreno's guest post & giveaway on the Woolery Blog! We’re pleased to welcome spinner, author, and instructor Jillian Moreno back to the Woolery blog (click here if you missed her excellent post about spinning tussah silk for embroidery).

Jillian is the author of Yarnitecture: The Knitter’s Guide to Spinning: Building Exactly the Yarn You Wantpublished by Storey Publishing in 2016. She is also the editor ofKnittyspin and is on the editorial board of Ply Magazine. She frequently contributes to Spin-Off and PLY Magazine and teaches all over North America. Be warned, she is a morning person and frequently breaks into song before 9am. Keep track of all of her crafty and other pursuits starting April at www.jillianmoreno.comShe lives buried in a monumental stash of fiber and books in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

I have a new spinning and knitting obsession. I’m entranced by working with dyed braids of fiber, dyed the same colorway, but spun in several ways for different effects. I can’t stop myself from playing.

Here’s a braid of Frabjous Fibers BFL top in the beautiful Cottage Garden colorway, normally I would just split it in two and spin it from end to end and ply it, letting it match or marl wherever it wants.

Spinning with dyed fiber, a guest post by Jillian Moreno on the Woolery Blog.

Today I wanted to do something else. I get really sick of the same old, same old yarns, even when I love the colors.

I made two 2-ply yarns in Cottage Garden that look dissimilar, but go together perfectly. My idea was to have one yarn match colors when plied and the second be as mixed up colorwise as it can.

Spinning with dyed fiber, a guest blog post on the Woolery blog by Jillian Moreno.

Left: single with clear colors, Right: single with mixed up colors

For my matching yarn, I split my fiber in two lengthwise, dividing it as evenly as I could. I spun two singles starting from the same end. I checked WPI every once in a while using Rosie’s Precise Spinning Control Card.  I don’t stress the spinning when I try to match color, because I have a couple of tricks I use to ply to match.

  • I rewind my bobbins, so I start plying with the same color I started spinning my singles. I find my spinning is much more consistent at the beginning of my spinning and the colors match up better when I ply.
  • I break it to make it. While I’m plying, if my yarn starts to marl instead of match, I break the single with the overlong color run, break out the rest of the color that is causing the marl, join it back together where the color would match the other ply (I use a spit splice to be sure it holds) and continue plying with matching colors.
Handspun yarn - two ways to spin with dyed fiber - click over to the Woolery blog to read more from Jillian Moreno.

Left: 2-ply with clear colors, Right: 2-ply with mixed up colors.

For my mixed up colors yarn, I split my fiber in two lengthwise, one piece for each ply, dividing it as evenly as I could. I spin to mix up colors as much as possible using these two tricks to get the yarn to marl in the single, then I ply it creating a double marled yarn. You can see the marling in the single on the bobbin above.

  • I split each length of fiber a second time and draft the two lengths together into a single.
  • Before I start drafting them together I flip one of the lengths so the color orientation starts at opposite ends. For example one length starts with green then goes to orange, then red, then pink and repeats, the second flipped length would start with pink, then red, then orange, then green and repeat.

I knit swatches of both yarns and they look great, different but the same, exactly how I wanted them to turn out. I love when that happens. One yarn is clear colored stripes and one is a mixed up tweed in the same colors.

Spinning with dyed fibers - get tips from expert Jillian Moreno on the Woolery blog.

What do you do with it? You might ask. Here’s what I’m thinking today.

I want to make a hat, using the clear, matching colors as the main color yarn, then using the mixed up colored yarn as a contrasting yarn to make a mixed up stripe within each solid colored stripe. Fun, isn’t it?

Lower left, matching colors; lower right, mixed up colors, top swatch mixed up colors as a striped within a solid green stripe.

Lower left, matching colors; lower right, mixed up colors, top swatch mixed up colors as a striped within a solid green stripe.

If you want more ideas to spin your dyed fibers or want some spinning suggestions on making exactly the yarn you want to knit, check out my new book Yarnitecture:The Knitter’s Guide to Spinning: Building Exactly the Yarn You Want. 

GIVEAWAY

Enter to win a copy of Jillian Moreno's new book, Yarnitecture, on the Woolery blog!Jillian and the folks at Storey Publishing have graciously donated a copy of Yarnitecture: The Knitter’s Guide to Spinning: Building Exactly the Yarn You Want to give away to one of our lucky readers! To be eligible in the prize drawing, please email contest@woolery.com with the subject line “Yarnitecture” and your first name, last initial & state/province in the body of your message. 

Please note, by entering this contest, you will be automatically signed up for our newsletter list which you can opt out of at any time; if you already receive our newsletter, we will simply confirm the address that we have on file so that you do not receive duplicate copies. 

We will randomly select one lucky winner to announce on our next blog post on Tuesday, November 22, 2016. Good luck! 

Ask Nancy: Weaving Q & A

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 orclick here to post your questions in our Ravelry group

All the Best,

Wave, Perri, and the entire Woolery Team

Q:

I ordered a cotton 8/4 yarn from you. I have warped it and have started weaving. However, a couple of the warp threads have sheared down to 1 strand and are about to break. I have really had a problem warping it tightly & thread breaking. Any solution? I ordered 3 cones of this tread. Am I going to have problems with all of them? Please help!

A:

In normal use, you shouldn’t be able to break 8/4; my strong suspicion is that you have far too much tension on your warp. The only other thing that will break warp threads is abrasion; either on the selvedges from having too much draw-in (not enough weft in the shed) or from having sized the reed to the yarn too snugly.

We are happy give you some more guidance on this on the phone (give us a call toll-free at 1-800-441-9665). The rule for tension in weaving is “just enough for error-free weaving;” if it’s more than that, you’ve cranked it up too tightly.

Q:

Is a rigid heddle available to accommodate bulky yarn? Does a 5-dent heddle have large enough holes for a thick yarn?

A:

If you get any of the Ashford looms, there are 2.5-dent heddles available for them that will handle very bulky yarns. With regards to your question about the 5-dent heddle, that depends upon your definition of “thick”: by standard knitting yarn definitions, “bulky” yarns will fit in a 5-dent heddle, and the yarns that one would need a 2.5-dent heddle for are usually classed as “ultra-bulky.” Hope this helps; knitting yarn definitions are notoriously imprecise. That is the very best that we can do!

Ashford Rigid Heddle Loom

Ashford Rigid Heddle Loom

Q:  

I am looking for a reed that will fit an Ullman loom that is 48-50 inches long.
On this loom, it appears that the reed height is adjustable. So, what would you recommend – carbon or stainless steel? I’d like to start with an all around reed size (maybe a 10 dent is a good start?) and 48″ long. My only weaving experience is on a rigid heddle loom. This loom was found in the crawl space of a recently purchased property in Maine. It appears that everything else is here, just missing the reed. I couldn’t let my friend throw it away, so I’m willing to get her back into shape and weaving!

A:

Reeds are sold by height as well as by length; that length is certainly no problem. Our standard reeds are either 4.75” or 5” tall, depending upon which supplier we choose. Most of the big CM looms will have a good fit with a variety of reed heights, because the top of the reed holder floats and is not fastened. Glimåkra reeds are routinely very short (4” overall height), and Cranbrook reeds are quite tall at 5.5”; we can order any of those as well if you prefer. I don’t think we’ll have any difficulty with fitting the Ullman; it sounds like the 4.75″ height would be best.